14 November 2013

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Gardenias in bloom – heavenly perfume in the air.
And a ripe strawberry – 8 grams of strawberry – from right below the kitchen sink outside.
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Here are our modest strawberry plants growing in paint cans.  And I got a good look at a strawberry flower for the first time in my life.  It also had an ant on it for perspective.
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Another something new for me….
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Akka took me to see this plant.    “Guess what!”

I had no idea.
“C’mon, Mom – you know what this is.”
No, I didn’t.  So finally he told me.
It is STEVIA.
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Sister-in-law brought us seeds six months ago, and we’ve been sucking on the leaves for a few months.  Sweet.
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(Some people are going wild for stevia as a natural artificial sweetener in the States.  Naturally artificial – ha ha)
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Akka also called my attention this this brown orchid, growing right below my clothes line.  What a spray!  I’ve never seen flowers this color before.
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OLD MYSTERY OF THE WEEK – SOLVED !
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Austin has been busy in his office for much of the week, but did manage to escape his desk a bit and he found this during one of his treks somewhere on the farm.
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Dog tags for our dog Chewy.   We thought the tags might have been stolen when they first went missing – and then we forgot all about them, especially since Chewy died not long after and didn’t need them any more.   She was a sweet dog from the city – and she really loved the freedom to run out here.   So she managed to get out of her collar in tall grass, and then a grass fire exposed the chain and almost destroyed the whole tag.   One little mystery – solved.
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SYLVESTER
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Akka drilled holed in the top of the white bucket when we were making pickles a couple of years ago.  For the last month it has served as the Snake Temporary Holding Facility.   He is building a proper cage – on Fiji time.   Vina used to have nightmares that the snake was going to get out of the biscuit bucket but he never does.
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Meanwhile, i have made friends with him.  We don’t know for sure it is a “him” – but we’ve named him Sylvester.  I’ve taken to telling the neighbors about the snakes that lived around my childhood home in the mountains of North Carolina – 2 venomous species and 3 not poisonous species.  We needed to know the difference: avoid the poison ones, and keep the non-poison ones safe. King snakes were not only harmless – they also could take out the copperheads and rattlers (poisonous ones).
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People give themselves a lot of needless grief freaking out over the harmless ones.  I’m surprised how many people here think all snakes have venom!   The pacific boa (Sylvester) does not.
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I was about to write that the only poisonous snake in Fiji is the banded krait – a sea snake that has to be severely provoked in order to strike (this is true) – when I decided to check google.   Strike me with lightning – Fiji DOES have a venomous land snake!  Good God almighty!   http://www.ryanphotographic.com/bolo.htm
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On reflection, I am comforted by the fact that the weakling-cobra-cousin is extremely difficult to find, and the few specimens that were found could not be induced to strike no matter how provoked they were – and also that we live a long way from Namosi..
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4 thoughts on “14 November 2013

  1. I love this post! The flowers are beautiful. I use stevia every day so that’s cool, too! And then snakes? Really? Ew. Yup, ew. Hahaha! Keep em coming! Love these.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. By the way, I was subconsciously wondering about the gross-looking dog tag: the thought “what the heck is wrong with it?” had not bubbled up to the word processor in my head yet. But Austin told me what it was – those tags got half melted in one of the grass fires. Click.

  3. Bula Kim, Llew (Walui) from Waitavu just outside Pacific Harbour. Very interested to see your Stevia plants and planning a visit to the valley next week to look for seedlings. Do you know where we can source any Stevia seedlings?

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