9 July 2020

Busy week.

Started with a party, making good use of the new deck in front of the cottage. Guests showed up half an hour after this.

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Happy first birthday to “Junia Junior” (Baby Keanu).

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FLORA

We got water hyacinths from our friend George in Nausori.  Hyacinths will be the low tech filtering system our pool when we get the channels created.

2020-07-01 Water hyacinth Cr

For now the hyacinths are just in the pool itself.

AND

Yesterday, today and tomorrow – one of Fiji’s “winter flowers”

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Full of blossoms, petals blanketing the ground.

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FAUNA

A sack of toads …. whee.

2020-07-03 bag of toads R

This came from cleaning out the fish pond.  Why?

AND

The number one comment on last week’s blog (on Facebook) was that the maggots did not look gross.  I had cropped the photo super tight.  So HERE.  THIS is what I found so gross.

2020-07-01 maggots in a nutshell  Cr bigger view.jpg

You’re welcome.   (gag)

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BIG DOINGS

Akka finally got his citizenship.  Yay.  To celebrate we dug the foundation on the site of what will be his and Monica’s house – across the field by 3 unused fish ponds.

2020-07-09 Akka terrace R

Excavation turned up a lot of wild turmeric.

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We also dug the foundation for Junia and Nicole’s house at the end of his piece of land.  Photos coming by and by.

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Happy week, everybody.

***

2 July 2020

This is a gross-out week – but I’ll start off tame 🙂

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Family at work.

2020-07-01 cucumber harvest R

Already a harvest (Granddaddy’s cucumbers).

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And I’m not saying any more about Po’s puppies, because I don’t want to get attached – we will not be keeping any of them.  But I will introduce the Baby Daddy, I mean PUPPY Daddy.

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He is “Bingo” – was our neighbor’s dog, but he decided he likes it here better and he won’t go home.  He’s kind of a sweetie.

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We have a new toy tool: a long handled axe.  Keeping Kiki away from it is a challenge.

2020-07-01 Axe for coconuts Cr

Akka’s using it to open coconuts for the chickens – says it is a real improvement.

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Okay – we are going to gently start our slide into the less palatable.  More on MOTHS.  Austin was dissatisfied with my photo of our nightime moth invasion last week so I gave him my camera.

This was a pretty little moth.

2020-06-27 moths by Austin 2 Cr

Here was a committee meeting of diverse moths.

2020-06-27 moths by Austin 3 Cr

And here is a close up of what much of it looked like to me.

2020-06-27 moths by Austin 1 Cr

Ugh.

As luck would have it, we had flying clusters of moths in the daytime a few days later.  The moth clouds did not photograph well, but here they are settled on a branch.

2020-07-01 moths by Austin 4 daytime  Cr.jpg

***

And now to yuckiest photo of the week – I apologize – just giving you a tiny cropped bit of it.

2020-07-01 maggots in a nutshell Cr

Maggots in a coconut.  Turns out this is pretty common.  EWW.   These were strange because they were blue and green.  Anyway, the odd color maggots led to a big discussion of how the flies could get eggs into there … but what wasn’t said, but what I’m thinking is “chicken food with a bonus.”   (I’m so glad I’m not a chicken!)

***

The rest would be FINE – if I could just resist doing a Fiji language lesson.

Kiki had a job pulling a certain kind of weed.

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Turns out this weed is called deni vuaka  (DEH-nee  VWA-ka).  Vuaka  means “pig”.  ok.   Deni means “poopoo of”.  ok.  So deni vuaka  means “pig poo”  Odd name for a plant, and I asked how it got that name.  The answer I got had absolutely NOTHING to do with its name.

“Deni vuaka was my TOOTHBRUSH,” Monica gushed.  “When I was a child, we all had to go and pull out a deni vuaka and scrub our teeth with the stem.”

2020-07-01 deni vuaka 2 CrInset

“When we used the deni vuaka with charcoal, our teeth were super white.”

While brushing teeth with plants and charcoal has a wonderful back-to-nature appeal, saying this all with the English name of the plant is just plain yucky.

