20 February 2020

Dear Mom,

Bula vinaka, hope this letter finds you well!

This week’s news starts with you winning the Bet with Daisy!!   [I bet three kittens – thinking it would be a few more weeks.]  Yay!  She had three beautiful healthy kittens (2 males and a female).  Keith, Dad and I waited all day as she demanded our attention, later in the afternoon Akka found her behind me on the couch cushion pushing out the first one, I jumped with fright Dad quickly got out a carton to put her in.
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The Money tree up at the pavilion made lots of nuts and so we tried to make a food invention out of it.  First it was dried in the sun, roasted hoping the shells would fall off easy.  It didn’t!  We soaked, peeled them, it still had a smokey flavour to it, but was soggy.
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So then the idea was to add them in brownies.  Yum yum yummmmmy!
Keith and I went about our harvesting cocoas, guavas, and a little visit with Ryu.  He neighed and was very happy for some guava treat.
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[looks like he is eating Keith’s toes to me!]
Yesterday we had a police truck come by the house to gather information about Ryu as a man from Nasovatava village saw Ratu riding him the other day and claimed Ryu was his horse he lost some 10 years ago.  Not true!  He must have been keen seeing how healthy Ryu was.  Ha ha ha
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[ healthy horse of ours – and if you look on his shoulder, you’ll see the brand proving our ownership of him :)]
Ill make sure to update you about it next week.
I would like to specially thank everyone for their hard work on the farm so far also keeping happy and enjoying each others company.  Junior works hard on the farm with Lutu, Olo, Naomi and Lemeki.  Nicole does a great job looking after our healthy nephew Keanu.  Rakesh is focused on getting the kiddies pool done.  Akka gets the chickens fed on time everyday, Kiki bear keeps us all going with non stop headaches. 😂 Ashmita keeps us all well fed and our precious Dad keeps us all updated with the Virus counts and its deadly effects so far.
[yeah, he keeps me updated, too – which is why I ended up sewing 4-ply face masks]
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Mom,  I’m happy too for you that you’re visiting with your babies and having a great time.  We love you and miss you!
Looking forward to next week!
Loloma Levu,
Monica.
***
It is GREAT getting news from home.
Meanwhile, Today (!!!)  I finally achieved a goal.   I went for a SERIOUS ice bath –
right into Woods Lake, right behind my daughter’s apartment.
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Ta DA!   I planned to stay for two minutes.  I actually made it for 45 seconds – ha ha ha.   But that was good enough for me.  Whoop  whoop  whoop !!!
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Happy week, everybody!
***

13 February 2020

(I have to say, getting Monica to send photos and news from home is one of the BEST ideas I’ve ever had!  I am enjoying getting the news each week so much – it’s a first, after many extended trips away from the farm.  Huzzah!)

***

Dear Mom

Last week we had another full week of fun,laughter,visits and hosting guests.
Thankfully we didn’t burn the house down 🤣🤣.
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Dad attempted to light up coconut husks for the annoying mosquitoes.  He left them on a wooden bench near the main house and assumed it wouldn’t light up.   IT DID!  There was smoke everywhere, luckily it was put out just in time.  Now we have a little bench with a charcoal spot to remind us!
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Daisy’s been doing lots of yoga sleeps.  She’s ‘up’ again [i.e. at our kitchen lounge instead of ‘down’ at Junia and Nicole’s house] so Junior, Akka and I have an ongoing bet on how many kittens she will have.
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20200207 Preggers Daisy CrE
(Let’s take bets!  I – Mom – say THREE.)
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Keith really likes drinking Noni juice!
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I asked him to collect the soft smelly ones and I prepared it and asked him to drink without smelling it.  He compared it to drinking Sprite juice and really enjoyed it.  (GAG – I say!)
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Now it’s our thing.
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20200207 gag - NONI juice R
(EWWWW –  and he thinks it tastes like Sprite?   ha ha ha.  Everyone is invited to the farm when I get home to try it – to see if you like it or if it makes you gag like I do.  ha ha. It is very good for health, so I’m really happy that Monica and Kiki have this new “thing”)
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On the 7th of February it was Beamer’s birthday.  We walked up to her resting place to say a few prayers.  I personally remembered how sweet she had always been during the first years we met. We enjoyed watermelons and her beautiful garden Dad replanted.
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That’s about it for this week.
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Mom, I /WE miss you and hope you are taking good care of yourself!
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Lolomas kei na Masu,
Love you!
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***
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Awww.  So sweet
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I hope all of you – at the farm and everywhere else – have a wonderful week.
.
***

6 February 2020

More news from home … man, this is the sweet and easy to write my blog!

First off, Akka felt like I needed some flowers – so he found this pretty bush with pink blooms for me.

***

Then Monica sent LOTS of news, along with photos.

Dear Mom,

Today was our first Ladies get together without you. We had an opening [Baha’i] prayer from Dad, a Hindu prayer, a Christian prayer and a closing prayer from Lani.  During our around the circle talk with the ladies your name was mentioned a lot because we all missed you!
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Awwwwwww.   I’m missing all those sweet ladies!
Kiki caught a cough and his now telling everyone he has “Corona Virus”.😊🙈
Grandaddy and Kiki have been visiting Beamer’s grave frequently also because of the mulberry tree beside her.  The birds kept beating them to it so Grandaddy had the perfect Idea of putting a net around the Mulberry bush, and to Kiki’s surprise there was a container full of the black juicy ones.
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So he decided to make Mulberry milkshake fused with pineapples,the colour was bright and beautiful although Akka will tell you the taste 🙈
Dad suggested the Orchids be fertilized because they’re beginning to make funny blooms if the sprays are not very close they’re too far apart.  One is even just making a flower right off the plant instead of growing out.
(Monica sent a photo, but I misplaced it….)
Akka’s made yummy candies made of his very own chocolate with butter lollies.They were dellllicooous.
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I wish you blessed days ahead and I’m keeping you, Lua n Family always in my prayers.
Love you,
Monica

P.S.   Yadra Mom this morning Dad and Kiki went to pick the mulberries and they made Jam. Very impressive.

