Ramblings from Nature

Today it has been extremely warm and sunny, so I took a stroll around the vineyard.  It was evident that spring had arrived in full force.   People say it’s cold here and it certainly was in the winter, but the spring is amazing, I can sit out in the sun with a warm gentle breeze brushing against my face and it just feels comfortable.  Sure it is not as hot as Sydney, but who wants to spend their time sitting in air conditioned rooms hiding from the searing heat when you could be out enjoying warm sun and fresh air?

I strolled around , up and down the rows of vines admiring how quickly the vines changed from looking boring brown  and dormant to a vibrant green and so full of life, as if the leaves burst out from almost nowhere in just a few short days.  After a while I found a spot among the rows where I could sit hidden among the leafy vines and survey the peaceful surrounds, breathe in the fresh air and admire the miracle of Mother Nature.

In the city my mind was constantly buzzing with everything that needed to be done, every place I needed to be, the constant traffic noise, and the struggle to drive even a short distance without having to allow an hour to get somewhere.     Now I stare across the valley at the green grass covered hills, separated by a road where occasionally a car drives by producing a slight hum before the sounds of nature once again take over.   I wonder how long it will take before the urban sprawl spreads this far.

In the short time we have been here I have seen Hobart spread taking in what was once a small town called Cambridge.    Every time I pass through the town I see a new home which has just been completed and already a new family has moved in even though the new subdivision hasn’t yet been completed

Currently there is still a 10km stretch of road between Cambridge and Richmond where we reside,  that still has a number of vineyards,  farms, cheese and artisan chocolate outlets,  however there are council murmurings that it may be prime land to subdivide.  There is no doubt that that these rolling hills will soon be covered with new homes.

I take a deep breath of clean fresh air close my eyes and contemplate the noises around me, birds singing, and the distinctive sound of the heavy wings of the lapwing plover that flies overhead on its way to its nest nearby.    It has had a new born chick hatch recently; I have watched this little bird family grow from early spring when the male bird started swooping me in an attempt to dissuade me from visiting his nesting area.  Now that his young one is more mobile he seems to more accepting of my regular presence.

A fat yellow bumblebee flies past my face making me contemplate how different the wildlife is in this part of Australia compared to Sydney.    I have never seen a bumble bee on the mainland I thought they only existed in New Zealand yet here they are in this magnificent piece of Australia.  Such a beautiful rounded bee, although a bit too fond of the smell of my sunscreen for my liking as he keeps trying to land on my face.

In the distance I hear the children’s voices being carried on the breeze; they love this place so much even S has taken to playing outdoors in a way I could never have imagined just a few short months ago.   She is often up a tree or swinging on a rope.   When I first arrived here I was concerned that the school curriculum was lagging behind NSW, but after being here for a while and watching the way children play when they are bored I realized that they actually are more developed than their Sydney counterparts.  As long as students know the how to read write and do maths they can do amazing things when they are allowed to just go and create and find their own solutions to problems.

They have no homework here and given that there is actually no scientific evidence to prove homework makes a difference I am glad, S has so much extra time to hang out in the garden working out for herself how to create a rope swing strong enough to carry her through her acrobatics.  She has also created a rain gauge and an anemometer – this for the girl that claims she is not interested in science

I wonder where this great obsession of forcing kids into prescriptive learning for hours and hours a day including weekends and public holidays actually came from.   While at the same time the Department of Education and the Government are concerned about how Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of innovation.   My question is when they have got time to create and innovate if they are continually bombarded with homework and extra tutoring to keep them constantly busy?

I digress from discussion about how amazing it is to be out in nature, all I want to say is spend time looking at the natural world around you.  Find a nice spot outside; mindfully listen to the birds and the sounds around you, clear your head of the chatter and you never know what great ideas will come to you.

And so it is.

The Sensory – Unique Gifts and Unique Smells

I admit it, yes it was the sign out the front of The Sensory stating that it was agent for Anvers Chocolate that drew me into this shop to begin with, however upon entering I found there was so much more to experience inside.

Tasmania is a beautiful part of Australia that is largely untouched by big business and pollution.   There are some distinctive smells of nature that many tourists may wish they could bottle for ever.   Well some smart scientists have done just that and created a unique aromatic experience for visitors.

Unfortunately they have not created bottles of scent for tourists to take away yet but they have created three sensory domes in store to allow visitors minds to be transported aromatically back to relive a bit of the wild.  The sensory domes are clear plastic domes in which visitors can put their head and allow unique southwest Tasmanian aromas such as Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian rainforests and Leatherwood flowers, to gently permeate their nostrils.

The Sensory is also prides itself on being a retailer that promotes locally made products.   They are a southern outlet for Bridestowe Lavender which means you have the opportunity to pick up some amazing Lavender gifts such as Lavender soaps and oils and even florally cards.  They also have an eclectic range of handmade jewellery and locally knitted jumpers.

