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30 Jun 2011 - 10:13 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

There’s a huge pile of logs to chainsaw, split and stack in the barnyard. There’s a boar that needs a new place to rest his head. The wallaby wire lies in wait for me to start a new fence within the main paddock, and we were half-way through painting the bathroom when visitors and other commitments halted the work.

Problem is, not only do I have too many other things going on, I have a badly sprained ankle. A very, very badly sprained ankle. It’s swollen and black and red and blue, and doesn’t take much weight on it to make me wince. I started to realise that most of the things I do around here and further afield, be it milking Priscilla or working at the market stall, take a little bit of physical ability. A hurt ankle isn’t really the best injury to carry. It’s two days since I did it, and I’m still not able to drive a car.

But from here in the house, I can see the permafrost across the way. I can spy the slips (piglets) playing under the pine trees. The sunroom is warm, the computer keys waiting, which means I can try to catch up with the bookwork. The cooker is on, too, providing endless cups of tea or hot water, and, well, if I’m supposed to raise my ankle from time to time, it’s best if I just lie on the couch and call out to Sadie to bring me drinks.

Last week, very quietly, Nick from Bruny Island and I opened a new shop. In midwinter, in Tasmania; a retail shop specialising in local artisan produce at the top end of the market. Without a sign up. Or much stock. I don’t know much about retail, but I do know that’s a bit silly. Still, the Salamanca Arts Centre is a great environment to be in – we’re lucky enough to get a modest shop that suits our needs, and have good people to staff it. We’re also blessed with superb local products, and some we are having made just for us. Like pork fat grissini with fennel seed. Or Lark Distillery whisky truffles from Cygneture Chocolates. It’s called A Common Ground, the same name we’ve given our regional produce events.

The shop means that after this week, Ross and I won’t be doing our Salamanca Market stall over winter. After nearly three years, we feel like we’ve given it a good nudge, and we’ll still be at the Sunday market in Hobart, where perhaps we’re a better fit with the local farmers. This week was to be my last hurrah, to say thank you to those who have supported us over the years. Only problem is, this dodgy ankle. If I rest up on the couch for long enough, I may make it yet. If only Sadie would get me another hot drink.