This blog was written several months after the events described, the ‘facts’ come from memory which is a notoriously unreliable source.
Happy Chook Farm
It was with great delight we meandered towards the “Happy Chook Farm” from the beautiful Stanley as was we began the last leg of our Tassie adventure. We’d be staying a couple of nights at Meander Pastured Free Range Egg Farm or “Happy Chook Farm” as it’s more commonly known. CSIRO’s Model Code for free range eggs is a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 birds per hectare, but many brands labelled “free range” have up to 10,000 birds per hectare. Happy chook farm average 150 per hectare. I guess we don’t need more of an explanation as to why the birds are happy. The owners of the farm are Nan and Danny.
Nan and Danny are friends of Jenni’s and we had arranged to stay with them during our visit. As well as chickens they have dogs, sheep and cows. As an ex farm boy I was really looking forward to this visit. The farm is in an idyllic spot near Mole Creek. As we drove up the driveway to the house we were surrounded by inquisitive chickens, it took a while to get up to the gate to the main property without running over a couple.
Once through the gate to the house the dogs took over inquisition duties but when we parked and Nan and Danny greeted us the dogs lost interest and left us alone.
Danny gave us a tour of part of his extensive property, first stop, the chickens of course. The chickens lived outside during the day and slept in specially constructed caravans at night. Danny told us of some challenges keeping chickens as free range as these. There are two types of flying predators, neither of which I remember the species, one which swoops down and steals chickens, the other sneaks in and eats the odd egg. The one that eats the eggs is very aware of the flying chicken eating one and makes loud screeching noises when there is one nearby. The chooks hear the screeching and run for cover. Better to lose and egg or two than a whole chicken says Danny so he tolerates the egg thief as he considers it payment for services rendered.
We helped collect and weigh the eggs. I thought I had a contender for the biggest egg ever at 83gms but the biggest was over 100gms, poor chook didn’t sit for a week I bet.
Next we went to see the cows, they looked happy too. There were quite a few little calves as well, beautiful bouncy little things. The farm is set in the most stunning surroundings, a dream location.
The day we explored the farm was misty and the hills had real beauty to them.
The property has some really interesting features like this tree. Fascinating to me how a tree can grow like this and survive.
Farmer Jim in borrowed wellies and wearing every piece of clothing I brought with me.
I couldn’t leave without trying to get a pic of Nan the “dog whisperer” and her 5 dogs.
After we reluctantly said farewell to Nan and Danny we drove all the way down to Fern Tree Gully. We deliberately went the long way down via Cradle Mountain.
If you are ever in Tasmania, Meander Pastured Free Range Eggs are sold at Cradle Coast Farmers’ Market and The Nut House in Ulverstone and Earthy Eats, Alps & Amici and Delicacy in Launceston.
As I had consistently underestimated the travel time throughout our Tasmanian adventure we didn’t have enough time to explore Cradle Mountain as much as would have liked.
We did walk the short Dove Lake walk and once again I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Tasmanian countryside. We also discovered an interesting fact about Wallabies. while we walked along the raised walkway we frequently came across piles of animal poo. Now there’s a lot of grass and other places to poo but I was intrigued as to why so much was on the raised walkway. Well, the driver of the bus told us that wallabies like to mark their territory by shitting on the highest object around, hence the large number of poo piles we saw on our walk. Bet you didn’t know that either?
Cradle mountain is spectacularly beautiful but I obviously thought I could make it even better by standing in front of it.
Fern Gully Falls Tiny House
Our last nights were to be in Fern Gully Falls Tiny House. It was built by David who designed it also. He told us he built it for $4,000 and stayed in it for 3 years while he built the big property he now lives in. It is made of 50% recycled stuff. It just appealed to us when we read the advert in Airbnb.
Designer modern Tiny House with genuine vintage early 1900’s fittings overlooking your very own private numerous waterfalls and extensive property walks in a deep vivid mossy gully with sandstone cliffs, ancient tall tree ferns, all backgrounded by an expansive mountain panorama showing snow caps of Mt Field NP. Pot belly stove, claw foot bath, King sized latex foam bed. Unique, unmatched and secluded.
The tiny house was perched precariously on the edge of a river valley and was miles away from anywhere. The light pollution was minimal and for the first time I saw the milky way with bare eyes.
We explored a bit around the valley where David had built a bit of a clever walking track. David must have been part mountain goat as the walkway was, let say, challenging, in sections.
We were surrounded by nature and silence and sky. We even had our own flock or troupe or congregation or swarm or whatever the collective noun for pandemelons is, come visit us frequently. There are a couple in the picture below under the bush. It was a perfect end to an idyllic trip.
And so the Tassie trips end and so does this blog.
We are going back again in March 2018 for a longer time this time and spending more time in the places we didn’t get to visit properly this time. We love you Tasmania, till next time.