Had I been following Michelle Crawford's beautiful Hugo & Elsa blog for too long? Dreaming of her Tassie life wearing gumboots, everyday. Maybe I'd eaten one too many warm Rugelach direct from the oven at Lotus Eaters Cafe in Cygnet.
Perhaps I was hooked from the very 1st time we basked in the sun overlooking the d'Entrecasteaux Channel from Peppermint Bay restaurant across to Bruny Island.
It's a lovely experience too, Going behind the scenery from the comfort of one's desk. There are so many authentic Tassie stories on this website. But on reflection, it's pretty easy to pinpoint the exact moment our shedmania was born.
My husband & I were sharing a tasting paddle of cider last year in Willie Smith's Apple Shed when we decided we MUST somehow, someday, take a bite of Tassie's special Huon Valley for ourselves.
"At least a few acres" we said... "and wouldn't one of these old timber sheds be fab too!" we laughed, as he'd often threathened to live the 'simple life' in a mancave. They'll be no steel Titan in this rustic dream.
Beware: A cider or coffee stop at Willie Smith's can quickly turn to addiction. Of course the cider is mulled at this time of year, so it's pretty spesh when it comes to you hot.
Wassailing at the Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest might seek to drive the bad spirits out from the cider trees, but let's be honest, this Festival is an attractant - who'd ever want to fly away from this place. The whole weekend is all atmosphere, community, brilliant bands & paddock to plate.
Festivals, sheds & cows in ankle deep mud aside for a moment...
My Mum was born in Hobart & has early memories of Huon fruit picking. Row upon row of tightly packed preserves in the pantry are part of our heritage. It was the norm for most Tassie families to preserve the seasons & never waste nature's gifts. You gotta love a little town where the local IGA still stocks the full range of Fowler Vacola's preserving bits & bobs.
The Valley's oldest established township, Franklin, is a scenic drawcard for those who enjoy being riverside, onboard or simply admiring weathered timbercraft at the famous Wooden Boat Centre & boardwalk.
I can't help but wonder what life was like 'way back when', living in the sunny South, Apple Valley Tasmania.
Photo courtesy of LINC Tasmania Online library
OK... I'll be honest, we've already signed on the dotted line. The SOLD sign is on, just up the hill a little & next door to a young apple orchard, surrounded by the juicy bounty of Autumn. It's wonderful to see the trees reappearing all over the valley.
Planting our first 6 trees was a happy day. Our whole block had once been apples & pears for many decades. I can't imagine what it was like for the farmers when the government paid to pull out their orchards in the mid 70's due to the British export market collapse. 1,300 growers going down to just 60.
Thank you Woodbridge Fruit Trees, for keeping heritage varieties alive & well. I've got so much to learn about growing cold climate fruit. My heart belongs to citrus & jaboticaba, but is quickly swelling to include juicy new possibilities.
Life is calling us to plant Comice (a french Pear variety from the 1850's), grow Raspberry canes like weeds for jam & loaves & turn John Downie crab apples into neat rows of jelly jars. Not to mention eating cherries & pastries at Christmas, that haven't travelled any food miles. Washed down with a fine Tassie Pinot.
All good dreams have interesting characters don't they? Even if sometimes they're a little crazy. So far in our dream the characters include; 2 shedmaniac 'mainlanders' (us), 2 happy girls (our daughters who've almost forgotten how to forget their homework & get muddy) and a hairy girl called Ziggy - the Highland Cow across the road. You can see why we're so tempted to give her a fringe trim.
I'm sure come Spring, they'll be many more interesting characters along for the ride, plus heaps of possums & wallabies come to eat our new fruit trees. Gotta get that netting up!
Structurally speaking there's; 2 original barn doors eagerly awaiting restoration, plenty of rotten hardwood, hay in every crevice, a leaky roof, drainage issues, no town water, pear packing instructions on falling down cladding & rows of pretty Poplars.
Plenty more Shedmania is scheduled for our September holidays. And I'm hoping to start documenting & photographing the character-filled timber sheds of the Huon & their stories. Will keep you posted.
In the meantime, hope to see you at the farmers markets x