Sunday 25 May 2014

Jojo the Entertainer

Now I have shared Cockatoos and in particular Jojo the Cockatoo from the Wildlife Dome a few times (maybe a few too many). On my last trip to the Dome a couple of weeks ago Jojo was in fine form, preforming for us, playing and just plain showing off.

He even did some dancing for us much to everyone's entertainment.

Sometimes he is in an utterly foul mood and spends his time telling everyone off, trying to bite if you touch and digging holes but often food and fooling around can change this and will capture his interest in a more positive way. 

Well obviously us playing around with food worked and he was on a role, even showing off his wings on command. I think below is an awesome caption photo. What would you caption it?

On the other hand here are some of his wild relatives hanging around the corner from our place.

I love hearing them around in the morning and some evenings and never get sick of watching them.

They certainly are smart and inquisitive AND know where the food is.


So I have been a bad blogger again but here is one about Rosellas in my garden. No, not the bird rosella, the plant/ fruit. Last year I planted Rosella bushes in our garden, I figured they were worth a try. It must have been around this time of year as well. They didn't do much, like the rest of the garden really, so I left them be. I was surprise when the bushes didn't die off as they usually do every year.
They did eventually do something and that was grow and grow and grow some more. So again I left them be hoping for some fruit off them despite the fact that they pretty much took over our small garden bed. They ended up taller than the fence, pretty much one story tall in the end. 

With the wet weather a couple of months ago the size of one made it too heavy for it's root system depth under the soggy ground and it started leaning and leaning and taking over the grass area. It also started to flower and get tiny little fruits on it. So we tied it to the fence, as you do, and hoped it would keep heading in this productive direction.

Well it did and when there was enough fruit ready it was time to harvest.

So one morning, nice and early to beat the green ants that decided the rosella bush is a good daytime hang out, I picked, cut and tore rosellas of the bush. I couldn't get them all and some were still small so I left them for later.

These became rosella jam, all 350ish grams of the flesh. Yum! And after his first ever taste Mr Sparky decreed we couldn't give that away. Good thing because it only really made two jars.

A couple of weeks later Mr Sparky gave rosella harvesting a go. Good thing too, he is taller than me and a lot less worried about the green ants biting too. Another 550ish grams of rosella flesh made into jam, another 3 jars.

Now rosella jam isn't that hard, everything you need minus the sugar and some water is found in the fruit. It is a little painful though because you have to separate the pretty red outside or calyx from the seed in the middle. I had only made it on The Station before and remembered it being tasty, but it was a while ago. It is handy to use an apple corer or small cutter to get the calyx part off, cutting it around the stem. I do recall using a bullet shell was even easier though and a much better size cutter being smaller.

I did look up a recipe, just to check, but rosella jam uses the same theory as most other jams, match the fruit weight and sugar weight. You also need a pectin from something to set jam, usually this is from lemon but rosellas have their own. It is in the seed pod part in the middle of the fruit, so even that gets used. The seeds are boiled separately to extract the pectin and then the liquid is strained off and added to the calyxs and sugar. Some lemon as well is optional but I added the juice of 1/2 to both of my batches. I also added extra water to help with boiling the jam as their wasn't much liquid in it or the fruit.

It turned out well, I think and is such a pretty colour. Some people strain out the pieces of calyx and make more of a jelly but I like the chunky bits.
It feels good to get back to some good old cooking.
Now I am waiting on the next lot of fruit to get big enough.
Here is a recipe I found for if you ever get a hold of some rosellas. There are many different versions, some with other ingredients and some like this one that don't use the seed pod.

Monday 5 May 2014

A Barron Sunrise

This morning when we got up, our normal just before 6am get up time, it was a bit cooler, a whole 13.6 degrees C. Considering last winter up here maybe got down to 10 degrees I think it might be a bit of a cooler one this year. Mind you you have to realise that it should get back up to the high 20s, they are predicting 27 today or possibly even up to 30 which has been the norm recently.

Something I noticed was how much darker it was this morning compared to Friday morning. The change was very noticeable, there was barely light in the sky, just that funny greenish early morning glow. However as I write this the sun is up and the temperature will follow that pattern quickly.

This reminded me of my recent sunrise chasing habits, mind you them getting later will make this easier, and the fact that I went down to the Barron River to take photos the other morning. This is the same river that the impressive waterfall is on from a previous post. These photos were from the same morning I headed to Palm Cove.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Chillin' at the Cove

Thursday morning I went sunrise chasing, which I have been trying to do almost every day this week if Mr Sparky will ever get out the door early enough. Mind you I am the one with their car at the back of the garage line up mostly, due to also being the one who comes home from work at nearly midnight but that is beside the point.
Back to this post. Now I'm not showing sunrise pics here, maybe on another post. This is the post sunrise post with pics that I took when I finally made my way to the most popular beach, apparently, around here ... Palm Cove.

It is a pretty place to visit with a very long beach and like all beaches up here, a very short place for swimming that mostly protects you from the nasty bite-y things in the water.

I found some familiar friends having breakfast in the trees.

Then some more familiar friends, some Welcome Swallows, breakfasting, sunning, playing and preening in the sun.

I walked along the jetty, it was lovely, quiet, peaceful and just plain nice to be out and about.

I then met a new friend.

Isn't he cute, I mean gorgeous, ummm I mean maybe quirky.

This is a Brown Boobie. Let me tell you we found that name very entertaining, What children we are.

His head looks all soft and velvety and his eyes are such a piercing grey.

We spent a lot of time getting all friendly, up close and personal, well as up close and personal as was comfortable. 

He was even comfortable enough to have a bit of a preen.

While I was comfortable enough enjoying the view and the morning sun, maybe too much sun.

I then headed back down the beach to my car.

Something caught my eye along the way. Can you see it in the the photo below?
Down in the left hand corner of the picture. In the little wave.

Bit tricky to see but below is another pic, the best I took of it actually the only one where you could see it. Can you see it there in the top right hand corner?

Yep I saw a little ray in the water, cruising along the beach getting a bit tumbled in the waves.

What a nice way to spend the morning.