27 November 2014

2014-11-27 Clara and chickie 2  Cr

This is Clara’s favorite chickie because of her eyeliner, her wings and her strength.  Clara named her  Cleopatra, although her title is “Miracle Bird”

2014-11-27 Clara and chickie 3  Cr

Here are Cleopatra’s wings.   Cleopatra is amazing because she hatched herself after being totally abandoned through 2 cold nights.  Austin just knew that whole clutch were goners.  Cleo is some bird!   (And if she turns out to be a rooster, his name will be Pharaoh.)

2014-11-27 horses on hill 1 R

Meanwhile there was a small herd of wild horses on the hill to the north.

2014-11-27 paper wasps  Cr

Clara found this under a chair in my sitting room.  First paper wasps I’ve seen inside my house.

2014-11-27 paper wasps  Fine Cr

Hello !

… and now for the Community Event


Our family was invited as honored guests to attend the end of school concert.

2014-11-27  school event 2  Cr

Austin was officially being thanked for this huge mud hole – which will be a fish pond.  He got a $3000 grant from the Ford Motor Company to have this dug.  There will be a chain link fence, and even a chicken project inside – in hopes of getting better nutrition into the bellies of the students.  This is inextricably tied to Katie, the dear NZ volunteer, who collaborated with Austin in documenting the need for more protein in the dorm kids’ diets.   You can see Katie and our July cookie project here:  https://ffwrfromfiji.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/31-july-2014/

2014-11-27  school event 1  R

Although I’ve lived here for about six years, this is the first time I have gone to the school.  I love the welcome wall.

2014-11-27  school event 3  R2014-11-27  school event 4  R

I really love the decoration with used plastic bottles painted brightly.  Then I saw these signs – the second inspirational quote is attributed to “Sydney. J.”

2014-11-27  school event 6  R

Dignitaries in the front:  families of the overseas volunteers, Austin and some of our young ones.

2014-11-27  school event 5  R

One of the teachers kept telling the students to remember not to lean against the wall because it could fall down!  That was curious.  The unpainted wood is on hinges, I think.

2014-11-27  school event 7  R

There were lots of items.   Meke (dancing).   Singing.

2014-11-27  school event 8   R

And a play!   The play was really funny!   Monster school.  The “teacher” told the monsters to get out their books, and then instructed them to eat their books,  One naughty student wanted to read the book instead of eating it…. and so on.   If you look closely at the photo you will see monster masks.   You’ll also see my grandson Kiki trying to get a mask from one of the actors.   The actor just handed it over.  Fijians are just so SWEET NATURED!

And on the event went, with more items, speeches, prayers and a feast.   I only got one photo of the food.

2014-11-27 school event clam  Cr

MONSTER river clams such as none of us had ever seen.   Yum, yum, yum.

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20 November 2014

2014-11-20  hidden eggs  R

Behold another hidden clutch of chicken eggs, this one on an undeveloped part of a hill near a set of bee boxes.    Such fertility.

Speaking of fertility…..


Our kids live all around the Pacific rim – last time we all managed to get together was 5 years ago, and there are more of us now.   In celebration of the triumph of family over inertia and other commitments, I give you each family member with the bit of flora or fauna of choice.

2014-11-20 BEAMER and coffee Cr

Doris (“Beamer”), our beloved matriarch,   Crown of thorn flowers in her hair, and more importantly COFFEE in her cup!

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2014-11-12  AKKA and strawberry  Cr

Akka and a big fat strawberry he grew

2014-11-20 MONICA and uci  R

Monica and an uci (OO-thee) plant.  This plant is very important for traditional garlands.  It has a unique “clean” scent.

2014-11-20 KIKI and 4-petal plumeria  Cr

Kiki and a four-petal plumeria.

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2014-11-20 MAKI and jackfruit  Cr

Honorary Uncle Maki – lucky us that he is in Fiji right now – with jackfruit.

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2014-11-20 LUA and Mangoes  Cr

Lua and mangoes – she was asking for mangoes once she arrived and was surprised to hear we have them at the farm.

2014-11-20 MAX and dogs  'Cr

Max and our dogs.

