May. 7th, 2013 08:56 pm
shapeofthings: (Wandering)
Does anyone actually read this little blog any more, or is it just me and the crickets?

Regardless, I want to say that I'm happy. Future plans are forming and the present is being enjoyed. The adventure continues.

What more could I ask for?

Peru 2.0
shapeofthings: (Wandering)
Because I should keep a record of such things, last weekend was lovely.


Friday night:
* dinner for one @ Ethos, but not dining alone because I know a couple of the staff and they kept me company. Also, amazingly good pork belly.
* Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra with Friend P, free thanks to werk! Brilliant performance (Dvorack 8th, digeridoo-based pieces by Edwards & Stravinsky's Firebird Suite)


* Epic garden harvest - so many beans!
* Pottering about the house getting on top of things, making stock and putting life to rights
* Sprints session at the pool
* Foraging mission with P resulting in a great haul of blackberries, followed by shared garden harvest dinner


* Hartz Peak (with an early start to avoid the worst of the heat)
* Evening catch-up with Kat
* really good sleep



Jan. 24th, 2013 11:01 am
shapeofthings: (Wandering)
I am experiencing an inordinate sense of well-being.

Today everything feels right in my world.



Happy-making things:
  • Taiko - the people, the movement, the sound, the joy. The brilliant noisiness of playing a drum I helped re-skin (fresh skin = LOUD). Yatai form finally falling into place. Hugs and laughter.
  • Garden - escapist chickens & eggs in the pumpkin patch. Making flower sex in the zucchinis. The first sunflower. Dirt under my nails, sun on my skin.
  • Hobart - magic, crazy little town, home to my friends and a thousand little quirks.
  • Friends - birthday plans, BBQs, car-pooling, camera-swapping. Inclusion, being part of something, feeling loved and connected.
  • Petrichor - the smell of long-awaited rain.
shapeofthings: (Wandering)
Tonight I am going to this: MONA Bushfire benefit concert.

Yup, MONA, our crazy-beautiful private museum (MONA) and arts festival (MoFo) people are putting on a bushfire benefit concert tonight on the waterfront and I've just bought myself a ticket.

I could have gone for free entry. Our top-end taiko drummers are performing, y'see, and I was down to be a roadie, but given I was sick yesterday and I'm still limpy from the gimpy knee acting up I passed on my place to someone more able-bodied and was just going to go home and sleep tonight. Friends are catching the concert though, and it'll be ace to see my friends up on stage, the only Tassie act in a show featuring the likes of David Byrne and Neil Gaiman (MoFo just wound up and most of the acts are still in town). It makes me feel a bit better about missing the entirety of MoFo this year too. So after work I'll hobble down to the waterfront and spend a lovely evening in the wonderland I call my home town.

<3 Hobart.

So, yesterday, I started to feel a little less virus-ridden by the afternoon so I hopped into the car and took myself off for a scenic drive in lieu of the walk I'd planned. I picked up a pair of European back-packers in the city and let their destination dictate my route. They were headed out Margate way, so after dropping them off I continued down to the Channel.

At Kettering I stopped off at Nutpatch, a chocolate shop run by a family with a hazelnut plantation. It's a tiny shop and all the chocolates are made on site. I'd been planning on checking it out for months, only to find I'd arrived a little past closing time. The owner-chocolatier was still on site though and insisted I come in, handing me a creme-brulee choc as I entered and happily chatting away. After 3 free samples and a chinwag with Giovannni I bought more than intended and went on my way, following the coastline around to Cygnet in the golden late-afternoon light then shooting home through the Huon Valley.

One day I might buy myself a little place down the Channel somewhere. Perhaps the village of Woodbridge, so pretty nestled between the hills and the water and only half an hour to Hobart. I could have my own cottage and a garden big enough for a veggie patch, some fruit trees, a dog or two and some chickens. It would be lovely, and in my mind's eye I can see it, beautiful.

It's not what I want right now. For the moment adventure is calling and I want to immerse myself in the wider world. I think I'd want to come back here though. This place is home. Not Brisbane, not Melbourne, but my lovely little Tasmania with her wild country and kooky inhabitants, with more artists and scientists per capita than any other Australian city, balanced out by the most narrow-minded NIMBYs and uber-bogans. This strange little island where magic things happen and the Mountain sings to my soul.

