Rainforest Life: Outing #8 – Day 7

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(Sunday 31-August-2014)

@9:35am

The net isn’t connecting properly this morning, making the already irritating drama of adding photos to the daily post, even more irritating. The reason I created a mostly black theme for the site – incidentally – is because it sucks less power out of mobile devices, meaning less battery impact and more run-time.

@12:57pm

We’re about to sit down at the “dining room”/viewing area to have another pasta lunch. This nasty Kraft powdered parmesan isn’t so terrible: adds a bit of saltiness and fat to the pasta/sauce combo, making it not only less boring, but more filling.

@2:38pm

So today, at the cost of a full phone charge – owing to all the online searching, we’ve discovered another edible plant or bush food.
Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia) is a grass that certainly looks like a weed here, yet provides several food products. The base or the plant contains a starchy material that tastes like soft, raw potato – yes I’ve had a sample chew of a few plants – and can be eaten cooked or raw. The leaves are/were used to weave baskets and contain fibre though I can not see any reason you’d want to chew the stringy blades, but perhaps most impressively the ripe pods contain tiny seeds known as ‘bush rice’.

Bush Rice is cooked just like normal rice though traditionally or indigenous people mixed ant larva in with the rice – for flavour.

Secondly, we’ve learnt a little more about the Geebung tree. The berries turn purple or yellow when ripe, but when eaten green act as an anti-microbial, antibiotic.
The red, inner-bark is also used as an anti-septic to treat wounds and such and can simply be rubbed right onto the affected area of skin. I’ll rub some on later – though I have no wounds – just for the hell of it.

@6:45pm

Well, my sexy She-rat has been to visit – but that’s not all. I was lying here reading as I do after dark, when I here the usual scratching down the side of my tent, accompanied by the usual quiet “mipmipmip..mipmip..”.

I continued to read, since my tent was zipped-up, and that was that for a while. She scampered off and all was quiet.

About ten minutes later, scratching at the tent again. This time I slowly sat up – careful not to make any sudden noises that might sent her running. I press the button on my head-torch – which was set to the dim, night-vision preserving red light – and slowwwly unzip the door of the tent.

It didn’t scare her off. Sitting there, on the plastic sandwich bag with the food was my She-rat: crunching and munching away, with her back turned to me.

“Beautiful furry girl there you are”, I softly say as I quietly poke my head out through the flap. She looks around, sees me – or my head – then carries-on eating, so I lean toward her a little more.. more.. until my face is around a foot and a half away from her. She looks again, bit continues to munch away at her noodles.

Out of pure curiosity, I reach my hand out towards her – fully expecting her to dash away, being a wild animal and all – gradually extending my arm until my hand is almost close enough to quickly grab her. The munching goes on.

So, slightly apprehensive about being on the receiving end of that small but very sharp set of teeth, I lean forward a little bit more and gently stroke her rump with my finger. Still she just sits there, eating!

Now, being pretty excited at this point – having made first *physical* contact with an actual wild animal – I immediately pat her again, for just a tiny bit longer and tell her, “ooooh you so gorgeous”, and then came the mistake – on my part.

Keen as I am to get photographic memoirs of exciting events like this, but knowing that the red light would be far too dim and, well red, for a decent photo I reached-up with my other hand and changed the lights mode to the spotlight.

The second I did this, she let out a “mip” and bolted, in the funny half-hop/half-run Antechinus do. And that was the end of that chummy moment. Still, the fact she sat there and let me actually touch her – twice too – was pretty outstanding.

@9:15pm

Still grinning when I thought about my close-encounter of the furry marsupial kind, I zipped my tent back up – half an hour or so ago now – and lay back down to read.

I hear leaves rustling, and think to myself, “Baaaby, you fill your belly..”.

Just a few minutes later I hear something very different to the noises the She-rat makes: a loud, wet, smacking sound. The sound a dog makes eating wet food. I sit up, and the mystery creature scampers-off, making enough noise to sound much, much bigger than any mouse.

Wombat? I believe baby wombats are out and about at the end of winter, so maybe. Could’ve been a full-grown Wombat, a Possum.. No idea.

I sat up with the door open a while – waiting for it to come back so I could get an ID – but the creature didn’t return.
Not while I was awake, anyhow.

Rainforest Life: Outing #8 – Day 7
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Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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