In Tasmania, the phenomenon of ‘Sprinter’ is a lot less pronounced I’ve found than in our home town back on the East Coast of New South Wales. This year however we’ve found that Sprinter has been quite obvious down here in our little island home. Perhaps it’s because the Winter has been so cold and the subtle changes are more noticeable. The cruel thing about Sprinter is that one day you are lured into the belief that warmer days are just around the corner and then the very next you are buffeted with frigid days, howling winds and icy hail – snow still caps the mountain tops as well. Lady Spring is quite the little enchantress during Sprinter – putting you under a spell of thinking she’ll not be far away! But King Winter always seems to raise back up again, rampaging through the tree tops, declaring he’s not quite ready to hand the Seasonal Baton to his successor just yet! So while I’m still not finding the time to write new blog posts for this space at the moment, here’s some Sprinter posts from the archives in the days of an old blog I wrote many moons ago (Where Wild Strawberries Grow), from that little East Coast farm cottage and into the time when Chilli liked to call herself Rose…
:: From 16 July 2010 – ‘Is this Sprinter?’ ::
I don’t know if this is a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon as well, but here in the Southern land we have this ‘Season’ between Winter and Spring where the mornings are crisp, the dew is still to be spotted in the most delicate places – but the days are warm; tee-shirt weather, gardening time, tea-party like days – then the nights become icy, Father Sun still sinks early and the home needs to be closed over relatively early in the afternoon. The fire is lit by 3pm, but one can let the embers cool to soot through the day – this is the difference of Sprinter.
Today – such a day dawned and for the first time in months, there were no tights under our fisherman’s pants and we had singlets and tee-shirts on – YES in JULY! The middle of Winter! Dare I say it… is Sprinter on her way?
::We enjoyed a day of giving our gardens some much needed TLC::
::Weeding, removing of finished Summer vines and building the earth up around Winter plants::
::We found some little treasures hiding under the mulch waiting for Lady Spring to return::
::Those brassica’s the chickens made bare stalks of, finally look like they may just come to fruit this Winter (hopefully)::
::Poor Norman is looking rather weather beaten after the intensity of the Summer heat and the consistency of the Winter rains::
::The Winter gnomes are still busy with their cold weather tasks::
::It was warm enough for some mud digging and pie creatin’::
::’Herbs’ for the pie::
::Of course a tea party at the new outdoor tree stump table and chair setting was in order::
::We relished our day of warmer weather and outdoor magnificence::
::Happy Sprinter to all my Southern Hemispherical friends::
:: From 20 July 2010 – ‘Lady Spring is Stirring’ ::
I know I’ve been banging on a lot about Sprinter! It’s definitely here and although yesterday and today are a little overcast and much cooler again, there are definitely lots of signs to let us know that Lady Spring is waking from her Wintery slumber and dressing in her finest gowns for her annual dance she will soon be gracing us with.
We have these most beautiful birds here on the East Coast. Red browed firetail finches. In our previous nest amongst the treetops, they would visit and sit perched along the balcony wires. We nick-named them ‘flitties’ because of the way they flit around. Chilli was enthralled by them as a wee bubba, the quick darting movements had her eyes wide open, taking it all. Her eyes following them this way, then that way, then back again. Her wee bubba giggles and coo-ing at the flitties was gorgeous.
When we moved to the farm, we were delighted to see that the flitties also resided here – but it was so much more precious to watch them here. One of the first days we were here, we were on the back deck and I was intrigued by the grass. There was something on the grass that looked like a huge plague of tiny mice scurrying across the lawn. I stared at the grass in wonder, what was this? Then I saw it again – Oh my goodness it was literally (I am sure) hundreds of flitties feeding on the grass then in unison they would all flit a little bit forward and rest a few centimeters ahead of where they individually were a second ago. It is such a beautiful image to watch. We were so excited that the flitties would still be a part of our world.
