Zucchini fritters

Bought a bunch of discounted zucchini and knew the time had come to try making fritters

Turned out to be as easy as grating six cups, salting for half an hour to drain some liquid, then adding a cup of grated cheese, a cup of flour and three eggs.

Beak Technique project grows

The Beak Technique project was discussed at the March meeting of the March meeting of the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists

The project has been funded through Create NSW to develop a series of children’s activity sheets that link local bird species with their habitat.

“We’re now able to print a colour flier to promote the sheets and illustrate the bird species, through additional support for Orana Arts.”

“These activities will link bird identification with their diet and native plant species,” said Mr Richardson.

The project has grown in scope as funding became available, from support through Leeton Shire Council for a Country Arts Support Program grant through Western Riverina Arts and NSW Government’s Create NSW.

"Each sheet will promote four birds and five plant species and we've now added a fifth activity sheet for cockatoos."

Richardson and partner Jo Roberts have been finalising bird and plant species that will be included in the designs.

"Thanks to the contributions from the Field Naturalists at the March meeting, which helped narrow the decision-making process and your comments were invaluable."

“I wanted the bird species to include a range of everyday and one aspirational species,” said Ms Roberts.

The choices have also ensured a diversity of colours for the activity sheets.

Cockatoos (seeds, roots berries and nuts)

- Sulphur-crested

- Black varieties

- Major Mitchell’s

- Galah

• Eucalyptus melliodora - Yellowbox 

• Allocasuarina verticillata - Drooping Sheoke

• Microlaena stipoides - Weeping grass

• Acacia deanei - Dane's Wattle

• Spiny or hedge saltbush

Parrots (seeds, flowers, nectar)

- Superb

- Yellow rosella

- Blue Bonnets

- Mallee Ring-necked

• Acacia decora - Western Silver Wattle

• Atriplex nummularia - Old Man Saltbush

• Themeda australis - Kangaroo Grass

• Callistemon sieberi - River Bottlebrush 

• Eucalyptus microcarpa - Grey Box

Honeyeaters (insect and nectar)

- Black

- White-plumed

- Spiny-cheeked

- Striped

• Grevillia - 'Robyn Gordon

• Eremophila longifolia - Emu Bush

• Acacia pendula

• Amyema quandong - Grey Mistletoe

• Blakeley's Red Gum - Eucalyptus blakelyi

Finches (seed)

- Sparrows

- Diamond firetail

- Zebra

- Double-barred

• Carex appressa - Tall Sedge  

• Allocasuarina verticillata - Drooping Sheoke 

• Danthonia species - Wallaby Grass

• Dysphana pumilio - Clammy Goosefoot

• Poa sieberiana- Tussock Grass

Fantails/Robins (insects and invertebrates)

- Willy wagtail

- Red-capped robin

- Superb blue wren

- Yellow-rumped thornbill

• Acacia doratoxylon - Currawang/Myall

• Acacia montana - Malle Wattle

• Callitris glaucophylla  White Cypress pine 

• Allocasuarina luehmannii - Bulloak  

• Eucalyptus microcarpa -  Grey Box

Invitation to time travel

Among many distinctions the concept of time travel must rate as one of the greatest flights for the imagination

Many still remember the exhilaration they felt when first asked:

What would you see if you traveled back in time?

You and your imagination are welcome to attend a screening of the classic dinosaur film, The Lost World.

It excited audiences nearly a century ago with dinosaurs from 68-160 millions years ago.

The screening on Saturday 17 April will feature an original soundtrack I’ve composed.

That story originated with Arthur Conan Doyle in 1912 and recent discussion of megaflora on subantarctic islands brought to mind the fascinating discoveries of megafauna in the Murrumbidgee.

Like so many dinosaurs that have captured in the public imagination, I can’t believe that diprotodon isn’t the word on everyone’s lips.

Evidence of this mega wombat was first found by Sir Mitchell (then Major) in caves near Lithgow during 1830.

Over the last century more diprotodon remains have been found in our region.

It’s surprising that if one wanted to meet dinosaurs, one wouldn’t need to travel back too far if a time machine were available.