(I was thinking “roots” and Monica corrected it to “stems” – hence the photo that does not exactly fit the text.  oops)

***

One morning Akka and I were headed out the driveway with Bingo running in front of us.  Akka turned to me and said,

“Dad is That Farmer now.”

“What farmer?”

“There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name.”

***

Happy week, Everybody.

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25 June 2020

If you are looking for plants, this is not your week.  All I have is animals and more animals….

First up –   CHICKEN DOINGS

Austin got a new chicken coloration that he loves –

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Penguin-style.

2020-06-20 penguin & stripey style Cr

Here is that chick next to a stripey one, with somebody else’s head sticking out.

***

Austin took me to the new fenced chicken yard to see his triple-blood hybrid, but I cannot pick that bird out of the crowd – so we’ll see him another time.  Meanwhile, Austin also wanted to show the size difference in his chickens that have the “Kabeer” blood.

2020-06-20 that Kabeer blood 1  Cr.jpg

We could not get a good photo of them in his arms.  So Austin wanted me to show them from a different angle.

2020-06-20 that Kabeer blood 2 Cr

Big Foot and Little (no-Kabeer) Cousin.

And here is a photo of the new fencing around this chicken pen.

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It is on the terraces.  Austin is always trying something new.  A funny challenge from fencing on terraces is that the lowest side is fairly easy to hop over.  Adjustments are needed.

***

WORLD OF INSECTS

We have been surprised at the huge number of moths appearing on our ceiling in the lounge every night.

2020-06-23 moths galore Cr

At first they were congregating around the tube lights – with a strong preference for the yellower ones.  But then they were just spreading out across the ceiling.  As we tried to figure out why, we noticed something:

No Geckos!

What happened to the geckos?

(Could the boric acid Austin put out to kill the invasive ants have hurt our suction-cup-footed friends?)

***

MORE MAMMALS

Way back when we had to get Po’s tail amputated, we did not get her spayed because she’d had a litter of four pups followed by a litter of one, so we figured she was going through menopause.  And yes, she did have a litter since that time, but I still kind of forgot.  Then Po got “fat” again…

2020-06-24 Po delivery room R

Here is the hole that she dug for her delivery room.

2020-06-24 Po plus eight R

Here she is, moved to the old cabin, with the EIGHT survivors, from her litter of ELEVEN.  Oh Lordy.

Does one of the eight look a bit “different” to you?

We got a Green Pup!

2020-06-24 Po's green pup 1 Cr

And it case you think it is a trick of the light, here it is again with a flash on.

2020-06-24 Po's green pup 2 Cr

So she isn’t the greenest pup ever, but “green puppy” is a Google-able condition – generally attributed to staining from meconium (baby poo).

I think we are going to have to take Po to the vet once these pups are weaned.  Enough is enough already!

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

 

18 June 2020

I stepped out from my porch, and the overgrown bougainvillea bush was nearly all trimmed.  “Wait!,” I said to Monica, “I want to get a photo.”   But by the time I grabbed my camera, she had already finished lopping off all the long hanging branches.

2020-06-17 at work Monica bougainvillea R

And she wasn’t the only one working hard.

2020-06-17 at work Kiki bougainvillea Cr

How did Kiki get big enough to work a wheelbarrow by himself?

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Just after that, when dumping the branches, they found the biggest most orange spider they’d ever seen.

2020-06-17 big orange spider Cr

Sorry it is fuzzy.   I wonder what is the white stuff on the belly.  Ewwww.

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Austin got all excited about a group of Fijian doves that settled on our power line one afternoon.  There were a dozen or more.

2020-06-16 Fiji doves SOQEI on power line Cr

They are called soqei (song-gay).  These birds love to eat wild chillies, and their meat is spicy-hot for those who eat them, so I hear.   Around our place, they eat the moringa leaves when they come to visit.

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Daisy was playing with a skink … and got as tired out as he did.

