8 August 2013

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The leaf-dropping vaivai trees went straight to flower.  Surprise!
A previous guest asked “How can you say there are no snakes in the water?  [in the 18 July post],  I snorkled over a snake during my first trip to Fiji.” 
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Answer:   I said there were no BROWN sea snakes.  The snake she snorkeled over was a black and white banded krait.   And here is a stock photo of a krait.
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Mutation of the week –  We got the weirdest egg from our chickens yet, a huge egg with a seam down the middle.  It was a siamese-twin egg – and when we candled it, we could see it had two separate yolks.  We planned to save it and try to get it hatched, but someone started cooking in the middle of the night and it ended up as part of some coconut macaroons.
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Around the yard – I can’t believe the jackfruit tree is putting out fruit this year.  In last December’s cyclone over 3/4 of the tree was knocked over and or torn off. You can see there are a bunch of fruits together and nearly touching the ground – not the usual arrangement.    I thought the tree would rest for at least a year, but the urge to reproduce is just way too strong.
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As for poultry – Austin recently bought 4 chicks, each a different local species, trying to get more diversity into his flock. The naked-necked one (named Buzzy) is by far the smartest.  He-she-it has escaped the pen two times.  The other three can’t figure out how to eat when Buzzy isn’t around (dumb clucks!), and then they get all enthusiastic about their food when Buzzy comes back and hits the feed bowl.
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You can see Buzzy’s naked neck in the photo.   This breed of local chicken is heat adapted and fares much better in our summertime than other chickens.  The adults are SO ugly, but their necks are so easy to pluck.  It is always a trade-off.
Further afield – This week, hubby and I got overnight trip to a resort in the Mamanucas!  Yay!    A morning stroll along the shore  the next morning yielded a sad surprise – no hermit crabs!   When I was here in 2009 with daughter and grandson, we found enough hermit crabs to play with them and have some races.   No hermit crabs and no unbroken shells for them to take residence in.    No lizards either, just a few ants here and there, and a few crab holes for larger crabs.
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Image       The shallow water did hold one particular old friend: a sponge we used to use in Chuuk for cleaning the black off our cooking pots.  The camera failed – so here is a stock photo of something like it. 
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CORRECTION to last week’s post:  The birds in the chirping trees were mynas after all – just a different breed.  (Who decides when a bird is the same species?  Good grief! They aren’t flirting or even hanging out together….)
Image   Finally, my favorite flowering friend.  
The ultimate items in the following list will be the answer to last week’s question.  Thunbergia alata, Black-eyed Susan, and  culo de poeta (“poet’s butt”). 
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