“Megafauna — including oversized kangaroos and mega-lizards — died out thousands of years ago, but the Diprotodon could have survived on the Liverpool Plains of NSW until about 7,000 years ago, according to the Australian Museum.”

It’s unclear whether the giant wombat-looking creature died due to climate changes or human hunting, but remains have been identified as recently as 2019:

“Two Snowy Monaro Regional Council workers found the fossil at a place known for its paleontological richness, but kept secret from the public.”

The ABC article has a headline announcing this “Site a secret well kept by scientists” and one wonders whether that’s significant.

"It looks like a riverine deposit, so they've probably been washed down a river somehow," Dr McCurry said.

A diprotodon discovery outside Wagga in 1893 was unearthed while digging a well “at Downside, on what is known as Honlaghn's Creek (sic — probably Houghlahans Creek), which is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee.”

“The fossils were found in a bed of yellow sand at a depth of 29 feet, below a rich mass of alluvial soil, which forms the banks of the watercourse. A large number of detached, massive, mysterious bones were found, and they were eagerly seized by all the passers by who could get hold of them.

“Fortunately, Mr. C. H. Croakey, an auctioneer, had nous enough to send some of them to the Sydney Museum, where they were at once recognised as the bones pf the extinct Diprotodon,” (Illustrated Sydney News, Sat 6 May 1893,  page 12.)

The Murrumbidgee region must be rich in riverine deposits but not all the creatures from prehistoric times will be found in layers of sediment.

It’s interesting to consider that contemporaries of dinosaurs can still be found in our landscapes.

Please come to the screening of The Lost World on Saturday 17 April at CWA Hall from 7pm and we will discuss the local species that might be considered as time travellers. 

Sudo-ko by Kat Lehmann


Cultural Marxism

Studying an arts degree in the 1990s introduced me to a variety of critical theories

It was instructive how the conservative commentators were in turn critical of those perspectives.

One idea I liked was the notion of hegemony developed by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. 

Hegemony holds that the trickle-down of power from the ruling class will sometimes need to navigate resistance to reach into the working classes.

As a student of Anthropology it fascinated me to consider the ways global companies would have to adjust their products to meet audiences in different cultures.

I used to amuse myself with the idea that it'd be interesting to compare McDonalds' menus in different countries, but I might've been inspired by the dialogue early in Pulp Fiction.

That discussion compared how Europeans would used mayonnaise on their french fries.

I also considered how Indian hamburgers used lamb rather than beef, for example.

Anyway, I recently saw this discussion of how the names of Disney characters vary across Europe.

It got me thinking about Gramsci again, although so-called cultural Marxism is widely reviled by right-wing commentators these days.

So I won't write about how much I enjoy the writing of the Frankfurt School.

All the nice girls


Want to travel to the Moon?

Join Leeton's space program and experience the thrill of intergalactic travel

We're departing from CWA Hall on Friday 2 April and expect the atmosphere to be light.

Numbers will be limited and a program of onboard entertainment is planned for the duration of our flight. 

Box of green tomatoes

Last year I saw an ad for a box of green tomatoes and thought it looked like a bargain

When I discovered it was around 10kg, I wasn't sure what to do with them.

My friends recommended a variety of recipes, including salsa verde and fried green tomatoes.

The best outcome turned out to be pickles, as I was eating those tomatoes on tortilla toasties for almost a year.

So this year I've bought an even bigger box of green tomatoes.

It still surprises me they aren't available in the shops because they're very versatile and tasty.

Aldi treats

There are a couple of things at Aldi that I haven't found anywhere else

The coffee from Colombia has a citrus flavour that I wouldn't have thought I'd like, but has quickly become my go-to for a full-strength hit.

I brew for my coffee for up to two minutes using an Aeropress and the water is around 80°C.

The Honduras coffee at Aldi is also good, but the pronounced flavour is better for weaker brews (using about half as much).

Another treat is the chocolate with coconut.

Normally I find the sugary flavour of white chocolate too rich, but it is incredibly moreish with the roasted coconut.

I'd like to say that both the coffee and chocolate are sometimes treats, but I've been indulging myself a bit. 

Travel through space and time

The Leeton Museum & Art Gallery has an undocumented feature that I think is magic