24 September 2015

2015-09-24 1st day fall produce  Cr

Happy Autumn Equinox from Canada – though it was the Vernal Equinox back home.  In Fiji I’d have a photo of some rain Austin tells me finally showed up – but here in the Pacific northwest are these beautiful squashes that we never see in the tropics.

2015-09-24 prep for Halloween  Cr

And of course with only five more shopping weeks until Halloween, there are decorated little pumpkins for sale.  (I hope this never catches on in Fiji.)

Ok, now for the big, the ONLY flora and fauna excitement of the week….


Before we start, l’d like to remind you of the Animals Fiji – the rescue and care centre in Nadi – where I got our cats neutered a year and a half ago.

4-10-14 Animal Clinic victims  R

This is Rakesh with our cats in sacks.   I wish I’d gotten a longer view of the front.  It was simple and pleasant.

2015-09-24 Kauai ASPCA - googleimage

So here is a stock photo of the SPCA building in Kauai, Hawaii where some of my kids used to live.  We would go there to play with the kitties.  The place, you can see, is a palace.

I was wondering where on this modest-to-majestic continuum Abbotsford’s SPCA would fit – serving a large population of 124,000 humans or so.

2015-09-24 SPCA front  R

Answer – on the modest side.  Ok.  So long as they take good care of the animals, modest is ok.   And they do.

We went there because the SPCA accepts used stuffed toys for the animals, and we also had a big tub of bedding to donate.   While there we got permission for a look-see.

2015-09-24 SPCA donation closet  R

Yep, here was a toy closet.  There’s room for more!

2015-09-24 SPCA only kittens  Cr

The kind workers told us that the facility is at capacity now for cats, but these were the only kittens we saw.   Totally unlike Fiji and Kauai.  Their neutering program must REALLY work here!

2015-09-24 SPCA Buddy 1  R

We met Buddy … he looks so much like my cat Teddy, and really loves to be petted.

2015-09-24 SPCA Buddy 2  R

But I have no idea what this note on his ID page is about.  “Frustrated 2” ??

2015-09-24 SPCA black cat  Cr

We didn’t see many more cats – just a few black ones.  Was I ever surprised to find out from my daughter that shelters won’t let black cats be adopted in October so that they are not abused on Halloween or abandoned right after.  UGH!  So unfair.   And this cat is so beautiful!

Anyhow – the bunnies were out of sight.  The finches had been sent to Vancouver, a community with more apartment dwellers who want birds.   So daughter, granddaughter and I headed off to see the dogs.   There were only four.

2015-09-24 SPCA Duncan  R

Duncan – a beautiful golden retriever/ labrador mix.  Such a friendly and hopeful-looking dog. A cute little shitzu, and a large leatherback something named Aero I forgot to immortalize.

2015-09-24 SPCA Edgar  R

Then there was  a huge doberman / rotweiller mix named Edgar.   Wow what an impressive hunk of canine.

2015-09-24 SPCA Edgar  Cr

Edgar came with this warning.   I could not believe these great dogs were just sitting in the shelter!  All of them would be adopted within 48 hours in Fiji, easily.

That was it.  We left …. but for the next half hour my daughter and I had to listen to her two year old repeating,  “Poor Dunan …. Poor Duncan ….. Poor Duncan …..Poor Duncan …..Poor Duncan …..”  (you get the idea)

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For anyone who needs some excitement in their life – we saw this sign today at the bank

2015-09-24  excitement in Lynden  Cr

Yep, a Cemetery Walk.   Be still, my heart.

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2015-09-24 Duncan 2 cr

Poor Duncan …..

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17 September 2015

2015-09-17 MLake waterlily 1  R

Just as Spinal Tap was touted as “one of England’s loudest bands,” I’m afraid this site may be praised as “one of WordPress’s most WEEKLY blogs”  Yes it is another week, and here is another blog.

Up first is a water lily blooming in September.

2015-09-17 MLake waterlily 2  R

In a pond that would inspire Monet.

This was at Mill Lake Park … and we were having such a pleasant walk, until we rounded a corner and I saw THIS

2015-09-17 A.gladulosa 1  R

Alanthis gladulosa – the most despised plant of my childhood. It was an invasive species that took over our bit of mountain in North Carolina, and when cut smelled like rotting pizza.

