19 December 2013

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Ok, so I’m not going to talk much about plants or animals this week because what was more interesting was the handicraft stuff going on.  Above is a picture of our good friend Venaisi, our smart potter friend, telling the fellows how to knead the clay with their feet.   

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Stomping grapes and clay always seems funny to me.  The footwork came after Venaisi had added water and sand to the clay.   Next they kneaded the clay with their hands and made it into little loaves.
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Venaisi said the clay was not sticky enough to work with so it has to cure for a few days. Today Maki came to visit again, and he kneaded the clay some more.  He said it was like kneading bread.
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Venaisi brought examples of the little figurines she’s made – lizard, turtle, frog, fish and pig, as well as tiny beads and a small pot.   These figurines have not been fired yet.
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 Next time Venaisi comes, we will make our own clay creations and will build our fire out of coconut husks or bamboo to bake them.
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While Maki was here he helped me put together a plate Austin and I bought in Jerusalem 32 years ago, that has been broken several times.  It has nothing to do with the farm – but it seems to go with clay pots.
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This week one of the ladies had a big coconut frond and started removing the ribs with a sharp knife to use as a broom – the kind they call “sasa” in Fijian.   A good sasa has ribs from at least two big fronds.
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This is my old sasa.  It was bought from a roadside vendor.  Here the ribs are attached to a stick with a strip of rubber.  It cost  Fj $5.   When my friend finishes her sasa, she will either braid the top or will tie it together with a piece of raffia string.    Whether on a stick or just the ribs, a new sasa is prized because of the long, pliable ends that are good for reaching into corners.
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Vina decided to make a paal (pronounced with an AHHHH – written in Hindi as पाल ) – which is a mat made from feed bags.  As you can imagine, we have a LOT of feed bags after feeding all these chickens and ducks for months.  First, Vina got the bags together and washed them.  Then she started sewing them in pairs with raffia and a big needle.
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Here are the first dozen sacks.   When a paal is used for seating at a wedding or funeral or the like, it is used with the white side up.   When this one is finished this one will be 4 sacks wide and 6 sacks long.
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Even though the paal isn’t finished yet, it is good for a nap.  Vina doesn’t nap.  Vina is sewing more feed bags together in the background.
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This also has nothing to do with the farm – but here is a quilt that I think my great grandmother Momo made.   It has to be at least 60 years old.   It is so beautiful.
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The colors are so perfect,  The hem is perfectly scalloped on three sides, and bound with yellow bias tape on all four.
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But what totally blows my mind is the hand quilting in the white space that perfectly duplicates the outline of the flower applique.
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This beautiful heirloom is just not safe in the tropics.  As much as I love it, I am sending it with my sister-in-law back to the temperate zone.
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And I will end this week with
A SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE CHRISTMAS REWRITE
(because I’ve heard enough of “Jingle Bells” on the radio already)
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Coconut shells, coconut shells, barbeque to-day.
Oh what fun … a picnic is… on a sultry summer day – hey!
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Coconut shells, coconut shells, barbeque to-day.
Oh what fun … a picnic is… on a sultry summer day.
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Driving to the beach …. planning how to play
Picking up the kids …. laughing all the way
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Sand between our toes ….. salt water in our hair
Oh what fun the tropics are, with a lot of love to share.
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Coconut shells, coconut shells, barbeque to-day.
Oh what fun … a picnic is… on a sultry summer day.
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Merry Christmas, Everybody.
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3 thoughts on “19 December 2013

  1. Oh I love this one! I think your diversion is a true hit. Please feel free to continue to be diverse. That was some seriously interesting and pleasant information. Thank you!

  2. I agree with the first two comments – interesting stuff.
    We had similar brooms in India. I once saw two women collecting reeds to make them.
    When we bought a new broom, we had to shake and beat it outside against the wall or path, to dislodge all the dust inside the broom before using it. Otherwise you would make your clean floor dirtier.
    I hope I can keep remembering all these tropical things now that I’m back in the UK. Your blog will help. I must also ask you about Palau some time. We spent our honeymoon scuba-diving in Palau and Yap in 1998.

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