14 June 2018

Happy FIVE YEARS to this blog!  FIVE YEARS !!!!!   I was going to quit at this date, but because of a bit of urging, we’ll slog along awhile longer.

This issue is coming out four hours late.  Here is why:

2018-06-14 workshop prep 1 R

and

2018-06-14 workshop prep 2 Cr

 

Prep for workshop.  We have TWENTY participants coming on Sunday for a five day workshop.  This is on the heels of non-stop Teitei guests … and in the midst of a lot of family arrivals.  Lucky us!

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Son Guy – lead carpenter on the tree house – left.  He was supposed to leave on Tuesday, but missed his plane because it actually left on Monday (ha ha) – so he finally got out on Wednesday.   This was the tree house when he said his second goodbye:

2018-06-12 and the lead carpenter left R

Now our friend Rakesh will step up and finish it, but Granddaddy is getting involved – and God only knows what it will be like when it is done.

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I went up to Leo’s garden by myself.  This is what I saw:

2018-06-13 Leo's garden 2 Cr

Cabbages.   and……

2018-06-13 Leo's garden 3 Cr

I don’t know what that is.

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All kinds of oddball photos in my phone this week

Here is where the truck conked out –

2018-06-12 end of the road - for now R

Best place possible to conk out – in the parking lot the day before we had to get guests and Guy to port and airport for very early connections.  We knew to arrange a different transport for them.   Man, if it had conked out on the way to Nadi at 6 a.m. it would have been a disaster!

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Goat in a trunk.

2018-06-10 goat in trunk Cr

Bridegroom and his dad came on the morning after the wedding to buy some roosters or a duck.   Austin had one duck he could spare (was going to just give it as a wedding present, since I didn’t take an envelope the night before) … but he could not catch her – tried for nearly 20 minutes.  Oh well.  So he put the value of the duck into the bridegroom’s hand.  As they got ready to leave, the groom mentioned he’d already gotten a goat.  First time I saw a goat transported like that.  Poor goat – about to be the chief guest at a feast.

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A morning rainbow (this is unusual) and a malabar chestnut flower.

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2018-06-14 farm watercolors haldi hibiscus lemon baking soda Cr

Finally …. watercolors from the farm.  Granddaddy goofing around with the grandkids.

2018-06-14 farm watercolors lemon on hibisicus on 1st paper

Hibiscus on new photocopy, painted with lemon juice.

2018-06-14 hibiscus lemon & baking soda on 2nd paper

Hibiscus on the old old photocopy paper, painted with baking soda water and dots of lemon juice.

2018-06-14 haldi with baking soda on 1st paper

Haldi (turmeric) on new paper, painted with baking soda water.

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HINDI Word of the Week (instead of Fijian)

Kaha?  means “Where?”

hammar  means “my”

Rakesh borrowed something from me, and before he left, I asked him,

Kaha hammar hammah?”   (I thought that was quite cute 🙂 )

(I didn’t know that word in Hindi anyway – although I do know it in Fijian:  tuki)

hammer

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Happy week, everybody.   Mo mamarau tiko.

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7 June 2018

2018-05-31 moon mist mountain morning R

Moon Mist Mountain Morning

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I hardly took photos this week.  More family arrived, and more guests, and a party.

What I really missed (Austin kept telling me to go get photos) was Leo’s Garden!  Something about peanuts????   Anyway, yesterday chickens got in there and trampled most of the bok choy.  Mami was sad and Guy was calling it a “bad luck day.”  I’ll try to get some garden photos next week – if it’s not totally destroyed.

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This is the way we roll.  Here is my latest Gate Latch.

2018-06-03 gate latch that works R

Desperate to keep the dogs off our porch at night, my most recent iteration is wedging a pole between gate and post, and anchored in the framing.  The dogs cannot pull the gate open, nor can they jump it.  Yay!   (Now to keep the chickens off.)

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Update on the mongoose situation.  Austin has killed 4 mongooses in the last two weeks.  There are only one or two still assaulting our poultry.

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More construction:  a Tree House!

2018-06-01 tree house in progress Cr

I was going to use this in the “history of the construction” report, except this is where construction has stalled, and the lead carpenter leaves on Tuesday … so we’ll have to see if we get more house or if this is it.

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2018-06-05 pizza oven in use 1 Cr

PIZZA oven.  HOT fire.

