5 Mar 2010 - 6:10 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Tassie often boasts an Indian summer. An autumn of warm days nearly as balmy in March as January. Today, as I write, it’s 25 degrees, the paddocks are hazy from the sun, and a moody fog was burnt off the hill tops not long after dawn. It won’t last. Under 20 and rain by the weekend they say. But 'they’ have been talking about rain for weeks.

RV’s fill up the roads, slowing down traffic to a crawl. Those no longer, or not ever, bound by the inflexibility of school holidays have made their way into the Huon Valley. Some come to pick apples. Most to see the sights.

Today, I will dip sourdough soldiers in the runny yolk of a Plymouth rock egg. I will soak barley in water for Tinkerbell, the sow whose belly is so round and proud that it looks like it may soon touch the ground. I’ll make yoghurt from Maggie’s milk and cook corn from the garden and bake brownies (again) for a recipe I’m testing.

When the wind drops, it’s magnificently peaceful in this part of the valley. Yesterday I spent an hour under the quince tree, picnic rug unfolded, devouring a novel in the dappled light. Jobs abound – including way too many in the office rather than in the grand outdoors, but you have to take the time to revel in your surrounds. I tried the bay tree, first, but realised that the chooks have ready access to that particular patch of grass, so moved my lazy afternoon inside the house block.

The winter garden is planted. Purple broccoli. Red Russian kale. Carrots. Spuds. Brussels sprouts. I’m a bit worried by the leaves of many though. Think it’s white cabbage moth. The ewes have all been seconded to a boyfriend in Margate, leaving behind their three lambs. It seems they were already weaned, because there was no bleating or baaing from the youngsters. In a few weeks they will become roast.

The calf is now t-bone, mince and shanks. It was very hard to say goodbye, it’s even harder to accept her as meat. I sometimes feel that this life – where animals are constantly dying, be it from illness or from my desire to rear my own meat – is suffocating. And then I taste a piece of my own bread, with my own butter, on my own eggs, and know that in reality I’m much better off knowing where my food is coming from.