2014-11-20 VICTOR and chickies  Cr

Victor and some chickies.

2014-11-20 ALICE and Teddy  R

Alice and Teddy the cat.

2014-11-20 HAZEL and bougainvillea  Cr

Hazel and bougainvillea.   We picked it out for her thinking it would be easy.  Then she started carrying it with her everywhere.

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2014-11-20 JUNIA and Flora  Cr

Junia and “Flora” margarine spread.  Austin won’t let me buy margarine, but one of the in-laws smuggled some in.

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2014-11-20 CLARA and bananas  Cr

Clara and a stalk of bananas.  She was shooing away fruit flies with her hand.

2014-11-20 NIGEL and crabs  R

Nigel and mangrove crabs.  His brother had caught these crabs (Nigel’s family lives near Nausori on the other side of Suva) and Nigel brought them to the farm for one of our dinners.  YUMMY !!

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2014-11-20 RAKESH and wild fledgling  Cr

Uncle Rakesh, one of my Raksha Bandan brothers, and a wild fledgling.  Herein lies a story.  Clara wanted to be photographed with the nest of baby birds.  Junia warned us not to get too close or the birds would jump out.  We got too close.  The dogs were too interested.  Rakesh rescued the fledgling to return it to the nest.

2014-11-20 VINA and betelnut  Cr

Auntie Vina  (she is Beamer’s personal assistant, Rakesh’s wife, Maki’s “Rakee sister” all at once) and betel nuts growing in front of the house.   Vina just told me betel nut is very important in some of the Hindu prayer ceremonies!

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2014-11-20 GUY and peppers  R

Guy and some of the beautiful bell peppers (capsicums) Austin bought at Taiwan Mission.

2014-11-20 MAMI and duranta   R

Mami with a purple flower we did not know the name of.  Junia tells us it is “duranta” – and they also had it in Haifa.  (Guy, Mami and Junia all served in Haifa together.)

2014-11-20 LEO and hibiscus  Cr

Leo, currently the youngest family member, with hibiscus.

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2014-11-20 GRANDDADDY  R


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13 November 2014

2014-11-10 ylang-ylang under cottage  Cr

What a surprise – YLANG-YLANG growing on our property.  I had no idea.  Austin says he planted it when we bought the land six years ago – and here it is flowering already.  These are the flowers, the yellow-green petals hanging down.   They don’t look like much, but they smell heavenly.    This tree is growing below the cottage – so our lucky lucky guests get to smell it every evening.   I want an ylang-ylang tree up near our house!

Ylang-ylang was the primary part of the leis in Chuuk where we spent some happy years.  In Fiji this plant is called mokosoi and is the favorite scent put into coconut body oil, as well as going into garlands for traditional dances.

2014-11-13 golden spider   Cr


Akka noticed this golden spider in my sitting room yesterday.   It is quite tiny and was quite quick.  Akka finally got a clear picture of it on my index finger.

2014-11-10 toads in pond 1  R


There’s a hole, there’s a hole, there’s a hole in the bottom of the pond.  And what is in the hole in the bottom of the pond?

2014-11-10 toads in pond 2  R

Oh my!   Toads.  Tangles of toads.

2014-11-10 toads in sack 2  R

Now “toads in a sack”

2014-11-10 toads in sack 1 R

More than 25 pounds – 12+ kg – of toads.    Death by hypothermia (don’t ask).

There was talk of test cooking “frogs legs” – these same cane toads from Australia are exported to France as that delicacy.   But they’ve been buried already instead.  Whew!

2014-11-10 white plumeria  R


I did plumeria last week and bemoaned the lack of white plumeria.  SURPRISE – we do have it.   Look how small the tree is.   The difference – Austin planted the red and pink ones from last week.   Akka and Monica planted this one about two years ago along with some others.

2014-11-10 six leaf plumeria Cr

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover…. but it is a six-petal plumeria.   The one in the front has six petals ….. this is as rare as a four-leaf clover so I wanted to share it.

2014-11-11  what animal got the bananas - questioner 1A  R


Bryan Gosling is asking “What animal damaged these newly harvested bananas?”

