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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Whizzing Past The Window


Concluding the photos from the bus trip that I think sums up rural Tasmania quite well.
This is at the Meander Dam which supplies a large area of Northern Tasmania with water making irrigation reliable and thus broadening the range of agricultural choices in the area.
Craig and his team of planters, most from overseas, re-planted large areas around the site about four years ago and the regeneration is looking fantastic. They used a wide variety of local species for the planting of tube stock now well over my head in hight.
The management and development of this project has been very sensitive and environmentally aware. There are public spaces available for people to use the dam such as boat ramps and BBQ areas but there is a strict prohibition on speed on the water so that wash from boats does not effect or erode the shorelines. The toilet amenities are all low energy composting style and are built from reclaimed materials. 
But enough of me yammering on....
What I really wanted to show you was there is still snow on the Western Tiers...


Paddocks after paddocks filled with lambs.
For many of them it was the first time they had seen a bus I'll bet!


New crops underway...


Highland beef cattle are becoming popular on some of the smaller farms.
You can't really see them as we are literally whizzing by but it's still nice scenery....


Rich chocolate volcanic soils....


There are a lot of sheep but this is also big dairy country.
Milking time. They all know where to head.
Don't I just live in THE most beautiful place on earth?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On The Shelf


"Ramblings of a Square Peg in a Round Hole" is having a photographic scavenger hunt and I happened to have a pic that fit the theme this week.
"On The Shelf"


Actually it's on the microwave, but I am using it like a shelf and I think it reveals my eclectic nature and tells a story very well without any staging or placing. It just happens to be an accumulation.
The Holy picture in the condiments caddy alludes to my Catholic upbringing and though it is not marked, I think that it is has to be Our Lady of the Rosary, Mary mother of God.
It is a funny cheap little plastic framed thing but very reminiscent of my childhood.
In the foreground is a silver plated tea strainer from Blackall, QLD, where I was born. A small town in the outback near Longreach. It has a head of a merino ram on the enamelled disc. Blackall was a big sheep country back in the day. Prophetic? Well it is even spookier than that possums....
Not only is Craig a shearer, but he also lived in this tiny outback town for many years at the time that I had first moved to Tasmania. (Craig himself is originally Tasmanian) Our paths have criss-crossed in a remote region but fate brought our paths together thankfully. 
My grandfather on my mother's side was also a shearer when he was young and healthy.
To the right is a small vintage woven basket holding harvested chamomile flower heads from the front garden. Chamomile is a wonderful herb for calming.


There is also a small teapot with a deep strainer that sits inside. I love it for herbal teas and it is ideal for one or two people. There is a pump bottle of hand cream that someone gave me and I had every intention of using....but I am not the sort of person to stop and moisturise like that. I'm always too busy for greasy hands. I thought if I put it there I would see it and use it more often but probably it has gone off now. I am more likely to use my own home-made herbal salve of Comfrey, Chamomile, Calendula and Clover (red). The tin of Wedgwood tea speaks to my many past years working with the really big china companies, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Villeroy and Boch etc.


And finally, can you see that little blue plastic ring beside the basket?
Well that's an identifying leg ring for a hen.
Typical hey!
All those random things spell Tanya more than anything I could have created.
I'll bet you've got a corner of accumulation that spells your name clearly too. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Living Better September


This month the Living Better Group gathered at my house to learn some traditional cooking.
We made plum pudding and Christmas Cake from my grandmother's recipe.
I think the following images sum up the day well.







Here is one prepared earlier for the taste test...


and we duly taste-tested!

Then came the cake making....











My heart soared to see all these people (9) gathered together, chopping, grating, mixing, zesting, weighing, doing what many generations before have done. Sharing, laughing, learning, teaching the old and discovering new ways.
As I creamed my butter and sugar, Brad updated me about his poultry plans and incubation tales as his 3yr old cracked eggs. 
This was my "It doesn't get any better than this" moment of the day.





