30 July 2015

2015-07-30 walking a goat  Cr

Here is a sight I’d not yet seen:  a man walking a goat on a rope.  This was in town, in the lot behind a row of stores.

2015-07-30 Kid  Cr

Still in the hircine department:  a kid that was interested in me during my morning walk.

2015-07-30 Peruvian corn 1  R

Flora-wise – this is Peruvian corn I had no idea that Austin was growing.

2015-07-30 Peruvian corn 2  Cr

I found out about it because Junia brought some damaged ears to Austin.   Wild horses got into his crop.   At least some ears are still good for seed.

2015-07-30 rare skink 1  Cr

More from Junia – this rare skink he was so happy to find.

2015-07-30 rare skink 2  R

They bite.

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Finally, a word about my precious mother-in-law, who at age 88 and after five and a half years here, took her last breath less than 24 hours ago.

07-17-14 Pirate Beamer  Cr

We had fun, and She will be missed.

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23 July 2015

2015-07-23 trail 1  R

Some guests (Rom, Kate and Bill) wanted to climb the nearby mountain and I thought I’d go along.  It was earlier in the morning than the first time I went, and it is winter and cooler now.

2015-07-23 cow 1  R

I saw a cow.

2015-07-23 trail 5  Cr

Rom saw this still-alive tree with most of the heart eaten out, which led to a discussion of redwoods and the like.    I glanced over and Kate was eating a passion fruit she found lying on the ground.

2015-07-23 trail 2 R

And then Monica had picked up a mandarin and was eating that.   Believe me, there were no fruits strewn in our path the last time I climbed this hill.

2015-07-23 trail 3  R

We got to the part where the waterfall would be if the creek were running and sat a bit as Rom investigated a tree stump.

Truth be told, about halfway up the mountain I’d had enough.  I remembered how hard getting back was for me the first time.   I’m not going up again unless I leave at 6 am, so it is still really cool on the descent.   So anyway, quitter that I am, I turned around.

2015-07-23 cow 2  R

There were more cows.

2015-07-23 cow 4  Cr

And more!   See how they are looking at me.  There were 27 or 28 in all and at one point about 20 of them were looking at me …. as if I might have food for them or something.  It was so funny.

2015-07-23 cow 5  R

Finally they filed their way up the hill.  As it was the whole herd moving, I expected to see a small boy behind them all.  But no – it was just the cows deciding on their own to go elsewhere.

2015-07-23 cow 6  Cr

Finally, when I was almost home, I found this calf all alone in some brush.  Knowing some of you go for baby pictures, I tried to get a photo.

2015-07-23 goat silhouette  Cr

Later that day Austin and I went to our Muslim neighbors house to wish them a happy Eid and take them their puppy.   Their goats popped their heads up to see what was going on.

2015-07-23 silhouette birds  Cr

As we walked home together, Austin pointed out this tree with the lichens and birds.  He mentioned that the lichens can be used to produce a purple dye.

2015-07-23 new orchid 1  R

Akka came home with a gorgeous orchid he bought in town.

2015-07-23 new orchid 2  Cr

This is the name of it.

And to finish up the week, Austin and I went to Suva.  We delivered another puppy to friends, and they had this WEIRD PLANT in the yard.

2015-07-23 strange plant 1  R

Weird!   I thought the one that could grow roots from its leaves a few weeks ago was weird, but this one is growing little cabbages.

2015-07-23 strange plant 2  Cr

Cabbages with their own roots!

What next?

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May you all have a happy week.

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16 July 2015

Ju and starfruit  Cr

The starfruit tree is overproducing again.  Even when I take sacks of it to my neighbors, there is still more of it than we can use.  One family member sliced a heap to dry on this tray and turn into pickles.

But honestly, I didn’t look much at Flora or Fauna this week because we just had an “older generation” ….


Unlike the one with our kids that we try to do every five years – this was a first one ever! So to commemorate it, I got each visitor to select the plant or animal of choice for the Official Photo.

