Monday, May 17, 2010

of Birds and seeds

Yesterday I was trying, for the tenth time, to replicate a chilli con carne dish famous in my youth. No luck! It is OK, but just doesn’t look and taste the same; in fact it’s ‘not within a bull’s roar’! Pity. I will give it another go some other time.

The fatty and gristly meat scraps I carefully trimmed off were tossed out on our back lawn for magpies and crows to eat. I watched as four maggies and one crow (Raven) swooped in for a feed. The Magpies each took one piece of meat and worried it on the grass and eventually swallowed it. The Raven went around collecting ten pieces of meat, holding them in his beak and then flew off to eat or share with other Ravens on someone’s roof. I’m not sure that Crows/Ravens are that nice and probably don’t share with the rest of the mob. By the way, the collective noun for a mob of Crows/Ravens is a ‘Murder’.

It got me thinking about birds and the wide diversity of different habits and foods of the some 18000 species of birds. Magpies and other species use their pointed beak to search out worms in the soil. Chickens (fowl) are scratchers, others are good at removing bark on trees searching for grubs and Parrots use their pincher beaks for cracking nuts and eating fruit. Hawks and Eagles eat meat, live and carrion. Crows eat anything! Smaller birds are mostly insect eaters and some fly under our covered area searching out spiders.

So why is it that other species such as the cats, the dogs and the reptiles all eat the same tucker? They are all carnivorous. Is that they key to it?

Humans are omnivorous and we can eat just about anything …and do. A recent show on TV showed people eating poo.

Enough of that silliness.

Before we travelled over to Queensland I bought two packets of Broad Bean seeds and planted them in two different gardens. They had germinated before we left and when we returned I noticed that there seemed to be some ‘ring-ins’ amongst the germinated plants. Some look very much like Zucchini plants and I am sure they are. Just for interest sake I took some photos of the plants with my new camera, printed off a pic of the broadies alongside the foreign seedlings and went to Bunnings where I had purchased the seed packs. I also pulled out one of the foreign seedlings to show her. I tried to explain that I wasn’t after any freebies but just wanted to show them that it seemed that Yates seed had somehow been mixed up at some stage.

The lady in the gardening section told me the problem was powdery mildew??? I discussed that possibility but went on to say that the plants were obviously different. She then thought it was important that I identify which type of BB seeds I had bought…..Frustration! I again told her that it didn’t really matter which type of BB seed I had bought; the problem was that some different seeds had become mixed into the packet.

At last she saw that the BB seedlings were quite different to the foreigners and mentioned that the Yates Rep. is going to be at their store tomorrow. I am now to expect a visit from the Rep. with no doubt another packet of seeds…not really what I was after.

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