Another Country Diary
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21 February '02
The apples are next in the garden cycle. As the possums move along the branches at night, they're falling off with a thud onto the car roof. The wind does the same. I'll pick them today. We'll store some for eating fresh, but I think I'll dry most of them and make a little jar or two of apple sauce.
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Jane Grigson in her funny old-fashioned Jane Grigson's Fruit Book (Penguin Handbook.1983) says that it was a custom in Brittany that when an orchard was picked, "one last and best apple was left at the end of the highest branch. If it clung to the branch until all the leaves fell in the autumn winds, there would be a good crop next year, not just on that tree but in the whole orchard, pear trees and plum trees as well. This mother of apples 'is the sign of fertility, the apple of good luck'. An old man once said to me that Adam and Eve were driven out of the Earthly Paradise because they had eaten this miraculous apple".
It doesn't work on possums.
|22 February '02|
trees, mushrooms and toadstools go together. Our cypresses at the front and
cedar tree in the back of the house create the perfect environments for
fungi. The ones I can see from my work room window come and go in a
week, starting from a button like this one, moving into a
lovely feathered shaggy
cap and then becoming a flat dark brown and paper dry, insect eaten before rotting into
the needles and grass.
When I was living in the hill country in Gippsland, the wet mountain forests and paddock edges were fantastic sources of quite spectacular fungi. I've got rolls of film documenting finds of things like earth stars, giant orange boletus, and beefsteak fungus. There were plenty of edible ones but not a lot tasty enough that I'd want to eat twice. We even found our share of Psilocybe, quite important in those hippie days. I had a great field guide to Victorian Toadstools and Mushrooms that was my aid to what I could and couldn't eat, (more than you would think), but I'm far enough away from there now to make identifying some of these a lot harder.
As I was driving back from the ABC a few days ago I came down Limestone Avenue (near the War Memorial), and I had to change lanes to avoid a Volvo parked on the kerb. There was an older, European looking lady in a head scarf, picking a big patch of field mushrooms on the nature strip into a plastic supermarket bag. It made me feel good to know that that's one natural seasonal produce that's still appreciated by someone.
|23 February '02|
slashing the garden bed edges ready for mowing (again) I headed into the
kitchen, drew up the stool, put some music on (good old vinyl
records-the CD has finally had it after 8 years) and started to cut and
peel. Jan had picked up a bucket of apples from the ground and I'd
picked the branches of the plum tree that were outside the bird nets.
It's preserving time, heeehah!
I was picking the plums, four rosellas flew up into the gum trees and I
had to get the camera to record these intense colour
correspondences. Snap. Actual un-retouched images folks!
|24 February '02|
|25 February '02|
Today class, I'd like to discuss Show Food. That's not Slow Food, but the food served at shows, events and regional fairs.
While there's certainly been some change
in what's offered, (at the Canberra Show there were a couple of the
stall tents that are seen around the local craft markets),
alternative food is a minor
attraction to the masses.
The hot chips, fairy floss and toffee
apples seemed to have always been there and are probably as much British
as American. Drinks have moved from
glass bottles to cans and plastic bottles, but it's pretty much the same
sugary lemon, orange and lemonade (but now with lots of Coke). As
evidence of holding to a tradition, you can
still buy a paper cup of some green or red coloured drink from a glass
dispenser with a rotating paddle. Donuts were always cinnamon and sugar
dusted, now they're also jam filled and iced. You can buy red and green
toffee apples and pre-packaged fairy floss in three colours that still
dissolves in your mouth, even if it doesn't have the warm burnt sugar
smell of the fresh version.
|27 February '02|
been on my annual visit to Digital Media World and the Australian
Effects and Animation Festival. In the past I've had Press passes to the
lecture/demo sessions but this year it was just a visit to the Trade
show and the awards night screening.
The trade show was a sad and much reduced affair from past years, but the talk sessions were packed. Some speakers like Jim Rygiel, VFX Supervisor at Weta Digital (who did Lord of the Rings) was talking to standing room crowds. The audience I met streaming down the stairs seemed a healthy mix of wanna-be's, fans/ groupies, and industry and students.
The awards screening, with the now regular James Valentine as compere, was a collection of ninety clips of local and international work. The judges maybe leant towards a few partisan choices for awards from the examples I saw, but there was no doubt that the local quality is as good as anywhere. Covering work from TV, features, commercials, educational, student and web it was a good 'catch-up' now that I'm more fringe to the industry. The web examples were a bit ordinary, and watching them on the big screen in the same context as video animation reduced the wow factor. On my monitor, I would probably have said, 'hey that's great'.
The student work included the production above. Called Buckethead it's about an ageing and rusting service robot, that catches rain drips and is a very assured 3DS Max work from Daniel Hartney from the Victorian College of the Arts. I liked it and so did the judges, but then I'm biased towards robots anyway.
I went to the screening with Doug, and afterwards we cut across the city to have a late meal at Barbecue King. Some Tsing Tao's, roast pork, roast duck, garlic spinach and a chicken and fish fried rice I'd never tried, rounded out the evening just fine. A little city stimulation is vital for balanced country life I reckon. Burp.
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