It’s a fine day down in The Valley and our country frog is planning lunch for family members visiting from nearby Brisbane. The old timber picnic table under the jacaranda needs to be cleared...
… but the barbecue plate has been scraped and oiled, with a little helpful cheering from the onlookers.
It is just a matter now of removing the animals from the house yard where they all seem to be very happy...
... and then to prepare the meal. The chicken has been marinating under a blanket of yellow curry paste and will soon be ready to go on the barbecue with butternut pumpkin and onions.
And when the family arrives, they'll be greeted with a drop of champers and a platter of grilled fruit and vegetables to whet the appetite.
Then, as shadows lengthen and lingering country lunch is over, the guests might take a walk through the gumtrees to look for koalas…
… so that the hardworking clean-up crew can move in and tidy up the lawn.
About the food pictured: On the platter L) to R) is dry-grilled eggplant and red pepper, fresh cucumber, then alternating barbecued white nectarine and fennel bulb.
In the sparkling wine: Fresh-picked rosella hips boiled and preserved in a sugar syrup. Sometimes sold commercially as ‘wild hibiscus flower’, but far cheaper to make at home.
For Yellow Curry Paste recipe, click here. Chicken was barbecued under a hood (an upturned baking dish, in this case); unpeeled sliced pumpkin and ¼ onions were cooked on the BBQ plate
About the animals: The Red-Neck Wallaby is common in eastern parts of Australia. Usually shy and solitary, they ‘nest’ in thick scrub during the day, coming out to feed at dawn and late afternoon. Our much photographed female, however, was a bottle-raised orphan who does not understand the wild and proper ways of her cousins. Mostly she lives off the land and sometimes does not come home for days, then she will poke along into the house and make camp in a favourite armchair or sprawl out beside the fridge, which she knows contains carrots and apples. During mating time, a big wild buck red-neck often visits, grunting amorously out on the lawn.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos. Large and graceful, the emblemic kangaroo, is relatively common in cleared grassland that adjoins bush country. These two, a mature female with a youngster in the pouch, and her daughter from a previous year, frequently hop the fence for sweet pickings in the garden. Unlike the red-neck wallaby, eastern greys hang about in large family groups and the rest of this lot, about 20 of them, feed side-by-side with the horses. Safety in numbers, perhaps.
There are two koala colonies on The Farm where open eucalypt forest is recovering after it was virtually clear-felled by timber-getters in the 1960s. Today, this block of country is registered with Land for Wildlife, a government-funded scheme that assists landholders to provide habitat for wildlife through voluntary native flora conservation.
For more on habitat restoration see www.seqcatchments.com.au/LFW.html
For information on sustainable private forest practice visit http://www.privateforestrysthnqld.com.au/
|Up a gumtree, safe and sound|