29 October 2015

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This is the embroidered design on the Chuukese skirt that Encheni gave me when I saw her in Hawaii last August.  I had too much to blog about that week – but oh, man, do I love the skirt.  Like the old skirts I wore all the time when I lived in Micronesia, except that it is done with machine embroidery instead of applique.

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Well guess what – we have some guests at the Teitei,right now who spent time in Micronesia back in the 60s, know Chuuk – and one of them was even stationed in Udot  (where my daughter Clara was born) – and he might well have built our dear friend Betty’s house!   They wanted to see my skirts.

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They reminded me about how the women used to wear skirts on top of skirts so that the lower one peeks out.  Yes!   And so I did this with my older traditional-applique skirt that is too stained to use as outer wear any more.  Fun!

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So I wasn’t so inspired by flora or fauna this week.  I saw THIS SIGN in a doctor’s waiting room.  It caught my eye.   The evacuation plan “In Case of Earthquake” …. “In Case of Tsunami”……”In Case of Fire”

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This was the view from where I was sitting.  Thank goodness for that detailed plan – otherwise I would never have figured out where to go if I were in a panicked state.

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Flowers came to me anyway – I went walkabout and neighbor Roshni told me, “I have flowers for Austin.”  as in, she has nice flowers to give him cuttings for.  I told her I’d tell him (so far, I forgot) – and I took photos.   Above is the “normal” version of that flower, whatever it is.    Roshni has some HUGE ones.

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So these are for you, Austin – whenever you go over to ask Roshni.

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This was under our new house in March when Cyclone Pam was threatening to come our way.  She gobsmacked Vanuatu instead, but before we knew that, I was thinking – “we’re going to have to get this crap out from under the house.”    Austin was thinking, “We’ve got to finish under the house.”

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In May, work started.   It has actually been mostly done for awhile, but I’ll give you a tour this week.

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Mostly finished outside – I think we’ll get some kind of doors on this eventually.

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Austin’s incubator room.  Only one of those 2 work, and on it, the automatic egg turner doesn’t.   You can see his honey suit hanging on the post – that gave me a scare when I went in at dusk once.

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More in the incubator room, nice shelves.  The egg cartons on their sides are full of eggs that Austin will be putting into the incubator in a few days.  He turns them from side to side a few times a day when he shifts the ones in the incubator.   To the far left you can see a row of small kerosene lamps.  They are for warming chicks when the power goes out.

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A shot of our Locking Tool Room.  This is the only lock in the place so far, just to keep from tempting people beyond reasonable limits.   Life as we lead it here would be IMPOSSIBLE in many places.   We are so lucky that the vast majority of folks in Fiji are so honest.

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Still under the house – this gate keeps dogs and geese from going down to the small suite (bedroom and bathroom) for long-term family guests.

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And I finally got a really nice spot for my twin tub washer

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And the cement work was signed by a rooster.

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Austin the fish

Austin the Fish – from my grandchildren in Canada.  I got the photo and the name by email and was going to put him in my blog when my daughter said, “Don’t bother, he died already.”     They got another male beta fish just like this one, but it’s another child’s turn to name it.

Isa, little Austin fish – better luck next life!

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22 October 2015

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This is about the last thing I ever expected to see on the Fiji farm – in the summer, no less – after arriving home from chilly climes:  Carrot Tops.

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On top of an honest-to-God carrot!  Still a couple weeks short of full maturity.

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Tasted sweet, too.  A little green, but not bad.  This is such a change from the carrots Austin tried to grow about five years ago: stunted twisted bitter midgets.  I am delighted to know that we can actually grow our own tasty carrots here!

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Ok, so this is same ole same old kind of – geese in the yard.  The difference is that they have earned a new title from son Akka –  ALARM DUCKS.  They are living up to the name – honking like crazy at 5 am… and why?

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We seem to have more geese going on now than ducks.   Here is a pen with 3 fat goslings and some chicks from the heritage birds from Vatulele Island.that Austin bought four months ago (see 18 June).

