Tuesday, 23 September 2014


I visited a new warehouse the other day near my home, it's owned by a South African company and the space was enormous. They had created all sorts of interesting 'instillations' in an effort to soften the site (my summation) and the 'instillation' that really caught my eye were the tree roots hanging from the ceiling. I loved them - although I wonder where on earth they could be 'installed' in a home environment. You'll find Weylandts at 200 Gipps Street, Abbotsford
When is a root not a root - when it hangs from the ceiling!
Would you call this a root hanging?!
Now that's a big root for a coffee table!
Rooted to a stand - wonderful shapes

It got me thinking about the dear old mallee root which really is the best burner in our home fires. They are getting harder and harder to find and as a result more and more expensive. But if you can find them, they are worth the 'investment'. The root comes from - surprise, surprise - the Mallee - an ill-defined district encompassing North Western Victoria and North Eastern South Australia. It's a low growing bushy eucalypt with several slender stems. But it is what is under the soil that's so valued. Their roots are long and gnarly in order to 'search' for water in some of our most arid country. 
The famed Barry Horrigan the wood man in Melbourne - sitting on a pile of mallee roots!
Recently I heard that mallee nuts (about the size of a fist) are fantastic for the barbeque. The heat can get to 400 degrees (yes that's what I was told!) Not surprisingly a seared steak is the result!
In days of yore - collecting mallee roots (museum victoria
My favourite memory of the dear old mallee root was the one that my mother iced for my father's 70th birthday. She took ages choosing the right shape and she dotted the root branches with candles. I just wish I still had a photo. It looked terrific with icing dripping off it. My parents didn't celebrate with the usual cake - it was much more fun surprising the recipient by icing something like a log of wood or a piece of foam (and watch as the receiver tried to cut through it) but on this occasion I think even my father didn't attempt a slice! No doubt there were many toasts to both the icer and the birthday 'boy'. 
A mallee root 'featuring' special planting - rather like icing!! (fcbs.org)
There's nothing like a mallee root fire. Enjoy them before we wipe them out completely. 

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