25 February 2021

Confession: I spent most of the week trying to catch up on quilting, so I just handed my camera over to Austin. Only two photos were keepers (I mean, do you REALLY want to see our truck in a rain puddle in the driveway? Lordy!)

We have a Hen and Rooster who don’t seem to be keen on each other any more.

And we have a vista Austin remarks on EVERY SINGLE TIME it happens – he loves it. He insisted I put it in the blog. I said it would not come out good in a photo – so HE should take a photo. Y’all can judge:

This is how misty rain shows the mountains outside our kitchen in their different planes. They go 3-D. (It’s a way better photo of it than I could get … but is it GOOD ?)


Happy week, everybody. Next post will be better. I will show the progress on my quilts … WHEE

And to my Baha’i friends: HAPPY AYYAM’-i-HA !!!


18 February 2021

Another week, another chance to do better. Frankly, we are all a bit worn out here after two big week-long workshops in less than a month. We decided to postpone the following two workshops until June or so – providing all of us with a needed breather.

Somebody (probably Monica) was gardening, and I found all this beautiful foliage in a wheelbarrow. No idea what it is. The blue plastic underneath I DO recognize: an ice cream tub, no doubt being pressed into service as a planter.

Austin left these eggs in a row for our viewing pleasure

A row of rejects. Too small, too small, has a bump in the shell, too big, and way too big. Plus a fly, for scale. ha ha.

The correct size for an egg to be hatched is this:

Sits just right across my four fingers without hitting the ends. Very scientific.

But back to that way too big reject. It was really an oddball.

Do you see the seam? Looks like a cojoined twin egg. I meant to examine the yolk(s), but somebody cooked with it when I was not around. Sorry. We have had cojoined eggs before so it is not all that rare.

And lovely news on the Fruit Front: Mangosteens galore! Scores of them.

It takes about a decade for the trees to produce, so these are the fruits of patience.



Hope you have a happy week, everybody.


4 February 2021

I never told you what happened to our truck that lost gears 3 and 4. Turns out that is a MAJOR problem. We were told to expect it to take 2 1/2 months – what with shipping delays and all.

Luckily, somebody sourced a good used gearbox.

Here is our trusty beast carrying a load of jungcao – China Miracle Grass. It is used for growing edible and medicinal mushrooms. Akka and Lemeki were taking it up top to get mulched.

This is the fun woodchipper machine from a grant – just acquired this week. Sorry I couldn’t get a photo with the plume of chips… oh well.

I called Austin to get the name of that grass – and he got all excited. The jungcao grass – once it’s been shredded – gets REALLY HOT, unlike all the other plants they’ve shredded so.far.

What’s up.with that ?


Happy week, everybody !!!


28 January 2021

Three photos. Four little stories.


Monica’s purple plant

Monica and I were walking in Lautoka a few days ago (while I was trying to get myself a good sewing machine. That was a bust). Monica stopped when she saw this purple plant sticking through a chain link fence. She broke off four branches of it. “Gee, what father-in-law of yours do you remind me of?” I teased. She laughed. This morning I notice the leaves in the fish tank. I have zero photos for my blog so I decide to photograph her plant.. “Why did you pick this anyway?” Monica said, “Dad loves it, and he says the chickens and the geese love to eat it … So I got it and will plant it in hanging baskets.” (wow) “And I like the little flower.” (Oh yeah, it does have a flower – so I get that in the photo).


Dad’s croton

Sitting in the fishless fish tank beside Monica’s plant. Pretty leaves – why is it there? So I call Austin who has gone to Suva for the day. “Why are the croton leaves in the fish tank?” “Because the vase blew over,.” he said. “Do you have a plan for them?” “Yeah, I plan to pllant them when they get roots.” ok. Then I ask, “Where did you get them?” “from the bush under the clothes line.” HA HA HA – that’s how cued in I am to surroundings.

(FAUNA – I have a fauna story, but I want a fauna photo … what animal can I take a photo of? Monica is sweeping and she announces an observation Twice. The second time I realize: this is God’s Gift to the blog!)


baby black gecko

This is from 20 minutes ago. Monica sweeps the floor beside the dining table and announces, “a Baby Black Gecko!” Black geckos are rare, finding any gecko this small is unusual. Cutie!


Just a story.

We have mostly conquered the toads in our kitchen/lounge but last night a small interloper arrived. Austin jumped up and picked it up with his Fred Flintstone toes. He walked across the room using the heel of that foot and proceeded to try tossing the toad outside – over the bench with his foot. It thunked and bounced off a post or something – and hopped right back to Austin. Ha ha. He picked it up with the same foot and tried tossing again. There was another thunk, but the toad was outside. GOAL!


Happy week, everybody.


21 January 2021

Well, the new curtains are up.

And the 10 participants for our first ever Rural Homestay Tourism course have arrived.

Here they are with Monica, having class under my laundry because it started raining. I’ll take a better group photo before they leave – just wanted you to have a peek at things in progress this week.

Meanwhile in the kitchen:

Ashmita and Vina – kitchen ladies. (Warms your heart, doesn’t it ?!)


And NOT in the kitchen

The cats have been relocated to the room where we keep the chickies for sale. Therefore

We started putting chicken wire over the boxes when we had some larger birds that wanted to fly out. Then it seemed a good idea for protecting chicks from potential rats at night. Suddenly, it became imperative for 24 hour use as a domestic predator deterrent. Even so, Casper was found on top of the wire of one of the boxes, trying to push it down. and find a way in. Smarty pants.

