Monday, April 1, 2013

Fall has arrived, Waghorn Visit, Pasta Making

Tasmania is nothing if not interesting – we were driving along the highway when a little VW Van passed us with 3 Alpacas in the back. I looked at them, and they looked back at me, then eachother and back at me as if they thought – what’s that biped looking at? They weren’t strapped into seats but they were certainly in the interior of the Van with the driver.  I thought ‘Only in Tasmania’ but then I have to remind myself, I haven’t been overseas for some time now – so who knows now what crazy trend setting habits have flooded North America.

I'm delighted with our new garden enclosure, and and happy my surprise plant's identity has been discovered. It appears I successfully planted Tomatillo plants which look healthy and happy at present. I just hope it's not too late for them to fruit.

Graham’s work trip was shorter than we anticipated, so my reclusive week of writing was shortened to a day and a half. However I did love sitting outside at the picnic table in the heat (which really put me in the mood for writing about sailing in the tropics), and was well looked after by my little pack of dogs. They either snoozed at my feet, or gnawed away at their bones leaping up expectantly when ever I got up. They trotted along behind me everywhere I went, ever hopeful a biscuit would fall out of my pocket I’m sure. I loved the routine of my little week off. The morning rituals, get up, feed the dogs, walk them to the Oval and toss the ball – come home for a coffee and write, then an afternoon walk – throw the ball for the hounds, dinner and write some more.   When Graham came home, the writing portion stopped but we both enjoyed the rest of my week off. The weather turned mid week and the rains came to give some relief to this fire tired state. It was perfect snuggle in front of the TV with hot drinks, or snooze weather.

Cultural Tour of Hobart
It feels well and truly like fall now. We still have some lovely weather, but the fronts are coming through now, tree leaves rustling while the winds whistle down the hill whipping them about, before the rains fall. Still it’s not usually too long before we’re treated to the brilliance of the Tasmanian rainbows. I’ve never seen them as bright and colourful as they are here.

We had a Geologist visitor from America for one weekend, a friend of our friends from SV Glory Days.  He was working in Zeehan and was looking for a little weekend change in scenery after several weeks in a mine. Graham and I took him on “a Cultural tour of Tasminia” which was what I called taking him to the 2 whisky distilleries in Town and around Salamanca and the water front. He seemed to like the local culture. He was just as happy to sit at our picnic table with his bird book and mapping work, and potter away while doing a spot of bird watching for most of the weekend, but we did take him “down the Huon” to Franklin where Graham had to pick up a couple of paintings which had been exhibited in the Focus on Franklin Art Show. We stopped at the stone fruit farm and loaded up on Apples, nectarines and pears. He LOVED that and had a stash to take back to the mines.

Bruce relaxing at the Pizza Oven

A friend dropped by with a couple of large salmon for Graham to cure and smoke. A great deal as we split the fish with him. The Waghorn family arrived with the weather good enough for a Pizza night.

And were eager to participate in ‘the big smoke’ and enjoy a good feed of fish on Good Friday.  Young Ben's job was to dig potatoes from our garden for our dinner.  
Potato digging

We’d caught wind of “Tasmania’s biggest Easter Egg Hunt”, raising money for the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation. They boasted 100,000 chocolate Easter Eggs would be scattered for kids aged between 3 and 12.  How could we resist?  The Waghorn’s registered us all, so we descended en mass to the Botanical Gardens where we followed giant bunny foot prints to “Egg Hunt HQ” –registered, donned our bunny ears and wandered amongst the activities before Ben’s age group were the ‘hunters’.  There were balloon artists, singing groups, tables set up with activities, food stalls, face painting, and lots of ‘egg-cited kids’.  We wandered through the gardens taking it all in…. then they called Ben’s group.
angry bunnies

having fun?  tick

Graham, Bernadette and I positioned ourselves at the other side of a large roped in area, complete with a castle turret made out of stacked cut wood in the centre, to be sure to have a good view of the start.  I thought a big bunny was going to pop out and throw eggs from the top, but instead – a golf cart with boxes of eggs slowly made it’s way around the designated area while 6 people threw around 10,000 chocolate Easter eggs out.  I was excited and I wasn’t even hunting.
note the eggs in the air as they were tossed - nice shot Bernadette
Eggs for all
The count down began and the organisers stepped back at the call of ONE - to allow the surge of excited kids to swarm over the grounds, dropping to their knees to pick up their colourful silver wrapped bounty. The air rang with excited cries of parents
            “Over here – behind you” as directions and encouragements were shouted out to their kids.  No child left this event short changed and I was happy to note, not a tearful child could be seen. Ben came over with his loot, which counted out to 151 chocolate eggs. Woo Hoo, half of which we made into hot chocolates for all that night.

Ben and Elwood have become fast friends, I'm not sure who's wearing who out as they play.

We’ve been enjoying Bruce and Bernadette’s energy and enthusiasm in trying and cooking up new things. We were delighted and surprised when a pasta machine appeared one day. I’ve always secretly wanted one and there it was, all shiny just crying out to be used.  Out came the flour and the pasta making began. Everyone was involved, even Elwood as he was the floor monitor picking up any pasta that dropped during the process. It was a hoot, especially when Graham organised a cane fishing rod to hang the pasta over to dry.

Finished Product
Hanging the pasta and yes I'm pooped
Elwood has been enjoying their visit, as he and Ben play a lot. He especially likes to lick him, which sends Ben into fits of giggles. He has taken a few liberties not the least of which was claiming his lounge back by sitting on top of Bruce during movie night.

We try to think of new and interesting things to entertain Ben. Pear picking in vacant fields, walks with Elwood - Graham's remedy for hick ups was to run up the driveway as fast as he could, then describe it in great detail.  It worked.... and wasn't a big deal with Elwood beside him... Well - actually Elwood stood a the top of the driveway and watched him run. he he he....

Yesterday was “Horse Poop hunting”. We gloved up, lifted the wheel barrow over the fence pushed it up the neighbours driveway and hopped the fence into the field behind us to collect some ready made fertiliser.  Leather gloves to go around, one shovel, and many hands made light work. The horses came to investigate while Elwood yipped at us from the back yard. How many kids can say they did that on their holiday?  No telling what adventures we’ll think up for the week ahead.