Just yesterday, after an absence of the flitties through these cooler months, I looked out the window and noticed this mouse plague phenomenon. “Ah Chilli look the flitties are back!” We crept to the deck and watched the flitties go about their business, captivated by this wonderful blessing of nature. Now that Chilli is nearing 3, she is no less interested (nor am I at 31!) in these gorgeous birds than she was when she was a wee bubba. Lady Spring is definitely on her way!
It is very difficult to get close enough to these little creatures without them flitting away! I popped on our long range lens for the first time yesterday and attempted to take some pics of these beautiful creatures. Even with this super dooper lens zoomed right in, you still have to have a keen eye to see the red browed fellows! Over the weekend I wrote an article for our co-op about the focus for our gardens over this restorative time of the year and heading into Sprinter!
:: From 10 July 2010 – ‘Chicken Shenanigans’ ::
Introducing the cast;
::Natemba (the boss lady); Shalom (the cranky one); Stumpy (the later introduced and lowest rank lady)::
The scene; a sunny day – mid Winter – an unseasonably warm day. Family in the garden. Dare we say that could this be the beginning of ‘Sprinter’? Alas, what is that? A space just big enough under the chicken coupe fence where … “Can you get through Natemba?”; “I’m tryin’ give me a minute”; “Yep, there ya go – I’m through… out ya come – leave that stump behind – let’s go”…
::Peck Peck Peck, Scratch Scratch Scratch, “This is great, when was the last time we were out like this?”; “Probably when she let us in the yard – when we ripped the garden apart”; “oh yeah, that’s right”::
::”Crap, I think she’s coming”::
::”What, already – but we haven’t even been to the roses yet”::
::”Quick, run for it – you go that way, I’ll go this way – she’ll never get us then – Is that Stumpy out? How’d SHE get out?”::
::”Wait guys, wait for me… Oh hang on…what’s this?”::
::”I said wait for me, you never let me in on anything, I feel like I live by myself even though I live with you, but I just don’t live WITH you if you know what I mean… now let me in – what’ya got there?”::
::”Oh forget it, I’ll go over here, you’re both immature anyway – you call those things you young chicks lay ‘eggs’ – humpf”::
::”Quick ‘Temba it worked – Stumpy’s gone, let’s run…go go go”::
::”Oh, you two really are pathetic.. that’d be right, leave me here by myself to get captured”::
::”Alright, alright, come on – but just keep a eye on yourself Stump – and don’t go housin’ anymore of them lice, they weren’t fun when you shared them with us last time”::
:: From 19 July 2010 – ‘A Homely Weekend’ ::
We enjoyed a wonderful ‘at home’ family weekend these past few days. One of those cosy ones where you potter around and achieve lots of those little things that need doing and then on Sunday evening sit and reflect with a happy heart on the weekend that was. I don’t think we even left the house once, did we… oh yes, we took a short drive to the organic shop to get spelt burger buns to make our hemp burgers. Deeeeliiiiiiicious!