<3 Tasmania.

shapeofthings: (rumblefish)
  • The beautiful buttery light this morning that helped me forget how dry and brown and sad the environment is right now.
  • Making new friends my age who are as dorky as I am and share my excitement over veggie growing and other such things.
  • Dragging my arse back to the pool after months and months of injury an still being able to make my old minimum distance of 1.2 km (though slowly).
  • Noticeable improvement in the bung knee, although there's still some way to go.
  • Fresh eggs from the chickens and the pleasure of creatures in the garden (I'll miss them when the go home next week, even if their occasional escapes have done some serious plant damage).
  • The joy of digging up fresh potatoes, which hasn't got old yet.
  • Watching the Tasmanian community pull together in response to the fires, and being part of that.
  • Sorting out my friendship with Kat and spending a lovely Sunday evening just enjoying each other's company.
  • Having a work-mate's Chilean scientist wife agree to translate my resume for me for a fair fee after the local translation company quoted me $740 (or 50 cents a word!)
  • Berry season!
  • Neighbours who have become real friends.
  • My bushfire photos turning up all over the place.
  • New challenges and responsibilities at work.
  • Realising I'm actually making real progress on changing ingrained old behaviours, slow as the process may be.
  • Amazing, wonderful friends who give me confidence in people and love and humanity.
  • Actually reaching for a dream instead of choosing the safe path.


Golden Heritage

Unhappy-making things:
Trying to book flights from Santiago to Lima and having LAN airlines site reject my credit card payment and the guy on their help line disappearing on the call then hanging up on me. Grrr!

Ah well, I have flight numbers and prices now, at least, and have worked out the logistics of getting from Santiago, Chile to Cusco, Peru and back again without having to leave Santiago airport, pay the $90 entry fee, convert money into pesos and spend a night in a city I don't much like.

Having flight logistics sorted also means I can finally confirm my enrolment with the language school too! Oh sweet progress.
shapeofthings: (rumblefish)
Rodway Range, Mount Field National Park

Safety: The track to this peak follows high exposed ridges and suitable footwear and water-proof clothing are essential. Some warm clothing should also be carried. The walk is only suitable in fine weather - be prepared to turn back if the weather changes. Do not attempt this walk if it is snowing or when cloud covers the range.

- Day Walks Tasmania, J & M Chapman.

1. What I did Christmas Day 3. What I did Christmas Day
Follow the steep road from Lake Dobson to the Mawson ski field, take the boardwalk trail across the peatlands then climb the boulders up to the start of the Rodway Range.

2. What I did Christmas Day
Stop to enjoy the view over Lake Seal & Tarn Shelf.

4. What I did Christmas Day 5. What I did Christmas Day
Shelter from the wind a while amidst the rocks of Lion's Den, marvel at the twisted vegetation holding onto life in the cracks.

7. What I did Christmas Day
Feel the full fury of the south-westerly wind as you descend to K Col in low-visibility conditions on the epic boulder slope.

9. What I did Christmas Day 6. What I did Christmas Day
Stop a while and wait to see if the weather will clear and wonder if you've got the ability to continue any further.

8. What I did Christmas Day
Watch the magic unfurl as slowly the view is revealed then, feeling tired but happy, begin the journey home.

10. What I did Christmas Day 11. What I did Christmas Day
From high alpine plains back down to the pandani groves of Lake Dobson, the end of the trail. Safe and warm.

I was aiming for the 16 km round trip to Mount Field West, described as a challenging 8 hour walk. I made it to K Col and back - 10 km - in just under 6 hours (with a few stops to shelter from the worst of the weather). Given the tricky terrain, the leery weather (I was nearly blown terminally off-balance on the boulder slopes a few times) and the state of my various injuries I'm happy with that!

Merry Christmas!
shapeofthings: (Diva)
The last 2 years...

In the last 2 years I have:

  • Coped with floods, feral housemates, redundancy, injury and heart-ache and come out on top.

  • Helped coach a soccer team.

  • Taken up taiko drumming.

  • Gone hot-air ballooning.

  • Explored my sexuality a little more.

  • Rafted a wild river and spent 7 days in proper wilderness.

  • Lived on my own for the first time.

  • Chosen to walk the path of growth and healing.

  • Made new friends and turned Tasmania into my home.

  • Travelled to South America and found something special.

  • Embarked on the journey to a new career.

  • Learnt to nourish and care for myself, every day.

  • Climbed so many mountains.

  • Discovered my passions and built a life around them!

I like the woman I'm growing into. I'm proud of what I've achieved and excited about the future. I'm surrounded by people who help me to be the person I want to me, who encourage me to strive and keep on growing. I'm healthy, financially stable, socially connected and more emotionally mature. I'm confident, competent, motivated, and yeah, I'm happy.

