Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Dog’s Breakfast

I’ve mentioned before that we feed Tilley, Willow and Watson on a raw food diet (but not Titan -- he is too big and too picky to make it affordable), and have done so for years.  We buy our food in bulk (hundreds of pounds at a time) from a friend who mass-produces a variety of chicken and turkey recipes, which keeps the price down around $1.50/pound*.  This does not include the price of the three freezers we use for storage.  It’s not as convenient as buying a bag of kibble from store once a month, but we feel it is the best option for the health of our dogs.  Although raw diets seem to be gaining momentum in the North American market, they are far from the norm.  So imagine my surprise when I found that *grocery stores* in Australia have giant refrigerators full of affordable raw diets for dogs – approximately $6 for a 3kg package.  The meats are mostly chicken and turkey, but there is everything ranging from pork to beef to kangaroo.  I would love to see something like this in Canada one day.


*It is definitely possible to feed a raw diet for much less if you work at it, but we are spoiled by being shorter on time than on money.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Eggs

Australians seem to be behind the British when it comes to the rights of agricultural animals, but they are well ahead of the Canadians and Americans.  From what we’ve seen beef and dairy cows lead nice lives here, with beef cows being always on pasture and dairy cows having regular access.  The pork industry is WAY behind, though, with sow stalls very much in the news after a big story on 60 minutes over the weekend.  In the grocery store it is hard to find eggs from battery hens.  Most are advertised as free-run or free-range or cage-free, like these ones.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nine Bucks!

Some of you may recall that I won $20 (USD) in a bet with David about Barrack Obama, about a year ago.  On Saturday I spent $9 (AUD) of that on a new-to-me bike.  Used bikes are harder to find in Australia than in Canada (or we simply don’t know where to look), but we found two likely candidates at Cash Converters (aka Crime Converters) outside of Canberra.  This old 10-speed is not the most practical solution for hilly Hobart, but the darned thing called to me and I couldn’t leave it there.  It needed new tubes and tires right away (another $70), and the bearings in the rear wheel seem to be shot, thus causing enough wobble to rub the brakes going around corners.  I will bring it to the shop around the corner from work tomorrow, hoping that they can fix it  up for less than the cost so far. 


There are so many exciting things to tell you about this place, but a $9 bike seemed like a good place to start.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Solutions

Tess has come up with a great solution for keeping track of things at FF while we're in Tassie: her own blog!

And we have solved our home internet problem by getting a service from Telstra that isn't (to the best of my knowledge) even offered in Canada. It is basically a wireless router with a SIM that draws its signal from the cellular 3G network, thus circumnavigating the need for a home phone line (to get DSL) and a 2 YEAR CONTRACT. If you are ever considering travel to Australia just keep in mind that phone/cellular/internet service are insanely expensive (compared to Canada) and inflexible. Anyhow, we have plugged our Vonage phone box into this bug-like gizmo, so we now have our 604 phone number here in Hobart. How cool is that?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Walk to Work

My walk to work is a leisurely 40 minutes along the Hobart coast. Sometime over the next week it will become a 15 minute bike ride, but I am enjoying stopping and smelling the flowers for the time being.


We have landed safely in Hobart, only a little worse for wear. The adventure did not run quite as smoothly as we had imagined, but none of the problems we encountered couldn't be solved with a little extra money. We hear that Hobart is a great city to eat in, but we'll be on a strict ration of beans for the next several weeks.


Back at the ranch Tess seems to be making out just fine despite the uncooperative weather. She reports 400mm of rain in four days, another big wind storm that battered the neighbor's shop, and snow as of bedtime this evening. Despite the meteorological chaos I feel perfectly confident in her ability to cope, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'll be scouring her facebook updates for FFF material.


Speaking of which, I'm not really sure what to write about over the coming months. I don't want to start a new blog to document our Tasmanian adventures, nor do I want to end this one about life at FFF. I'm thinking of posting a picture a day of life as we're living it, with a little back-home content to keep things relevant. Would you stick around for that?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgreenhouse

I’ve waxed poetic about Leonard Cohen in the past, and now it’s time to give another Canadian folk legend his due.  Gordon Lightfoot has had an illustrious musical career spanning several decades but, like Cohen, remains earnest and down-to-earth about his fame and his success.  Several Lightfoot songs can make me teary-eyed, but The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a favourite.


On Thursday night the gales of November came early to Farcical Farm, leaving our greenhouse wrapped around the fence and strewn across the pasture.  RIP little greenhouse – I never like it much, but never would have wished it such an inglorious end.