Dragging ourselves away from Beaupre Farm, we reminded ourselves that we always feel like this. A mix of disappointed to be leaving a place, combined with the excitement of discovering the next place.
We’d decided to break up the drive from the Huon Valley out to the far North West Coast, by staying within reach of Mount Field, in a small town called Ouse. Yes, it’s pronounced “Ooze”. As in “Are youse from Ouse?”
Before we even reached Hobart, Dave pulled into a car wash, called “Sparkles”.
“Now?” I asked half-heartedly, knowing how much he likes Kenny to be clean.
“Yes, now” He smiled decisively.
By the time we approached New Norfolk, 30mins from Hobart, it was ‘coffee time’. The first café we found was a cute retro 50’s diner, complete with roller skates. I jumped out to buy coffees and muffins while Dave stayed with the car and bikes.
The drive continued through lush rolling hills peppered with the last of the autumnal colour and rows of golden orchards. Hills of blonde grasses camouflaged great flocks of sheep. The road followed the pretty River Derwent as we approached our next house.
We’re staying in a love big country house, although one of the wings is locked off to guests, so the house looks bigger on the outside.
It was nowhere near as cosy as the last place, but there is plenty of room and comfortable furniture and plenty of natural light. There’s a really good double sided fireplace that keep the house warm, and the kitchen and dining table doubled as our art studio.
The best part of this place are the grounds, a mix of pastoral views and grand old deciduous trees, clinging to the last of their leaves. Old timber ladders are propped up against the trees begging to be climbed.
And the three fancy chickens! They were so friendly and mooched around with us when ever we were out side. They followed us around happily clucking and cooing away. Truely free-range, they are free to range anywhere they pleased. If you are a chicken, Tasmania is the place for you – there are no foxes here.
They were adorable. We named them: Butter, Korma, and Ginger.
“Give us an egg?” I asked when ‘Korma’ clucked past one morning. She pretended to ignore me.
Each morning I took out scraps for them and they would come running when I appeared. I love the way they run, bouncing from side to side. When food is involved, they can move at a rate of knots. David put out a bowl of water for them and they polished it off in minutes. Poor things were thirsty.
When they wanted our attention they would hop up to the glass doors and peck the glass when we were near. They seemed to like the front door mat and spent sunny mornings huddled together in the sun.
At night, they abandoned their chicken coop, and preferred to huddle together on the bough of a tree branch. All three forming a single ball of feathers like a low lying koala. (In the circle below)
As with most of the farm houses we’ve stayed, a little mouse put in an appearance. After a few nights he grew quite brazen, and would appear before we had gone to bed. He seemed to have a regular route that started at the fire place. We kept the kitchen spotlessly clean and all fruit and vegetables safely locked in the fridge, but still he came to visit.
Late one evening Mr Mouse and David surprised each other in the bathroom, the mouse side-swiping David’s foot out of the way. He insisted it was on purpose. Chuckle.
The sunken dining room, with the fireplace and natural light was a lovely place to paint. When we weren’t out exploring, we spent as much time as possible creating. Every few weeks I like to pull out each of my paintings to see if I can learn from them, what works, what doesn’t. How I’d like my style to evolve.
Over the week, I started and finished a picture of the Lanterns at Cape Hauy. One of the most spectacular trails we’ve ever done.
In between composing, David produced a number of interesting paintings of the same area.
On a sunny autumnal day we sat in the garden to paint en plein air. The chickens were particularly interested in what David was doing. They followed him everywhere. I shall call him the ‘Chicken Man’.
While I was painting, they came close enough for me to pat their silky smooth feathers. Although they seemed to tolerate it, rather then enjoy it. I may have had to force the love.
David made good use of the kitchen and cooked up some delicious meals. There was even a pizza oven so he made pizza from scratch, and a particularly good baked tofu curry with cauliflower rice. On his birthday, I made chocolate cake in a cup.
And this right here, is the reason we need to be more active: learning to make cake in a cup is a dangerous business!