What a difference two years can make.



Nov. 26th, 2012 09:00 pm
shapeofthings: (Diva)
There is a wallaby in my fridge.

A whole wallaby. Well, minus the fur and guts and head and things. This is what comes of telling your neighbour that you eat native animals if they need to be culled. Shortly I will go and attack it with my cook's knife and cut it into manageable pieces. I've never butchered a wallaby before. Rabbit, yes, and I've jointed cuts of goat or lamb, but nothing like this. Should be interesting, to say the least!

I made it to the pool tonight, for the second week running. The knee seems to be holding up ok so long as I stick to straight-leg kicking and avoid breaststroke. I've been managing my old minimum of 1.2 km, which I'm pretty happy with, though I'm a long way (and several kilos) off where I was back in January before the Year of Ridiculous Injuries got going. Still, I'm feeling pretty good for being in the water.

I was also very naughty on Saturday and completely disregarded the physio's orders and went for a proper walk on the Mountain. You know, the kind that involves poorly-marked trails and patches of rock climbing. Ok, so I climbed the smallest peak in the park, Tom Thumb, but I didn't want to push the dodgy knee too hard (and I strapped it up thoroughly). Anyhoo, it was so much fun, as you can see from the look on my face when I got to the top. Surprisingly the knee didn't grumble the next day: the only muscles that were really sore were in the shoulders and my lats from the tiny bit of climbing. Hee!

Sunday I was supposed to go to an awesome free gospel and mowtown concert out at MONA (which by all accounts was excellent) but my gig date cancelled at the last minute, leaving me without transport and lacking the energy to ride my bike all the way to Berridale, so I stayed home and got the house more-or-less in order. It would have been nice to go but it feels good to have a tidy house!

I still have garden work to do, with seedlings well past planting-out size sitting in the old fish tank on my dining table, but I need to dig up some more lawn first, and the weather's hot and refusing to rain. It's worryingly dry for the very start of summer, and I've put so much effort into getting a veg patch going. I really don't want to see my precious plants wilt and wither through a long, hot summer. *worried face* We'll see how they hold up this week, with two 27 degree days forcast while I'm away and thus cannot water.

Yes, I'm going away, King Island again. It's been a crazy year for travel: I think I've been somewhere almost every month. Hmm, let's see:

  • January - saw the year in rafting the Franklin

  • February - weekend dash to Melbourne

  • March - did not go anywhere, but had Taiko Camp!

  • April - up to the Gold Coast & Brisbane for Easter

  • May - did not go anywhere, settling into the Cottage

  • June - King and Flinders Islands

  • July - Epic South American Adventure

  • August - did not go anywhere

  • September - Melbourne for work and drumming

  • October - Tarkine adventures in north-west Tassie

  • November - King Island

  • December - Maria Island camping trip

Yeah, it's been a pretty crazy year, and 2013's not looking any quieter! I've already got trips away planned for Jan, Feb, March & April. Truth is though I wouldn't have it any other way. The tricky bit is keeping on the right side of burn out. Getting up on the Mountain certainly helps with that!

Right, I've got a wallaby to attack. G'night LJ, see you next week!

shapeofthings: (Hobart)

  • Coffee with Brad to hear all about the adventures of becoming dad and to share the recent dramas of my life. We've come to the conclusion I must crave chaos and excitement at some subliminal level else my life wouldn't keep turning out this way.

  • The staff at my local deli-cafe have taken it upon themselves to find me date so I don't have an excuse not to come to their Friday night dinners. I'm rather amused.

  • Lying in the garden, soaking up spring sunshine, smelling the jasmine in the neighbour's yard and listening to the bees seducing the borage. I'm to pleased the garden's finally nice enough to just enjoy without seeing quite so much work to be done.

  • Successful experimental baking (quinoa, honey & seed cookies of win!) and true home-harvested garden salad.

  • Practicing fue.

  • Having a new friend over for seed-swapping and tea, realising that I'm meeting real people through this whole blogging deal.

  • Chorizo and cider and learning to relax.

  • Tax return time, with a soundtrack of perfect melancholia: Paul Kelly & Australian National Academy of Music song cycle - Conversation with Ghosts.

Rose Beans


  • Morning walk to the Market with Kat in tow to buy the week's veg & grow community a little more. Took Toni-safe baker Mrs. Rees some of my own tasty treats to try and swapped ideas for gluten & dairy free brownies. Got some exciting plans started for my trip to Mt. Gnomon Farm & the Tarkine next week - more of the blog work paying off!

