The Last Gig of 2015

Hi everyone, it’s been lovely to have a break from blogging but I’m itching to write again – there’s been so much going on!

It’s the busiest time of year for me in the garden – I’m planting out heat-hardy salad vegetables like mad to take advantage of our brief but often vicious summer. There’s been several kilos of fruit off the raspberry canes already and several more to come, basil is being cropped, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchinis and chillies are starting to ripen. On top of all this, I’m making some small wicking boxes this week for the front balcony, which gets all the morning sun and is great for tender salad greens.

A couple of weeks ago, local musician and friend George Begbie won the Rudy Brandsma Award at the ASA national awards in Sydney. Many of us who knew George when he first started performing were thrilled but not really surprised – he’s always been that good!

And my wonderful singing group at Oak Tasmania are playing at the in-house end of year BBQ this Friday. Rehearsals are getting tighter and more intense, we’re all getting excited about showing off some new skills. I hope there’ll be some photos I can share with you all from that too.

But tonight is my last public gig for 2015.

I’m playing a short set at The Homestead in support of my dear friend Matt Sertori. I’ve known Matt for many years and despite his seemingly irreverent lyrics, he is one of the most thoughtful, intense and inspiring performers around.

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There is a misconception that Matt playing solo is just a comedy act but I think it’s important to understand there are two distinct sides to this demanding performer. Listen to his (often scathing) lyrics and look behind the laughter, there are some deep and incredibly serious subjects being dealt with. Here, there is a depth to the writing and an intensity in performance that can be downright confronting.

I am honoured to be playing support tonight for many reasons. Matt is also the man who drew me into the ASA over a decade ago and instigated the supportive, mentoring attitude that prevailed until quite recently. If you’re in or around Hobart I urge you to come and listen to this most fascinating and complex songwriter. And say hello – I love catching up with you all.

Take care wherever you are ❤

Wild Weather and Gig News – Day 25 NaBloPoMo 2015

We had a reminder today that it’s spring, and really only one small step away from winter. Although it hasn’t been too cold, the temperature is dropping this evening and the wind has been very fierce. And of course, this is the only day this week I had time to go and buy a trailer load of sand and another of composted bark. I’m certain the universe knows these things!

The reason I needed these landscaping supplies is a problematic back corner of the garden. I think everyone with a reasonable sized yard has one of these. That area furthest away from the house that you don’t look at every day, where you’re not sure what to do, everything you plant dies yet weeds seem to thrive! I haven’t done anything with this area for ages, it must be two years since it’s been weeded.

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The Corner of Shame

This is what it looked like a few weekends ago – arrgghhh!!! We’d already ripped the Morning Glory (Ipomea sp.) off the fence but the roots are trailing and are difficult to remove. I personally think this is one of the worst weeds in southern Tasmania and if left unchecked it will completely smother vegetable beds, while stripping all nutrients from the soil.

In the middle of this bed is a very old fashioned prune plum, which is a prolific bearer of very sweet, yellow fleshed purple skinned fruit. The tree is old but in good health, despite the competition from blackberries, ivy, mallow and thick clumps of onion twitch. We’ve cleared about half of the area – from the fence up to the bole of the plum. It’s a slow, hard job but we plan to keep chipping away (literally) over the coming weeks, laying thick cardboard and old cotton rugs, covering it with coarse sand and top dressing with composted bark.

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Today’s landscaping supplies

Once the bed is finished, I’m putting up shade cloth around the fence to add some height and screen the corner and we’re considering putting a beehive here next year that will face in to the yard. It’s a big job, but like all these things, ultimately worth all the effort.

On another note, I’ve got a gig coming up at The Homestead next month on December 15th, doing a short set for the Australian Songwriters Association. The feature act will be my dear friend, Matt Sertori (of Butterscotch Pony fame) and I’m really looking forward to it. Matt is one of the most interesting performers I know, his lyrics are often insightful and scathing and although he doesn’t do it often, I love his solo shows.

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Meanwhile, I’m off to find a jumper, the temperature’s starting to drop. It was 21 C today (about 70 F) and tomorrow we’re expecting 12 C (about 54 F) and possible snow on Kunanyi/Mt Wellington. Typical Hobart spring weather!