2018-06-05 pizza oven in use 2 Cr

YUMMY pizza.   Totally worth the work to make that oven.

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Fijian Word of the Week

Maleka  (ma-LEH-ka) means “delicious”

Maleka sarega (ma-LEH-ka  sa-reng-AH) bumps it up a level to “truly delicious”

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Have a happy week, everybody – with some treats that are maleka sarega.

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31 May 2018

2018-05-27 SPIF tapa 5 Cr

I never saw masi (or “tapa” – a kind of bark cloth from the Pacific) like THIS one before.

Fact is, I was at a meeting held in a room at the South Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and there were beautiful tapa cloth items on display all around the room.   I went around and got a photo of every one that was not hidden under a screen.  Some looked Fijian, some looked Tongan (I think I can recognize both) – and many were just SOOOOO different.  There are 19 photos, cropped tiny for blog purposes, and I will try to put them up in their display order.  If you would like to see a larger photo of any particular one, just let me know.

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eeeeek.   That is a tiny little eek for a very very tiny spider.

2018-05-30 Akka spider Cr

Akka saw this on his hand and said it had long legs and red spots.  I could hardly see the spider, but Akka got proof with his photo.

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I KNOW you want to know about the oven…..

2018-05-26 oven spit Cr

First use was Kiki grilling sausages over the chimney.

2018-05-26 oven baked buns Cr

Second use was baking buns.  Verdict:  needed more coals.

2018-05-29 oven kiln Cr

Third use was as a kiln.  Hot enough!  Those figurines are fired!

(I won’t mention the oven again unless somebody finally makes pizza…)

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This is just for pretty.

We had another Holy Day in the middle of the night….

2018-05-29 Pavillion at dawn R

And THIS was the Pavillion at dawn.   Awwww……

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It’s not much of a photo –

2018-05-29 Black Friday Fiji really Flood Relief Cr

– but we’ve had crowds of people outside the hardware stores every day for the last few weeks.  They aren’t waiting for the store to open: it is already open.  Black Friday?  NO, there is no sale going on.   Protests?  No, not at all!

What is going on is a hunk of government assistance – “farm care” and “home care” to the places hit by the floods and hurricane.   The hardware stores have more business than they can handle – so they let customers come in 20 at a time only.   First time I’ve ever seen this.

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The Fijian Word of the Week is

voli – to buy

volivoli  – to sell

dau volivolitaki – vendor

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Happy week everybody.  Mo mamarau tiko!

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24 May 2018

2018-05-19 training bulls 1 Cr

This was a first for me – seeing bulls getting put into their yoke.

2018-05-19 training bulls 2 Cr

What a mess!   They were going this way and that – not an easy process at all.

Then I thought, “Gee, these bulls look small.”  And so I asked.  Turns out these are young bulls (a little over a year old), just now getting trained.   They don’t get put to work until they are full-size, at about 3 years – but if they are not trained young, they are useless for farm work.

2018-05-19 training bulls 3 Cr

So for the next year or two, these two boys are learning to pull a tire around the yard as a team.

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Sorry, guys – I never did get photos of the Permaculture workshop (too disorganized to get the shared ones from the cloud).   What I did get, though, was one EXPERIMENT.

This is a comparison of the soil from an organically farmed patch and from a conventionally farmed patch.

2018-05-19 PC soil experiment day 1 R

Each soil is in its own jar with water and is all shook up.  (The organic one is on the right in this photo – on the left in the others).

2018-05-20 PC soil experiment day 2 R

On Day 2 the organic one is settling out nicely.  You can see the bits of “organic material” (grasses and the like) which will hold water and provide more nutrients for the crops.  You can also see that it has divided into layers: water, fine silt and heavy soils.  The conventional one is just a murky mess with no organic material.

2018-05-23 PC soil experiment day 4 R

On Day 4  nearly everything has settled to the bottom of the organic one.  The conventional one is finally beginning to clear just a little, but has never really settled into layers like the organic one.

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PIZZA  OVEN  UPDATE – because I KNOW you want to know!

2018-05-20 pizza oven sand out Cr

Four days ago, Guy decided it was ok to take the sand out.  But it still was not drying so well.

2018-05-22 pizza oven coconut husk smoke Cr

So two days ago he decided to make a fire of coconut husks.  Lots of smoke and not too hot.