  • Catching up on inevitable chores, inside and out.

  • Planted carrot and beetroot seeds, plus cornflowers for the insects and dried-petal use.

  • Sat in the sun with a hot mug of tea, watching the garden grow.

  • Harvested my first ever leek!

  • Went for a wander, knocked on a stranger's door and returned with a bag full of Meyer lemons. Win!

  • More fresh from the garden cooking that tastes so very good.

  • Turning the grapefruit from the tree in my front garden (that have been in the fridge for a month) into grapefruit, ginger and mint syrup to be frozen as ice cubes and added to drinks in the summer. That'll make a nice addition to a G&T, I suspect.

Leek Lemon

This coming week will be busy. I've two long days on the road with work, tomorrow and Thursday. Boss gets back Tuesday so there will be much catching up and breaking the news that one important piece of work still isn't finished as I let myself get sidetracked (yeah, not thrilled about that). No drumming this week but the taiko committee is meeting and I'll come back with a new job. Going to hit the pool Wednesday instead of the drums and see how my knee handles it all.

Yeah, busy as ever, even when I try to slow down. Still, this weekend felt a little more balanced, like I took time to just breathe. If I keep working at it I'll get it right one day. Besides, this life I've made for myself? It's pretty damn sweet.


Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:00 pm
shapeofthings: (Hobart)
Saturday Sailing

Saturday: morning sailing on the Derwent on a perfect spring day, Bunnings mission and an afternoon of sowing seeds with Hobart Kat. Three cups of coffee. Sleep-fail and late night conversations with much-missed distant friends.

Sunday: a slow start and far too much housework. Afternoon in the garden sunshine, pruning, weeding & planting out a rainbow of seed potatoes (Blue Sapphire, Cranberry Red, Banana & Pink Fir Apple). Writing letters in spanish, skype with chosen family, invented-on-the-spot dinner that tastes of early spring. Hope.

Life, eh?

shapeofthings: (Diva)
My Friday night friend cancelled on me tonight. I didn't fancy a night in alone at home, so I stayed back at work a little, putting off the walk home.

Three-quarters of the way back home I pass by Hobart's lone indie cinema. Tonight, on the spur of the moment, I crossed the road to see what was playing: The Sapphires was on in 10 minutes time. The poster blurb sounded ok so I bought a ticket and wandered on in and promptly lost myself for 2 hours.

This is my life. It's good to remember I can chose how to live it.

shapeofthings: (Default)
Is this really my life? It´s beautiful, wonderful & amazing.

Why did it take me so long to start living it?

Trekking starts tomorrow!
shapeofthings: (Diva)
New blog post about being who I want to be: http://shapeofthingstocome.org/2012/06/19/life-is-beautiful

Apparently the person I want to be tonight is one who accidentally gets a little drunk on a work night and tweets about it. :-P Resulted in an amusing exchange with John Birmingham though!

Still crazy-busy, though I have some breathing space again now that Boss is back from a week in quarantine with hand, food & mouth. Work is good! I'm stepping up and rushing about like a mad thing: yeah, my new contract specifies expanding my duties, but I didn't expect to get started quite this soon! I've got two documents going through publication and am working on a business-wide training program as well as learning the ropes for running our environmental management system (and making friends with corporate lawyers). Next week I'm off to King Island, and the week after takes me to Flinders Island - very exciting!

The week after that I head off with the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] katmeow for 3.5 weeks in Chile & Peru. Ahhhh! After last weekend's planning efforts we've got a rough itinerary worked out and all the essential components booked. Tomorrow I'm buying the last few things (like a proper pack) and sorting out my international driver's licence and that's all the major prep sorted. Still can't quite believe this is really happening.

Meanwhile there's taiko training, workshops & a dojo clean-up ahead, solstice dinner with friends, a garden to wrangle into some semblance of shape. I have injuries to over-come (according to the doc I sprained my ankle when I fell on the stairs, as well as badly bruising the tendons underneath my patella - probably shouldn't have kept walking to work, but hey...), blog posts to write and so much logistical planning it's making my head spin.

I'm crazy-busy but life is good. Really good.

Yesterday was a perfect blue-sky day.

This morning it snowed.


shapeofthings: (Hobart)
Mmm, choc chip cookies fresh from the oven make an excellent Sunday night indulgence (spiced up a little with the addition of cinnamon and a pinch of fancy salt).