::Welcoming the weekend with raw breakfast yummy goodness; chocolate chia crackers, blackberry jam and chc hazelnut goodness w. Jeweled Carribean-ish Smoothie::
::Our first Yacon from a LETS community member::
::Before I peeled the yacon, I noticed syrup beads squeezing out of the top of the skin – I recently saw loving earth yacon syrup on our organic store shelves and was intrigued – but it stayed put on the shelves at $50 for a 500gm jar!::
::We fried it – because chances are in our home, if it can be fried, at some point it will be. Amongst all our raw, wholefoods, nutrient dense eating, we are a little favorable of the occasional fried thing (only ever home fried in olive or coconut oil!)::
::Delicious yacon crisps, which were slightly sweet and interesting – like fried apple! Yacon definitely would be good in sweet dishes::
::We plan to plant some of the tubers we were given with the yacon in Spring::
::We spent the weekend frolicking in the garden, Welcoming Sprinter. We let the animals free range, including Silky::
::Leo loved his free ranging – but it was short lived. On Saturday he narrowly escaped two or three chasings from the neighbours ridgeback when he hopped outside our yard and yesterday his shenanigans of escaping to under the house where we could not get to him until Daddy enticed him out yesterday afternoon with some grass and with a big, quick, strong Daddy hand grabbed – he was captured. Leo started air jumping immediately – we could just hear him thinking “NOOOOOOO – how did I fall for that, I had out smarted them ALL day!” The broccoli box is full of worm wee from our homemade worm garden which has slowly been filtering away over Winter. This tub was full and spread around yesterday over our gardens to restore our soil during this restful time of year in our garden::
::We lunched and snacked on Tuscan sundried tomato pesto w. crudities. I was happy to discover with our frozen basil pesto containers from Summer harvests, that I only had to defrost these – put them in the blender and add the sundried tomatoes and a little of the soak oil. Chilli of course enjoyed spiraling the crudities! We also had some young coconut water and flesh to use up, so we thought – what better thing to make than the chocolate strawberry rhapsody cake!::
::Daddy randomly decided to create bubby’s play stands. The off-cut pieces from the curved tops looked like hockey sticks – so Daddy sanded the edges and we enjoyed some batting of a tennis ball around the yard!::
::And of course a very large part of the weekend was spent absorbed by the magic world and imaginative creations of our Rainbow Princess::
:: From 17 July 2013 – ‘Signs of Spring’ ::
Down here in Tassie we don’t really get a ‘Sprinter’. Spring is a less intense version of Winter, but it takes until a good way into September to notice the changes. However, as soon as we pass the midyear mark and the fingers of light start to part the shades of dark over our little corner of the Earth, even that 1 minute of difference a day makes a big deal to the creatures and life of the Earth. ‘The Season’ as it’s called in poultry raising circles, starts shortly after. And so it has been, here in our little patch of farm by the bay.
There was a midweek drama when Papa had discovered the first egg of the season, but it was cracked because the hennies caught us unexpectedly and we hadn’t as yet lined the nesting box. Rose wailed that she was supposed to find the first egg and egg collecting was her job. Papa said that the egg was cracked and he just thought it best to get rid of. We were all sworn to forgetting about that egg and the very next day the next ‘first’ egg was found by one very excited little girl who genuinely it would seem – had forgotten all about the ‘other’ first egg!
The traditional Autumn bulbs gifted by the Easter Hare in the children’s Easter baskets, became very early Winter bulbs by the time we pottered around the garden slowly – digging little holes bit by bit as much as the rhythm of days with a newborn would allow. Those little bulbs that finally found their cradles in early Winter are starting to lift their latches and peak out into the world. Rose’s favourite bulbs are crocus’ and we didn’t have any of those, so Papa brought a bag home with him from the city one day. He wrapped them in a muslin and gave them to Rose. When she opened them she exclaimed “Papa – how did you know?” She’d just that morning been looking through her ‘Winter’ board picture book and looked longingly at the crocus bulbs. A little private phone call to Papa made him the biggest hero in the whole world and he merely commented “Oh a little birdie just came and whispered in my ear while I was in the city!”
As we sat at the breakfast table on Saturday morning and listened to the song of Kookaburra welcoming the day back into being, Papa noticed that the birds kept flying over to the hollows in the trees. Across at the bay he’d seen some flying into a certain little hollow and then out the back here at the lagoon amongst the tall gums, another family was busy watching the day, feeding their young and keeping the wee ones safe from the grasp of the big wide world.
Lady Spring is most definitely on her way, preparing for her annual dance of regeneration and new life! And we are starting to plan for our Spring detox. More on that soon but for the minute we’ll just say that we’ll be going out with a big celebration the weekend before – “Meat Fest ’13” we’re calling it and the menu is meat rolled in meat with some meat stuffed inside! Very German indeed!