Dead Bird Jam

Posted in Humor on June 11th, 2010 by MadDog
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Friend and former visitor to our home, Alison Raynor has sent some items which I know that you will enjoy. Let me begin by saying that there are two Rosellas. One is a beautiful small parrot. The other is a rather unusual fruit. Both are native to Australia. When Ali was visiting us, she left us with a jar of her home-made Rosella Jam. The joke is, of course, that it’s not made from dead birds. It’s made from these things:

About which you shall hear more later.

Rosella Jam is not  made of this:

Which is a Rosella parrot (Platycercus elegans),  quite a different thing altogether, eh?

Ali sent an email to me which is so amusing that I think it deserves to be quoted directly here. I hope Ali agrees with me, or I am in big trouble.

I went to our local country Agricultural Show yesterday and, as always, it was a great  experience and a chance to catch up with people I have not seen since last years show. (people make their annual pilgrimage out of the hills for this one … ha ha)

There is the compulsory drinking  of beers at the “cattle bar” along with  throwing a few dollars at the local ambulance and rural fire brigade “chocolate wheels” in the hope of winning a “frozen chook” (funny how  no one ever calls it the chook wheel … ha ha?)

It is the place of huge pumpkins, giant corn cobs, funny looking chooks, heavy horses and loads of bull sh*t –  literally!

There are the  best steak sandwiches that you have ever tasted, big tractors, bigger hats, cowboy boots and belt buckles that you could  eat your Sunday lunch off.  It’s a  place to watch HUGE  men with big, sharp axes chopping their way down from ridiculously tall wooden poles … (GUTS STUFF!!! ) and then, of course, there are the chainsaw races for those brave or silly enough to take part … (we have a general saying about such boys here – “Smart like donkey …  Strong like tractor”)  You need to be brave just to watch this stuff, but we all love it just the same. (Work place health and safety would have a field day writing reports  whilst  dodging large jagged wood missiles, flying axe heads and air-born splitting wedges weighing about 2 kg’s each.) It’s great to live in the reality of the simple county life instead of the sterility of the city – I think?

Anyway enough of that stuff, I’ll get to the point.  In the Horticulture Pavilion (a hay shed) I found the prize winning “Rosellas” and thought that I would send you the picture.  They are funny looking critters indeed and very hard to peel.  You don’t see rosella jam on any commercial shelf for just that reason, they are incredibly labour intensive and are a country kitchen sort of deal and the jams are generally made by Mum or Granny and found at fetes etc.

Speaking of huge guys chopping wood, here is one doing just that:

Scary enough for you?

And, just in case someone says to you, “How would I know? I just came in on a load of pumpkins!” This is what he came in on:

Okay, okay, I don’t know the difference between a pumpkin and a squash.

However, some of these look suspiciously like pumpkins to me:

Rather large too.

Here is the jar of Rosella Jam which Ali left with us:

It is sweet, but not too sweet. It is tart, but not too tart. The flavour . . .  well, I simply can’t describe it. It is, however, not like anything I’ve ever tasted before. I have eaten only a little of it. I’m saving it carefully refrigerated until my sense of smell returns.

Here is a closer look at the clever label:

But wait. There’s more. Ali wrote a poem for us.

Rosella Jam

By Alison Raynor – 2010

The Rosella is a spiky, little crimson flower fruit
With a tarty type expression and a sour kick to boot
You must add a lot of sugar to the brew.

It is really quite a “bottler” and the darling of our jams
Never found in supermarkets, only in a grandma’s pan.
It’s a jam of love- that’s made by precious few.

A little bit like mulberries it’s a country backyard crop
And it’s only in the autumn, that the luscious fruit will drop,
You must hunt them down- if you should choose to stew.

Rosellas are related to the flowers of tropic beauty
Hibiscus might be pretty but our ugly friends are fruity
It’s in the eye of the beholder” -That is true.

It isn’t quite a flower, not a veggie or a bird,
There are no parrots in Rosella Jam…That’s simply quite absurd.
We make sure to sieve all feathers from the brew.

