29 August 2013

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It’s dry season and the grass is being burnt off the hills.   This has been going on for several weeks now – but it’s slow.   Here are 2 photos –  one of a hill with one ridge burned a few days ago,  and one today showing 3 ridges blackened.  Oddly today, there has been a cloud shadowing the hill all morning long.  Sunlight comes and goes, but the cloud has not moved.  I’m stumped as to why that is.  Akka’s theory is that the half-dead plants are praying for rain.

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Austin told one naive Kiwi lass that the smoke was our volcano erupting, and that the burned mark was lava flow.  This was around sunset.   She bought it.  If you ever come to visit – don’t believe Austin.  We have no volcanoes on this island.

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Feast your eyes upon our talapia pond.   The fish are now lining up to enter the trap and become cat food.   What else do you do when your healthy environment is evaporating as you speak? 
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About 6 months ago we had over 30 large ducks in the pond area.   The grass was lush, there were few predators, they could mate in the pond – it was their Eden. Then one female died and then another.   Finally almost all the females died  (the last 3 survivors and the few males were brought up to the main pen.)   We concluded it was a toxic algae in the pond – females ate more because their metabolisms were higher, and hence they were susceptible.   When the rains come and the pond fills with new water, we are hoping for a do-over.   
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I don’t have photos for this, but I’ve been noticing ants a lot this week. I always “decant” the sugar bags into old peanut butter jars to keep insects out.  One of my jars had little sugar ants in it.   I put it out in the sun, expecting the ants to run away – and the sugar ants did – but some big black ants started to move in!
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A sweet young guest – one of the “boat people” who visited us for one night – noticed a big ant in the sugar that I’d failed to shoo away.   So I shared some wisdom once given voice by a Peace Corps Volunteer from Chuuk ….  “Ants float.”
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This brought up a conversation with his mom about a very strange phenomenon I’ve noticed:  ants are unaffected by microwave.  Seriously.  Why is it that after being zapped for 2 minutes, they just walk away?
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A neighbor has a bumper crop of tomatoes, and Austin bought a crate.  I dealt with half doing the blanching, skinning thing – what a lot of work!   The other half I’ve just frozen in their skins.   I don’t know why I thought this was interesting enough to take a photo of.
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OK, here is a photo I’ve had for awhile.  I don’t get this tree.  People have them for ornamentals everywhere in Fiji.  This one is in our yard near the clothesline.   I’ve never seen another tree this shape, and I cannot figure out WHY a tree would grow like this.  (Even Austin has nothing to say about it.)   If you know anything about it, tell me.   Meanwhile, I just look at it and think about my favorite Addams family character.
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