This week there was a murder to solve, Jenga towers came crashing down and the hydroponics started to give the crew a supply of fresh lettuce.

Thanks for…

This week we give thanks to the team for being able to have fun together. On Saturday night we decided to have a murder mystery dinner.

Character cards were handed out on the Tuesday and there was much secretive journeying to the costume room to select a suitable outfit for the evening.

The scene was set when we were told that we were travelling on the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul!

There was a princess (Craig) and her maid (Nessy), an English general (Jose), a rich widow (Cal), an eccentric scientist (Gunny), a wealthy American businessman (Tony H) and a gambler (Gav), as well as the train conductor (Chris) and porter (Janelle) at the dinner table. We enjoyed crispy pork belly and racks of lamb with veggies; the Pimms and sparkling was flowing and it was a great dinner, then we all retired upstairs and unfortunately Gunny the scientist was MURDERED!

Now we had to identify the killer and the four undercover agents from various world security services…

It was a fun night ending in multiple games of increasingly complex Jenga at the bar.

Photo of the week

Hydroponic therapy

The hydroponics hut is a little nondescript silver hut next to the red shed, you would never know what was inside unless you looked closely.

We had a little bit of a delay getting the hydroponics set up but it is now 12 weeks into our Mawson stay and we are starting to produce fresh greens for the kitchen. There are six of us on the roster and we take turns to talk to the plants under the guidance of the hydroponics master Shane.

The tubs are divided up into flowering and non-flowering plants, because they need different levels of nutrient and pH. The pH, water temperature and nutrient level is checked daily and adjusted as required. The rostered hydro person also checks for any leaks or blockages in the system and records the daily min and max temperatures. With all the heat lights on it is near 30 degrees during the day and around 30% humidity compared to the outside temps of −15 to −20 and no humidity. The unique job for us in Antarctica is remembering to redirect the fan air intake if a blizzard is coming… don’t want to have snow in our tropical paradise!

Around the inside walls are planted the climbing plants like tomatoes and sweet peas; these are interspersed with basil, chilies and parsley. Along the centre are the lettuce, bok choy, kale and rhubarb. We also have a small herb garden with dill, thyme and mint.

Yesterday I got to pick some lettuce and we enjoyed lettuce sandwiches for lunch and bok choy that went perfectly with the crispy pork belly that Gav made for dinner.

The tomatoes are starting to set a few fruit and the zucchinis are going crazy with little baby zucchinis setting everywhere, and some spare flowers for the kitchen as well. My favourite herb, basil, is almost nearly at picking stage and I can’t wait to eat a fresh basil leaf.