Anyhow, we have to relocate Casper back to the kitchen because last night Austin saw evidence of the truth of the old saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice …..”

We have essential oil spray bottles ready and hope to teach this “teenage” cat a new trick of NOT jumping on the counters or table. Wish us luck.


And to round off the week (and our waistlines) – Austin made hominy to show off at the workshop. For lunch today he put it into Vina’s spicy fish and coconut cream soup.

It is yummy delicious. Yum yum yum.


Happy week, everybody.


14 January 2021

FLORA – because it’s a weekly promise. Cheerful hibiscus in the sun.

Also coconuts…

…for the upcoming workshop. Kiki wanted me to get a photo. He was so proud.. He helped Junia with all the husking.

Farewell to Team CLEAN – who were just amazing.

I told them to put us down as references on any job applications. You can see for yourself – unfortunately I did not take any “before” photos – but those of you who have been here probably remember some of the “before”

front of house
side of house
pool compund
orchid house
pizza shed

And I took these photos this morning – five days since they left!

FAUNA – because it is the other weekly promise

I have no idea who this is. …. um, posting for a friend.

And So …

Deterrent for kitties going under our sink to poo Putting a mesh barrier rather than cabinet doors was the result of a LOT of discussion. Some people wanted cabinet doors – some people objected to the way closed cabinets end up yucky. Someone had the idea of a grid that lets the air flow but is a barrier. Someone else said “That’s ugly.”



The next project is more curtains for all the cabinets. There was only 10.25 meters of the only cloth Monica and I were both happy with – I’d planned to buy 11m. Hmmph. Getting it divided among the 11 curtains that need to made was a real puzzle. I was quite happy with the solution. Pinning at every cut point with tags before making the first cut. I’d never done that before. I re-tagged that cloth THREE times before I finally got it right.

Here it is mid-process. They have been cut now, and I’ll start sewing them up tomorrow.


Happy week, Everybody.


7 January 2021

WORKING WORKING WORKING – this is starting off to be a good year.

The flyswatters are sacrficing themselves in the effort to keep the summertime invaders away.

We have a big workshop coming up, and Monica had a great idea for getting the work done – import a team!

BOYS: Maciu (Matthew) and Pauliasi – doing heavy grunt work

GIRLS – Eggie and To (toh) doing beautification.

COOKS – Waqali (Monica’s niece) and Ashmita. In the background Naholo and Naomi, two regulars here.

THE BOSS – Monica. She worked so much yesterday even though we were all saying “Take it easy.” Today she is staying in the shade (THANK YOU!) She will do whatever it takes to have the farm shine.

And Dad wanted to show off his soap from the waste oil.

We got some sun, so now he can dry it. Pretty!


Monica finally went public about her cancer diagnosis in a Facebook post on New Year.

She is doing great. Baby is doing great.


Happy week, everybody.


31 December 2020

What a year – and now we are at its close.

Here is a map of our place – Teitei Livelihoods Centre – up-to-date on the buildings, and even up-to-date on functions if Austin and I consider ourselves “caretakers.”

And I have a story without a photo. Our truck lost gears 3 and 4, so using gears 1, 2 and 5 Akka drove it to the mechanic, and we are all on foot now. Yesterday afternoon Austin and I were walking to a home a kilometer away for a small gathering – as we reached the end of our road we heard rain POURING down on the temple just 10 meters up hill – but we were completely dry. As we got out to the main road, the rain continued POUNDING on the temple’s tin roof,and we were still dry. A hundred meters up the road, rain was getting DUMPED all over a tractor and driver. It was like a cartoon – a completely individual downpour – except the cloud was higher and not distinct. Just amazing.

Then Austin yelled, “It’s coming our way – RUN!” So we trotted. The rain got us a bit, then backed off, then got us a little more, then quit. It felt a lot like our 2020.


May 2021 be wonderful for all y’all.

Loving best wishes from all of us at Teitei.


24 December 2020

We will rebuild. (This was the worst of the wind damage.)

And we will mop. This is a bit of rain slipping in where we had not put up storm boards.

We were blessed to have dodged the TC Yasa bullet, and feel very sad for those who were in its path. A small consolation is that people took this storm seriously and there were not so many deaths – four compared to 40+ from TC Winston.


Then it was my birthday. I got the best birthday cake ever and the best present ever. Neither are so photogenic, but I LOVED them.

A beautiful fruit salad of pineapple, mango and passion fruilt. Monica and her cousin REALLY cleaned my front porch and finished shelling all that blasted corn – in other words, the present was “a fresh start for Mom”



A few days ago we had a bit of windy rain. I looked out and thought this was cute

All the geese have their noses to the wind.

I swore I was not going to post any more evidence for un-neutered pets, but Austin wanted photos of this pup who a friend in Suva might want.

Cutie-patootee. His current name is “Digger”

Finally – Austin is yelling “PHOTO” – something I am obliged to some come see.

At this point I’m unimpresseded. “Look closer”

Ok – it looks like something.

WOW – a beautiful butterfly with it’s wings down. If Dr. Smary is correct, it is a newborn resting.


Merry Christmas, everybody. See you on New Year’s Eve!