But that’s a rare thing. It usually burns off quite quickly and leaves us with bright sunny days. That’s the odd thing about fog, the way it’s a sign of good weather above, or around the corner, or just nearby. Living beneath the fog line was something I was warned about in the Huon. Some places get a lot of fog, some none. Some people just adore living beneath the fog, where you may not spy the sky for a couple of days when the pea-souper rolls up the river and blankets the farms snugly. Others find it claustrophobic and oppressive. A fug of fog lingering too close to their heads.
Despite what you might think, especially from my last cookbook, where the photos relish the foggy and misty mornings that we get on the farm, I don’t really want to be fog bound, and our house isn’t. But the big farm, which lies in a valley that opens out onto the Huon River, well, that could be a different story. Clear at 8am. Fog at 9, just as the sun first hits the garden. Fog at 11am. Fog at noon. Well, one day a fortnight ago it was.
There haven’t been many days like this, but I do wonder how many we will see. Fog makes the place look extraordinary. The sounds are magnified from the hills nearby, the light is gorgeous, the mood sensational. It is winter, after all, so no need to pretend otherwise. But If the fog spends whole days moping around the valley floor, while our neighbours are in the bright sunshine, what will that mean for us? For our livestock? For the plants we’re trying to grow and the mud we’re hoping will dry out?
Speaking of mud, it’s back. Everywhere. A trek to the chook shed is precarious thanks to the track the dog has forged through the grass. Tyre marks scar Fat Pig Farm where we’ve had need to drive over the ground. The pigs are happy in it, but I’ll be happier when we have just slightly less of it to deal with. But, at this rate, if it continues to rain regularly, and if the sun struggles to get through the clouds overhead, that could easily be in a few months’ time.
The good news is that the shortest day has passed, so we’ll have more light, the chance of more sun. On Saturday, the village of Cygnet had its gloriously defiant celebration of the winter solstice. Each year, they hold a Lantern Parade where people of all ages walk the streets from the primary school to the park in the centre of town. The highway is closed while we walk. It’s a cheeky way of saying we won’t be bowed by winter. In fact, we’ll have Bollywood dancing, a ritual burning of lanterns on a bonfire, and free minestrone cooked and donated by locals. Probably my favourite local custom, the Lantern Parade has more people in it than watching it. And nobody around here would want it any other way.