2015-09-17 A.gladulosa 2  R

After spending hundreds of 1960’s dollars to get rid of it, we were on the other side of the United States with Dad’s brother on the West Coast.  He proudly showed off a newly acquired plant in his garden.  It was THIS tree, but he called it “Tree of Heaven.”   (That could put anybody off religion!)

So anyhow – that is the grand total I had for the week, so my daughter Lua gave me the grand tour of her tea towel sized back yard.

2015-09-17 LG pumpkin 1  R

She proudly displayed her pumpkins.  (I thought they looked kind of peaky until she made the introduction.)   These were volunteer pumpkins from her compost heap – and her mother-in-law told her this is an excellent variety.

2015-09-17 LG pumpkin 1  Cr

With very thick and tasty flesh.

2015-09-17 LG pumpkin 2  R

And, surprise to me,  there was a second volunteer pumpkin species growing there.  Farmer Dad may be impressed.

2015-09-17 LG rhododendron  R

Next up – her rhododendron.  “It’s pretty in the spring”

2015-09-17 LG fig leaf  R

Then – a young fig tree.   Off-the-rack apparel ready for Adam.

2015-09-17 LG rosemary and sage  Cr

Herbs ready to roll:  rosemary and sage-that-doesn’t-know-when-to-quit.

2015-09-17 LG ornamental maple 1  R

Ornamental maple … this IS Canada, after all.

2015-09-17 LG ornamental maple 2  R

A dwarf variety, with a curious two year old.

2015-09-17 LG spooky forest  R

Finally, a cypress hedge that serves as “Spooky Forest” for the toddler’s elders (ages 5 and 7).   I’d forgotten the imaginative pleasures of shady hidey-holes.

All plants – no animals – do I hear you complain?   Well this just came in my daughter’s email – in all bold – today (no kidding)

Dear Parents,


At 1:30 p.m. today there was a report of a bear at Marshall Road and Whatcom Road.  The students had finished lunch play and are now remaining inside for the afternoon.


Bus students will wait in the gym and car pick up students will be waiting at the ‘island’.  If you normally pick up by walking please come to the classroom door.  If your child usually walks home please call the school to let us know how your child will be picked up.


Thank you,

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Compare it to the excitement from back on the farm.  Two photos Akka sent for the blog.

2015-09-17 farm moth 1  Cr

Moth 1

2015-09-17 farm moth 2  Cr

and Moth 2.   Whee.

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10 September 2015

2015-09-10 Leo on a box  Cr

Lazy is our life on vacation.  This is Leo, hanging with me one evening.

2015-09-10 fruitfly trap 1  R

News from the house is that daughter Lua perfected a Fruit Fly Trap.

2015-09-10 fruitfly trap 2  R

Fruit juice plus Apple Cider Vinegar plus a bit of dish soap.  Since this photo was taken the buggers multiplied like crazy and we caught 3 traps full today.  Ere long the cold weather will come and this will be a memory.

The main item for this week is …. we took the kids to …


What a nice zoo!    Near the entrance is this poem.

2015-09-10 zoo water poem  R

“Mere Water Am I”    (I will print the words of this lovely poem if anyone would like,)

2015-09-10 zoo wheels Cr

Kids are allowed to ride their bikes in this zoo.   What an improvement over the zoos where we were having to drag our tired kids around under “No Bicycles, No Pets” signs.   Also surreys for rent!

\2015-09-10 zoo raptor 1  Cr

Anyhow, we headed straight to my favorite feature – the Raptor Show.

2015-09-10 zoo raptor 2  Cr

Where a Chris Pratt inspired falconer did his routine with these amazing birds.

2015-09-10 zoo raptor 3  Cr

They are free to fly away.  They usually come back because home is where the food is easy … but sometimes they do go off on an adventure and so they are radio-tagged.

2015-09-10 zoo hippo feeding  Cr

We also were in time for the Hippo Feeding.    Never did get a good photo of them with mouths open – but, man, did I learn a lot.  These two weigh 4700 pounds and about 4000 pounds.   They can grow up to 6000 pounds plus.   This is on a vegan diet!   Sheesh!   They are VERY territorial … and if I heard the handler correctly, they can run up to 56 km/hour….  ok, google says 30 km/hour on land.  Either way – 4700 pounds of hippo going 30 km/hour!   Good Lord!