It’s a flavour to be savoured, a rare delicious taste,
You’ll never find it mass-produced, it’s never made in hast.
It’s a gift from nature’s garden- just for you.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

And, with my good wishes for you today, I shall say goodbye.

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The Birds!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 11th, 2010 by MadDog
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This morning I walked over to the Hotel Pretentious to get few more  shots of the Victoria Crowned Pigeons. There’s a story here – I’ll try to keep it short, since there are a lot of pictures in this post and I want to get to them.

But first, A Pub-like Pronouncement:  I’d been corresponding with a Facebook friend who appeared, from her profile, to be an accomplished painter. There was a compete info page and lots of nice photos. Yesterday I got an email from “her” (not going to give the name, in case she got hacked and she’s for real) saying that she was stranded in London and urgently requested me to send her money . . . well, just read the email . . .

Hope you get this on time, sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip in United kingdom, I’m presently in Surrey and am having some difficulties here because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept. presently i have limited access to internet, I will like you to assist me with a loan of £1,450 to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home.

I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I’ll Refund the money back to you as soon as i return, let me know if you can be of any help.

I don’t have a phone where i can be reached.   Please let me know immediately.

Suspicious to say the least! There’s the fractured English, the peculiar amount, the urgent appeal, the sincere promise – all the hallmarks of a scam. In this case there was also the “lady in distress” for which I am a born sucker (ladies take note). “She” had previously contacted me via Facebook message asking me to get some more images of the Victoria Crowned Pigeon so that shes could paint them!  Fantastic!

I snooped around in Google and found that this is the “London Facebook Scam”. It seems that (if I have my facts right) hackers (criminals – it’s nearly synonymous now) set up fake Facebook sites to make “friends” (suckers!) and then use various means to defraud them of their hard earned cash. Well, I didn’t fall for that  one! All traces of this Facebook “friend” have now vanished, except  for the messages in my message folder which , curiously, now show no URL link at the bottom of Firefox and are not underlined.

So, that being announced, let’s get to The Birds! I’ll bet there are one or two which you may never have seen. This one, however is familiar to almost everybody:

It is, of course, the Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua  galerita),  considered vermin in Australia. I’ve had several as pets. I get them at the market when they are very young, sometimes still covered with tree sap from their nests. They bond strongly with humans and are incredible mimics. Walking around with your Cockatoo on your shoulder is common enough here. Over time, they gradually wander more and more until you never see them again. It’s a little sad, but if you’re going to keep wild birds as pets, it seems the most responsible way to do so.

You’ve seen the Sulfur-Crested here before in The Cocaltoo That Loathed Rush Limbaugh.

Well, you’ve seen this outrageous, world’s largest pigeon here before, so regular readers will recognise the Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria): 

This one is pecking madly at a Star Fruit freshly fallen from the tree.

Here’s another fairly familiar bird, the Papuan Hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus):

You’ve seen them here before in my post about the Balek Wildlife Sanctuary.

These are young individuals. The prominent horn on the upper beak is only now forming:

The eyes are startling.

This one is having a bad-hair day:

I haven’t had a good-hair day for a while.

I might be willing to place a small bet that you have never seen one of these:

It is a Pesquet’s Parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus),  sometimes known as the Vulturine Parrot.

It does present a rather menacing aspect. As I was shooting it, it moved toward me several times, trying to get it’s beak on my camera or my fingers, I’m not sure which:

I politely declined to allow that.

The image above may remind some long-time readers of of The Lorikeet From Hell in which I brutalised the Black-Capped Lorikeet (Lorius lory)  way back in September of 2008.

The resemblance is somewhat striking.

Okay, okay, I can hear you yawning from here. “Come on! Give me something I haven’t seen!”

Right! Never fear. IN YOUR FACE  – a Parrot Fight!

The pesky male Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus)  simply would not allow the giant, vulture-like black and red terror bird keep that tasty treat. It kept hounding the larger bird until it was worn down. It was a David and Goliath sort of thing.

If you find anything more interesting on the web today, please pass it along to me.

I’m bored. That usually means something dangerous is in the works.

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