26 February 2014

2014-10-23 Billy  R


I’m leading with Billy because he was the most photogenic, but honestly there are goats EveryWhere right now.

2015-02-26 goats 1 R

These are goats in the field I see while I’m washing dishes.

2015-02-26 goats 1  Cr-black2015-02-26 goats 1  Cr-white

2015-02-26 goats 1  Cr-butt

In close up.  (I like the one showing his rear)   There are goats all over the road on the way to town as well.   Maybe I’ll get more goat shots later this goat-y year.

2015-02-26 guavas in tree  Cr

HAPPY AYYAM-I-HA   (a Baha’i party time)

Which is also at the peak of guava season this year.  So we start with guavas in the tree.

2015-02-17 sacks of guava  R

And sacks of guavas being prepped for cooking.  (Plus the lovely workers!)

2015-02-17 jars of guava jam  R

Jars of jam in whatever jars we have around …. (I think I see an easy gift to give!)

2015-02-25 guava  R

And guavas are even gifts for our feathered friends.

*    *     *

I have a saga to tell, but will save that for next week since I’m short of time and want to do it justice.

May we all have a blessed and happy week.

*    *    *


19 February 2015

2015-02-19 topiary 0  R

The star of this week is Austin’s funny hibiscus topiary, most easily identified on a foggy morning with the papaya tree in front.

2015-02-19 topiary 6 Cr

We wanted the view, but Austin felt bad never letting the hibiscus bloom, when it wanted to bloom so desperately.

2015-02-19 topiary 1  Cr

So he trimmed it leaving a few large branches to grow high and bloom.  I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.

2015-02-19 topiary 5  Cr

Strange, but it works.

SS 2015-02-05  Misty morning  R


This photo is actually from a few weeks ago, but it’s all I’ve got.   What I want to tell you about is Austin and me heading to Suva early on Saturday, and the morning fog was different.   It wasn’t a dense mass rolling through, but was a thinner mist.   Austin said it was more like steam rising from the trees in the early morning sun.  I think he was right.

2015-02-19  landslide 1  R


Coming back from Suva we were both really struck by this humongous landslide visible for miles away.   Finally it just begged to be photographed.

2015-02-19  landslide 2 R

Maybe the rain was that much heavier than usual in that area..  The trees, shrubs and grasses really lost it this time.   Austin says he  thinks this face will probably just stay exposed.

2015-02-19  landslide 3  R

THIS is what that mountain can look forward to.  Grizzled Elderhood.

2015-02-19 mimosa tree  R


Come to think of it we have had a lot of rain here, too.  Everything’s gone jungley.  The prettiest new flowering vegetation is this mimosa tree.

2015-02-19 mimosa flower  R

Even though the flowers look a bit like wet cats.


*   *   *

12 February 2015


2015-02-12 red snake 2  R

At a loss for anything else new to blog about – I opened the bucket…..  TA DA.    This is the new (and currently only) snake checking out my camera case.

2015-02-12 red snake 1  R

I’ve named him Little Mr. Lal, because (1) he is still little – Thank God,  (2) it is definitely a  HE – we learned how to tell.  He has little hooks by his “vent” (that is butt- and everything else hole), and (3)  LAL is the Hindi word for RED.  He is a very red snake.

2015-02-12 red snake 3  R

According to Austin, Little Mr. Lal is red because he is adapted to living among mahogany trees.

We have not had a good track record with snakes.   In October 2013 people from the school begged Austin to come get the snake they found there.  We named him Sylvester, found out later it was a female – had her for about six months and she died.   People brought Austin another snake, this time a male – I never held him even once.  He died after about two months.  So I’m not worried about Little Mr. Lal becoming Humongous Mr. Lal.     I would be fine with Little Mr. Lal escaping, never to be seen again….

2015-02-08  Oja santa 1  R


A recent guest recognized this plant and got all excited because she has cooked with it before.   It is hoja santa (pronounced OH-hah SAN-ta, Spanish for “holy leaf”).   Austin brought down a seed pod looking part of it and had me taste.  It tastes a lot like sassafras. Akka is going to try out recipes.   You can read a bit about hoja santa here:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_auritum

SS 2015-02-05  ivi nuts  R


Another edible, one that is familiar to us, is ivi (EE-vee).  They come into season, and then the market is full of boiled ivi nuts.  They sell for about a dollar (US fifty cents) for a bag of 10 of them.  They taste a lot like chestnuts, but are bigger – about the size of a lid to a baby food jar. Ivi are also a great source or merriment and/or embarrassment …. the flatulence they create is tremendous.

 SS 2015-02-05 water spider  Cr


#1.  Observant reader, Lady of the Cakes,  said she didn’t think this was a spider.  She was right.  Dr. Show-Off tells me it is a CRICKET.   And not only that, I should tell you that it is sitting on an IVI fruit in the creek.   (I’d never seen an ivi inside its natural casing in my life.)

