Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Baby birds

Hatching and fledging is in full swing in the valley. From the swallows nesting on our back deck, to the long-legged 'turbo chook' babies, to the puffball-on-sticks plover chicks, there are super-cute baby birds everywhere you look.

I had a few minutes to kill before yoga yesterday evening and walked down to the river. Mother duck and her brood of seven waddled right up to my feet. Aren't they adorable?

Balancing in 'tree pose' in the yoga studio, I glanced out the window to see a family of swans floating by on the Huon. They were still nearby after class.

It reminded me of the farewell song we sing in the Little Boat Choir:

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the starry sky
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the river flowing by

Until, until we meet again
May all your days be bright
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the river flowing by.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lunch with dogs

Frank's Cider Bar & Cafe in Franklin has been "under new management" as they say for the last month or two. There is a new menu with choice of light or full meals. We enjoyed a Sunday morning brunch a few weeks ago. For today's late-ish lunch we shared a trio of dips with warm bread, followed by scones made with apple cider and grated apple - both delicious. They offer a nice selection of Tasmanian drinks: Frank's Cider of course, as well as soft drinks like ginger beer and sparking elderflower.

The interior has been updated with cosy lounges and there are several outside tables, under cover or under umbrellas. The ramp that divided the old church hall (a council requirement) is gone, replaced by an unobtrusive mobility lift in case someone in a wheelchair needs to access the bathrooms. The "no dogs" sign is gone. The Franklin History Group has an excellent display including some of the region's apple growing heritage, a beautiful piano that belonged to Lady Jane Franklin and currently also a fantastic exhibition about local World War I history for the Anzac centenary. If you haven't been back in a while, you should go. And take your (well behaved) dogs if you like.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bringing comedy to the Huon

David has been working hard to bring laughs to the locals in the Huon Valley.

Next weekend, there is the LOL Comedy Megashow at the Palais Theatre in Franklin. Tasmania’s own Josh Earl, as seen on Spicks 'n' Specks and many other TV shows and comedy festivals, is headlining a huge line up of local comedy talent on Saturday 21 November. There will be 16 fantastic Tassie comedians on the bill for only $30. Food and drinks available from 6pm, show starts 7.30pm. The event is primarily about having a funny night out, however, profits will go toward the Franklin Tennis court restoration project. Last year's event saw around 180 people laughing themselves silly. Don't miss out - you can still book online here or buy tickets (cash) at the door.

Last month, it was Damian Callinan's solo show The Lost WW1 Diary. Damien was the star of last year's big comedy lineup at the Palais in Franklin, so it was awesome to have him back. The show is funny and sad at the same time and as always, Damien does an amazing job of localising his show for the town he is performing in and interacting with the audience. The audience loved it. He has been touring this show around the nation during the ANZAC centenary, and for the 100th performance here in Franklin we had a special visit by the Tasmanian Lighthorse, a World War 1 exhibition by the Franklin History Group and terrific pre-show music by the Huon Valley Society Orchestra. And a LOT of laughs.

Update: read what Damian had to say about his show in Franklin. Too funny.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The heartache of animal ownership

Our beautiful dog Baerli turned nine on Friday. The downside to owning a large breed is that their lifespan is short. In the case of Bernese Mountain Dogs, 8-12 years is considered good. And poor B has been in the wars lately. She's torn her cruicate ligament in one leg. There's a nasty tumour (thankfully benign) in her mouth. Then she hurt one of her front legs too and was hobbling very badly. On Friday night she wouldn't eat her dinner (for the first time ever), nor breakfast on Saturday morning. Happily she's eating again now. Then on Sunday after a very short walk and swim she was finding it so difficult to get up that she peed on her bed and dripped all the way to the door rather than go outside to the toilet. Yesterday I spotted that her urine was very dark brown. Straight to the vet. A raft of tests ruled some things out thankfully, but we don't know what's wrong yet. It's so hard to see her miserable. We only want to do the best for this lovely old lady.

Then last week while I was away for work, five-year-old Gretchen hurt one of her legs too and was limping. The way she hurtles across the paddock after the frisbee, it's no great surprise, but it's hard to keep her quiet to allow it to heal. She's so desperate to play.

Meanwhile, every time I look at our frail 19+ year old cat Lilly, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. She's eating, drinking and sleeping fine, but can't groom herself properly, or hear, or see much either. Is she in too much pain? When is too much? I just don't know.

One of the hens has had mites on one leg, which I've been dunking in oil and rubbing gently to (hopefully) help remove them. Yesterday she disappeared. Another hen has some kind of wound on her breast but seems otherwise fine... I don't know what to do.

I wouldn't part with them for the world, but they sure can be a worry. There's so much more than cute and fluffy when caring for our animal family. Every now and then we consider getting some goats or sheep, but I don't think I'm ready for livestock. Especially not after reading a series of Facebook posts by a friend about the birth of calves (to some very obstreperous cows) at their place last month. Now THAT sounded stressful.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Jam time again

I came home from a week on the Gold Coast for work this weekend to a raised garden bed overflowing with rhubarb. Time to make jam. It was very timely, because I just ate the very last scrape of the last batch on yesterday morning's toast. Now there are six jars of the stuff cooling in the back of my cupboard. Rhubarb is my favourite jam and it is super-easy to make. Now to use the rest of the crop... I foresee crumbles, cakes and tarts coming up.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Franklin Quilt

Some very clever Franklin folk made this:

It shows 24 of Franklin's historic buildings along the main road, each unique and instantly recognisable. The finished work was presented to the Franklin Progress Association and now hangs in the front room of the Palais Theatre. You can view it on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when the Franklin Collective is open - and pick up some great local produce at the same time.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The battle for the fruit trees

This year's battle with the possums has begun. Two of my apple trees have not yet started growing again after the savage "pruning" they received last year from these cute but pesky critters, who ate every last leaf. Our silver birches were all broken off at the top and now sport a plastic band in the hope of making it harder to climb them. So far so good on that front... The plums, cherries and peach planted last year had only a few blossoms but lovely healthy leaf growth so far. If only the possums would eat something else. Apparently they don't like pear trees, the only ones spared in last year's feast. The pear blossoms are so pretty, and the bees love them - see if you can spot them in two of the pictures below. This year I planted two new trees, a medlar and a quince.