17 Apr 2009

more lamingtons0001

Just enjoying a cuppa after giving the house a once over.
I still have washing to hang out and the rugs to vacuum but they can wait until after morning tea.

Kate has been working on a project about May Gibbs this morning

Little Ragged Blossom, the Big Bad Banksia Men - those guys used to scare me to death, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Such lovely little characters.

Anyone who has ever wandered in the bush as a child knows that all those little people are there, watching.

When I was a child the land behind my parents' house was bushland and all the neighbourhood kids spent many hours over there, sometimes playing together and sometimes dividing up into smaller groups. My sister, a couple of our friends and I used to go as far over the back as we dared, through the back paddock to the bush at the top of the gully just before the land sloped away and we were convinced that we would be lost forever if we ventured further.

Here at the top of the gully were large flat rocks with patches of moss and smaller rocks, tussocks of grass and little hidey holes filled with leaves and gumnuts and little ants. There were small low growing plants that clung to the rocks and in the spring were covered with small red tube like flowers that we plucked and sucked the nectar from. In the late summer these same bushes had little berries on , my Mum and aunt Maisie said they were native cranberries and they were delicious. Sweet little fleshy berry wrapped around a largish pip. We also chewed the base of the shivery grass stalks and picked native cherries from the trees that Maisie always used as a Christmas tree.

My mum and her sister, Maisie know so much about bushfood. As children they lived in the northeast of Tasmania in a small mining town and the youngest of eight children they said that their mum was more than happy for them to go off into the bush and scavenge for food. I guess they had older siblings to guide them away from poisonous things but from the stories they used to tell they seemed to have tried pretty much everything including the sap from wattle trees. They encouraged us to do the same.

I guess these days it's called bush tucker and associated with the original Tasmanian inhabitants, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

(While trying to find a picture of the native cranberries I happened upon this webpage about Tyenna which sounds like a really interesting place.)

I guess that's what I like best about Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, just as Beatrix Potter helped to give people an understanding and love of the Britsh countryside, May Gibbs, by translating her childhood experiences of playing in the WA bush into these enchanting (though often scarey tales) helps us to appreciate the wonder of the Austraian native landscape.

6 Responses to “ ”

  1. When DS was born, his Auntie sent him a copy of S & C. Now, at 2 1/2 he's just about ready for chapter books. I can't wait to introduce them to him :-). I wish I were crafty enough to make him a pair of little gum nut babies! :-)

  2. My mother read Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to me from her own childhood copy when I was about five. I had nightmares about the Big Bad Banksia Men, and still shudder when I pass a banksia bush with those terrible eyes...

  3. Hey there Little Jenny Wren, love your blog page and visit all the time. I noticed the pretty tea cosy and would love to knit one like it. You wouldn't have the pattern by any chance? Kind regards, Anita

  4. They sound great stories. Love the idea of you kids trying bush tucker. We were warned NOT to eat anything from the wild for fear of poisoning though we did chew blades of grass occasionally!.

  5. I adore the sweater that your teapot is wearing.


  6. That tea cosy is just heaven! Perfect colours! t.x


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.