25 July 2013

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Here are Austin’s hands full of rhinoceros beetle grubs that he found in a rotting coconut log from a tree we chopped down before Cyclone Evan last December. The grubs had turned the center of the log to mush/compost.   If allowed to mature, they would be a plague to our coconut trees: adult rhinoceros beetles eat the coconut crown and the young leaves.  So here are the grubs….. chicken food?  human snack? …  chicken food?  human snack? … If you really want to know – ask.
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A curious reader inquired,  “Why do you kill the mongeese?  Do they eat your chickens?”  Thank you for asking.   Mostly, they steal the eggs of the chickens and ducks.  An adult mongoose can pick eggs up like footballs and run a long way with them.  They will grab ducklings and chicks, if given the chance, and they will also go for adults.  We had a large dead duck in the pen that Austin is pretty sure was a mongoose kill.  He put more than a dozen poisoned eggs over a period of weeks and he killed two mongooses that way.  In just one week we’ve caught 9 mongooses with the trap from the States.  (PS – dictionary editors agree on “mongooses” as the correct plural form.)
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“Good God!,” I said, “what is THAT thing?” …  that piece of vegetation lying on one of the porch tables – brown, dry and about a meter long.  It reminds me of the “rain-stick” given to Jayne Cobb in one Firefly episode.   “It’s a torai,” replied my friend/housekeeper.   Torai?!  No way!  Torai is Hindi for sponge gourd, something I really like to eat when it is about 1/4 this size. I had no idea they get THAT big.  This granddaddy will be for seeds, I guess.
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This week it has gotten to 12 degrees below freezing in the early mornings – that is 60 degrees F.  (coconut oil freezes at 72).  That is painfully cold for us… but it doesn’t seem to be having much effect on the other fauna.  Well, there aren’t any houseflies, and there are hardly any mosquitoes.  And other than that the only change I’ve noticed is that the cats seem more cuddly.
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Flora-wise, I noticed the fence-post trees (vaivai) on the top of the hill have lost their leaves.  Do they think this is fall?  But the vaivai down by the road are in full leafy glory.  Then again, the vaivai way low in the neighbor’s field are bald.  What the heck?!   I gave up and asked Austin.  Answer:  it’s two different species of vaivai.
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Absolutely the worst thing about the farm for our recent guests was the dogs barking at night.  Just as they were leaving, our young bitch (technical term) Inu went into heat.  What a bother.   She finally got out of heat, and now her mother Tarsi is in heat.   IF YOU ARE A VETERINARIAN AND WANT TO COME SPAY OUR ANIMALS – WE NEED YOU !  
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Actually, last year a very sweet veterinarian did stay here for a week and was going to spay our cat. She brought everything but the ketamine and couldn’t get the pharmacy or the vet in Suva to let her get any.  Son of a gun – that was so disappointing!!!!    Now we have two darling female kittens needing a home.  Any takers?
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