If good quality tasty food is your thing there is an amazing range of locally produced honey for you to try, each with its own unique taste.   The flavours are richer and more intense than anything you can buy in the supermarket.   Some had a very strong floral taste, some almost caramel while others had a rich and creamy finish.   Then of course there is the chocolate.


This photo of The Sensory Tasmania is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The chocolate is all handmade from the finest ingredients, they are so confident that you will love them they offer free chocolate for tasting.    As predicted I did not leave empty handed, we bought a selection of handmade chocolates from the case mostly fruity ones and a few chilli ones.   We also bought a bag of what they called ‘bark’ which are sheets of chocolate with various toppings.  I can definitely recommend these.

The Sensory is truly a feast for your senses I highly recommend a visit when you are in Richmond Tasmania.

Ok now it is really cold!

Today’s blog is more about photos than words.  You see up until recently I thought sure Tasmania is colder than Sydney, but really it is not too bad.      We have had a few mild frosts but then I spent many years in a place called Taumarunui, a small town in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island, where every winter morning we were greeted with fog as thick as pea soup, icy roads and frost the crunched under my feet.    So I was quite disappointed by the mild frosts put on for me in Richmond Tasmania that was until …..

The  kids were slow getting ready for school this morning and as we were rushing out the door I had to deal with this.

 

 

Our land was blanketed white; however the sun on the hills opposite gave us hope for cracking weather ahead.

The trees were not immune to Jack Frosts touch

Nor was the trampoline

 

It all burned off by 11am to a beautiful day.

I Have Found My New Coffee and Food Utopia

I think I am in food heaven….

Richmond in Tasmania is a quaint little town with a total population of 880, it is 20mins drive from the nearest Coles or Woolies and you could stroll from one end of town to the other in less than 10 minutes but when it comes to good food Richmond offers cuisine to rival any upmarket city restaurant, as we found out when we visited Czegs, a quaint little café in the middle of town, for a bite to eat on a cold wintry afternoon.

Dont be fooled by the quiet exterior Czegs Cafe is buzzing inside.

Despite the quietness of the street outside Czegs café was absolutely buzzing with people inside.    We found a table by the roaring fireplace and sat for a moment staring in wonder at the eclectic collections of silver tea services and fine china cups displayed in the cabinets, around the room.  S immediately spotted the old children’s novels that lined the shelves around the fireplace, and wanted to pick them up and read them immediately.   I would have liked to flick through them myself but fear of the ancient yellowing pages disintegrating into dust between my fingertips was enough to curb that impulse.

After soaking in the ambience it was time to order.  The moment I spotted

There are no words for this seafood chowder from Czegs

the seafood chowder I became blind to the rest of the menu and as soon as it arrived I knew I was not going suffer food envy today.    There are no words in my vocabulary to describe this creamy little bowl of heaven, filled with large chunks of fish, huge prawns, and mussels.

Paul chose the pork belly with the crispiest crackling ever.  When I asked him if he enjoyed it he replied “there is nothing left on my plate is there?”

There is no separate children’s menu but that did not worry our kids with J choosing the croque monsieur, yes I know that is a ham and cheese toasted sandwich but that did not stop him squealing with delight as sumptuous gruyere cheese ran down his chin.  S went with salmon on Turkish bread and did not allow the adult size portion stop her from polishing off everything on her plate.

All this delightful food was washed down with freshly squeezed juices for the kids and the most amazing café latte and cappuccinos we have had in recent memory, I am pretty sure this is going to become my regular morning coffee stop after school drop off.

 

The Neighbours

Living rurally does not mean living in isolation, in fact you rely on your neighbours a lot more than in the city,  therefore one of the first tasks as the new vineyard managers was to attend a drinks session with the neighbours and people who have connections with Charles Reuben Estate.  What a great bunch of people.

Most of the farm owners in this area do not make 100% of their income off their land.  They all have other jobs in the one of the neighbouring towns; however it is abundantly obvious that their passion is their farms and creating their own lifestyle business.

I was intrigued by some of the amazing people and how they created income.  One amazing entrepreneur I met was Clare from Port Arthur Lavender.  As well as growing lavender on her farm and creating products from the oil, Clare owns several other businesses that have grown exponentially in recent years.

Three years ago she added a cafe to her lavender business, so that tourists who stopped by to view the lavender and distillery could have a coffee and a scone.   Little did she know that the business would grow so quickly that within a year she would have to rip out her small oven and install an industrial kitchen.

As well as a thriving lavender business, Clare also runs tourist accommodation as well as being a mum to three children.  Wow I am in awe.  I am looking forward to catching up with Claire again for coffee once school returns.