Each summer I watch as the banana plant next to the Donald Street bridge develops a healthy crop. Who on earth planted them there? Is it someone from those houses in Baird Street, the ones that back onto the sloping piece of waste ground that separates their back yards and the bridge? Someone did: you can’t just go to a nursery and get a packet of banana seeds.
Equally as mysterious as their arrival is that, every summer (around late February or early March), they disappear. Are they harvested by the person who planted them? Knocked off by a rogue banana trader?
The urban foraging movement has gained a bit of momentum in Australia in the last couple of years; for places to find “Redfern celery” or “mental institution Illawarra plums” go here. I’ve been having a look around Hamilton North and Styx Creek to see what I can find. I think I could rustle up quite a feast.
This morning I found the ingredients for Drowned Rat Goulash.
A schnitzel requires some flattening out, but in Ham North we pre-flatten our animals for your convenience.
Those pesky pescetarians are catered for with a variety of fish dishes. Fruits de mer, anyone?
I had this fellow pegged for a bouillabaisse but now I’m not so sure; I think he’s looking at me.
I came across this duck egg sitting on a bed of water hyacinth. I suppose that even ducks get caught short every now then, the urge to lay overwhelming the ability to waddle back to the nest, but mother ducky’s loss is the urban forager’s gain. Yummo!
To finish off our urban forager’s repast we need a dessert. I have the perfect dish to end such a meal: Cat-Killed Mousse.
Sometimes a post just won’t write itself, no matter how hard I try. This was one such post, which I must have started 10 days ago. It wouldn’t gel and no matter how hard I pushed and poked it refused to develop into any useful form. I’m settled enough in my writing skin to know to stop pushing when it gets like this; at some point, the thing that was blocking it will become apparent and I’ll resolve it, or a new solution will emerge. This time, it was the latter.
The theme of the post when I started was the (then) impending cyclone or two to our north. There was the possibility of storms, and king tides, which hardly seemed real as February has been one continuous Top End-style build up, with dark clouds brewing and brooding without ever being unleashed upon us. One such cloud hung over the naphtha tower without coming to anything. (I love the way the cloud looks like some unholy fume, like Isengard.)
The tides have been incredibly low, allowing me to walk down the creek bed all the way to Maitland Road bridge and into Throsby Creek. This is by no means the lowest of those low tides; at one point the there was almost no water apart from the beck right down here.
Tonight was different, and not just for the fact that there was water. This was fresh water, backed up from the TAFE weir. Why do?
The force of the flood had once again stripped the beds of water hyacinth that build up in the old Styx that feeds from Gregson Park. Huge great islands of the stuff had banked up around litter boom causing the fresh water to pond behind it. The colours were so fresh and vivid that they cheered up an otherwise grim section of the creek.
And in the middle, a Big Red Car.
If you see a Wiggle, let them know where it is!
There’s still plenty of hot weather ahead of us, even though the days are getting shorter and we’re in the last official month of summer. I’m pulling burrs and seed heads and farmer’s friends out of Jambo’s coat every time we take a stroll off the beaten path; poor thing, he’s so low to the ground that he’s a magnet for anything that needs distributing about the countryside.
The other late summer crop that I’m seeing a lot of is the shopping trolley.
I haven’t figured out how it works but I can go for weeks on end without seeing any, but as soon as one appears it’s like word’s gotten out and then there’s two …
… and three …
… and … well, I could go on.
It could be that they’ve come down in the numerous flows we’ve had since late January. That might explain the beaten-up state they’re in.
But, like Christmas baubles, they do like to gather in herds.
Perhaps they sense the onset of autumn and they’re about to begin the Great Northward Trolley Migration.
Watch out: you have been warned!
The truth about dogs and cats? Busted.
Jambo will do anything to chase a cat and yet this puss is different. It’s taken up residence just off Boreas Road. I found some kids a few weeks ago making a shelter for it out of a packing case, and other people are leaving out bowls of food.
Most cats bolt when they see Jambo but this one marched out, bold as brass, and rolled around for a play. Now it’s a regular feature of our morning walk. Weird.