20 April 2017

THE EXCITING PLACE TO BE

“Kim, take that picture.”

2017-04-18 not mowed for 4 months R

Excitement at the Teitei

So I took it.  It’s just grass.

“It’s just grass, Austin.”

“I know – but it hasn’t been mowed for Four Months!”   That’s because his new kabeer chickens are like feathered goats.

Exciting,, right…   yeah.

Ok,  this happened a little bit before that:

2017-04-18 Truck - oops R

When a 4 wheel drive gets in trouble…

One wheel still connected with solid ground, and David had to sit inside with his foot on the brake until rescue arrived… about twenty minutes.   Our wonderful neighbors at Sigatoka River Safari  came over with a tractor  and pulled the truck up.  (I missed all this drama, and just started up the hill as the tractor was leaving. – Got the photo from one of the kids’ phones by bluetooth.)

MORE  TWINS

Maybe in honor of those twin kids (baby goats) last week, the Universe gave me two more “twins” this week.

Fiddlehead fern, a local wild edible plant normally looks like the photo on the left, but for the first time I’ve cooked it, there was a twinned one:

I thought it was odd.  Austin told me to take the picture.

The second “twin” was this:

2017-04-15 twin lid R

Twice as secure

Who ever heard of a double lid on a tin can?   The downside is that Austin won’t let me throw this can away.   Is there a market for such oddities?

My final shot for the week.

SWEETEST  SURPRISE 

It was a first, and so totally unexpected it knocked our socks off:

2017-04-19 Phil Sarah waka & me R

First waka for Teitei

these guests, Phil and Sarah, arrived with a WAKA for us.   A waka is bundle of yaqona  (kava), the ceremonial root, normally presented like this to a village chief.  They had heard that yaqona would make a good present to hosts to say “thank you for welcoming us to your home.”   A small pack of powdered grog does say that – but this size waka says “thank you for opening your entire village to us” – ha ha ha.   We were so shocked!

Anyway, we are very grateful for this valuable present.  We will hold onto this waka, and when it is time to hold an opening ceremony for the Happy Chicken project in some new location  – we will use it to observe the highest customs of Fiji protocol.

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Happy week, everybody.

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13 April 2017

SNAKE !!!!!

Ready to see it?

2017-04-06 worm snake Cr

Yep.  That’s it.   A worm snake.  Quite wiggly (never could get a clear picture of it’s tiny head with its teensy-weensy forked tongue).

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So Austin and I are driving down the road, and he gets all excited because he sees TWIN KIDS in the goat herd on the road.

This is what I see:

2017-04-07 twin kids 1 Cr

Mama Goat kept her body squarely between us and her kids.

Finally, from about 100 meters ahead, I turn back and get them:

2017-04-07 twin kids 2 Cr

Identical markings and all.  I wonder how common they are?

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Our horse Ryu went kind of wild there for awhile, but David is back now.  Yay!  I’d say he’s “back in the saddle” except…….

2017-04-12 Ryu re-tamed R

Speaking of tack:  We actually DO have a saddle – a weird local one.  And a few years ago, while back in the US, I bought two proper bridles, but the boys never use them.  They prefer this rope around the neck get-up.  It’s all what we’re used to, isn’t it.

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Happy week, everybody,

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6 April 2017 – P.S.

2017-04-06 Bee swarm 4 R

This is what was in the wall right beside their crawl-hole.  Not bad for two days’ work.

Austin was standing there in a full bee suit and no gloves.  Why?  “I didn’t want them to sting me on the head.”   By the end of the effort, they had not stung his hands either.

All that comb, and – we hope – the Queen, all is now safely in a bee box on the outside of the house.   Stragglers do remain, and the saga may continue….

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No more P.S.’s though.  One post a week is ENOUGH.

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6 April 2017

2017-04-03 Bee swarm 1 Cr

I liked the simplicity of my one-fingered posts, and so am going to stick with it for awhile.

I know it just looks like flowers, but in the photo above are many bees from a humongous BEE SWARM I heard outside my house.  The day before we had noticed some bees in the back bedroom and in the bathroom – but I really did not imagine the size (and loudness) of the swarm to come.

2017-04-03 Bee swarm 2 Cr

A huge bee ball, of sorts, had formed on a pipe on the side of the house.  So I got this photo.

Hours later they had mostly disappeared.  I mentioned it to Austin, who found that they had moved INTO the side of the house.   If Only I Had Told Him, when the bees were on the pipe – he could have swept them down into a box easily.   OOPS.

Now – not so easy.

Austin tried opening the wall of the house, but it is too well built.  Well, that’s good, but inconvenient.   On to Plan B.

2017-04-03 Bee swarm 3 Cr

Austin elevated an empty bee box beside the hole, and put in sheets of honey, in the hope of luring them all out of the house and into the bee box.   You notice how he’s not wearing a bee suit?   He says they are not aggressive because they have no honey to defend.

This plan is not working all that well yet.   The queen is still in the wall, and so this afternoon Austin will be breaking the wall from the inside to get them out.  Just ducky.  (Why didn’t I think to tell him when I saw the bees????  Won’t suffer THAT oversight again!)