Sunday, September 23, 2012

Silk and Honey


And the bus trip continued on to Chudleigh....
We visited the honey shop,


I couldn't get a good shot of the walls and walls of different jars of honey because the OAPs were all over them like...well like bees on a honeypot!


Honeypots!


They weren't thickly clustered around these varieties though.
These are my favourites. Do you remember the NRG bars a couple of posts ago? Well I used the chilli honey from here in them.


They have great educational resources and this Perspex sided hive so you can see it all at work.


Just a block up the street is the silk shop. They stock all things silk including some silk worms doing their thing. 


Again, another great learning opportunity for children.


Cocoons of silk.
we used to have silk worms as children in QLD and would walk down to the lane near Hendra train station and pick mulberry leaves to feed them.


The silk shop is also a fudge shop and they experiment with lots of flavour combinations like chilli and chai latte.
Chudleigh is such a cute little village and they have roses lining the main street as a feature.
So put this one on your stop list too when you visit this part of Tasmania.
Chudleigh is only a stone's throw from Wychwood Gardens, and the Mole Creek Caves and the Mole Creek Wildlife Park where they also specialise in Tassie Devils.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Truffle Farm


The bus trip continues....
Almost next door to the salmon farm is a truffle farm.
Tasmania has many ideal areas and a very suitable climate for growing truffles which is in Europe's off season thus truffles can be globally supplied all year round.
Truffles grow on the inoculated roots of hazelnut and oak trees but oak is fast becoming the favoured tree. We have an oak Quercus Robur that may have successfully inoculated roots but nowhere to put it on our suburban block so in a pot it sits. It may never produce truffles.
Even if it did I would then have to borrow or hire a trained truffle sniffing dog to sniff them out because you can't just dig up the tree. It works as a symbiotic relationship.
From my memory the trees on this farm are about 8yrs old but I'm not sure.
This is very typical scenery in Tasmania, rolling green hills, lush pastures and chocolate soil.
I took these photos as we drove by on the bus.
So there you go, another part of the Tasmanian agricultural picture. Diverse isn't it?



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ginseng and Salmon Farm


I am so blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law and I enjoy her company very much. Sometimes I get to go on the monthly bus excursion with her and the local Probus Group.
I have a friend who owned a salmon farm and visited her on many occasions including the stripping time so I was feeling a bit blas√© but was surprised to learn about the unique way this farm was run.

  
The farmer has a waterfall at one end of the property which feeds the fish growing tanks by gravity. The water is then passed through a series of ponds till it finally reaches a wetland for the final process in the cleansing chain finally draining into the river system as cleaned water.



It even feeds through this water wheel which in turn provides power to the farm house.


There are also solar panels on the house so the whole energy of the farm is self sustaining and ecologically friendly. 
As you can see the wattles are still in bloom.


I was very surprised to discover they grew ginseng as well. It is incredibly slow growing and required a very shaded environment. 
The farm has produced a diverse range of products using the herb.


Ginseng is said to have a very wide range of beneficial effects including aiding the metabolism, blood health, positive endocrine assistance and healing properties.


Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself on the road between Deloraine and Mole Creek.


It's been an eye-opener for me going on these trips with the "oldies". You may have seen coaches of retired people tripping around before. They are doing more than filling in a day, they are learning about such a diverse range of things in their environment and they are also doing their bit propping up the economy, spending a little bit everywhere they go. Where they stop for lunch is a boon for some of these small out of the way hotels.
I am so blessed to have the opportunity to trip around with them a few times a year.



Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Coming Growers Market


Spring to me means that market time is not far away.
From the first Saturday in October till the end of daylight savings you'll find me at 
in the gardens of ut si cafe 
from 8-12
 Local produce, fresh picked and grown without chemicals.
I have been making "Tub Teas" from last seasons dried herbs of calendula, chamomile, rosemary, rose petals and nettles.


A simple salve using comfrey, calendula, chamomile and red clover.


Preserved lemon peel. Some for Christmas, some for the market.


Another 3kg of soap for these...



And of course,





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