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30 January 2020

This week is all news from home – in words and pictures from my dear daughter-in-law.

***

Bula Vinaka Mom,

So at the farm this week guests have all checked out, there’s been continuous work on the kiddi pool with Rakesh and the soil he’s dug out we’ve been filling beside the main house to make flower gardens.
2020-01-28 kiddie pool start Cr
There was a very tall pawpaw tree that fell across the swimming pool so we now have green pawpaws to make Maki’s salads.
2020-01-29 green pawpaws for salad R
For animals there was set of geese that our neighbors brought back because the family had to move to Suva (Dad sold the geese to them when they were babies).
The Male one has only one eye and a crooked beak because he fought with the dogs….funny.
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One toad  (boto) showed up right to where I was (yikes) with a missing arm.
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I wonder what happened to it.
Mom hope things are well with you.
We miss you all dearly.
Love you,
Monica.
***
Could that be ANY sweeter?   Wow.   Made my week.
And now — a happy week to all of you!
***

23 January 2020

News from Home (thank you, Monica)

Bees are at work in the starfruit flowers

More busy bees have been cleaning up the pool compound, inside and out.

And one of them was giving toads “flying lessons”

(Does anyone beside me detect the influence of a new Commander at the farm?)

Still on the “work is worship” theme – somebody noticed the guavas were ripe and it is jam time.

Thank you, Harvesters and Pot-Stirrers.

And, finally,  Monica sent me some photos of Dad’s “coffee” – which isn’t coffee, but is his special tea (turmeric, ginger, and assorted extra spices) that got overboiled.

I’m happy to see that all is going so well.

***

Meanwhile in Canada ….

The lake was still liquid and it was windy.  The temperature dropped to minus 17 C (minus 24 at night) .  In a few days it froze – the WAVES froze.  I was walking without my camera, but planned to take a picture.  Then it SNOWED – Blast!  I ran out with only a jacket and boots to get the photo of the frozen waves – much less pronounced with snow on top of them … but anyhow, here’s what I got.  First is the shot I got from the road – a long snow bank – it is lake where the dock is.  The second is the close up of the frozen waves, beside the dock.

Since then we got a tropical heat wave, with the temps going all the way back up to Plus 4 Celsius.  The lake surface is largely liquid again.

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Happy week, everyone.  🙂

***

16 January 2020

Thanks to Monica – I’ve got photos this week.

Before I left, Akka got folks making chocolate again.

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Here is Ray from Vanuatu – roasting beans.   Anticipation!   Chocolate will happen.

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Here are the roasting beans.   Wasn’t chocolate yet.  I was busy packing and all –  but I do remember the sound of the dry mill milling.  Oh, and I remember somebody giving me a taste.  Chocolate did happen, but photo-evidence did not.

***

And then I was gone, and nothing happened at all.  … or did it???

***

MONICA GOES FISHING FOR RIVER MUSSELS

The river.

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The fishing ladies (at least 2 of them):  Monica and Lutu.   The feedbags beside Lutu are full of river mussels (kai).

Monica wrote, “Went with Lutu and the Waicoba ladies yesterday to get fresh water mussels (kai) from Nacocolevu and Rupeni (Lutu’s husband) roasted some right there…”

 

 

Do you see how they are cooking in the grill from the front of an electric fan?  Ha ha.

Monica continues, “He put in lemon salt and chillies water called the waitomu….

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…So good.  Especially when I was dipping in the river digging for about 2 hours.

With kumala and cassava.”  (sweet potatoes and cassava – carried from home)

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That’s the way to have a productive picnic!

These are the kai that came home

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Yum.

***

WOVEN FISH ART

More from Monica, “Dad brought some baby coconut leaves so Kiki and I did some art n craft.”

Now the fish in the fish tank have something interesting to look at.

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New School Year in Fiji

Happy that Kiki is going to school in our neighborhood again.

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In uniform, and approved by Winky.

***

Happy week, everybody.   For the next few months all the news in this blog is going to be sent to me from folks at home.  I’ll probably be more surprised than anyone at what shows up (I need to go kai fishing some time, when I get back.)

***

 

9 January 2020

This is the “What the Flip” week.

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On the gate at the bottom of our driveway

An egg.  Certainly a hen did not lay it there.

The bizarre thing is that the egg sat there for 3 days.  Nobody closed the gate!

***

In my bathroom – some weird object on the ceiling.   (But the picture hanging there is pretty.)

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Up close –

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It’s a SLUG?   On the CEILING??

***

Farm crazy busy.   Trainees from Solomons and Vanuatu getting a crash course in virgin coconut oil/vegan cheese, cocoa making, soap-making – and that’s just the kitchen stuff.  I didn’t get photos.   I’ve been a madwoman getting ready to leave for four months (this afternoon) because “my kids need me.”   Luckily, other kids are covering my responsibilities here … and I expect photos from home so you all and I myself can know what is going on.

***

SAD NEWS

Rest in peace, dear Torsett.

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Here is a photo from when he was a young guard dog.

In the last months he was old and sick, and even Winky snarled at him when he showed interest when she was in heat.  There was nothing left to live for.   Isa, isa.

But Torsett is at peace now – and I hope chasing mongooses in Doggy Heaven.

***

May everyone have a blessed week.

***