Lemons, Life and Things That Matter – Day 18 NaBloPoMo 2015

Well, it’s been an interesting 24 hours. I had another couple of reminders from the universe about maintaining focus on the things that really matter in life.

Yesterday, I supported a dear friend through something of a personal crisis. She has decided to leave Hobart and move to Melbourne. Partly, (as she readily admits) this is running away from small town nonsense but sometimes it’s better to move on that to stick around for more pain. As much as I know I will miss her dearly, I fully support her decision. ❤

While she was here, we talked in the kitchen – the soul of any home – and I finished making Moroccan Preserved Lemons with the last of the fruit from my friend Sara.

IMG_20151117_135250This is one of those recipes that I’ve adapted from several different sources but it mostly resembles Hassan M’Souli’s recipe on the SBS site. I soaked them for a couple of days in lukewarm water to soften the skin. Then I split them lengthwise without cutting right through the end of the lemon. I find it best to do this over a bowl, to catch every drop of lemon juice. Some people recommend taking out all the seeds but I don’t bother unless they fall into the bowl.

Next, the lemons are packed with cooking salt and put in a sterilised pickle jar. I used about a cup of salt for six lemons and added a few cardamon pods, two dried chillies and two bay leaves.

The final pickle looks lovely in the jar but I’m going to have to wait until Christmas to open them up and use the luscious fruit in a chicken or lamb Tagine.

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Last night was the monthly ASA gig at The Homestead, this month featuring keyboard player, singer/songwriter and generally lovely person, George Begbie. It was great seeing him really take command of the stage and put out a fabulous performance. I was reminded of the quite nervous young man who first turned up about 10 years ago to the ASA and it was truly heartening to see how far he’s come in that time. It was also wonderful to see a new performer do her first ASA and a regular who is really starting to come into his own 😀

And on a sad note, I found out that well-known Tasmanian media identity Tim Franklin died suddenly. When I first arrived in Tasmania back in the 80’s, Tim was one of the first people I met. At that time, he was working as a DJ at a nightclub in Hobart and a local commercial radio station. Later, he went on to set up his own company, Radar Promotions and redefined marketing in this state.

While we didn’t always share the same taste in music, Tim was incredibly generous to me when I was new in town and supportive of the band I was in, Wild Pumpkins at Midnight. I will always remember him fondly for that, and my heart goes out to his family and many friends.

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Vale Tim

 

A Quick Gig Update – Day 17 NaBloPoMo

Hey everyone

A quick reminder for southern Tasmanian folks that tonight the monthly ASA show is on at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, starting with the wonderful Cassie O’Keefe at 6:30 pm. I’ll be coming along to have dinner, catch up with friends and cheer everyone on, in particular the feature act, George Begbie.

And Thursday night, (19th November) I’m playing a show with Cassie, again at The Homestead from 7-9 pm. This should be a fabulous night with one of the best young up and coming talents around town 🙂

One of my beautiful Seagull guitars

Hopefully, I’ll get time to do a longer post later, but we’ll see – it’s going to be a busy day I think!

A Quick Update – Day 10 NaBloPoMo 2015

Wow, it’s Day 10 already – one third of the way through the month of blogging! It’s a little scary how fast the time has flown but I still haven’t run out of things to write about 😀

As many of you will be aware, there was much excitement on the weekend when the beautiful Boudica Bunny gave birth on Saturday morning.

I’m very pleased to say that all seven of them are very healthy, plump little bunnies, obviously being fed and already showing a light sheen of (mostly) white fur. There’s a couple with speckles of black skin like their mother but I think most of them are going to be like their father Beelzebun, who’s a crossbred Californian/New Zealand White. Newborns are more or less hairless and look like little pink peanuts but within the first week they grow an awful lot of fur! By this time next week they’ll be starting to open their eyes and get curious about the world.

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For the next fortnight or more I’ve got loads of work coming my way, mostly with regard to my final assignment for my current online unit at Griffith University. I have to complete a creative piece (short story, short screenplay or three poems) and a 500 word exegesis about my process. I’ve decided to go with the poems as it’s closer to lyric writing which I feel comfortable with but different enough to be of value to my learning. Interestingly, I’ve been reading far more prose lately but it’s flavouring my work in an interesting way. I hope my tutor agrees!