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Other news from the valley, our neighbor says there is a new species of MONGOOSE in the area now – a bigger, darker one that is tough enough to attack full-grown chickens.   Rats!    Time to get out the mongoose trap again….

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Happy week, everybody.

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30 March 2017

( another one-finger smart phone edition )

2017-03-27 mama hen R

 

The chicks under one of the “biological incubators” hatched.   As much as we’ve kept chickens, I’ve never seen early mothering up close before.  Mama Hen had her wings spread woth the chicks underneath.   When I threw some crumbs one chick sneaked out to get it.  So cute!   I thought I’d get a photo later,  but the wing-protection phase was over when I returned a few hours later.

 

2017-03-25 giant prawn shed R

 

Junia brought this shed from a giant freshwater prawn over for me to see.  If THAT shell is too small now…WOW!  Austin says it means no one has poisoned the stream lately.   Ju says whenever he finds a big shed, he hides it.

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Happy week,  everybody.

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23 March 2017

Determination!   (This is a one-finger/smart-phone edition. .. computer at the shop for 2 weeks, sigh)

Just a few things this week anyway:

 

2017-03-21 wild duck 1 R

WILD DUCK

I’m not sure who gave him/her to Austin.   It’s really different from the breeds we have.

2017-03-21 wild duck 2 R

Such a long bill.

2017-03-21 wild duck 3 R

Such chicken-looking feet!

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2017-03-22 orchid house orchid R

ORCHIDS

Oh, the orchid house!  We are getting beautiful sprays.   Now we have to figure out what to do with them.

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Can’t do more than this on my phone.  Sorry about that.

Happy week, everybody.

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16 March 2017

2017-03-12 chicken parade R

Austin wanted me to get a photo of the daily Chicken Parade.  He is Mr. Popularity when he walks by with his buckets.  Further up the hill there are more than double this number just waiting for him, not to mention all the juveniles in their “mobile rearing pens”

2017-03-12 one day of munching R

Hungry little buggers.  In spite of being given ice cream tubs of feed they totally stripped the grass in one day.  To the right you can see the grass with one day of recovery.

2017-03-12 fresh grass R

Here is this pen over fresh grass.  We had to move it a little further because of a small hill. The pen is to prevent mongoose predation.  We do not want to give them access through a gap on the underside of the pen.

2017-03-12 pride and joy 1 Cr

Then Austin has to show off his pride and joy.

2017-03-12 pride and joy 2 R

And another one.   He says he has some that are spotted like Dalmatians, and he is thinking of breeding for it.   If I weren’t doing this blog, I might not ever look twice at the chickens except to chase them off our walkways.

This week I started watching a delightful old BBC series called “Pie in the Sky.”  A detective/restaurateur cooks and solves crimes.  He also keeps chickens and spends a bit of time in his chicken coop each week, playing Mozart to them with a small cassette player and meditating about his current cases.  The chickens are lovely and healthy – but you know what is missing:  chicken poo!  There is NEVER any chicken poo.  Even with the hens standing on the tape deck.  It’s a miracle!   (One only wonders how often the stagehands had to change the straw and clean off the cassette player every filming day – ha ha ha.)

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I made one more trip up the hill for schooling purposes for my Canadian grandson.

Dr. Grandpa Arborist in Canada hoped that Victor would do a project of pressing leaves and flowers while here.  I went up to consult Dr. Granddaddy Smarty-Pants about the project.  Granddaddy said to focus on edible plants … in fact  — TA DA — there are some right here!

Right now they are planting coconut trees.

2017-03-13 science lesson - coconut planting R

Okay, I see a few trees.

Austin mentions how they are planted very close together.

(Huh?)

2017-03-13 science lesson - coconut planting R - marked

OH….. He says they will protect each other and survive better through a cyclone, and they will also grow out from each other like a bouquet.   All right.

“And here is MORE food,” he says, pointing down.  Okay, I see kumala (sweet potato) leaves.   “Ratu, see if you can find a root.”

2017-03-13 science lesson - kumala harvest R

Hunt, hunt, hunt.  Okay, here is something.

2017-03-13 science lesson - kumala harvest Cr

A  proper little root.  I take it to the house and cook it for Victor.  He is not impressed.  But neither is he really hungry.

To teach is to learn.  I sit down and try to make a list of all the food plants I can think of on our property: bele, moca, moringa, beggar’s tick, turmeric, ginger, curry leaf, oregano, basil (if it’s not dead), corn, coconut, pineapple, banana, papaya, guava, lemons, guava, mango, tamarind, chillies, jackfruit, breadfruit, cassava, kumala.     Akka sees the list and says, “Why did you leave out pumpkin?”  (Answer: because I don’t think about pumpkin, even when we have a stack of them.  Obvious I am never really hungry either.)

And now I think duruka, taro, cowpeas, pigeon peas, cactus, soursop, starfruit – the list is going to be a lot longer… what am I still missing?

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Happy week, everybody.

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