2018-05-23 pizza oven with homemade door - and smoke Cr

And then yesterday, more coconut husk fire, plus his homemade pizza oven door.

Stay tuned.  My hopes are high!

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THE  EGG  HUNT

Did you ever wonder who came up with the idea of an Easter Egg hunt?  I think it was chickens themselves who put humans up to it.

2018-05-20 egg hunt 4 R

This is not last week’s photo.  This is a daily occurrence now.  Plus this:

What the heck?

It turns out we have a MONGOOSE problem again!  The eggs in the hen house are getting stolen.  These mamas are just trying to find a safe place for Granddaddy Austin to be able to steal their eggs.  So, okay, I can live with this until we get the mongooses eliminated again.

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FIJIAN WORD OF THE WEEK

Egg is yaloka.

Eye (also the whole face) is mata.

Eyeball is yaloka ni mata  (egg of the eye – what a lovely picture that is!)

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Happy week everybody.   Mo mamarau tiko!

2018-05-23 slip hem signature Cr

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PS – it is also a Holy Day today … so Happy Declaration of the Báb to my fellow Bahá’ís.

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17 May 2018

2018-05-16 oven 13 R

What could THIS be???

Answer: a BIG project!

Lots of steps to it, starting with Haul Sand from the River.   Collect clay.

Build base.  Fill in base.

Stomp clay and sand together.

2018-05-12 oven 5 Cr

Make clay floor.  Wait for chickens to walk on floor.  Smooth it out again and cover it with feed bags and tarps at night after that.

Make clay animals and handprints for fun.  Find out that the clay that dries too fast in the sunlight cracks up!   Therefore, put up the coconut frond cover in top photo.

Build a dome with packed sand, cover with wet newspaper, and cover it with the stomped clay/sand mixture.

2018-05-14 oven 9 R

Get dried grass to add to the second layer of clay and sand for strength.

TA DA –  a Pizza Oven!   (We’ll know in a few weeks if it works.  I’ll give an update.)

2018-05-15 oven 10 R

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The Permaculture Workshop is here and is going on.  Here are some of the gang.

2018-05-16 Beqa Boys Cr

I’ll grab photos from Junia showing the different projects for next week.

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A TALE OF TWO DREAMS

Saturday morning I woke up from a dream where I’d been driving our truck on a pebble road,  lost control, struggled for control, fishtailed, finally got off to a safe spot and quite relieved, but then somehow I was nose down in a deep drain.  There was no damage but it was going to be difficult to get the truck out.

I told the dream to the family, whereupon Akka told me that he had just had a nearly identical dream:  Austin was driving the truck on a muddy slope.  He ended up losing control of the truck and it went nose down – then it flipped end over end, and it broke completely in two.

Needless to say, as I drove to town on Saturday, I was exceptionally careful, feeling that an accident was on my heels.  All was well until it was time to leave the very crowded parking lot.  Another car had come and blocked me and two other cars.  Finally the car flanking me left.  With the help of Junia and the parking attendant, I wriggled my tail out, and back and forthed to straighten up.  I was home free.  Then needed to back just a little more.  CRUNCH!

2018-05-12 accident Cr

Brand new Prius car for hire, with the driver right there.   No “damage” … but it was going to be expensive to solve.  DANG!

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ARTS and CRAFTS

With the crowd here we needed to use the big urn, but  it was time to become more energy efficient.   An old towel, a sulu in the give-away pile, and stitching that would make my grandmother shake her head.

2018-05-16 tea cozy Cr

And baby Noah – the youngest grandson.

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FIJIAN WORD OF THE WEEK

Sit down is dabe.   (DAm-bay)    Chair is dabedabe  (DAm-bay-DAm-bay)

2018-05-16 egg seat R

So, please dabe in my dabedabe.   Enjoy yourself.  It is a very popular dabedabe.

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Happy week, everybody.

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10 May 2018

2018-05-04 cake spa R

We have a very classy place here…  Where less imaginative massage spas use hot stones, we use hot CAKE.  🙂

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2018-05-07 cocoa processing on one leaf R

Akka went back into cocoa production this week.  Guy set up this clever photo to demonstrate the stages.   From bottom to top – you have the Cocoa Pod, the fleshy seeds fresh out of the pod, the seeds after fermenting, the seeds after roasting, and finally the milled chocolate – yum yum.

