salicornia

moving south and next to a salt marsh has introduced a dozen new species of animals and plants into our vocabulary. geckos and chameleons are cute, as are the skittish flamingos that eat all the pink algae in the salt ponds. but it’s not just new animals that inhabit these salty places, special plants too — like salicornia!

also called sea asparagus or pickleweed, salicornia is a halophyte, a plant that is adapted to salty environments. when you bite into it, the saltiness immediately floods your mouth… like eating bits of the sea! the flavour is pleasant enough and the surprise saltiness in every bite makes for a fun addition to salads and other dishes.

it’s a bit of a gourmet thing these days, which is funny because for much of history, salicornia was considered a worthless weed. it reminds me of a Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote on the back of one of my field notes:

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

sounds about right!


maios

in the north of portugal, the first of may is usually greeted with “maias”, showy yellow flowers that bloom around this time of the year which the local people hang in doors… but in the south, the tradition is much more convoluted! meet the maios:

they’re like “scarecrows” that the local people make and sit in the streets or in their doorstep, usually accompanied by a short rhyme telling of a wise tale or sometimes a bit of political criticism. we passed these in a nearby town that was filled with them in every corner… and so we had to stop to have a look. :)


analogue wednesday #141

more bits from london and melbourne, from R4R-31 shot in collaboration with melissa. this roll has so much double-exposed goodness!


one second everyday — april 2018

if there was a theme to april this year, it was family.

the month started with paulo’s parents coming over for a few days, then us going north for daniela’s graduation, and it ended back south with my own parents in town for a short holiday. other highlights included spending time with friends and seeing the passionfruit bloom and give fruit.

it was a loooong month, and i’m happy for all the good memories in it, but also glad it’s done. it’s hard, trying to fit everything in and still do the work in the in-betweens. sigh.


the passionfruit chronicles

i don’t think i’ve ever met a fruit i didn’t like, but passionfruit feels special. the taste is the definition of exotic in my book — sweet and alien-like.

they’re supposed to be fast-growing plants that enjoy heat, and therefore ideal for our southern climate. last year, a neighbor down the street gave us a couple of his own fruits to eat… but having seen their vigorous vines, we jumped at the opportunity to grow our own. we started them in a container back in 2016 and saw first sprouts some weeks later:

we planted them out in the front garden just under the fence, so that they had something to hold on to. after some dormant months, they begun their ascent in the spring of 2017…

fast forward to a year later, and they have taken over the whole thing. had we known they would insist in growing upwards at every chance, we would have made a better effort to pull them sideways while we could… well, too late now.

we also have our first flowers! they’re super pretty, as all passionfruit flowers are. incidentally, did you know where their name comes from? according to wikipedia,

“Around 1700, the name was given by missionaries in Brazil as an educational aid while trying to convert the indigenous inhabitants to Christianity; its name was flor das cinco chagas or “flower of the five wounds” to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ, with other plant components also named after an emblem in the Passion of Jesus.

The name maracuyá or maracujá comes from a Guaraní word meaning “nursery for flies”.

and just this week, we spotted the first fruit! i can’t wait to finally taste it and strike another item off the 101 list! :P