Friday, August 29, 2014

The coconut tree climber

Recently when I had been to Kerala (south India), I saw this guy named Thomachan who came to climb the coconut tree. Everyone kept talking about the “tree climbing machine” But what this guy had was not a machine but a contraption which helped him to climb the tree.

The design was simple. The contraption gets locked on to the tree when you put your weight on it (by stepping on it) There were two, one for each leg.

He carefully strapped the pair on to the tree and climbed up with confidence.  

Once he reached the top, he cut lose all the coconut that was ready to be plucked. In all we got 32 coconuts from this single tree.  

I was comparing this with a black and white picture of mine where I could climb a coconut tree half way without any assistance. (this was clicked about 45 years ago)

OK, in case you are wondering how I did it, this particular tree had nicks carved out in the trunk to enable the toddy tapper to climb up.   

Coming back to our guy Thomachan, while he was gathering all the coconuts, I saw him picking up an aluminium coat hanger. I asked him where it come from. He said “It is usually the crows, they take it from the clothesline to build their nest”   

Now that rang a bell. I remember seeing the same phenomena here in Pune just a month ago. In fact there were two hangers that were used in the crow’s nest here in Pune.

Here it is seen from another angle clicked again after a month. Probably the hangers slipped down after a heavy downpour.

Have to give  credit to the crows that they chose to pick only aluminium hangers (being lightweight) The ingenuity of the crows are universal, even if they are separated by about 1200 kms. (distance from Pune to Cochin)

Have made a small video to show how Thomachan climbed the coconut tree.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Drumstick flower

Liked the way this single stalk of Orchid stood out, braving the rain and the strong breeze.

Had been for a short visit to Kerala and the heavy rains kept us indoor most of the time but from the window one can see some interesting things, like this irumban puli (Averrhoa bilimbi)

They are good as a substitute for tamarind or tomato in an emergency. They are easy to pluck as they grow low – on the trunk of the tree.

Another view from the window is this big bunch of banana.

We may have to wait for another month to cut it down, but there is no harm in cutting its flower (some call it Banana hearts)  We did just that and made it into a lovely curry. (the flavour resembles that of the artichoke

A close look at this rope showed some busy ants. When I followed their trail, I found that they were building their home in one of the low slung trees. We humans can learn a few things by observing their team work. 

I spied these flowers on the drumstick tree.

Always liked the side dish that was prepared from the drumstick flower. So I collected as much as I could, and carefully removed the flowers and segregated them.

These were properly washed and soaked.

After draining the water they were sauted on slow fire. Added some grated coconut and further sauted them.

The end result was really sumptuous.

Drumstick flowers prevent frequent infection of the throat, chest and the skin.
(all pics clicked in and around the house)

Next post - some more on the Kerala trip.