Another weekend ends sooner than I'd like it to. I wasn't quite so productive this weekend, finding I really needed some time to just stop, sit and recover from a pretty big week. I still failed at getting to bed at reasonable times though. :-/

This is my friend Norm.

Yesterday was a big sleep in followed by lunch and conversation at Norm's house. Norm is a retired geologist, raised in Sydney but formerly from Perth. He bought a block of land to retire to, sight unseen, out at Neika, tucked into a fold of the Mountain along the North West Bay River. I met Norm after parking outside his house to go walking one day (the Cathedral Rock Trail pretty much starts at his driveway), had an enjoyable conversation and passed on one of my moo cards. Norm dropped me an email a few days later and we've been mates since (who wouldn't be friends with a 70-ish year old who signs himself off as Normal, because "somebody has to be"). Hmm, that reminds me, I really must get some more cards made up. I've been out of stock for months. Mundane details of my weekend... )


May. 27th, 2012 11:05 pm
shapeofthings: (Hobart)
Today was the most "normal" Sunday I've had in a long time. One big step forward into settling down here and re-claiming my life after a few months of high stress and drama.[1]

I woke up long before the crack of dawn at 4:30 am and gave up on sleep entirely at 6, getting up and getting on with the (still dark) day. This happens occasionally; it's like my body and brain hit the re-set button and I wake up early stuck on go. I conducted my breakfast experiment, set a pot of veggie stock to brew on the stove then decided to have it out with my recalcitrant oven once and for all: I wanted bread and was determined to get it.


The oven and I have now reached an understanding... It's far from perfect, but with stubbornness and science I have made it functional. Bread has never been so rewarding!

Bread and stock cooling, laundry done, dishes washed, the back path swept clean of about 2 years of debris (have I mentioned that the previous occupants were evidently allergic to cleaning) and my moving boxes finally flattened and laid out over the weediest garden beds I headed off to the Market to re-stock my rather sad fridge.

Farm Gate Market

I really enjoyed wandering the market on my own, camera in hand, chatting to the stall holders. Some I know (like local pseudo-celebrity and Gourmet Farmer, Matt Evans), some I don't, but they're generally a friendly lot, especially when there's a fancy-looking camera near!

I bought my veggies and a couple of treats (some free-range ham from Matt, a little marinated chevre, a rather good gluten-free cookie) then headed home for lunch - a fresh-bread sandwich made with my market goodies and a green tomato chutney I made on Wednesday) - via dropping in on the lovely Kat, who these days lives just around the corner.


It's one of the things I'm loving about living here: Kat's so close by we keep each other company (we're both living alone). Last night she came around for hot chocolates in front of the fire and I'm always dropping by for a coffee and a catch-up. Kat reminded me that I'd promised myself I'd go for a walk on the mountain this weekend, goading me into getting out there instead of getting caught up in the endless list of things that need doing around here.

That's the down-side to the Cottage. I took the place on because I could see the great potential it has, but that potential requires work to be realised! Slowly but surely I'm getting there - the house is cleaner (but not yet clean), the gardens are neater, the mice are fewer (4 down now) - but it's going to take a while yet. The trick is to balance the Cottaging efforts with the rest of my life. So at 3 pm I took a break from the housework, grabbed the camera, pulled on my boots and headed for the Mountain.


It poured with rain on Friday, bucketing down (my friend Brad and I getting utterly soaked on our way to a delightful post-work dinner), so my walk today really had to feature a waterfall. I chose New Town Falls; I hadn't been there for a while and it was a sensible choice for the day, despite not being a favourite:

  • It's the closest waterfall to where I now live

  • It was sheltered from the prevailing wind today

  • The dry, rocky soils on that side of the Mountain meant it would be one of the few waterfall tracks that wouldn't be a leech-infested mire

  • it's a 2 hour circuit, which was just about all the sunlight I had left

It was utterly lovely to be out on the Mountain. I have missed it so much! Despite being a little sore after lugging a tonne of firewood yesterday afternoon and stacking it in the little space under the house I made it up the steep parts of the track with no real trouble, then tentatively worked my way down the long steep descent down the fire trails. Both the knee and hip I injured back in January (that have caused trouble for months) held out despite the steep terrain! They're not perfect - I can still feel a little swelling and instability - and I won't be tackling Cathedral Rock again any time soon, but I think I'm finally healed enough to get weekly walks happening again. Hooray!


Home again on dusk, in time to light the fire and cook up a vat of chickpea masala. Yes, Sunday night curries are back!