And next Thursday I’m playing a gig at The Homestead in Hobart, supporting my good friend, Cassie O’Keefe. I’m really looking forward to it and hoping we can find the time to rehearse some material together between now and then. If you’re in southern Tasmania, Cassie’s playing a set this Friday the 13th at the Worlds End in Sandy Bay, which I’m hoping to get to.

So, posts will still be daily – I don’t want to stop now I’m a third of the way through – they’ll still contain bunny and gardening updates but they might be a little shorter…….

To finish, here’s a photo of Boudica and my other doe Bella, when they were little girls – about four or five months old. Note the overturned bowl, something Boudica still does when she’s finished her daily kibble ration ❤

Bella & Boudica

Bella & Boudica

UNLOCKED – Day 1 NaBloPoMo

So, here in the southern hemisphere it’s the evening of November 1st. Welcome to NaBloPoMo where the challenge is to write a blog post every day of this month.

I’ve just got home from an afternoon gig at The Yard at The Brunswick Hotel in central Hobart and it was really great fun. I caught up with old friends and met some new ones – and the music was great! UNLOCKED is run by Meraki Management and the brain-child of Amy Fogarty, who is something of a force of nature.

Cassie at UNLOCKEDMy friend and former student, Cassie O’Keefe (above) was also on the bill and really nailed it with her set! We had dinner after (the food is really good, by the way) and Cassie and I are looking forward to our next gig at The Homestead, Thursday 19th November.

From my point of view, it was really heartening to see so many young musicians at today’s gig who are just starting out. It invigorates those of us who’ve been around the traps for a while and enables musicians embarking on their careers to rub shoulders with folks who’ve got some experience. There’s always something new to learn – no matter how long you’ve been doing this!

See you all tomorrow, where I’ll probably talk about some gardening things – my other great passion 🙂

Now it’s your turn…. What are your great moments as a mentor or mentoree? Leave your stories in the comments! 

The Busy-ness of Spring – Upcoming Shows

Chestnut Tree Spring Oct 2015

Hello friends,

I love spring. The cycle of the seasons visibly turns and every day brings new things in the garden, the chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with, and here in Hobart we’re coming out of the hibernation of winter and starting to go out again.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Wee Beastie Sourdough

Wee Beastie Sourdough

 

And I’ve been busy! In the kitchen I’ve been making Vanilla Ice Cream and Baked Coffee Cheesecake with the excess eggs, brewing and bottling cider, making Rhubarb Fool from the mass of spring rhubarb and my weekly “Wee Beastie” Sourdough. It’s been absolutely wonderful to eat so well, with so much produce coming directly out of the garden.

The garden is always a work in progress but I’ve started planting out climbing beans this week, there’s basil in the Seeds and Basil Seedlings Oct 2015greenhouse and too many vegetable seedlings coming on to mention.

And there’s music happening too! I’m in the middle of a unit in Creative Writing for my second major through Griffith University. For my final assessment I’m planning to write a portfolio of new pieces that will become new songs. Depending how it goes, perhaps the core of another album.

Meanwhile, there’s gigs coming up too.

This Sunday at The Brunswick Hotel in Hobart, I’m playing a short set out in The Yard (the beer garden) with a bunch of other local musicians, including the incredibly talented Cassie O’Keefe and my friend Matt Dean. Very pleased also that this is a family friendly show, so feel free to bring your young music-lovers 🙂

Thursday 19th November, I’m sharing a night with Cassie at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, one of my favourite places to go and hang out with friends. No idea what’s going to happen that one – we might even work out some songs to play together!

Friday 20th November, I’ll be doing the early spot at The Globe Hotel in Davey Street. If you haven’t caught this weekly event yet, I really recommend it. It’s organised by Kevin Gleeson who basically loves all kinds of music and is good friends with so many of us. It’s a great excuse to hang out and have a good time with mates.

And there’s more on the horizon! If you want to keep up to date with my shenanigans, hook up with me on Facebook here.

Yep, it’s spring and it’s busy – just how I like it.

Wherever you are, be well friends ❤

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