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2018-05-09 making compost Cr

This week Ju started the permaculture compost.  What I understand (and I might be wrong) is that he’ll chop a lot of vegetable matter and add papaya leaves and stems to it to speed it up.  All of it will be on a tarp so that the liquid stuff is not lost.  I’ll let you know how it goes.   He has his very first Permaculture Workshop here at the farm next week!  Oh boy!

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ANOTHER PAVILION WALK with Leo

I wanted to avoid hearing about creatures that I couldn’t see myself, so this week I had Leo point out things for me to photograph, and the challenge was to remember at least three of them.  He nailed it!

Here is what he pointed out.

1- leaves he picks when Uncle Akka makes pizza (oregano),  2- baby ducks with the mother,  3- an old duck,  4 – geese!,  5 –  What’s that? – oh it is water for the chickens,  6 – chicken food!,  7- a Big Tree,  8 – spiky seeds on the big tree.

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The PUPDATE

All the puppies have homes.  The boys are gone already and the girls are claimed and soon to be picked up.  Hooray!

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Meanwhile in Leo’s garden ….  Success!

Baby tomato plants and baby radish plants.  Also baby choi sum plants (not photographed).

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BEST NEWS EVER !!

Austin talked to Suresh, our dog Gogo’s new owner, to find out how Gogo is.  Guess what.  Suresh decided not to have him neutered.  So Gogo is a VERY happy dog!  He’s been going around the neighborhood having lots and lots of girlfriends.  All the neighbors think he is very handsome and are happy to be having him improve the gene pool.   And there is no alpha male around pushing him around: he is now Top Dog.   Hooray, hooray!   And soon he’ll have his little sister (or daughter) around.  Suresh is getting Chubby Bear.

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Fijian Word of the Week

So on that note, I will give you “happy” – marau 

Are you happy?   O mamarau tiko?

Be happy (or “happiness be with you”)  Mo mamarau tiko.

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Mo mamarau tiko  this week, everybody!

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3 May 2018

2018-04-29 bird tree Cr

That dead teak tree still has some life in it: birds at sunset.

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GIFTS FROM KIRIBATI – out of Austin’s suitcase and now in use.

2018-04-29 rock salt R

Valuable crystals!  Sea salt from pristine water.

2018-04-28 skirt from Kiribati Cr

A patchwork skirt sent as a present.  (Shorter than I’m used to wearing, so I got a half-meter of matching cloth to make a bottom panel.)  What a fancy patchwork the top of the skirt has!

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TALE of the PAVILION WALK

I challenged Leo to look closely as we took our walk, and when we got back to tell me what he saw.

As we walked, what I noticed was that the grass was cut, that he was so cute running ahead of me …. and that the small sensitive plant I had seen but not pulled

2018-04-27 sensitive plant in bloom R-filter

was now in flower.  Darn it!

When we got back I told Leo what I saw and I asked him what he saw.

He said he saw a lizard.  “Where?,” I asked.  I had not seen a lizard.  “In the pavilion,” he told me.  Okay, I thought.

What was the second thing he saw?   He told me he saw a mongoose.  That was rare but possible.  “Where did you see the mongoose,” I asked.   “At the pavilion,” he told me.  Okay – well maybe, I thought.

“What was the third thing you saw,” I asked him.  “A monkey,” he told me.

I didn’t bother to ask where he saw it …. it had to be “at the pavilion.”   Ha ha.

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QUESTIONS of the WEEK

1.   How did this fish tank get so clean?

2018-04-27 clean tank R

2.  What are these poles for?

2018-05-01 what are these poles for R

Seriously – I thought they might be flag poles, but that didn’t make sense, and then NO explanation made sense.

3.   Where is the rest of this man?

2018-05-01 pavement glasses Cr

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REGARDING FLOODS

We see big floods here – water creeping up the road, up into yards, up to the doors, sometimes to the windows, to the roofs.  We know what a flood looks like from the land.  However, I was shocked when Austin pointed out the flood level from the river itself.

2018-04-29 flood gauge R-marked

This arrow points to the flotsam that was caught in the trees.  The photo was taken from the bank, about three feet (1 meter) above the water level (couldn’t risk getting my phone wet).   From mid-river the sight was appalling.  That water would have been about 20-30 feet higher (6-9 meters).   The thought of that much water in that place was deeply unnerving.

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FIJIAN WORD OF THE WEEK

Water is wai .   

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Happy week, everybody.

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