17 October 2013

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If you only see what is in the store, you tend to forget that nature is not so uniform.   This week we got a really long duck egg (the big one), and another strange little chicken egg (the little one).
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These are Austin’s 50-egg incubators from the US.  Not so photogenic, even in good light.   But the egg shells outside are a hint that the incubators are in use, and that hatching is going on.
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Austin ordered two 1000-egg incubators from China and hopes to bring in heritage chickens from New Zealand.  because……
– the NZ hybrid meat birds sold here are really stupid and they suffer from their extreme growth spurt;
– the NZ hybrid egg birds are good for only one season and they suffer from not being able to repair their bodies (it has been bred out of them);
– the truly local birds (in Fijian “toa ni veikau’, in Hindi the “jangli murgi” ) are not so good for meat or egg production even though they are really intelligent as chickens go.
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The administrative hoops to import heritage birds are taking forever, so Austin is working on breeding local hybrids with what we’ve got here
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inside the incubator.  You can see a number of chicks have hatched.  The little partition is separating out a cohort of eggs due to hatch later.  All very low tech.   Sometimes the unexpected set is the ready one.
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Here is a close up.  Not only can you see the still wet hatchlings, but you can also see that some of the eggs are pipped.   The chick inside pecks out a breathing hole and then rests for a few hours, and then pecks at the shell more to finally get free.  It is important not to rush this process because the yolk sac finishes getting absorbed as the chick works at getting itself hatched.
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10-17-13 bat stock photo
10-17-13 bat stock photo 2
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The bats are back in the evening.  (confession: stock photos)   Even when I wasn’t blogging I was aware the last time the bats were here. These bats are really something – quite large, not put off by humans, and not pesty at all.   I suspect they eat insects, because why would they fly at sunset in order to eat fruit?   More questions:  Where did they go for months?  Why are they back now?
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In Micronesia we had a couple of fruit bats for awhile: one we let go, and one I forgot about and it starved (oops)  In Puerto Rico we raised a tiny orphaned leaf-nosed bat to adulthood – that was a great experience.   Austin brought home another fruit bat baby about 8 years ago, and I accidentally let that one get overheated to death in the car because I didn’t want to leave it home alone when I went to a funeral.   That marked the end of my bat-keeping  – but I am quite fond of bats and am happy to see them back in the neighborhood.
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Anyway, the only other thing I have to write about this week is tamarind again.   I told you the ladies take the seeds out of the tamarinds, but I did not say that I did it.  That’s because I sliced my thumb with the knife when I tried, and so I’d given up.   But there was a bunch of tamarind still here and so I gave it another try –  this time with a 4 inch nail.  It worked!   My occasional slips were not injurious, and the activity is down-right addictive.   All my many hours watching stuff on the computer were accompanied with a bowl of tamarinds to pip.  Fun fun fun.
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Monica got the homestay registered and Akka has put up a Facebook page – “Teitei Homestay”…. and so it is time for me to put up a Cast of Characters page on my blog.   You’ll see a new tab at the top when I get it done.
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6 thoughts on “17 October 2013

  1. I really love the first photo!

    what do you mean by “cast of characters”?
    Could you also tell us what “teitei” means? 🙂

  2. Hi Clarabear. Teitei is the Fijian word for ‘farm’ – so the name of Monica’s business is Farm Home Stay. And as for “cast of characters” – the page is up. Go look and you will understand.

  3. HEHEH Glad Clara ask I had no idea what Teitei was but now I am educated in the Figian language. Thanks Clare! Kim I always get a kick out of reading your blog, it is like taking to you. I want to just hug you when I am reading it.

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