Typical Gemini, with the concentration span of a gnat & not one for sitting still. My old Da used to say that "you're a long time dead". So my mantra is get busy living.Please join me for more at
Published April 17th 2019
From city slicker to country bumpkin
Published in 2018, I've had my eye on this book for the past couple of months having holidayed in Tasmania on numerous occasions. The Apple Isle, as she was affectionately known a generation ago when that fruit was its prime produce, was the destination for my honeymoon over thirty years ago.
In more recent years, I have made numerous visits to Tassie for both business and pleasure, as well as the 100th birthday celebrations for Errol Flynn. I share all this as I feel it is relevant to my feelings about this memoir.
The author, Fiona Stocker, is Australian by birth but grew up in the UK where she met her partner and they later immigrated to Brisbane, Queensland, in search of a lifestyle with more "space". Seven years in Brisvegas and the couple realise they've merely swapped one city for another, and partner, Oliver, has never adjusted to Qld's summer humidity. Oh, Ollie, you are not on your own.
They sell up and buy a five-acre bush block out of Launceston, moving into a house which requires renovations and with septic tank issues. With two toddlers they embark on a totally different way of life, attempting to become self-sufficient of a sort, as hobby farmers do.
Fiona shares the trials encountered in their first years on their property: scorpions, snakes, wallabies eating the vegetable patch, chickens that won't lay, guinea fowl, and neighbours who are three or fourth generation Taswegian farmers. There are mistakes to learn from and celebrations to share. Tasks such as mastering the art of lighting a wood fire, cooking wallaby patties, stocking a woodpile, and assisting an alpaca give birth are major victories.
Fiona admits that her mindset slowly changes to that of a countrywoman, bartering and swapping produce, giving consideration to bush regeneration, growing and cooking the bulk of family meals, and attending stock and farm machinery clearance sales for pleasure.
There are a lot of gentle laughs in this book and I feel those readers unfamiliar with life in rural Tasmania would really enjoy and gain from Fiona's stories. A must-read for city slickers to appreciate their country cousins.....
One of my Tasmanian sisters-in-law butchers her Alpacas when they become recalcitrant for the kitchen freezer swearing by Alpaca chops. The brother-in-law does not serve Turkey at Christmas, but rather Roasted Peacock which is in abundance on his property.
This book most certainly resonates and I envy the Stocker's their move and the realignment of their dreams.
I look forward to Fiona's next book in which she shares how they become Pig Farmers. Personally, I'de love the author to also include some recipes as these country gals sure can cook, turning nothing into something special. Wallaby patties anyone?