Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun with marulas

Marulas are small, yellow fruits, between the size of a puffy cotton ball and a golf ball. When ripe, they are a sweet fruit of white pulp surrounding a large pit. To eat the marula fruit, you bite off a bit of the skin, pop the fruit into your mouth, suck out the juice and a bit of the pulp and then spit out the pit. Marulas are a favorite snack for elephants. The trees that they grow on have strong branches that grow up high on the trunk, making them great trees for hanging swings. The only downside to hanging a swing in a marula tree is that the fruit, both ripe and unripe, often falls from the tree in large numbers and might result in a bonk or two on the head.

In addition to being good for eating, there are several other fun things that can be done with these small round fruits. For one, picking up marula fruit is a great consequence for children, especially when your yard has three trees and the fruits seem to be falling by the hundreds. There was a period of several weeks where we were sending our kids out to pick up marula fruit by the bucketful. When Tyson chose to go into Amos’ cottage after being told to stay out, he got the privilege of picking up a bucket full of marulas. When Jori decided to talk back during school and refused to do her work, she was sent out to pick up a bucket of her own. Kids won’t stay in bed at night? Send them out to pick up a bucket  of fruit in the morning. This was such an effective consequence that Darin and I were sad when the marulas stopped falling from the trees.

Marula-ing is what we coined one of our other favorite marula related activities. Marula-ing is a very simple game that involves picking up marulas and throwing them over the fence, at a tree or at the compost pile. We usually would go marula-ing when Darin went to water the garden, which meant that it quickly became a family activity. Darin liked that he could get rid of the marula fruit laying around the yard and get a little target practice in at the same time.

Speaking of target practice, what’s more fun that trying to aim at a moving target? Our final and probably favorite thing to do with marula fruit was taking aim at our children and it was their favorite marula activity as well. In fact, Tyson and Jori are the ones who came up with this super fun game. One night when Darin and I were taking turns throwing fruit at the compost pile, the kids ran in front of our target, started shaking their little booties back and forth and taunting us to try and hit them. We are always up for a challenge, so we took aim. It was great fun. We tried to hit near their feet, but there were a few shots that were not quite on target. This led Jori to tell us we couldn’t hit them on their “heads, tummies or nuts”. In my opinion, wanting your parents to throw unripe fruit the size of a golf ball at them makes my kids pretty awesome. They laughed and laughed and laughed and other than stopping to rub a sore spot when we hit one of the forbidden zones, they were having as much fun as we were.
Sadly, the marula “season” came to an end several weeks ago. We are glad that our yard is empty and the sickeningly sweet smell of rotting fruit is no longer in our yard, but we do miss the many ways we were able to use those versatile little fruits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

seriously... planning on blogging again??? xox me

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