Now I've accidentally stayed up too late processing the day's photos and writing this entry, but it was a lovely and productive day. The way my Sundays used to be before life went a bit pear-shaped. I like my life this way. Let's see what next Sunday brings!

[1] I keep composing entires in my head to explain the last few months, but I'm not sure it's possible really. Just that it took all my energy just to keep my head above water and not let myself get overwhelmed by everything that was going on (both in and out of my head). There was the chronic sleep disruption, the return of emotions, high drama at work (both at the team and corporate scales), injuries and illness, moving house, a car accident and a thousand other tiny triumphs and disasters. But finally I'm reclaiming my equilibrium and feeling a bit more proactive and in control again.
shapeofthings: (Default)
Since I'm still a little sick I cancelled my plans tonight (the usual Tuesday swim, plus a book launch and author talk that looked like fun) and had a night in, intending to write something vaguely intelligent and insightful about the new carbon tax. Sadly, however, I failed at being thinky and have done nothing but procrastinate. I did at least cook up a tasty Thai green curry, so the evening hasn't been a complete write-off, and I do have the outline of that thinky post for another day. So in lieu of thoughtful content, here are some dot points of things I'd like to remember.

  • Possum is delicious! Sweeter and milder than roo, it has a lovely, unique flavour. I opted to slow-cook it, making a tasty possum & veg stew seasoned with pepper berries, juniper, cinnamon, wattle seed, elderberry and red wine. Yum.

  • I have been suckered into brass band and am playing in the "gala concert" this weekend, despite only going to three rehearsals so far, playing an instrument I hadn't really practiced in 16 years. I will be playing very quietly.

  • Taiko is brilliant! I missed last week's class due to lurgy and really regretted it. I skipped the swim and book gig tonight to be better rested for drum-thumping tomorrow.

  • I am no longer spending Christmas by myself. My best friend Es is coming to stay and joining me on my rafting trip. Although I'm a little disappointed not to be rafting the river on my own it will be very good to see him, and he needs to escape more than I need to get away from everyone and everything.

  • Although I can do so much more than I could even a year ago, there are still limits and I've now slammed right into them. Either something has to be given up (nooooooo!) or I need to get more organised and disciplined.

  • Housemate announced yesterday that he's off for another 3 weeks of house-sitting as of tomorrow. That's 6 out of 9 consecutive weeks of living on my own with someone else paying half the rent! I'll miss the occasional company though.

  • Snails really like tatsoi. Poor little green stumps. =o(

  • Old friends are golden, and some pregnant women really do glow. =o)

  • Work is actually going really well at the moment. It's not perfect, but I'm enjoying what I do and have a great team around me. I've never laughed so much in the office before. I still don't know where I want to take my career from here, but for now I'm happy doing this and gently probing into future options.

  • Internet dating websites are weird. They bring both the intriguing and the terrifying.

  • That decision I made a few months back to damn the risks and commit to being here and now? That was absolutely the right choice. My life is richer and I'm ridiculously happy right now. My problems are all born of privilege and I am seriously fortunate to have the life I do.

  • And last but not least, I have been growing fractals! Delicious, nutritious fractals, aka romanesco broccoli. I am so excited about this it's pathetic. *grin*

shapeofthings: (Wellington)

Hello! I have much I want to write about, but I have gone and made myself stupidly busy. Instead, here's a photo from the Hobart Botanic Gardens back in September. I can't quite get my head around it being November already later this week!

The work week just gone was busy, but in a good, productive way. My project is finally coming together, and I'm also doing some environmental auditing work which I'm finding surprisingly enjoyable. I got out on a site visit on Friday, and as always it was great to get out of the office and into the real world to talk to people and learn about how everything works. So a good week, but tiring after being away up in Scottsdale last weekend, visiting the estimable [livejournal.com profile] flinthart clan, where it was discovered that bad marshmallows make for excellent blow-gun ammunition. A mighty battle, of course ensued.

