Lord knows we have enough wildlife here that we need never eat meat from the butcher or supermarket again. I don’t know why it’s taken us so long to sample Bush Tucker.
Last year we shot a goanna – a big one- that saw us as a food source and made the daily trek into the chook house for his eggs. As Ben collects the eggs and a confrontation between the two of them was going to end in tears and skin tears, he obviously had to go. It was the first time I saw my husband with his gun . . . he looked so comfortable with it, so at home with it, sure steady . . . safe. He’s a good shot, my man, more reason to love him so.
That goanna made a run and swim for it and Ged got him as he clambered out of the river on a rock. Wwoofer Carl and I rowed over to get him but wimped out of hauling him out and cooking him. This year Ged and the Wwoofers had no such qualms, Ged shot a goanna out of the Jacaranda tree and it went straight on the new barbie in its skin and there was much excitement at the prospect of Bush Tucker for supper.
Apparently they are a protected species. God knows why there are plenty of them around here. We have a simple rule at Avalon, all the wildlife are safe from us as long as they don’t interfere with our lives and business. If they stay away they are safe. We are not the sort of people to shoot a snake on sight. But a goanna stealing my eggs, scaring my baby chicks, wrestling with Josephine in her nesting box, eating the baby ducklings – yup, that has to go!
When last year’s goanna ate Josephine’s baby I literally felt that biblical ‘an eye for an eye’ feeling. A rage that only the justice of a death for a death would appease. My duckling was gone, my duck was suffering, tears were shed by adults and child alike and vengeance was mine. I did feel regret for the goanna’s wasted death (but only because we didn’t eat it!) but once he was killed my rage at our loss was gone.
Law abiding city folk will be shocked at our lawlessness. But the law of the jungle, the law of the land, Bush Law is different. We are wilder because we know nature, we see life and death in every day, we know the cycles and the rhythms of the seasons. We respect life, we cherish it, and to me it is better to shoot a goanna for stealing and eat it, than it is to buy nameless meat at Coles or Woolworths with no thought to where it came from, how it lived, how it died.
These are far from the killing fields as I don’t like blood shed at Avalon, but if my boys are to eat meat I would rather they knew its name.