2020-06-17 Daisy and skink napping Cr

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The coconut sombrero –

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not the best head cover for a man with a bald spot.  Ha ha.

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

11 June 2020

I’m on “holiday” – at Plantation Island Resort again.  No guests.  Just a team of staff getting the place ready to reopen whenever that day comes.  Austin and the two coral gardener girls are moving the coral nurseries to a better location where they should not need maintenance.

Here is Austin:

2020-06-08 covid hair Austin Cr

“Covid hair” – ha ha ha.  The real joke is that covid is no excuse.  The only person who cuts his hair is his wife and she lives with him.  Ha ha ha.  (Maybe when we get home…)

Ok – so here is a pretty flower. Hibiscus tiliaceus.

2020-06-08 hibiscus tilaceos on tree Cr

On the tree/bush it is yellow.

2020-06-08 hibiscus tilaceos on ground R

When it falls to the ground, it turns a beautiful red-brown.

More than just another pretty face Hibiscus tiliaceus provides inner bark that becomes the “grass” of grass skirts.  Known as “vau” in Fijian, this plant and fiber is widely used as twine – when it is green, it is impossible to break.

Last shot for the week

2020-06-08 Security Kim Cr

Believe it or not, I got pulled into work as a security guard, complete with vest and walkie-talkie.  My job was to remind  visiting fisherman not to come on shore.

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

4 June 2020

Flora – not this week.  Fauna – Yes !!!

Akka’s having to take care of the chickens while Austin is off, taking care of the corals.   He sent me the photo of this “interesting” rooster.

2020-05-30 Akka's rooster Cr

The dude has a “rose” comb (rare),  has a naked neck (rare), and is BIG – has some of the Kabeer bloodline.  So this fellow is a super-hybrid from the farm.

***

Also in caring for the chickens, Akka made another discovery and sent the photos.

2020-06-01 Lamb 1 Cr

An oddball among the geese.

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Peek-a-boo!

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Lamb Chop, Junior!

***

No photo of this one:  while Akka was in charge of the chickens, I was in charge of the chicks – 55 of them – in a box on my porch.  When I got home from shopping the number looked small.   There were exactly 24 chicks there.   I thought ( hoped ) that Akka or Junia had sold the others, leaving two dozen for the next buyer.  But Nope…..  Some dog must have gotten on the porch and enjoyed a $75 dollar snack. …..   AY!   Live and learn.

***

Since we can now enjoy gatherings of up to 20 people, we were able to have the ladies over for morning tea.  Turns out that more than anything, they just wanted to LAUGH – so Monica got out the “Headbanz” game.   Guess what you are (what your picture is) using yes-no questions.   Hilarious!

***

Happy week, everybody.

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28 May 2020

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Goose at rest – such a cute look with beak tucked under the wing.  Such a crappy photo – sorry!

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And then there is the Tale of the Egg-Sucker.

2020-05-25 eggs attacked R

Austin found these eggs sucked dry.  Big question – whodunnit?  He never did catch the culprits in the act, but he is pretty sure it was Myna Birds that did it.

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And finally — short post this week — tragedy visited the farm.

Buttercup Kitty had terrible diarrhea.  The boys found her and gave her water.  She seemed to be getting better, then disappeared.

A few hours later Shadow Kitty ended up in the jaws of Po Dog – and escaped after Akka whacked Po.  Both of them ran off in different directions.

Later that evening Shadow returned, and seemed content, drinking his mama’s milk.

In the morning, however, Shadow’s corpse was found in the pantry.

Keith with Shadow's body Cr

Very, very sad – especially for Kiki.  It’s the first animal death he has been really present for.

Buttercup has recovered, thank goodness.

But we have to reflect on our very poor record of keeping young cats alive here at the farm in recent years.  Po and Winky Dogs have been cat terrors.  If we are blessed with another litter of kittens, we HAVE to do better.

***

Happy week, everybody.  I promise to have better news next week.

***

21 May 2020

I type to the sound of a digger clunking – Austin is getting the drains dug out–again.  And some new trash holes dug–for the third time now.  Ahh, the glamor of rural living in Fiji.