As [livejournal.com profile] flinthart himself explains it:
"The marshmallows were a bit disappointing, though. We thought we'd scored, when we found them in 'Chickenfeed' - a Tasmanian overflow store. I mean - they were plain! White! No nasty pink or yellow or swirly shit. What could go wrong?
Ah. Artificial vanillin. That's what could go wrong.
Tastes almost but not quite entirely unlike vanilla, to paraphrase the great Douglas Adams. Marshmallows shouldn't leave a bitter aftertaste, should they? Nor should they burn in quite the fashion these did. They were unnervingly like unto marshmallow, without actually being marshmallow, and even the kids gave up on them in short order.
Happily, we had some decent lengths of PVC tubing about. I took the opportunity to deliver a lesson in the use of the blowgun, using my children as moving targets, and rather nasty half-marshmallows as projectiles. The kids took to the idea with alacrity. They climbed the big swing-fort, and blatted marshmallows back at me. Meanwhile, Smileyfish grabbed a blowgun for herself, and ran around shooting at either side as the opportunity arose.
The whole situation was made more ludicrous by the marshmallows. They didn't quite fit. We had to tear them in half, and sometimes they still didn't fit, and sometimes they got sticky as hell. You never knew if you were going to successfully blast a marshmallow at your opponent, or perhaps blow up your own sinuses with back-pressure, or simply just make a sort of flubby, farting noise while a half-marshmallow vibrated its sticky way down your blowpipe and fell out the end with a pathetic sort of
A good time was, therefore, had by all."

Genghis Flinthart prepares marshmallows for battle!

This weekend disappeared in a blur, despite setting time aside to chill out and relax. I was out Friday night (the date - more to come on that - plus drinks and conversation with friends) and Saturday night (dinner and Circus Oz with Kat), so I've been quite the dirty stop-out. Today I've put in a mammoth effort in the garden, doing about 8 hours work (and consequently could really use a massage). It's starting to look mighty fine out there, and I'm finding it surprisingly satisfying to be able to wander out and pick myself the fixings for a salad or some veggies for dinner. There's still much more to do though: the back yard is a total disaster. It's pretty much bedrock back there, so it's not worth the effort of trying to grow anything, and until recently almost nothing at all grew there, which kept it very low maintenance. But now the big gum trees are gone, the sun shines down there, and with a thick layer of sawdust still covering everything, there's nutrient and substrate enough for life to find a foothold. The result: weed central. *sigh*

The garden will have to wait a while though: my old Brisbane friends B&A are coming to visit this week! They're arriving Thursday afternoon, and I'm taking the Friday off to lose myself in weird art at MONA, which I'm really looking forward to. Saturday, I'm planning on taking them over to Bruny Island if the weather's fine, then Sunday is slated as a day of feeding my friends a veritable feast of the finest in Tassie produce.

In fact, I don't seem to a have an un-booked weekend now until December. Given I have a massive end-of-year deadline as well, the rest of 2011 is looking pretty crammed. As well as work, guests and other adventures, there's swimming Tuesday nights, Taiko on Wednesdays, and brass band on Mondays if and when I get my act together. Somewhere in there I need to fit in catching up with friends I don't see often enough, keeping on top of the domestic front and getting enough time in the forest to keep me sane. Good thing I thrive on challenges, then!

I hope your weekends were filled with all kinds of goodness. Samsara people: can't wait to here how it went!

Much love,

shapeofthings: (Wellington)
Did any of my Aussie friends happen to catch Gourmet Farmer on SBS tonight?

If so, "wild food expert" Anita Wild is a friend of mine. We spent a pleasant hour today gossiping over tea and plotting future foodie adventures.


shapeofthings: (Wellington)
I missed work on Thursday and Friday, feeling down and out with a viral infection and a cantankerous digestive system. Much sleep was had and I was feeling better by Saturday morning, but still not up to my usual standards of weekend business. So a slow-paced, relaxed weekend was had and the housework ignored, allowed to back up for another week.

Saturday morning I slept late then wandered into town, pleased to leave the house for the first time in days. I hit up Salamanca markets in search of a new heat pack, but came home instead with a punnet each of snap-pea tatsoi and spinach seedlings. I then met up with new friend D, a lovely woman from Melbourne who owns a property here in the sleepy village of Hamilton, whom I met on the plane on my last flight back home. We grabbed sushi for lunch then wandered over to the Hobart Botanic Gardens to check out the Spring Festival (verdict: an event best left for breeders as it was rather kid-centric, but there were some interesting displays on veggie gardening that were useful). After getting caught in a downpour on the way back to the car I came home, set up the little plastic greenhouse I'd bought a couple of weeks ago and potted out the morning's acquisitions.

The evening was spend digesting a generous dinner of grilled fish, baked root veggies and sauteed greens, curled up on the couch with a Discworld novel.

