Sometimes there is a week when I don’t know what Flora and Fauna News I’m going to have, and then am happily surprised to find forgotten photos in my camera from “ages ago,” i.e. Monday. This was one of those weeks. I see from my camera that I was in Suva. Oh yes, now I remember! It hit me once again that every vacant lot is a serious food garden. This corner lot practically in the heart of town has a big casava (a.k.a., tapioca, manioc, yuca) plantation going.
And also a healthy dalo (taro) patch. And even in this city with a lot of sticky fingers, I do not hear of people’s gardens getting raided. That’s a check mark for humanity.
DR SEUSS WAS INSPIRED
Next up was we stopped in Pacific Harbor and I remembered I’d wanted to show you pandanus trees sometime. Pandanus trees have been on almost every tropical island that we have. Their leaves are processed to become the excellent weaving material that is used in making mats.
This shot, along Queens Highway, shows some of the strange forms that pandanus takes. With their little mops of leaves at the end of wavy branches they’ve always struck me as looking an awful lot like Dr. Seuss trees.
This is a pandanus fruit, hanging in a tree. Looks like a huge grenade ready to explode.
And this is a ripe fruit, open on the ground. In Chuuk and Pohnpei people always ate the fruit. Well, ate the fruit or drank it. Each section was called a “key” and people would take a key, chew the fibers and swallow the liquid. It was sweet, and pungent, and distinctive, and for some reason reminded me of vomit – so I passed whenever I could do so without offending the giver. I like this fruit on the ground – thinking how some birds might come and really enjoy it.
LAST OF THIS WEEK’S FLORA
Red bananas! Showed up here from the market.
NOW FOR FAUNA
Kiki ran into the family room all excited, yelling, “yeh-wo catapeeya” I know yeh-wo is yellow, and I could only guess that the other word had to be caterpillar. I was right.
Knowing this is a toddler’s hand, you can tell how really tiny the creature is. I am stumped as to what this yellow caterpillar will grow into, and how Kiki found it. But I’m quite happy for his love of critters and his ability to handle small ones gently.
MR. “CAN’T PASS UP A BARGAiN”
As if we didn’t have enough wild life to entertain us here – Austin came home with this aquarium. He stocked it with gambezi – a.k.a. mosquito fish – from the drain in Suva. Those mosquito-larvae-eating-fish have a lot of brethren now living in our pond.
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I’ll end with something I found quite funny yesterday. I went to see an old friend for the first time in a few years. As I walked up to her door, she noticed one small chicken poo on the step. She apologized profusely and hurriedly grabbed water and a broom to sweep it away. O Lordy! What will I ever do if she comes to visit me?
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