10 October 2013

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“Austin, what kind of tree is it, above the pond, that has lost its leaves?”
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“That’s a teak, a white teak”
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So, ok, gang – this is a white teak.  I noticed it when two all-black mynas were having a chat in it.  Then I noticed no leaves – not the norm here.   Then I notice the flowers –  voila!
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It seems trees here lose their leaves when they are about to flower.  I like these flowers because they look like brown orchids with bright yellow beards.
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Photographing the tree, I noticed words carved in the trunk – oh the things I never notice on my property!   Showed this to Junia –
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and he recognized the names of two of the farm workers!   Ha ha – BUSTED!
(The old Pacific island custom was to carve your name on a coconut leaf.  Like a calling card and not so permanent.)
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We didn’t know Betty Cat was pregnant.  We’d been putting essential oil on her fur and thought we had kept the suitors away when she was in heat.  But on Thursday Akka noticed that Betty was pregnant again.  And on Friday she delivered a kitten.  And Friday night she delivered another
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MUTATION OF THE WEEK-
Baby boy kitty – orange.  Because he is a boy, we can find him a home.
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Baby girl kitty – gray.  Amazingly her paws are all straight.  Maybe we can even find her a home, we think… then we discover that she has a knot in her spine.  And she has an extremely hard time finding a teat.  Only 2 kittens and she can’t find a teat?
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At four days old the boy is nearly twice the size of the girl.   I like the little girl kitty, but will not give her a name.  I think she may not make it.
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REAL FARM STUFF
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Remember the abundant tamarind tree?  Well the last two weeks have been harvest week.  The photo above is from last week – we were taking the shell skins  off the fruits.  Four of us were shelling the pods for about 4 hours.
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This is some of the tamarind drying on sheets of roofing iron.
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Then we have to take the seeds out, the strings off, and roll the fruit up into balls to be stored until needed.   I normally share the tamarind with the ladies who help – but this is such a bumper crop year.  One of the ladies got her own huge sack to take home to process.  Three other neighbors have come over to get huge sacks.  There is at least one sack still on the tree.   The big hurry is to get it off the tree, now that it is ripe, before it starts raining.  Whatever gets rained on now will go moldy.
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LIFE WITH MY NATURALIST DEPT
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I overheard Austin on the phone   “No you can’t, a mongoose will eat it….. no, I told you a mongoose will eat it….  NO, don’t kill it!  It is endemic to Fiji and is a rare species….”

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I didn’t like the sound of this and yelled from the other room, “a WHAT, Austin?”
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He didn’t answer me.  He talked into the phone.   “I’ll come over now and get it.”
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“Get what, Austin?”  I asked.   Fifteen minutes later he was home with this.

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“Maybe I’ll put it in the roof to get the rat,” he says.
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We are not amused.
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PS –   HAPPY  FIJI   DAY

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3 thoughts on “10 October 2013

    • Thanks so much. I like your blog a lot, and I went to your link and looked at your tamarind post. The tamarind in a few of your photos is quite black. That is a sign that it has been stored for a long time at room temperature. I have heard that some cooks think the old black tamarind is the best – but my friends here consider it inferior. We store our tamarind balls in the fridge or freezer.

      • You are right about the colour and the storage, and you can imagine what “room temperature” is in India!

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