Ohio, Tasmania, and World Heritage Areas

TasmaniaOhio

Numerous Tassies, when attempting to explain Tasmania to me, used the example that Tasmania is about the size of Ohio. I took the time and did a pretty good job of comparing their sizes. Since many of you who are actually reading this blog have a personal relationship to Ohio, I thought you might enjoy the following in trying to visualize just how much of Tasmania is totally wild. Untouched.

Continue reading Ohio, Tasmania, and World Heritage Areas

Silence and Airplanes

SilenceSky

Except for one day flying from Australia to New Zealand I haven’t seen a plane high in the sky since early December.  No commercial flights flyover Tasmania – where would they be going?  Same with South Island – there is just no where to fly to. Neither of these places are on the path to someplace else unless it is Antartica.   It is actually noticeable after awhile.  And the silence is spectacular, – deep and encompassing.  No way to give the experience of silence through online media.

WWOOFers

Woofer1

Emily and I have new lines for our resumes, “wwoofer.”  World Wide Organic Farms or Willing Worker On Organic Farm.  Its a common term here.  In the best case scenario a wwoofer works anywhere from 4-6 hours a day and receives room and board.  The idea is that they learn aspects of organic farming – hands on.  Many younger folk use it as a way to afford to travel around Australia. Continue reading WWOOFers

Extreme Gardening: The Possum Wars.

GardenPanoCropped

Ruth, a friend of Peter and a human rights lawyer, was staying at Windgrove for a week and joked with the phrase “Extreme Gardening.”  Living in Tasmania brings out the extreme in people or, more likely, it attracts people who take activities to the extreme:  Extreme Sports, Extreme Outdoors, Extreme Survivalists, Extreme Cooking, etc.  And so she added in Extreme Gardening.  Its true.  It is tough growing things here – especially organic. Continue reading Extreme Gardening: The Possum Wars.

From Peppermints to the Kings

It’s hard to take a photo here WITHOUT a Eucalyptus tree being in the shot.

Silver Peppermint Eucalyptus Trees in foreground of Roaring Beach.
Silver Peppermint Eucalyptus trees in foreground of Roaring Beach.

So my sister wants a post about Eucalyptus Trees.  Again, I am not the one to be giving solid info, but I am photographing them – its hard not to. There are so many kinds, shapes, colors, and sizes. Many are called Peppermint: Silver, Black, Swamp, White, Risdon. Then a favorite, Stringy Bark.  And then the largest flowering plant in the world, the second largest tree in the world (second to the Redwood), around 300′ tall, is the Eucalyptus Regnans (King).

Emily at the base of a Eucalyptus Regnans.
Emily at the base of a Eucalyptus Regnans.

Click on to see the whole tree and many others.  Continue reading From Peppermints to the Kings

She-oaks Feed the Soul

She-Oaks at the Edge of Wombat Circle.
She-oaks at the Edge of Wombat Circle.

This post is for Marsha who asked about the trees….  You can’t ignore them here. They struggle, they survive, they bend and roar with the wind, they are beautiful, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and types.  However, the She-oak captures your attention before others – even before the spectacular Eucalypus.  The She-oak is the tree that you first notice.  This is the tree that Peter has planted the most – 60% of the 9000 trees he planted are She-oaks. These are the trees that he uses to create his largest circles. They native, tough and can withstand the environment here.  These are the trees that make those beautiful bubble shapes from the aerial views of the drone. Continue reading She-oaks Feed the Soul

Ana Wraps a Rock

AnaWrapsRock

I’ve been at Peter’s Windgrove almost a month and have been able to observe the more than 100 visitors that have passed through here.  Some are old deep friends of his, some are local neighbors, some he doesn’t know and they are just stopping by to walk the place, and some come here strictly by word of mouth to do art.  My first week here Peter got an email from Ana asking if she could come and spend a few days. She arrived a few days ago and immediately hit the beach to do some work.  It was very windy, but I got the drone out… Continue reading Ana Wraps a Rock

Seating for Dialogue

SeatingForDialoge

When Peter was working at Findhorn, Scotland (a spiritual community, learning centre and ecovillage) he started a series of benches entitled Seating for Dialogue. This work continued at Windgrove and many of them have been installed around his property.  Over the years he has had different “walks” that allow you to experience them.  I take this walk daily.  The first impression of the benches and the overall series title is that they encourage dialogue, storytelling and communication between two or more people. However, as I have experienced this last month, the benches also encourage internal conversations and dialogues with the natural world.    Many of the benches are 10-20 years old and though some have been installed in museums and homes, these here have weathered into the environment, are used daily, and are an integral part of the landscape. Following is a simple set of photos of some of the benches. Continue reading Seating for Dialogue

Devonshire Teas

DevTeaPosseum

OK. You can all roll your eyes, slap your forehead, make the “L” sign at me, whatever, because for the last few months everyone has been saying “Oh, you’re going to Australia and New Zealand, make sure to have a Devonshire Tea.”  And so I am thinking something like Earl Grey…  Well, no longer.  I am finally a citizen of the world and now know that a Devonshire Tea has little to do with tea and has everything to do with scones, raspberry jam, and whipped cream. Peter knows his Devonshire Tea establishments, and so here we go… Continue reading Devonshire Teas

The Front Face of Windgrove

WindgroveBeachSide
Windgrove at Roaring Beach, Tasmania

In balance to an earlier post about the behind-the-scenes of Peter’s Windgrove, I’ll take a moment to show the front side of Peter’s 25 years of work here.