Richard and mountain  R

Eldest brother Richard didn’t want either plant or animal – he chose MOUNTAIN.   That’s his prerogative.  Solid, stable, enduring.

rConnor on horse  R

His grandson Connor chose RYU, our horse.  (the name means “dragon” in Japanese) Connor and Ryu went galloping down the driveway.  They parted company when Connor thought they’d come back and Ryu didn’t.  At high speed.  (Ah youth!  A long scrape is quickly dismissed as “not as bad as the ones I get long-boarding”)

Jace and Gosling  Cr

Older sister Celery bonded with a GOSLING, so there was no question of who she was going to choose.   That gosling imprinted on her and loves her dearly.

Jack and grass  R

Little brother Jack really surprised me … he went for some interesting GRASSES.  I have never known anyone to be interested in our grass before.  It must be the rancher in him.

Joyce and Lee and flora  Cr

Baby sister Joyce and her husband Lee.  Lee is holding MANDARINS from our tree  – he said he’d eated a bushel of them.   Joyce is holding the flowers called “YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW”   They are a winter flower she had not seen on other visits to Fiji – and she loves them.

Lee3 in Soursop tree  R

Their son Lee3, up in a SOURSOP tree.   He had soursop on his first day here, declared it his favorite fruit ever.

soursop images

Our tree was out of fruit by then, so here is a stock photo.

rGabi and cassava  R

And Lee3’s girfriend Gabi with her favorite:  CASSAVA .  She is holding a sad example of a cassava root and standing in front of a cassava plant.  By the time I got around to photo taking, we had already eaten all the impressive cassava that had been dug up.  Cassava (a.k.a. tapioca, manioc, yuca) is our very versatile root crop that appeared at almost every meal.  I’m glad Gabi enjoyed it so much.

Whole family  R

Here is the whole lot of us, gathered around our beloved matriarch, and admiring my handsome grandson.

But, wait!   Someone is missing!    Oh yes, our photographer.

Ju and starfruit  R

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9 July 2015

2015-07-09 wall dog  R

Dog on a wall – a high wall – in Suva. This dog paces the wall by day, and had stopped for a moment waiting for the neighbor to give him his regular morning treat, a hunk of flatbread (roti).


Remember the weird plant from a couple weeks ago that had the strange flowers I’d never seen before and leaves that Austin said grew roots out of the spots?   Well, Monica wanted to see for herself, so she pressed three leaves in a book for a week.

2015-07-09 weird leaf 1  R


2015-07-09 weird leaf 2  R

Kind of like cactus – don’t you think?


Austin looked down and saw our neighbors picking okra (bindi) in the field across the road – and so grabbed my camera to take a photo.

2015-07-09 bindi 1 R

He was inspired to do this because Akka had bought a hill of okra for $10 (US$ 6).

2015-07-09 bindi 2  R

And sister-in-law Joyce  was sorting it.   If I had the right camera it might have been possible to get both scenes in one photo: it was kind of cute with the sorting at the kitchen table in the foreground and farmers in the field in the background.   I had no intention of going into the field.

2015-07-09 bindi 3  R

That farmer told me the day before that he had something I really wanted to see, and he was in the field all day, so I ended up walking over a weed-blanketed very uneven fallow field into the okra patch to ask my neighbor about that other thing.   Here he is up to his armpits in okra plants.   He was quickly grabbing okra pods with one gloved hand while chatting away on his phone with the other.

2015-07-09 bindi 4  R-marked

I’ve circled an okra pod with yellow here so you can see what it looks like and how you’d have to really develop “an eye” to see them!    When he finished his call, he told me he had sold FORTY bags of bindi (okra) that morning for $800, and they’d picked another thirteen bags so far this day.

2015-07-09 bindi 5  R

These are two bags.  Huge feed sacks.  Anyway, I’m so happy that our neighbors are seeing some profit from farming.  It’s about time.

