The building at the front is the local fire station
which is operated purely by local volunteers (as in most small towns). I took the photo from the end of our driveway and although the fire is just over the hill and along the top, we were never in any danger.
However, some of our friends were and we spent a couple of very smoky and hot days hosing down houses and sheds etc. The back burning was a success and after burning for about 10 days was finally put out by a heavy rainstorm. It had started on New Years Eve when we had a spectacular lightening storm. Much better than fireworks although we could have done without the resulting fire!
My son came over from Adelaide for three weeks in November so I was busy having fun with him and we decided to go to the West Coast of Tasmania for a few days. The weather was great and we went on the steam train over there from Strahan to Queenstown and the Franklin River cruise.
After he left it was time to get ready for the festive season and prepare myself for feeding M's family on Christmas Eve. Being of German heritage (M is) we always celebrate on Christmas Eve but if my family come this year I'm going to push for Christmas Day! There were six adults and two small children. I decided to play it safe and bought prawns, cooked a turkey and prepared salads in advance. With a pavlova for dessert and lots and lots of strawberries (there's a strawberry farm nearby) we all had plenty to eat.
On the 10th January my grandson came over for a week to stay with me. He's nine, has a beautiful smile and very cute. We visited lots of animal parks, movies and swimming. He went home last Sunday and the house seems very empty. It doesn't help that M had to go to Launceston for a training course this week too!
So what's happening in the garden? Well, fruit this year is very scarce. We had such a wet winter and hardly any bees so there might be a dozen plums on each tree. We won't be inundated with apples either, they also don't like having wet feet. One of the pear trees is covered in pears, on one side only and there are no crab apples to be seen. Oh well, we do have lots of lemons and a good number of limes.
I dug up the last of my Dutch Cream potatoes yesterday out of the tank. Once again, they didn't grow that big and I've heard the local farmers have been disappointed too. But we have enough to keep us going for a while. My peas were very successful and I've a few kilos in the freezer now along with the broad beans. The lettuce are still producing as is the silver beet and ruby chard. I only planted one zucchini plant (I learned last year how prolific they can be) and already I'm giving them away! The tomatoes are all very late but at least I can see little tomatoes now. Snow peas are next to the raspberries so I can have a good variety to nibble on whilst I'm out there! The butter beans aren't very happy but the borlotti and scarlet runners seem to be doing okay. I think one of my fennel is ready to pick but I'll wait until the weekend. As for the strawberries which I planted in an old bathroom sink, well, they never get to the house anyway!
I planted some corn, three butternut pumpkin plants and an apple cucumber in a part of the garden that I rarely go to check. But I did this morning and after clearing an abundance of weeds they're doing remarkably well. There's even a couple of flowers on the tiny cucumber plant.
And Patsy and Eddie, the chooks, well I'm still waiting for an egg! Just one would be exciting. They are getting used to me now and will eat wheat from my hand but as soon as I stand up its wings flapping and squawking "she's moving, she's moving". I hope the two brown ones that I'm getting in March are a bit more adult friendly and not so nervous.
But Terry (the dog) is limping again and this time it's his other back leg. I suspect that it's the same sort of injury as the vet did warn me that it may happen. Well, I've done a bit of research on the web and in small dogs sometimes an operation isn't needed. So we are keeping him at home, no long walks and feeding him a bit less, just to see if his leg will mend naturally. As I've given up my day job outside of the home, $1,000 is a little bit hard to find for an operation that might not be needed.
Well, I've rambled on and on and on so I'd better call it a day. I hope you all had a great festive season and that the New Year will be just what you'd like.