Thursday 28 January 2010

SkyWatch Friday; High drama;

Please click to enlarge pictures.

Click here for SkyWatch Friday;

With thanks and appreciation to the SkyWatch Team.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Flowering Fishtail Palm;

Caryota mitis; Please click the picture.

Caryota is a genus of palm trees. They are often known as fishtail palms because of the shape of their leaves. There are about 13 species native to Asia and the South Pacific. One of the more widely known species is Caryota urens, which yields sap used to make an unrefined sugar called jaggery, and also to make palm wine. They are also one of the few Arecaceae with bipinnate foliage. Many grow in mountainous areas and are adapted to warm mediterranean climates as well as subtropical and tropical climates.
The leaves or fronds are very long (up to 7m) with very distinctive fishtail shaped leaflets.

The whole plant contains needle-like calcium oxalate crystals which if chewed or eaten can produce a burning sensation in the mouth. Skin contact can result in burning, itching and dermatitis.

I have not experienced any of the negative aspects of this plant.

The flowers look sensational; with the slightest touch clouds of yellow pollen are released.
When I planted this species 20 years ago I did not know that it was a declared weed!

The fruit are berries about 1cm in diameter, becoming red or black when mature. These are borne on numerous long stems.

Believe it or not:
One of life's simple pleasures is keeping company with good friends.
American Proverb)

Friday 15 January 2010

SkyWatch Friday ;A happy Sky;

Ring the bell!
Seedpod of Cassia fistula;

Grasses have the most attractive flower heads.
Please click the pictures.

SkyWatch Friday is on again. Thank you to the team who is putting on this show and is ready to give us a good time! So, please click to see the show!

Monday 11 January 2010

The orchard provides...

Mangoes "Tommy Atkins are the first to ripen.
When the bats or possums are starting to eat them we know they are ready to be harvested.
This year is a very good Mango Year. We gave also full buckets to our neighbours.

This tree bears Banana Jack Mangoes.

Mangoes Tommy Atkins.
We grow many different kinds of Mangoes. E2R2; Kwan; Keitt; Nam doc mei; Pico and more.

The grapes ripen after Christmas through January. This is a Isabella, which does not need to be sprayed. Grapes must be pruned end of August.

Jaboticaba tree crops four times a year. We eat the fruit fresh from the tree. It has a sweet pulp inside the black skin which we do not eat as it has a bitter taste. Pop the whole fruit into the mouth and spit out the skin.

Bananas and Papayas, here they are called Papaws, are easy to grow. Who has taken a bite out from the papaw? Probably A bird, Possum or a rat!

Believe it or not:
A table, a chair. a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
Albert Einstein Physicist

Friday 8 January 2010

SkyWatch Friday; Where sky and desert meet;

The Breakaways;

The Breakaways is located on the Aboriginal Antakirinja Land which is located in far North of South Australia, 25 Kilometres North-North-West of the Opal Mining Township of Coober Pedy.

Aboriginal people have lived in this area for thousands of years and the Breakaway's area has been held as a very important place for Aboriginal people. Before the white settlement the name of the area was "Umoona" which is named after the Umoona tree meaning long life which is found at the Breakaway's and the Umoona Community in Coober Pedy.
After white man inhabited this area in search of opal Aboriginal people named this area Kupaku Piti meaning "white man's hole". Kupaku is a Muntunjarra word for White man and Piti is an Antakirinja word for hole. These are two traditional groups who own this area, the first group being Antakirinja and the other being Muntunjarra.
Aboriginal culture does not allow the full story of the Breakaways to be told as it is a teaching place for all young Wati's(Men).

Click here to see the sky;

Thank you to the SkyWatch team.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Summer Harvest; Melons;

Melon is a name given to various members of the Cucurbitaceae family with fleshy fruit. Melon can refer to either the plant or thefruit, which is a false berry. Many different cultivars have been produced, particularly of muskmelons. The plant grows as a vine. Although the melon is a fruit, some varieties may be considered "culinary vegetables".

The origin of the melon as we know it today is rather shrouded in mystery. Of a surety, they originated in Asia and Africa rather than in the US, and brought to England around the sixteenth century AD. Melons were first introduced to the New World by Columbus during his second expedition. They were part of rations aboard the ships to help prevent scurvy in sailors. Once his men had eaten them and discarded the seeds, the crop quickly took hold in Haiti and spread from there. Seeds were also brought to California by Spanish Conquistadors. Navajos were farming the fruit by the 1800s, from seeds brought from Latin America. However, melons did not gain prominence as a common food until it was brought again during the slave trade.

Its genus and species are both Cucunis. Within these groups, they are also distinguished by their Latin names into two groups, Cucumis (muskmelons), and Citrullus (watermelons.). Aside from these classifications, they are also separated into many varieties. Exactly how many varieties is unknown. The three most common are the watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. The cantaloupe, also called a muskmelon, belongs to the Cucumis family. It has beige, netted skin and sweet orange flesh that is high in beta carotene.

Melons are a highly nutritious food. It has been touted for centuries that they have numerous medicinal properties. The seeds of cantaloupe were used in China to moderate fevers and the digestive system. Elsewhere, seeds were pulverized and used to treat tuberculosis. Cantaloupes are particularly beneficial to people with heart disease, as they contain large of amounts of an anticoagulant known as adenosine. They also contain high levels of potassium, which benefits those with high blood pressure. Due to their high water content, all melons are considered diuretics.

There is also evidence that suggests that consumption of melons can lower the risk of cancer. USDA researches have discovers that melons contain lycopene, an antioxidant found in a select group of fruits and vegetables. Lycopene treats and prevents cancer by trapping free-radicals in cells.

Member of the gourd and pumpkin family, melons are notoriously “promiscuous,” meaning that they must be kept separate from other melons due to the fact that they readily pollinate each other. They are not particularly hardy, nor are they very frail. They require about four months of warm weather, and like lots of direct sunlight. Unlike some vegetables, indoor germination with plans to transplant outside does not work well. Melons simply will not grow well that way. For best results, seeding them outdoors in early may works very well. Since they are a vine fruit, they require lots of space to spread out; some dwarf or midget varieties can do well in planters, such as large truck tires. No matter how you plant them, melons must be kept warm. If the temperatures drop below fifty regularly, the result will be small, bitter fruit. Two other requirements are fertile soil and lots of water. Good dirt is imperative to grow melons. These fruits also require copious amounts of water. However, as fruits grow nearer to harvest, it is recommended to cease watering for one week prior to picking. This will allow the sugars to develop.

excerpts curtesy wikipedia.

Home grown Melons are dripping with sweetness.

Photos TS

Believe it or not:
The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
(Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.)