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I accidentally gave away some of the chicks from his breeding pair, but now he has more.  Junia tells me that Austin is hoping the color is sex-linked, but won’t know for sure until these birds hit puberty.

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Another BIG DEAL since I’ve been gone is Junia’s Hot Sauce.   This has been going on because Junia’s been having luck growing chillies.    The one above is Maki’s chilli from Martinique.  We had a good bush and it nearly died.  Ju rescued it and we have about 10 bushes of this chilli growing on the hill below his house.

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Here is a new chillie Junia is growing – it looks like “bongo” but is hotter.

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And here is the other new chillie.  It grows standing up like our “rokete” (rocket), but is longer.   All these chilles are delicious!

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In the Curiosity Department we have these passion fruits hanging from a wire.   I have a roundabout way to get from these fruits to the fireworks that are going off almost every night.  The fruits remind me of Chinese lanterns, which should come out for Chinese New Year.  I just found out yesterday from a neighbor that Indian New Year is Diwali.  That falls on November 11, so women are already working hard on cleaning and the boy are already shooting off fireworks.  (A quick google search shows that Diwali/ Deepawail is not designated as any kind of New Year in quickly found sources – ah well. )

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Finally, a bit of a shock was Winky.  How big she has grown.  How much she looks like Inu, our dear dog who died a year and a half ago.

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Winky chawing down on a fried pig’s ear.  That’s the life.

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16 October 2015

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GOOD-BYE, Canada.  I left on Saturday, two days after the last blog.

I changed planes in Sea-Tac airport.  I had low expectations of finding anything of interest in the airport, but I was wrong.

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Pet Relief – there was going to be access to the outside!   I was excited!

Instead, I got tickled….

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(That’s just astroturf on linoleum, if you cannot tell.)

I was headed back to Hawaii where a dear cousin was waiting to see me.   This is a lady for whom Every Day must bring a New Adventure – so for our first day together she introduced me to Oahu’s North Shore.

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Spectacular – even in the misty rain.

There were a lot of signs up about “Keep the Country Country” – in other words, no new tourist development.   Good luck on that.

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There was an older establishment called the Tropical Nut Farm (I think) – nice little tourist place.

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We stopped because my cousin wanted to touch base with this gentleman – Chief Sielu Avea.   He is quite a local celebrity and a truly sweet and noble person.  We attended his luau performance that evening – and I have never seen better entertainment at an island event.  There was no way I was going to stop watching for the purpose of getting bad photos of it.

The following day my daughter was off work and we all went up to “Punchbowl”  I was expecting another tourist spot, and I was wrong.

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We were on a mission to find the grave of my cousin’s daughter’s mother-in-law’s father.  This is the kind of convoluted family trail that unites obviously close relatives in the Pacific.

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Punchbowl is an immense cemetery with an immense message – all who have served in the military are to be given highest honor on their passing.

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We learned that Mr. Hinchcliffe’s ashes were interned in a colonnade and were given the number for it.   “I wish he had brought flowers,” my cousin said.

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As it was, we missed his plaque because of flowers.  Then we figured out the numbering system and found him.  Happy reunion and instant photos for the family back home.

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Only a half day on the last day, but my cousin found time to take me to one of Honolulu natives’ favorite spots:  Leonard’s, home of “malasadas.”   I’d never heard of malasadas before (sounds like “badly salted” in my inexpert Spanish) – but man oh man was the malasada I ate delicious!   Anyway, the point of this was to show you Leonard’s – the place with the line outside its door at 9:30 am.

Now here is what’s sad.  Of all the things I saw all over the place in Oahu, the thing that struck me as the prettiest, and I had to stop to try to get a photo of was this fellow.   Red jungle fowl.

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I must be ready to go home.

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8 October 2015

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Me, outside a Walmart …pointing at a dog.   This was my week: if you want more excitement, please look at last week.

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The trees are starting to turn, but I will be gone before they reach full glory.

