Oklahoma Mountain Oyster Fry

Back when I was seventeen or eighteen I became an American farmer – a certified Future Farmer of America and I can still hear how Mr. Schneeburger would say EFFIFFAY in Ag Shop class. In Ag Shop I craftily constructed a rotating cattle feeder made of a 55gal drum, mounted on a wheelrim on an axle that would always turn away from the wind thanks to an angled weather vane on top. Thus keeping the cattle feed dry in all weather. Clever, hey!? Trouble was my birdshit welding, so it fell over in the first little breeze. Still, the thought was there and I was – maybe – on my way to greater things.

I went to hog shows – where the winner wouldn’t be looking quite so pleased with himself if he read what his mistress had planned for him on the placard:

I planted peanuts in Fort Cobb – well, watched some Mexican fellas do it anyhow. I sprayed something on Jim’s lands. I drove in Walter & Pug Hrbacek’s – or was it Gene & Odie Mindemann’s? – airconditioned cab of their big combine harvester or tractor (yeah, a farmer should remember which it was!) with an eight-track tape sound system overhead. Remember them?

okla 8-track tape

My farming career peaked when I took part in the big annual roundup, catching, de-horning, castrating, branding and inoculating the bull calves.

Then we went home to wash up and joined up again to eat the produce and wash it down with beer. It was my first ‘mountain oyster fry’. It was like this, but in Walter’s barn, not at a church, and not in Texas:

Ball with Jesus_Testicle

They’re delicious, and they smell good – unlike the smell of burning cowhide from the branding! – but I found them best fried and covered in batter. You don’t really want to see them, especially not raw. I only ate the well-battered ones. They also get better with each ice-cold beer!

Okla testicles fried

Recently I found out they do it better in Montana where they add a competitive eating of bull balls, or “Rocky Mountain oysters” and they throw in women’s hot oil wrestling, a women’s wet-T-shirt event, and a men’s “big ball” competition – basically a men’s “wet thin white underwear show”. Sounds like fun, huh?!

They make good products too, good merchandise: One for an insecure man, and how useful is this one for a lady who has a dick of a boss?

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‘Samiracle

Its amazing that old oke in the middle is still ALIVE!

In that photo you see 150 years of contact lens practice, lecturing, innovation and expertise. It’s clear from the way their specs are carefully centred that these okes KNOW their contact lenses!

Sid Saks on the left started practising as an optometrist around 1958, Brauer in the middle around 1978 and Des Fonn on the right around 1968 (I’m guessing, but it’ll be close). Des lectured me in contact lenses; Brauer was in my class actually, so maybe he isn’t THAT much older than me – but definitely older; Sid mentored us in practice – me over the phone occasionally, Brauer needed direct supervision. In fact, in order to get a job, Brauer married Sid’s daughter.

A recent reunion in Pretoria – Des visiting from Canada.

 

Geographical Catastrophe

Jonathan something Taylor studied geography. I’ve forgotten his middle name but it’s one of those Scottish throat-clearing exercises: MacLachlan, Kindrochart, Och Aye, MacKechnie, Donnach, Ag Man, Neachdainn, Murderdoch, something.

None of us had studied geography, so trustingly, we bowed to his superior knowledge and would leave all matters geographical in his capable hands and would even ask him “what rocks are those?” and other searching questions from time to time.

Until the night he organised the Night Of The Full Moon. Apparently (I wasn’t subjected to this faux pas) much was made of being in the right place at the right time: A restaurant with a raised perch and a view due east where the magnificent spectacle of the shining (reflecting, not glowing, remember?) orb rising above the horizon as the sun set in the west would be seen by his awe-struck companions. A table at the window. Don’t be late!

Well, this happened:

no moon rise

The light you see on the water is the restaurant’s lights. The only moon that night was under the Scotsman’s kilt!

 

Jessie Rescue Act

Once again Jessie rescued some creatures, this time frogs from the pool. Bush squeakers Arthroleptis wahlbergi, a small one and a tiny one. Why they didn’t hop onto or cling to my rafts I have in the pool I don’t know. I assume quite a few creatures do use the rescue rafts and then hop out without us seeing them. Hope so.

Bush Squeaker Arthroleptis wahlbergi (1)

The small one was about tip-of-my-pinky size – adult size for this squeaker – the tiny one about 9mm from tip of nose to tail. The bottom middle pic in the collage is the only one of the tiny chap.

