Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

26.8.04

Menagerie.

We've had a few house moves over the last few years.

The house we are in now has something in common with the last. (Well, apart from walls, rooms, roof etc.)

Both houses had possums in the garden and a parrot next door.

At the last house, there was an old lemon tree that produced hundreds of lemons each season. It was the most prolific lemon tree I've ever seen. I used to hand bags of them round to all the neighbours. You can only drink so many gin and tonics.

The possum (or possums) would get into the tree at night and eat the rind off of the lemons. I'd come out in the morning and find perfectly peeled lemons still hanging right there on the tree.

Why didn't they eat the flesh? How did they manage to eat all the rind without knocking the lemons off the tree? And where did they go during daylight?

I don't know.

We have a young lemon tree in our current backyard as well. The possums haven't discovered it yet.

The other weekend, when we were away, I left the green waste bucket containing a couple of dozen squeezed orange halves outside the back door. We arrived home to find orange halves neatly sitting all around the back yard, with the squeezed flesh completely eaten out and only thin rind remaining.

So you've got your citrus rind-eating possums that leave the flesh and your citrus flesh-eating possums that leave the rind. Each to his own, I guess.

The parrots: our neighbour's parrot does its good morning raaawwwrrk and occasionally lets loose in the afternoon. It lives outside in a big cage.

Next door's parrot (white, yellow 'do) at our previous house lived inside, occasionally venturing out to take a stroll along the roof gutter, the front porch or the side fence. It was a lovely thing. When it was inside, we could hear it clearly through our open kitchen window.

The funny thing was, our neighbours there were Turkish, and the parrot would enunciate 'He-llo Co-cky!' in a distinctly Turkish accent.

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