Farmer Attfield says, ‘This weekend is your last chance to plant.’
Nick planted carrots, fennel and parsnips last weekend. He knows it’s a little late in the season but he’s hoping that sowing home grown seeds will make all the difference. In fact, Kerry and Nick are convinced this is why their parsnips are tastier than those in the shop. As for the saying, ‘Fine words butter no parsnips.’ It’s a ye olde English phrase (circa 16th century) that means someone may butter you up with words, but words can’t butter parsnips. And we all love a dob of butter on our baked vegies.
Archives For March 2012
The Menagerie’s ducks are giving Clever Hen a run for her money.
Enough is enough. The farm’s ducks, nicknamed The Low Rangers, just want equal rights. The chickens have had it too good for too long. And as for Clever Hen knocking on the cottage door for Nutri-Grain, such favouritism has to stop. In protest, The Low Rangers have started following Nick, tugging his trousers until he feeds them. He says it’s the only time he’s had three birds chasing him at once.
Six tomato varieties fresh from The Menagerie
Due to the cooler weather in Tassie, tomato harvest happens a little later than the mainland. In fact, Kerry and Nick have just picked six varieties from their patch. They’ll serve them grilled with home made pesto, as bruschetta with basil and of course make tomato relish, pasta sauce and passata. The song that inspired this post was, ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off’, written by George and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film ‘Shall We Dance’ starring Fred and Ginger. How do you say tomato, potato, neither or either?
From Pile to Piece de Resistance
With winter just a puff of smoke away, four tonnes of wood was delivered to The Menagerie on the weekend. Along with other Taswegians, Kerry went to work sculpting her wood stack. This masterpiece took her two days to complete. Do you know anyone who’d spend this long artistically directing a wood stack? If you do, please let us know and post your photo.
Kerry is one of Tasmania’s most prolific weeders – whether she’s foraging at the base of her lavender patch or caring for her Tassie Purple Garlic. Funnily enough, purple is Kerry’s least favourite colour. But she does love lavender’s perfume. After all, whose granny didn’t line the drawers with lavender sheets or place sprigs in the bathroom especially for guests?
The Menagerie – To Be Seen In House & Garden Magazine
We’re unsure when the article will be published but we’re hoping it’s not too far away – the suspense is killing Kerry. Written by ‘Friend of the Menagerie’, Amanda Cromer, photographed by Nick Watt and ‘gorgoired’ (a Kerry-ism) by Tassie stylist Charlotte Bell, the story will show you around Kerry and Nick’s 23 acre farm, their newly renovated cottage and Nick’s blacksmithing forge. And here’s a little secret – the shoot was the ‘kick’ Kerry and Nick needed to renovate their kitchen. Before Amanda came a-knocking, the kitchen bench was an old timber toilet door. You should see what it’s made from now.
So, keep an eye out for The Menagerie – in your local newsagency, soon. If we hear which issue, we’ll give you the scoop.
Rest In Peace 10/9/1984 – 6/3/2012
The hardest worker on the farm, by a long shot, was Nick’s Hilux ute, Truckasaurus. Sadly, he gave way last night but was stoic to the bitter end. A fence post short of 30 years, Truckasaurus’ final duty was to see Kerry and Nick home safely. And even though this galant old beast took two hours in 3rd gear to transport them from Hobart airport to The Menagerie, (a trip that normally takes 40 minutes), he reached his final resting place knowing his owners had arrived in one piece. Kerry is sure Nick’s patting of the dash and endearing words of encouragement helped ease Truckasaurus’s pain. And for this unwavering loyalty, we wanted to show our old mate in his glory days – baling hay last summer with Kerry’s nephews, Ben and Lachy. A fitting tribute to such a rich and fulfilling life. RIP dear friend. Your motor will always be running in our hearts.
The Menagerie Stew
It’s wet outside and the cold wind starts to creep into your bones. “Is it too early in the year to make a stew?” you ask yourself. Not when the green grocer is in your backyard.
Sage and rosemary.
Garlic (Tassie purple variety).
The choice of St Valery or Royal Chantenay carrots.
Potatoes – Toolangi Delights.
Just add the beef (not found on The Menagerie).
Kerry and Nick’s patch has been five years in-the-making. This is probably one of the reasons why they take nothing for granted and nothing goes to waste. After making the stew, the vegie peel is taken to the worm farm and fed to the worms who produce an ‘A Grade’ natural fertiliser. This fertiliser is sprinkled on the patch and used as a health tonic for any plant that’s looking a little green around the gills. As Kerry says, “One woman’s trash is another worm’s treasure.”