2015-09-10 zoo bald eagle  Cr

My first ever Bald Eagle.   I was really surprised – it is a huge bird!   This one is flightless because of injuries in the wild.

2015-09-10 zoo Holy Crap 2  R

In the Vivarium……  good grief, Monty Python!   (At the end, I will post a special gift from the Vivarium for my most special person.  But first – back to the great out of doors.)

2015-09-10 zoo grizzly 2  Cr

Sawed tree?   Why that?, you ask.

2015-09-10 zoo grizzly 2  R

It is in here.   Why?, you ask again.   You have clearly forgotten about the big Wind Storm I told you about last week.  (I had forgotten, too, until I came here.)

2015-09-10 zoo grizzly 1  Cr

THIS was the Grizzly Bear pen.   And the wind blew down the tree, that broke the fence, that let the grizzly bear escape.   So during the windstorm, everybody – including my daughter’s friend and her kids – got evacuated into a building and basically locked in a room for 20-30 minutes until it was considered safe enough that they could be escorted to their vehicles.

They did catch that grizzly, and he is, according to the Greater Vancouver Zoo Facebook Page, happily reunited with his pen.


My question is …. Who is THIS GUY – the star of an email my daughter got from her kids’ school just this affernoon?

Dear Parents,

We have had reports of a bear in the yards of our neighbours within the last half hour.  The conservation officer will be setting up a bear trap on Mountain Drive.

For dismissal today, we will keep the children close to the school and as parents pull up we will make sure the child will get to the car safely.

Bus students will stay inside the school until the bus arrives.

We have an Abbotsford Police Officer on site until all children have left the premises….

Thank you,

Yogi?  Boo Boo?

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2015-09-10 zoo hissing cockroach  R

Finally, for my sweet sweet hubby – your very own Madagascar Hissing Cockroach – the only one you get to keep.  If you ever bring something like this home again, I will flush it down the toilet again.  Miss you!

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3 September 2015

2015-09-04 traveling  Cr

Well, as you know if you read last week, I am not on the farm.  I’m travelling.  Above you can see the rolling backpack I’ve used for transporting all my stuff for 5 weeks away.  Last week I talked about a lot of people.   This week starts off with a lot of WEATHER.

Hawaii had been having a drought just like we’d been having in Fiji.   After I was there a few days, guess what:   Rain.   Plenty rain.

2015-09-04 flood in HNL 2  R


Then – off to Vancouver to my other daughter’s place.   Twenty-four hours after a freak WINDSTORM.

Power still out in some places between the airport and her house.

2015-09-04 windstorm in BC 4  R

Take this large willow branch as proof.   Whew!    Like a banana typhoon – in the wrong part of the Pacific.

2015-09-04 fruit shopping 1  R

Second day here she took me to a lovely store on a farm that sells mostly local produce.   I was really surprised at the volume of fruits she was bringing home.

These are fruits I can only dream of when I’m in Fiji:

2015-09-04 fruit shopping 5  R


2015-09-04 fruit shopping 6  R


These must not travel well, because we never see them.  It’s been years since I had a fresh peach!

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2015-09-04 avocado flower  Cr

The avocado tree is making flowers.  Akka sent me this photo.  Woot woot – I guess we may be getting our own avocados soon.

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I just got this news in an email from Austin yesterday:

Dear friends,
Attached is the link to the latest “Happy Chicken” report  for both the UK and worldwide Global Giving sites we are really getting places now, and on very little funding.  We have put in several proposals and are waiting on the outcome.
The connection between small-scale community poultry farming and healthy coral reefs makes so much sense as an alternative protein source and implemented as a reward to fishing communities setting aside or supporting no-take MPAs.  While so much talk goes to sustainable alternative livelihoods, we are finally walking our talk!
Please share the report far and wide in your networks.
For “GlobalGiving” site, your project report is located at:  http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/happy-chickens-for-food-security-and-environment-1/updates/
For “GlobalGiving UK” site, Your project report is located at:  http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/pr/20100/proj20071d.html
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Finally – just so we have a bit of fauna in the news…. I want to show you the cause of  screams of horror from the kitchen here in Canada.
2015-09-04 horror in Lua sink  Cr
They think that spider’s big.
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