Another sleep-in this morning^, then I was up and off to check out the Hobart Farm Gate market, which I'd heard had improved since last time I'd bothered. It's still tiny, over-priced and over-gourmet, but yes it's getting better and I spent far more than I'd been intending to. I came home with 5 tomato seedlings, 4 rocket seedlings and some sea-celery, a native herb, as well as 3 succulents to pot up for my desk at work, some new-season pink-eye potatoes, salad greens and a small pot of goat's curd. Nom. I also brought some usual meat from a man who's turning necessary, licenced culling of native animals into an interesting butchery business, selling wallaby and possum. I've eaten wallaby before (and actually chow down on kangaroo fairly regularly), but have not yet tried possum, so I came home with a little frozen pouch of each and will be trying my hand at possum stew sometime soon. D had success recently with a possum pie, which encouraged me to give it a go.

Hopefully you're not too horrified at the idea of eating the local wildlife. The way I see it, sheep and cattle do terrible things to Australian soils, which just aren't designed to cope with hardened hooves and close-cropped grazing. I've seen first-hand the effects of over-grazing on our delicate pastures. Added to that is the cruelty involved in large-scale farming and the colon-cancer link to beef and I eat as little meat at possible, trying hard to source sustainably raised. Since I do actually eat meat, I try to make my protein sources as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible, happily nomming on feral deer and rabbit, or tucking into a tasty roo fillet or some organic, free-range chicken or pork once every week or two. Since wallabies and possums are subject to population control via culling on nearby Bruny Island, it makes sense to use the meat. These animals lived free, healthy lives and died quickly. I think they're going to be tasty!

After the market it was home again to do yet more potting-out of my latest veggie aquisitions. Since the weather's currently bi-polar, swinging between gorgeously warm and antarctic chills, everything went in the little greenhouse, which is rather full. This should also serve to protect my tasty seedlings from the ravages of the hoard of snails currently infesting my garden. I loathe to use poisons, so generally have a live-and-let-live policy to most garden pests. I'm happy to sacrifice a leaf here and there to the balanced garden ecosystem. This year, however, the snails have been into everything: my kale turned to lacework overnight. So I've taken to going around the garden once or twice a week, collecting up the snails I can find and causing mass mollusc carnage by the application of boiling water. I must have picked up at least 50 of the slimy critters yesterday. Poor things, I feel so guilty topping them, but when my greens are constantly nibbled back to stubs I feel I must take action.

Once the weather's more consistently warm and the snail numbers have died down I'm going to have to find room in my tiny garden for all my tasty seedlings. As well as the veggies in the greenhouse I have dill, coriander, Italian parsley, garlic chives and chillis coming up in the germinator. It's going to be crowded out there! Oh how I wish I wasn't renting, so I could dig out all the pointless ornamentals and make a proper garden out of this place (I'd murder for some citrus trees). The things I could grow! I've definitely contracted the gardening bug this year. It works in so well with the whole low-impact, sustainable lifestyle I'd like to cultivate for myself.

Gardening done, I ran away from the icy wind and rain outside, taking refuge in my kitchen and whizzing up a batch up roasted garlic hummus. Oh my! I am never, ever buying hummus again. Yum!

Leaving my kitchen untidy and muddy shoe-prints over the floor, I decided to head out for the afternoon to visit my fantastic friend N after skipping her birthday dinner on Friday night due to feeling unwell. Armed with a tub of hummus and an edible bouquet of tasty things from my garden I set off for a pleasant few hours of drinking blueberry tea and nattering. Now I'm home, fed and procrastinating about doing the dishes and cleaning the floors. Plus there's clean laundry to put away, ironing to be done and the house is in need of general cleaning and tidying. Oh how a hot shower and a night curled up with Granny Weatherwax becons...


^ I've been ridiculously tired the last couple of weeks, sleeping far more than I usually would. Coupled with the vitamin deficiency I'm getting a little concerned and will make a doctor's appointment this week to get everything checked out. It might be something, or it might be the last 9 months of frantic business finally catching up with me. Either way, I'm incredibly grateful for finding myself with 3 weeks in a row of quiet weekends and minimal commitments and I'm rather enjoying just losing myself in a book or lazing in the sunshine. Novel but nice, and I'll know I'm feeling better when I start getting bored.


Sep. 26th, 2011 10:45 pm
shapeofthings: (Wellington)
The lovely Miss [livejournal.com profile] zenandtheart has been visiting for the last few days, and much fun has been had.

There's been epic cheese consumption, drive-by tours, surprise snow, chocolate pudding, sun-lazing, drunken cookery, Monday-night cocktails, the dish-fairy and much excellent conversation.

Meanwhile work is getting scary with everything behind schedule and much to complete before christmas. My non-work time leading up to christmas is also looking remarkably busy, but the next few months are filled with exciting plans and many good things to look forward to. It's going to be a great summer.



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