Adaptation to life in Tasmania…Easier than many…More photos of downtown Penguin…Poppy Seed Strudel recipe…

Could it be tourists at the top of those rocks at the beach?

Compared to many places we’ve lived in over the past four years anymore, it’s easy here at Penguin, Tasmania. Sure, today it’s raining in buckets and we’ll stay indoors most of the day until 5:30 pm when we’ll head to a local social event which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

The Penguin Food & Veg stop.

We haven’t found a single insect in the house yet. The cool weather must be a factor which is typical year round. Now, as it approaches summer, we’re a bit surprised to find it as cold as it is. Here’s a chart of average weather in this immediate area, from this site:

Tabular view for temperature and precipitation per month in Penguin, Tasmania
Months Normal Warmest Coldest
January 21.1°C 13.2°C
February 22.1°C 13.6°C
March 20.8°C 12.6°C
April 18.2°C 10.8°C
May 15.3°C 8.7°C
June 12.9°C 6.7°C
July 12.3°C 5.9°C
August 13.0°C 6.4°C
September 14.2°C 7.6°C
October 15.8°C 8.8°C
November 17.7°C 10.4°C
December 19.2°C 11.8°C

*Temperatures are listed for Celsius. For example, the December’s high of 19.2°C is equal to 66°F and the low of 11.8°C is equal to 53°F.

Penguin Memorial Library. At the back of the library, there is an open-air reading area overlooking the ocean.

By examining this map of Tasmania its easy to see why its cold here based on the proximity of Tasmania to the Antarctic as shown on this map below:

Image result for map australia antarctica
Map of the southern part of Australia, in Tasmania, as indicated for Hobart and the Antarctic.

In 13 months we’ll be in Antarctica where, of course, it will be much colder than it is here requiring much heavier clothing than we have available. We’ll be renting outerwear through the cruise line which we’ll be wearing on frequent visits to ice floes via Zodiac boats. 

Another penguin statue.

New Zealand, where we lived from January 19, 2016 to April 15, 2016, was nowhere nearly as cool as here in Tasmania.  However, as shown in the above temperature chart, January will become warmer as it moves further into summer in this part of the world.

  However, as the temperature chart above shows, January will warm up over the summer in that part of the world.

Are we uncomfortable? No, not at all. Thank goodness for the warm shirts we purchased a few days ago, the heavy socks we have in our bags and the blankets we’re using as needed to stay warm indoors.

These items aren’t for sale. They were donated by locals for display purposes only.

The house has a multipurpose air con/heater in the lounge (living room), but we make every effort to avoid using extra electricity unless it’s an absolute necessity. So far, so good.

Next door to the Penguin Post Office is a café, the Letterbox. Notice Tom on the right wearing his new flannel shirt.

As an island, a sunny day in Tas (as the locals describe) can easily turn into a rainy day, which we experienced yesterday when we hung three loads of laundry on the outdoor clothesline. 

More penguin items donated by locals which also are “not for sale.”

Before we headed out for the afternoon when it had begun to drizzle, we took everything off the clothesline bringing all the wet clothing indoors to hang on a tiny free standing clothes rack. It’s still wet today on this humid day and may not dry until tomorrow. 

We’d seen this type of pine tree in Madeira, Portugal in 2014.

Yesterday, we headed to the neighboring town of Burnie with a population of 25,000 to stop at the Harvey Normal store to purchase a new power cord for one of our laptops. During the recent cruise the power cord died. We could either order one online or find one locally

Penguin statue.

Based on the fact these cords are in two parts, we could purchase an Australian plug in the power adapter and use only the part with the black box, continuing to use the same US plugin with our universal adapter. Once we leave Australia at the end of April, we’ll only be using US plugins for a while. 

The device was only slightly higher than it would have been ordering it at Amazon in the US. Priced at US $74, AU 99 at Harvey Norman in Burnie we avoided tax and shipping costs. With multiple plugin tips as a universal device this will work for us for these laptops and, as a backup for future laptops we’ll purchase when in the US.

The Madsen Hotel is owned by an exiled Prince of Laos.  More on this later.

After shopping at the Harvey Norman store, we headed to the Makers Mart, an architecturally interesting center in Burnie where artisans and contractors display their unique wares. Photos will be presented in a future post. It proved to be a unique environment we’re excited to share.

As for adaptation, we have experienced the lack of a baking product always readily available in the US. Since Tom had only gained a few pounds on the cruise and with his birthday and Christmas on the horizon, I offered to bake a special treat for him, one of his favorite Christmas baked goods, Polish Poppy Seed Bread.  (See the recipe below).

Penguin themed seesaw the local playground.

After visiting the largest Woolie’s store in the area and talking to the store manager, he explained he’d never heard of nor carried “canned poppy seed filling” and it it’s unlikely we’d find it anywhere. As a result, I had to forgo making this for Tom. 

Penguin outside the Penguin Barber Shop owned by Linda, Terry’s sister.

I asked Tom what he’d like as an alternative and to my surprise, he said, “Nothing. I’ll just have our usual food (meaning low carb, gluten free, grain, sugar and starch free foods). I don’t need sweets.” Of course, I’m thrilled with his response, always concerned for his health and well being.

Christmas wreath decorations in Penguin.

Today, as you can see we’ve posted the remainder of our photos from our walk through downtown Penguin. We’ll be back with more new photos tomorrow after tonight’s social event.

Beef marrow bone for sale in local grocery story. 

Here’s our recipe:

Polish Poppy Seed Bread (Strudel) Recipe
An Eastern European dessert table would invariably include something sweet made with poppy seeds, either ground or whole. This poppy seed strudel is made with a yeast dough and is known as makowiec (mah-KOH-vyets) in Polish. Canned poppy seed paste is available in the ethnic or baking aisle of most supermarkets. 

Makes 2 Sweet Polish Poppy Seed Breads
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

       1 package active dry yeast
       2 cups warm milk
     8 cups all-purpose flour
     3/4 cup sugar
     1 teaspoon salt
       5 eggs
     4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
     3 (11-ounce) cans poppy seed filling
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup 2% milk, starting with 1/4 cup milk until you have an easy to spread frosting
    1 tablespoon real vanilla


1.   In a small heatproof bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm milk.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and eggs. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups warm milk, butter and yeast mixture. With the paddle attachment, or by hand, beat until smooth. Dough will be sticky at this point.
3.  Scrape dough into a clean, greased bowl. Sprinkle the top with a little flour and cover. Let stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
4.  Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a rectangle.
5.  Spread 1 can or half of the filling you made on each rectangle of dough and roll up like a jelly roll. Turn ends under so filling will not leak out.
6.  Place on a parchment-lined or greased pan, cover and let rise again until double in size.

 7.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush tops with additional melted butter. Bake   
     45 to 60 minutes or until strudels are golden brown.  Don’t overcook.

8.  Remove from oven and cool. When totally cooled, neatly frost with above frosting recipe or use canned white frosting if preferred.
We tripled the Poppy Seed Bread recipe three times, making five loaves extra large.  See here in this original post on Tom’s birthday in December, 2012.
Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2015:

View of the pool and patio from the veranda at our vacation rental in Pacific Harbour, Fiji on the main island of Viti Levu where we stayed for one month over the holiday season. For more photos of this property, please click here.