2014-11-11  what animal got the bananas 1   R2014-11-11  what animal got the bananas 2   R

I’ll give you a hint, the critter is bipedal, very short and got hold of a knife.

2014-11-11 hatchings   R


Austin made me take a photo of this hatching in progress.  If you look closely you can see different stages of the hatching process going on, as well as the different colored eggs and different colored hatchlings.


(This is for you, Green Lizard!)

Tamarind Rice –  Vina’s recipe –   seriously DELICIOUS

For two cups of uncooked rice you need 1/2 ball of tamarind (say 1/2 cup).

Cook rice, put it aside.

Soak the tamarind in 1/2 C water for 1 hour.  Then squeeze the tamarind which will be a thick paste; strain it and set it aside.

Prepare your herbs and spices:  garlic, ginger, chilli, onion, mustard seed, cumin seed and curry leaf (if you have it).  Fry all these herbs and spices in a little oil.   Add the tamarind paste.  and add salt and a little sugar. Let this cook for 3-4 minutes until boiling a little,  then put it aside.

Now loosen up the rice.  In a larger pot fry some more onion, fry the rice and at the end, stir in the tamarind sauce.

This is so YUMMY that the thought of it makes me both happy and hungry.

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Have a happy week, everybody!

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6 November 2014

2014-11-05 tamarind mountains  Cr

It’s tamarind season again.  We have mountains here to process, neighbors have carted sacks of it away, and the two trees are still full of tamairnds – which are no doubt getting black and moldy from being out in the rain.  For a start-to-finish on tamarind processing, you can look at my old posts from 10 October and 17 October 2013.

2014-11-05 plumeria 1  Cr


One of the first things Austin did when we moved here was to plant trees – among them: plumeria.   TA DA !    Now in bloom.

2014-11-05 plumeria 2  Cr

This lovely flower was the star of all the leis we ever received or made in our Micronesia years.  It holds up well for a few days and has a delicious perfume.  What’s odd is that the only plumeria here are pink and red.  The yellow-white ones are far more common.   Plumeria is also known as frangiapani, and in Fijian its name is senibua.

2014-11-05 above Fr grave  R

This lovely bench, up near the plumerias, overlooks the grave of Fred Cat .   The pineapples are abundant and in many locations around our farm.

2014-11-05 pineapple 1  R

This one is on the side of Cardiac Hill.   Note the very spiky leaves.

2014-11-05 pineapple 2  R

This one is under the big teak tree.  Note the smooth leaves.

We ate the fatso pineapple from last week once it finished ripening.  JUICY!  SWEET!


Me:  Is there anything going on I could put in this week’s blog?

Ju:  Chickens, geese, ducks?.         Me:   Boring – I do them all the time..

Ju:  Lots of mangoes on the tree?     Me:  Did that 2 weeks ago.

Ju:  OH!  My pocket garden.            Me:  What pocket garden?

Ju:  It has zucchini, cabbages, corn, watermelon, bok choi.


Ju points down the hill.

Ju:  Down there – I planted it myself.      Me:  Is it fruiting already?

Ju:  Yes!                                 Me:  Will you walk down with me?

Ju:   No, I’m tired right now, but don’t worry, you can’t miss it.

So…..   THIS is what we see without Junia

2014-11-05 Junia garden  R

It looks short.  All I can tell for sure is corn stalks to the back on the right.

2014-11-05 Ju gar wmlon flwr  Cr

I hunt and hunt.  I don’t see any fruit of any kind.   I think this might be a watermelon flower.

2014-11-05 Ju gar insect mate  Cr

LIFE!   Two insects mating on a God-knows-what and Junia-knows-what kind of flower.

2014-11-05 Ju gar insect mate  CloseCr

I’ll give us a close up since it is the only fauna this week at all.

2014-11-05 pond still dry  R

Walking back up the hill, I take another shot of our “pond.”   You can see it is green, it is raining.   I am shocked that the water table is still so low.   Thank God our bore hole that supplies us with running water has been holding up!

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2014-11-05 dinner bell  Cr

This is our dinner bell.   Just thought you might like to see it.

Have a happy week, and may the suppers you are called to all be tasty ones.

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