Monday, July 03, 2006

Mandarins for all

We have a mandarin tree in our back yard. I'm not sure how old it is, but it has been there for quite a long time. We have never really gotten much out of it. A friend from work has a mandarin tree and every winter he brings in bags and bags of big, sweet, juicy, seed-free delicious fruits and we all gorge ourselves and thank him profusely (well, I do, at least!!). Our fruit, on the other hand, is not so tasty. A little tart, some might say. "Bloody sour!" I say. One year we woke up one morning to the sound of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos on our roof and the roofs of the surrounding houses, and all over our tree, having a wonderful feast on our mandarins. There must have been about 50 or 60 of them. It was pretty cool, and at least someone was enjoying the fruit!

Yesterday after I hung the washing out, I looked over at our poor old tree. It was covered in orange fruit, and looked great. My work friend told me that I should pick all the fruit off and cut back the tree so that next year we'll have a better crop. So I grabbed a chair and the washing basket and started picking all the mandarins I could. I quickly found that there is quite a technique to it. You can't just pull them - the skin rips off. You have to twist-and-pull. I think I mastered it by the end. The cats were very curious about what I was doing, but after getting hit in the face by swinging branches one too many time they quickly learned to stay away.

Anyway, as you can see, I managed to harvest a fair amount. The look on Atticus' face when I brought it inside was priceless! He started bouncing up and down with joy (he can't quite jump yet) and exclaiming "'rin! 'rin!" and almost fell into the basket trying to get his hands full. My mother found the nicest looking one and peeled it for him... His poor little mouth puckered up and he gave me a very surprised look. But quickly swallowed it down and clamoured for more. He's a sucker for punishment, that kid.

Actually, I tasted one - it wasn't too bad!

1 comment:

wulf said...

Atticus really is a sucker for more punishment :)

Your lucky you only had 50-60 Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. Last year there was a swarm of cockateels flying around the glebe/forest lodge/newtown/Uni area. The swarm when FD and I saw them was easily over 150 in number. The record from Wires stated the roving community grew to 500 in number. I don't think your tree or backyard would have survived if that number had turned up. Thankfully half the number have migrated out of the city. However I believe those that stayed are in a turf war with the Cockatoos. I like to think of them as the Jets. Clicking their claws and drancing to the broadway music. Heh, if I close my eyes I can see it now.