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I did get up on a horse for the first time in about five years.   This loveable sluggard was making me really work for every step – good grief!   Then someone suggested I use a switch.  What an improvement!  Anyway, anybody want to guess the name of this mount?

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Casper.   Happy to finally be heading for the gate.

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I happened upon the lovely ‘Calico Country” shop in Lynden, Washington while my friend was getting a laptop looked at.

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Mary, the sweet proprietor, has been running this shop for over 30 years.

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And some of the quilts up would have knocked my socks off if my feet had been a little warmer.


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SPELLING SOUTH OF THE  BORDER     (i.e. south of Canada’s border)

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(I’d been noticing the PUNKINS every time we drove by, but it was only when I stopped to take the photo that I experienced the total disregard of Noah Webster.)

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Happy week, everybody!

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1 October 2015

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My daughter Lua and I drove to Harper Mountain, past Kamloops (further east in British Columbia), and stopped at the Welcome Centre in Merritt, where I saw the reddest bush of my life.

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There was also a large predatory insect in the parking lot that seemed to have ingested a human.

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On the last weekend of September Harper Mountain is a wonderful two day meeting for some First Nations Baha’is.   Lua is not First Nations on any side of her family but we went as support crew and joined in the fellowship.  I saw and learned so much:  one important thing is that the First Nations is an ORAL CULTURE – in other words, I may tell people about my experiences and impressions, but not write about them.  So if you see me and want to know … Ask.

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What I can share here is photos of some of the many handicrafts.  Oh my Lord.  This is a hand-made skin drum.  Many were in use that weekend.

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Beautiful handmade leather pouches of various sizes.  None of these things were for sale.

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Sought after carvings because the carver was a beloved elder who had since passed on.

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Ceramic trivet.   . Candles,    Jewelry.

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These beautiful notebook covers – I lusted after these but did not try to get them because the humid tropics would turn them to mold in a matter of weeks.

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Try to get them?  you ask.  Oh yes.  They were not for sale – they were for “Silent Auction” – except that this was an auction the like of which I never saw in my life.  Each item had its own cup.  There was a big cash jar in the middle – into which one would put however much cash one felt moved to donate…. and then one could put ones name into as many cups for as many items as one liked.   The point was fund-raising on the cash jar side and generosity on the items side.

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Lua came home with a basket of homemade jams, 2 blankets, a quilt, home canned salmon, a shawl, and a bathrobe for her mother-in-law.    But oh, look at these little rabbit fur booties and mittens that went elsewhere!

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Child care!   This was our getaway!   Ha ha ha …. but it was fun.  I’ll show you what the kids saw on our nature walk.   The photo above was wild strawberry.

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An aster.   The kids got really excited every time they could find something to point out to me.

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Is this what they call Bluebells?

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Mushrooms that push up through the soil and have big clumps of mud beside them.

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Mossy trees.      (this is for you, Austin)

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And finally at the end of the walk this yellow flower.

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When we drove in on Friday afternoon we saw a huge herd of goats in a pen.  On Saturday morning we found out why.  The goat were set loose to eat the grass on the slopes.

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They were accompanied by a cowboy and several dogs.

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The kids and I really wanted to see the goats up close, so I walked down the road to the goat pen.  Three hundred head of goats.  Wow.   I found out from Donna (Mrs. Goat-herder)  that this is their first year at Harper Mountain.  They will stay at Harper about three more weeks and expect to return annually for 3 years.   Goats are not “a natural alternative to chemical herbicides” – they are the original herbicide.

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The next day I got to meet Conrad (Mr. Goat-herder)   who told me more about their business:  Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control…. I should have been taking notes.

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To me the most interesting thing of all was that they have to have a predator dog along (the white one above), whose only job is protecting the herd from coyotes and other predators.   Sheesh.  I knew sheep needed a protector – but I thought goats, with those horns, could stand up for themselves.   Surprise me.

Anyway, for anyone interested, this is their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/RockyRidgeVegetationControl2000

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And finally we had this little visitor just a few feet away from where we were doing crafts with the kids.   Alvin!

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