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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One, rosella, two roseela, three rosella, more....

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,

Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,

Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,

Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble." ~ Macbeth

 Rosella is a bird; a red & blue bird, familiar to a whole generation of Australian children as the logo for soup ~ tomato generally.  They live high in the tree tops, feed on the gum blossom, nest in the hollows in trees & make an abominable screeching as they come in to roost at night.  As a general thing I'm not overly fond of any of the parrot family.  They are noisy & quarrelsome & quite aggressive but just the same the idea of turning them into jam was not an idea that had ever crossed my slightly haywired brain!

When we first moved to the island we received an invitation, a rather special invitation, to morning tea at The Farm.  The Farm is situated halfway down the island, perched high on the hill, the road cutting away below, the dark green of avocado leaves spreading like an undulating sea to the very edge of the swamp.  Between the avocados & the ancient house lay the garden, an old fashioned, straggling, riotous garden full of exotic & native plants & the pride of the island.  We had heard so much about The Garden, & been told so often how rare it was for invitations to view it to be issued, we were a little in awe because it was  the garden we had come to see.  It is my sort of garden.  The beds are deep, the fragile flowers shyly peeking out from under a tangle of bushes, big old trees waving their gay flags in the breeze, birdbaths full of tepid water, lichened stones & meandering pathways but not much grass.  Grass should be banned in this country.

We dutifully meandered.  We ooohed & we ahhhed & we exclaimed.  We discussed the merits of this & that & eventually happily accepted an invitation to stay for morning tea.  I was sorry almost as soon as we'd agreed.  Apologising profusely our hostess told us it was only scones & Rosella jam!!!!  My mind boggled.  I seriously envisioned something full of feathered bits  & hollow bones, bits of beak, brazen eyeball ~ eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, adders fork & blind worm's sting.  I was feeling a little unhinged to say the least.

My look must have said it all, though being a well brought up child I was politely spreading jam sparingly on my scone because it looked just like big gooey globs of clotted blood & I was just hoping I wouldn't gag in the wrong place & give myself away completely.

 Rosella is a bush.  It is one of the edible hibiscus, an introduced species, & commonly grown throughout the northern states.  As a Sydney girl I'd never heard of it though both my parents are Queenslanders & had certainly eaten it before.  Not being much of a jam eater I guess I missed this one somewhere along the track.
Rosella is a jam. It tastes red & not in the least bit like bird.


Jeanne said...

Sometimes you are very funny.

Oh, and I do not like hibiscus anything much - except as a flower in the garden. I don't like the jam, nor the tea, nor the syrup, nor the flower as an additive for champagne, which in my family is sheer sacrilege.

I do however love the birds, and would not want them made into jam.

Ruby said...

You've made my day my dear!
Born and bred on Rosella Jam!

Ganeida said...

Jeanne: No I don't like it either. So pleased not to find funny bits in it! ☺

Ruby: My mother couldn't believe I even considered bird for a minisecond. Obviously I wasn't paying attention somewhere...

Julie said...

LOL! I loved this post too....

joyfulmum said...

Lol! Laughing at your post and the comments:) and no I had not heard of rosella jam until just a few moments ago:)

Anonymous said...

I live in the mildest, sunniest part of England and my first husband used to keep Rosellas in a aviary in our back garden. The aviary flight was a good size and the birds were well kept, both warm and well-fed. But, I'm not really very happy about caged birds. He also kept African Grey parrots and I loved hearing their soft, low whistles at dawn.
Now, I'm very content to hear our native birds with their dawn chorus in the spring and summer. Not so colourful or exotic, but beautiful never-the-less.
My favourite British bird is the cheeky, colourful robin. I know he can be quite aggressive and territorial, but he can be almost tame.

Ganeida said...

Hi Kate! ☺ Thank you for commenting. Yes, Rosellas make good pets & generally adapt well to captivity. I love robins too ~ though ours are different & pretty shy. They are eco~sensitive & though we kept most of our native bushland I think the drought did for the rose & yellow robins we used to see here.

Julie: Just another of my dorky moments. lol

Rosemary: Glad you got a giggle. I have some truly blond moments!