Monday, April 20, 2009

Last peach crop

There's an excess of fruit in the Tamar valley right now, and our garden is no exception. Apples are dripping from sagging trees, birds are swarming over the ripening figs, and we just happened to find a peach tree groaning under the weight of 20kg of fruit in the far corner of the garden, most of which we have given away.
I did keep some fruit for eating, and about 1 kg for this fantastic Byron Bay Chutney, which is really meant to have nectarines as its base fruit, but seems to work really well with peaches too. Its got a couple of big red chill is, seeds and all, 500gm raisins, 250kg glace ginger, 1kg sugar, 700ml vinegar, and, well that's about it. Chuck it in a wide based pan, stir regularly for 2 hours, and plop into jars to cool.

Its fabbo!

Thanks mum for the inspiration!

Monday, April 13, 2009


There is something most alarming about working your way through a jigsaw puzzle, and nearing the end realising that you are going to be short a few pieces. You're not sure exactly how many pieces are missing, but there is a distinct feeling that it could be more than a few. Yet you have persevered through the 450 or so pieces, and there is no turning back or rethinking your commitment to the puzzle, and so you press on. And in the search for the final few pieces (the haze of inky-blacky-green seaweed) you never really know if the piece you are hunting for will be found. Now this may kill off the enjoyment of the puzzle for some, but I kept going telling myself this conundrum just added a new dimension to the search for pieces. And while the parallels for a life well lived are a little obvious perhaps, it was a nice reminder that while all the elements of a life may be implied, they might not always be within grasp. That it is the practice of putting the little pieces together, one-by-one, that is important. And while I tell myself this, and try not to dwell on the missing pieces, I keep wondering where they are: musta got sucked up the vacuum cleaner, or the dog ate them, or more likely they were transferred to the Barbie's doll house to become fancy coloured dinner plates. Hmmmm...Puzzling....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Urban walks

This orange plate is getting a good work out, and seems to be finding a permanent home in my backpack along with regular outings at special picnic spots in and around Launceston.
This week the orange plate visited the Gorge, and Trevallyn dam. This was a suburban walk, with not a great deal to recommend it (I guess I am a fan of wilderness) apart from lovely conversation with my good friend the divine Ms M, and lunch. Smoked Tasmanian salmon, and avocado sandwiches.

My calf muscles are developing a distinctive baseball like bulge with all the hill-walking!

Ive been wondering why the walking is so RIGHT for me now: its not just the scenery or the lunch, or the search for expanding musculature (!) There is something rejuvenating in the act of covering ground, walking together. Im going through a rough patch (as some of my fellow bloggers know) and its tough for me to find a quietness of mind to practice yoga, my usual excercise choice. The physical tiredness that walking brings seems to settle my edginess. And I sleep better for it. Also there is a way of thinking that happens when my body is in motion; walking brings a special clarity to thinking. Must be all that extra oxygen!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Snow in Tassie

Snow atop Mount Wellington, and apparently its not all that unusual to have a bit of a blizzard in early April up there. The girls and I were mighty impressed, especially as just 11km away in Hobart the sun was out, and the temperature 12 degrees higher.

There is a bit of a tradition here in Tasmania, that if its snowing on the mountain, one must make a snowman (crude versions are absolutely fine), sit it on your bonnet, and try and make it down to the bottom of the mountain without it melting, or sliding off your bonnet! We only made it about half way down before it skidded sideways on a hairpin corner. Interestingly, this ritual encourages careful slow cornering rather than speed.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Small Mango

He's cute, yes, this is true. But he also chews shoes. Its hard to love a dog that chews your sandals for fun. But love him I do: he has a really sweet nature, and is keen please. Poor Mango was to be put down in the vet surgery that my sister was working at here in Launceston. The previous owners had said he was aggressive, but this is so far from the truth, its almost laughable. He might lick you to death, but that's about it!
Probably I should question the wisdom of introducing a pup into our house with two children and a yard that isn't fully and reliably fenced.
Add to this the fact that Mango is a deaf dog, and this makes it all a bit crazy. Yesterday he went missing while we were out, and we had no way to "call" him back for dinner time. Eventually, we received a call from a neighbour saying they had found our dog, and used my telephone number on the back of his tag (yes, I'm glad I managed to get a tag engraved with this critical information on the reverse!). Our biggest worries are two-fold: as he is deaf, and a bit of a Houdini-hound we are worried that he will escape our property and find his way to the highway at the top of our driveway. There are far too many trucks, and as he cant hear, well, its a bit risky to say the least. The other issue our youngest child is a bit scared of the puppy. She doesn't like being in the same room as Mango, not without her big sister around to fend off his friendly advances! We had hoped she would calm down a bit. Perhaps it would have been better to get a very young puppy, or maybe an older quiet dog. But when it comes to pet-rescue, then one doesn't really pause long to contemplate these issues.

So, I suppose we will have to take him back to the vet surgery. The vet in charge has said she wont put him down, and will take him home herself...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Another Thursday walk

With the intention of another climb up Mount Arthur and perhaps this time to the summit, my friend M and I drove to Lillydale, just 20 minutes North of Launceston. On the approach to the Mountain, we found a for sale sign, parked, and wandered into the most breathtakingly pituresque piece of land. Rolling pastures replete with fluffy white sheep, distance views of the town of Lillydale, and the reassuring presence of the Mountain behind us.

This could be home.

A picnic was had (again!) and in the softly falling rain, a little piece of my heart was captured by this land.