PaddockThis small photo to the right is the view of Roaring Beach from Peter’s. Above the cliff is a small bald spot, which Tassies call a “Paddock.”  This spot has been quietly calling my name to come visit and look back at all of Windgrove. I didn’t really want to lug equipment across sand dunes and bushwhack through bracken to get there (oh and did I say that there are leeches here! Yup!), but then Kathryn Gremley of Penland challenged me to get a certain type of photo of Windgrove and I guess she is in the small group of people that I can’t say no to… So off I went. Continue reading The Front Face of Windgrove

A Flat White Coffee Cubed

CubedOverall

One goal of this journey was to get a real authentic perfect Flat White Espresso in Australia or New Zealand, where they are credited to being created.  Check. Done. Over. This is it. This hand-made solar powered trailer on an overlook in Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania is it. It is called “Cubed” and of course Peter knows the owner Laurie and his partner Fabienne who run the whole operation. It even comes with a telescope.  Trigger Warning! If you read on, you will be traveling to Tasmania for a cup of coffee.  Continue reading A Flat White Coffee Cubed

The Bathtub and a Single Mirror

BathTub

Building Windgrove Peter has designed all the bathrooms, showers, and toilets to be outside and external to the house. It never freezes and this idea works well.  The bathtub is used more in the winter than now when it is hotter and summer. He says he puts candles all around the edge and a steaming bath is a remarkable experience. Mirror

It is also interesting to note that there is only one mirror in this whole complex.  In the outdoor shower.  I wasn’t fully conscience of this at first, but now I am aware that you are not seeing yourself or checking your personal appearance all the time. Maybe its an aging thing, but I like that.  Leave your personal appearance at the driveway.  It doesn’t matter here. Continue reading The Bathtub and a Single Mirror

Barely-a-House was just the Beginning

Portrait of Peter at Penland's "Barely-A-House" in 1983
Portrait of Peter at Penland’s “Barely-A-House” in 1983
Portrait of Peter at Windgrove in 2016
Portrait of Peter at Windgrove Tasmania in 2016

I met Peter at Penland School in North Carolina and took this portrait of him in 1983.  While at Penland he lived at “Barely-a-House on Hardly-a-Road”, but while there he did a major transformation on the house.  His backyard in 1983 with sauna, decks, fire-circles, dining tables and the natural world was just the beginning of the vision that he has been working on here at Roaring Beach in Tasmania for the last 2 decades. What a trip to take the same portrait 33 years later on the opposite side of the world. Click on the images to see a large version.

A Gregarious Recluse

A group of family and friends feasting in Peter's house.
A group of families and friends having a feast at Peter’s house.

The holidays and summertime have brought the usual influx of Peter’s friends, colleagues, and travelers to Windgrove.  Each of them brings their own group of friends and family along with bags of amazing food (everyone cooks here – not a restaurant in sight). This is in direct contrast to the majority of time when Peter is by himself.  Over the years since driving in the lone Peace Bus, Peter has built a huge complex to host and board friends and guests.  Many times there are conferences or workshops here and Peter opens his house to them.  Marissa, a graduate student from U of Tassie, was here last week and joked that Peter was a gregarious recluse.  Peter himself says that for 300 days of the year he is totally alone and the other 60 days is full of people, meals, tours, tennis, and conversations.  Continue reading A Gregarious Recluse

Living in the Peace Bus

Peace Bus
Click the image to see it large.

In the early 1990s Peter quit his tenured position at the University of Tasmania and bought 100 acres of bush (a Bush Lot) on the coast of southeastern Tasmania. He needed something to live in and through a series of random events came across this 1959 Bedford school bus that had been converted to travel.  The owners had written PEACE on it.  Peter bought it and kept it as is.  He drove it out to his new land and halfway down his freshly bull-dozed muddy 1 mile long driveway it got stuck. Continue reading Living in the Peace Bus

Ace Young Drone Pilot Schools Old Man

Theo Drone

Theo lives down the road from Peter and apparently he has been flying drones since before he could walk.  He heard of what model I brought and came over to check it out.  I know enough about drones to be dangerous. He being 15 and really cool knows enough about drones to be talented. We headed out to Peter’s cliffs with 3 batteries and had a blast.  Click on to see some results. Continue reading Ace Young Drone Pilot Schools Old Man

The Point at Windgrove.

The Point Pano

We walked out to the point at Peter’s Windgrove for Christmas morning and I took a 360 pano. Peter and Emily are dangling their feet off 100 foot cliffs (or I should be saying “30 meter cliffs”.) Click the image above or the link below to see it.  Definitely make it full screen, pan around, zoom in, enjoy the view.

http://www.360cities.net/image/the-point-at-windgrove#33.40,14.60,70.0

Just Another View

WaveCrashAnother view from another of Windgrove’s look-out points.  300 yards from Peter’s house. The views are endless here.  You can hear the waves constantly. This one here could be felt. Throw in the hot sun, smell of Eucalyptus and the taste of salt spray, it’s a full sensory experience.