All aboard

I’m having a flashback to our trip to Tasmania last year as TB’s woodworking skills have been at work on some lovely Tasmanian timbers.

Cruising up the Gordon River in Tasmania you can see the famous Huon Pines growing on the rivers’ edge. To be honest they don’t actually ‘look’ much. In case you are wondering its the limey bright green plant in the foreground of the picture.


This is probably a fairly young tree, however the forest along the river is so dense that you would be hard-pressed to take a photo of a full-grown tree.


What these trees are most famous for, apart from their wonderful scent, is that they are a lightweight softwood timber with remarkable resistance to rot. No wonder then that it was a prized ship building timber in colonial times. The timber is also extremely beautiful. Pale, fine-grained and with interesting ‘bird’ eyes – which makes it a natural for all those wood-workers to want to take a little piece of Tasmania home with them.

At the saw-mill in Strahan I saw a beautiful cutting board which, according to the information attached has had three generations of use and is estimated to be over 100 years old.


I know we could have bought a huon pine cutting board at the saw-mill shop, but just next door was Tasmanian Special Timbers, where you can buy ‘blanks’ of a number of desireable Tasmanian timbers for a lot less money.

And now TB has finally completed making his pieces of timber into cutting boards.


And not content with that he has also made some wooden spoons to go with them.


This picture shows the rough blank through to the finished spoon. I’m hoping that these very practical and beautiful tools will continue to be used by the generations of our families.



Recent Travels

I read recently that late October and early November are about the worst time you can pick to be away from the veggie garden – shame about that because we’ve just had three weeks holiday in Tasmania.

TB prepared the garden by devising his most intricate watering system yet. Sprays in the polyhouse and under the tree where our citrus have over-wintered and drippers for the remaining beds. The timing system worked perfectly, we’d tested it for a week before we left. That is it worked perfectly until one afternoon, when we were conveniently located on the top of The Nut (just about the only place in the vicinity of Stanley where we could get a mobile phone signal), our neighbour called to say that the timer had decided to run the system for random long periods of time. Thankfully they stepped in and manually ran the system for us until we returned.

As a result we returned to a very green and productive garden, with the only failure being our very young carrot crop. Of course there was also a rampant ‘lawn’ which TB attacked the day after we returned.


I was most excited to see a massive crop of purple podded peas and a very tall crop of broadbeans. Last year I only got a few purple podded peas in the ground quite late in the season. My early planting of them this year has really paid off. This year the broadbeans have reached nearly 180cms (or 6′ in the old money). Now we just have to harvest and eat them all.

Not surprisingly our first meal back at home was a pasta primavera featuring our snow peas and some ‘wet’ garlic (young and not fully grown cloves).