The Price of Bananas
The Queens Birthday long weekend , the forecast is for rain and we have a gazillian projects that we still need to accomplish. Typical!
Our dear friend Karen has complained incessantly about having banana withdrawal since the price of them went through the roof because of the unreasonable weather that Queensland has suffered this year. The start of 2011 brought flooding in the Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and Brisbane. Northern Queensland suffered a tropical cyclone and then there was more flooding. Any banana crops that survived were scarce and the bananas that could be found became soooo expensive that a banana in some instances was worth $6 at the checkout! Outrageous!.
So one of the benefits of having an older Queensland property was that many of our forefathers has the foresight to plant a couple of banana trees or more. So we have several stands of banana trees and the crazy thing is that I am allergic to them. Love the smell, and the taste but some enzyme lurking in the DNA has the ability to cramp me up something chronic. Anyway, for the greater good and my friend Karen, today we decided to cut down one of our banana trees which held the biggest and best looking banana fruits.
Up the top paddock or the “house pad” as we call it, we could see the tree and the bananas and could almost reach out and touch them, except they were growing on the side of a hill and it was very hard to reach. Benny (husband) shuffled down the muddy slope, tripping over the vines that grow rampant and strangle every other living plant on the property, chainsaw in hand. He slipped and slid a bit but found purchase against another banana sucker and proceeded to neck the aforementioned tree. It didn’t do the right thing of course and fell away from us and back down the bank. Held in place by the vines, I made the suggestion that if we tied a rope to it maybe we could bring it back up the hill and claim our prize.
Benny tied the rope and then hacked away at the vines with the chainsaw, stopping every few seconds just to free the clogged up chain. Then he climbed back up the hill and tried to pull the tree. But it was held tight by the strangling vine. I even tried tug-a-rope style with Benny to pull it up. Inevitably I slid on the mud and fell on my butt into a spiky apple tree, sustaining huge itchy scratches from our noxious weeds and rope burn. Still laughing we decided to get the Triton Ute and attach the rope and haul the tree out. Great idea! I ran back to the house and brought the 4 x 4 back with me. Benny attached the rope and without any drama we hauled the bananas towards us.
The big bunch yielded 90 bananas. You do the math, at Coles prices we could have netted $540, but instead we will share them with all the banana lovers we know, make banana muffins, banana bread, banana custard and use several of them “as is” in school lunches. Got to say it was a cool bonding experience for Benny and I, as was the whole day as it turns out.
We started the morning with Benny attempting to take down some dead trees to use in our fire pit. He fought the battle of the strangling vine as it held up the dead tree even thought it had been cut straight through. Benny taught me how to use the chainsaw for the first time and I marveled at how scarily easy it would be to become complacent about those rotating teeth. The timber was dry and soft and riddled with borer holes so it sliced like butter under a hot knife. Heaps of fun for me and I get to chock that up to another power tool that I know how to use, although I don’t think I would be game without Benny’s supervision at this point.
So the bananas sit on the kitchen bench awaiting the paper bags and ripe apples that I will buy tomorrow to help them ripen. The dark pantry will have a shelf dedicated to this process and I will smile every time I open its door. I am so grateful for the small harvest that we get at this point and look foreword to many more fruits of our combined labours.