2015-07-09 kids 1  Cr


This is what I wanted to see – the baby goats.   Aw.   They are about a week old.   I took this photo on zoom…. could not induce the kids to get any closer.

2015-07-09 kids 2  Cr

I want to hold them and pet them, before their little horns sprout.

2015-07-09 kids 3   Cr

Oh well, they’ve gone back to their mama.  Maybe we’ll get our own nanny goat someday and then I can play with the kids.

2015-07-09 final puppy update  Cr


This will be my last puppy update; they are going to their forever homes now.  These friends chose my favorite one – dang it all – but they have taken puppies of ours before and they provide an EXCELLENT home, so I guess I’m happy.

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Family reunion of the odder – I mean older –  generation  this week.  So next week I hope to have another “reunion special”    Fun!

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2 July 2015

2015-07-02 Kiki cold  R

This blog is about flora and fauna, not about the weather, so I’m not going to say a word about the temperature.

2015-07-02 Kiki cold 2  R

Not. One. Word.

2015-07-02 turmeric  Cr

But get a load of this turmeric that Akka or Junia dug up this week on our property.  There was a bucket full of it, all soaking in the laundry sink.  We are using a lot of fresh turmeric right now, in herb teas, in cooking, and even grated raw in salads.


Lee3, my nephew, and his friend Gabi are visiting, and I put my camera in their willing hands and they collected seventy-eight shots of which these are my favorites.

2015-07-02 Lee3 and horse  R

Lee3 with horse.

2015-07-02 Gabby and pandanus  Cr

Gabi with a pandanus tree at the beach.  I’m pretty sure she had no idea what that tree was.

2015-07-02 skink in a teacup  R

They led off with a skink in a cup.  (We run such a classy establishment!)

2015-07-02 bougainvillea blossom  R

A single bougainvillea blossom.  Maybe they had never looked closely at bougainvillea before.

2015-07-02 oregano leaf  R

Here is an oregano leaf.   It grows in front of our house and no one local uses it for seasoning because they use it for medicine.  Basil, too.   ( I’m trying to think of a “medicine flavor” that I wouldn’t eat, but I’m drawing a blank. )

2015-07-02 breadfruit.  R jpg

Young breadfruit, also right in front of our house.  I’m betting the kids had no idea what those are.  It’s a starchy vegetable that grows on trees, and the staple food of the Chuukese diet.   I LOVE breadfruit.

2015-07-02 poets butt  R

They also got this flower – a very large representative of its species – I only know it by its Spanish name “culo de poeta”  (poet’s butt).   ( And Gabi was holding it … eewww !!!  ha ha )

2015-07-02 birdie Cr

Some inanimate fauna ….  Akka’s new birdie – he got a badminton set and they were trying it out.

2015-07-02 sweetie pie hanging out  R

And Sweetie Pie the stuffed bear, hanging out on the clothesline.

2015-07-02 no clue  R


Wherein they found this floral item that stumped me.  So I asked Dr. Know-it-all and he says it is the seed casing for a hot bean.  That probably doesn’t help you much, but now I know what it is.     I think I’ve never shown you hot bean, so I will try to do that soon.

2015-07-02 upright driftwood R

Next is this terrific shot of driftwood.   It fooled Austin!  He thought it was a tree in severe beach erosion – but he was WRONG (for a change) …. This is a whole tree that drifted in and somebody sat upright !    Ha ha ha.

2015-07-02 uberweird driftwood  R

And this super-weird piece of driftwood is a bit of bamboo root.  (I had to ask…)

2015-07-02 kite surfer  Cr

But the neatest thing they saw was KITE SURFERS.   This is something new at Ludi’s beach.

2015-07-02 kite surfer 2  R

Looks fun.

2015-07-02 kite surfer 3  Cr

Whee !!

And finally, I told them I’d need a Puppy Update.   This was my favorite.

2015-07-02 puppy  R

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Have a happy week, Everybody.

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