SS 2015-02-05  Dragonfly 2  R

#2  These are not dragonfly larvae, these are the little insects that the dragonfly larvae eat.  Austin and Sandra did not take any photos of the dragonfly larvae.  (Are you kidding me?!  Out of those hundreds of photos of dragonflies and their sheds?!!!   Good Lord !!!!)

SS 2015-02-05 wild orchid  R

#3  It wasn’t a wild orchid – I was right that much. ..COCOA FLOWER (“Kim, you are so dumb.  The cocoa pods are right there by it.”   …. What cocoa pods?)

SS 2015-02-05 mystery flower  1  R

#4  Mystery flower above is …. Soursop!   Really?!

SS 2015-02-05 mystery flower 2  R

#5 The other mystery flower is …….a sandalwood flower.

And there is lots more information on several of the other photos too.   Like the waterwalker was actually a pair of mating water striders.   The cactus flower, more specifically is the bud of Austin’s first dragon fruit.   The flying whatnots might be insects Austin’s aunt studied and were brought to Fiji to eat mosquitoes.  The yellow butterfly was on a daisy that the bees like for honey-making.  Sigh.

But I was really happy to hear from one reader this week that she really got a laugh from how much I didn’t know, since she never knows things either.   That reader is a guest to the farm who thought the goats by the road were deer…..

*     *     *


May we all have a happy week.

*     *     *

5 February 2015 – complete

SS 2015-02-05 dramatic hilside  R

Last week I climbed the mountain.  This week, I did nothing – or close to it.  The only photos in my camera were of hoeing out crabgrass – and they were from last week.

What I did instead was to sift through more than 2000 photos from guest Sandra Spranger (the other lady in the mountain climbing party).  She is an inspired photographer with a magnificent camera ( I Leica her camera !!!) and is also a professional gardener.    I don’t know how she got the dramatic photo of our hills to the northeast above..

SS 2015-02-05 red-belly spider  R


She found spiders I’d never seen.  The one above has a suspicious red mark on its little belly.  We don’t have Black Widows here (or any other highly poisonous ones), I’ll just call this baby a Black Stepmom..

SS 2015-02-05 water spider  R

This is a spider here.

SS 2015-02-05 water spider  Cr


SS 2015-02-05 leaf spider  R

Spider on one eaten up leaf.

SS 2015-02-05 spider  Cr

And this crazy creature – I wasn’t sure if it was a spider or some kind of crab or what. So I broke down and asked Dr. Smarty Pants.  It’s a spider.  The thing that looks like a shell is actually its abdomen and thorax, colored white – the perfect camouflage for this plant.

SS 2015-02-05 Mulberry  R


A lone mulberry – I didn’t know the tree was fruiting.

SS 2015-02-05 wild orchid  R

I thought this was a wild orchid… but I think I’m wrong.

SS 2015-02-05  Cactus flower  R

A cactus flower, or bud thereof.

SS 2015-02-05 mystery flower 2  R

No idea what this flower is.

SS 2015-02-05 mystery flower  1  R

And even more mystified by this one.   (Sandra had lots of photos of flowers I know – but I can blog about those any old time.)

Betty Cat

Betty Cat

SANDRA’S LOOK AT MY BEST FRIENDS (her photos are better than mine)

Betty, perched on the power box.



GoGo, sitting above the ground – as always.



Po, flying through a field.

SS 2015-02-05 green ladybug  R


A green ladybug?

SS 2015-02-05  new moth  R

A moth in the daytime.

SS 2015-02-05 yellow butterfly  R

The yellow butterfly I noticed at the beginning of my blogging, and could never capture for a photo.

SS 2015-02-05 water walker  R

A water walker on our pond.

SS 2015-02-05  flight of insects  R

A flight of whatnots, and their shadows.

SS 2015-02-05  garden bugs  R

AND – What the GARDENER sees!

SS 2015-02-05  Dragonfly 1  R


I told you a little bit about dragonflies a couple of weeks ago, and had a few crappy photographs.  Well, Sandra and Austin stayed up half the night one night getting MAGNIFICENT photographs of them.   Prepare to be impressed!

SS 2015-02-05  Dragonfly 2  R

This is the dragonfly larvae in the pool.

SS 2015-02-05  Dragonfly 3  R

They crawl out of the water and then “back-dive” out of their skins.

SS 2015-02-05  Dragonfly 4  R

Then they hang around for a bit while they adjust to life outside and start to stretch out their wings.

SS 2015-02-05  Dragonfly 5  R

What amazing wings!

A huge THANK YOU to Sandra for sharing her incredible shots with us.

I close the photos with her dramatic view of the cottage.

SS 2015-02-05 dramatic cottage  R

*    *    *

FARM NEWS – the only news is that Austin told me some fellow drove here from Naitasirii (about 3 hours away) with a snake he wanted to sell to Austin.  Austin didn’t  buy it, but he left the snake anyway.  Austin tells me it is in a bucket.  I have not opened the bucket yet.   Maybe next week.

*     *     *