Thursday, February 7, 2013

Garden -general, Tamarillos, Orioles, Channel Billed Cuckoo

Rainfall 5/2/13 8mm

The post storm tidy up is largely completed - the task  this afternoon was to pull down a suspended Sheoak  - the one that just missed the woodshed. Initial removal had left a large portion suspended in some adjacent trees. Using some wire and the wire fence strainer it was successfully pulled down to the ground for cutting up with the chainsaw. It was too dangerous to leave where it was and it looked unsightly.

We collected the tamarillos and managed to use about 50% of them - they were bottled in a sucrose based syrup:

The other afternoon whilst having a cuppa on the verandah we noticed a flock of  Olive-backed Orioles (Oriolus sagittatus) in a nearby tree -  usually we only see them in one's or two's:

They are probably feeding on the Ficus benjamina (Weeping fig) that is on our property - the Flying foxes are certainly visiting this tree at night at present also. Another bird spotted  (there was a pair) also probably feeding on this tree was a Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae). We didn't manage to get a photo so this is from elsewhere:

They are a big bird with a distinctive call a little like part of a kookaburra call.
Finally when out walking in the Mt Petrie reserve a few days ago  spotted a flowering weedy looking plant :
Unfortunately the flower is out of focus -  I think it is  Tephrosia glomeruliflora (Pink Tephrosia) but will need to go back  and take a better look. If it is the case it is an exotic weed and should be removed.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Horned Melon

Rainfall 31/1  25mm

The  cucurbit that has been flourishing has set some fruit and it looks like it is
a horned melon:

Cucumis metuliferus
The size of this fruit is 120x60mm (- might get bigger yet) 

I am not sure where I got this  plant from - maybe our garden club (TSGS)
as a member gave a talk about it last year.

We have never eaten it but it will be on the menu as soon as it ripens.

According to Wikipaedia this may be the original melon type and it is still
used in Africa as a food item.  As a general rule I recommend the food groups that humans ate as we evolved in Africa ( as Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens) as logically our metabolism is best adapted to such foods.  This certainly falls into that category.

Pubmed has one abstract (the full article is also available) which reports that the pulp of this fruit has a hypoglycaemic (glucose reducing) effect in diabetic rats.
Generally such a finding is transferable to humans.