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First up from the camera this week –

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A twin coconut tree seedling.    Kind of sweet.

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A box full of ducklings.

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Super sweet.

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And … the Deck is Done !!!

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Well, almost done.

2020-05-21 cottage deck 1 R

Austin envisioned this – and I could not begin to imagine it.

All we need now is to get that pool filtering system set up and functioning.  The deck should give me some hope.

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Happy week, Everybody.

***

14 May 2020

Sooooo…. Akka decided to help and sent me a file of his photos.

FROM THE CAMERA OF AKKA

2020-05-12 pink hibiscus Akka Cr

A pretty pink Hibiscus.

2020-05-09 weird sedimentary rock Akka Cr

A weird “layered” rock … I think it is sedimentary.  Mud.  with some thin organic sheet in the middle.

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A magnificent new moth.

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And a playmate for Kiki.

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FROM THE KITCHEN

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Austin thinks he is a genius putting turmeric with his coconut oil to cook his toast and eggs.  Pretty red.

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And one of the bigger happenings of the week – our butter-churning neighbor Lallee was just giving away or throwing away her buttermilk.   It is real, honest-to-God, just-like-when-I-was-a-kid buttermilk.   We are now buying it from her.

If you notice the pinkish color to the milk – that is because they boil the fresh milk until it turns pink, to kill out every last germ.

***

FROM THE TALENTED CRAFT-LADY

Monica took the old materials I bought many years ago, and made three darling marionettes.  I love them.

They are so much fun to walk around and to make dance.  Someday maybe we will make a you-tube.

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Happy week, everybody.

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7 May 2020

2020-04-30 morning rainbow R

Strange weather.  Rain and overcast most days, when normally we are going into dry season.  At least it brings us rainbows.

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There was a cute little wet-weather drama outside my window on the road down to my brother’s house earlier in the week.  My nephew’s white pick up got stuck – wheels a spinning.   Within just a few minutes another white pick up went to help.  No luck.

I was just watching out my window, expecting Akka to go down with our 4 WD  truck soon, but apparently he was not called.

Just a few minutes later a TRACTOR showed up.

2020-05-05 stuck truck mini-drama Cr

Hum diggedy dog!  Here we go!

I was wondering if the tractor was needed to pull out BOTH pick ups?  But no.

Soon the tractor backed out, and the second pick up drove out and parked on the side.  Then the tractor went back down and towed my nephew’s pick up the hill until its tires got some traction.

The weirdest thing was how quick and efficiently it all went.  From freshly stuck to driving free was not more than 15 minutes.  A testament to cell phones, available vehicles and perhaps a level of lockdown inactivity.

***

Up a tree, out over thin air.

2020-05-07 pruning the avocado tree Cr

Austin mentioned that the avocado tree was getting big enough to block our view.  Akka decided to deal with it.

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Monica is resurrecting the nursery/orchid house – so Austin decided to try to resurrect the mushrooms.   This is the first step:

2020-05-07 Chinese cane for mushroom 1 pounding R

Making mushroom-friendly compost.   This plant is Chinese cane that we were given after the mushroom workshop (I never knew anything about it).  Austin found the masi “spreader” – the tool used for making tapa cloth – and was using it to macerate the cane.   He wants you to know it has a lot of sugar, though not as much as sugar cane – and it is excellent compost for mushrooms.

2020-05-07 Chinese cane for mushroom 2 drying R

Next step – drying the pounded cane.

***

So much for “Flora” – we need “Fauna”

Grandson Keith has the “Fauna” –  on his head.

2020-05-05 Kiki and the cat cap 1 Cr

Shadow the Kitty learning how to be a Cat-skin Cap.

2020-05-05 Kiki and the cat cap 2 Cr

Here.  He’s got the knack now.

Shadow will sit on Kiki’s head for 10 minute stretches.  He really does not seem to mind.  It is cute how his tail really hugs the back of Kiki’s neck.

***

And with that, I wish you all a very happy week.

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