The intrepid rescuer with her friend Lydia from London:

Hluhlu with Lydia 19May2018 (4).jpg

Arthroleptis wahlbergii, the bush squeaker

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, plantation edges, rural gardens, urban areas, and heavily degraded former forest. It is found mostly in leaf-litter and rotting vegetation.

The eggs are laid in damp leaf-litter where the young hatch as miniature frogs. The call is a high-pitched squeak, usually emitted during wet weather, which is often mistaken for the calls of crickets.

It is threatened by habitat loss, so please don’t mow your lawns right to the edge and please don’t rake up your leaf-litter! Leave as much of your garden wild and undisturbed as you can. Please.

Philosophy – Part 1

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception.

Me I think it does and forests don’t need humans to hear their sounds; the animals will hear the crashing and the thud, and the falling still lets light in which gives other plants a chance to reach for growth. K?

A more important question is “If a millennial is at an event with all her friends and thousands of fellow screaming fans and she doesn’t take a selfie, was she actually there?”

Durban Nightlife

Nightjars are fascinating birds.

One night in my first own home, Whittington Court in Marriott Road on Durban’s Berea, I heard a strange sound. It was like a small dog barking, but not quite that and I remembered from all my reading and re-reading of Roberts and Newmans bird books: Nightjar!

Aitch! I shouted, a nightjar! Luckily she knew I was weird so she joined me and we peered out from our first floor window and a nightjar flitted past. I was over the moon with excitement and discovery. A Freckled Nightjar right outside my flat!

Freckled Nightjar
Thanks stellenboschbirds.com – Chris Krog

Investigation revealed it to be a well-known one, roosting on the roof of the residential hotel nearby. Eden Gardens, now a retirement home. It had been discovered by Philip Clancey, famous birder and splitter and Durban Natural Science Museum ornithologist, who lived in the hotel.They usually roost on rocks and the roof was a good substitute. Their camouflage is impressive:

Freckled Nightjar_africanbirdclub
africanbirdclub.com

A previous “discovery” of a nightjar also had me hugely excited.

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Durban museum ornithologist Philip Clancey took numerous expeditions into Zululand and Mozambique, discovering several new subspecies as well as one new species to science, the Lemon-breasted Canary in 1961. Clancey was a prodigious publisher of papers and books including “Birds of Natal and Zululand”, all lavishly illustrated with his excellent and distinctive bird paintings.

Drah Julah – A Dodgy Aussie Thing

2013/07/14, steve reed wrote:

We are having Dry July here in Australia. Something like Movember – a national fundraising thing.

Seriously, I did try to do Dry July (but just for my own health, I did not sign up to be sponsored). Took the remaining beers out of the fridge and put them in the cupboard so they would be warm and unpalatable.

So far I have managed to do only the week nights, and I have not touched the warm beers. But something made me pick up a couple of barossa valley reds on the way home Friday night (just in case we have visitors, see?). Then, only AFTER that, while I was in the kitchen slicing up some cabbage, a sneaky voice reminded me that this red wine can, nay SHOULD be consumed at room temperature . .

So the rule has been modified. ONLY on weekends, and only with food.

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Advice followed.

Swanepoel wrote:

I view such daft things with deep suspicion. They are positively Hassidic- or Taliban-like IMNSHO. Tom would say “Dad, that’s dodge” (meaning dodgy).

Thank goodness you have decided to be sensible. Like our rule that you could not drink while driving on tar – solved by putting the two left wheels on the gravel shoulder . . . and BTW, shelf-temperature often brings out some of beer’s more subtle flavours and undertones . . . and um, notes, sub-notes, something . .

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Brauer wrote:

Hey. For numerous reasons you should not throw the Hassidics and Taliban into the same pot. But when it comes to consuming the nectar they are P-O-L-E-S apart. The Taliban says it’s verboten. The Hassidics consume it in HUGE quantities particularly on the Holy Sabbath when they get bored cos they aren’t allowed to do anything else. It gives ‘The Holy Spirit’ a whole new dimension . .

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Learnt something. Like the Catholics drink real booze and us poor Methodists were given grape juice! Scandalous. I stopped going to communion.

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Footnote: Thankfully four July’s have passed since this alarming little episode and not a word from Reed about this dangerous would-be trend.