Eco-fiesta, one of the city council’s best community initiatives in the thirty-plus years I have lived here, celebrated its 30th birthday yesterday with another wonderful festival. Dozens of stalls, hundreds of happy visitors, perfect weather, all in the beautiful surroundings of Anderson Park – what more could anyone ask for?
It has always been an event for all ages, but the young parents now taking their small children to it have known it since they were small children themselves. In its first years it was a fringe-hippie event but now it is mainstream, without having changed at all. Recycling, vegetarian food, solar power, bee-keeping, yoga and the rest have all become ‘normal’ to a large part of the community. Eco-fiesta has played a large part in that, and the world is a better place for it.
But let’s get on to specifics. As usual, I wandered at random, chatting to stall-holders and coming home with a handful of flyers and fridge magnets. There were far too many offerings to do them all justice but I will mention as many as I can, encouraging you to click through to their websites or facebook pages for further information. Continue reading “Eco-fiesta 2022 wrap-up”
The Wet season has arrived, with thunderstorms and brief downpours of 20 – 50 mm or more, and the natural world is responding to the combination of heat and moisture as it always does. Fungi, in particular, are emerging in numbers and varieties we haven’t seen since … well, our visit to the Daintree, actually, but we haven’t seen them here since last Wet season.
Some fungi are weirder than others, and some names are more risible than others. This one wins on both counts.
Six years ago I rescued some suckers from a neglected South Townsville garden and planted them in my own. Two years ago I rescued some more when we moved house, to plant them in my new garden. This week I found myself with a bunch from the original (still neglected) patch and a bunch from my new patch, and here they are, side by side.
Having collected and ripened enough Burdekin Plums to make some jam, as described in my previous post, I began experimenting. My results after many hours of simmering were mixed – but that’s what experimenting is all about, isn’t it?
Burdekin Plum Jam Recipe 1 – Del Turnbull
Big panful of ripe plums
Cover plums with water and boil gently for 1 ½ hours.
Strain and measure juice. (Put fruit out for wallabies, they love them.)
To every 5 cups of juice add 4 ½ cups sugar and ½ pkt of jamsetta.
Boil for 10 mins, try on a saucer in the fridge. If the surface doesn’t crinkle, boil another 5 mins and try again.
When it crinkles pour into preheated sterilised jars (in oven at 50 deg for 10 mins).
And that’s it.
I was introduced to the Burdekin Plum fairly soon after arriving in Townsville so I’ve known the fruit for twenty-five years or more, but somehow without getting around to eating one or knowing much about them.
That looked like it would change when we moved into a house that had a big tree in the neighbour’s yard, overhanging our roof, and the time has come: we had the tree trimmed last week and picked up a couple of buckets of fruit afterwards, too many to ignore.
History and botany
The Burdekin Plum, Pleiogynium timoriense, is native to coastal Queensland and its range extends through New Guinea, the Pacific Islands and Indonesia to Malaysia. It has been here, with surprisingly little change to the fruit, for at least thirty million years according to Andrew Rozefelds and Ngaire Kane whose article gives the best introduction to the species I have found.