28 April 2016

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This is IT – the blog friends and family have been waiting for – “behind the scenes” when Austin gave his TEDx Talk.  The “x” means “independently organized”

(I know this isn’t REALLY “IT” – what is really “IT” is getting the link to Austin’s talk – which isn’t up yet…. so this will have to do.)

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There were seven talks given at TEDx SUVA – given at this beautiful building on the campus of the University of the South Pacific.  There was a roped off area and scads of volunteers in black TEDx SUVA t-shirts keeping everybody in line.

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Here are volunteers ready to give free t-shirts to those who qualify.

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To qualify you have to have a nifty ID on a lanyard.  (We got there plenty early – as you can tell by the lack of crowds.)

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This is my selfie with my ID.  Where was Austin?

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He was in their equivalent of the Green Room, going over the material, commiserating with the other speakers, and getting make-up on for the first time.   (Now he knows why I hate wearing it.)

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So I wandered into the studio, where there was a GOODY BAG on every seat.  Oh Boy! What’s inside?  Here we go:

So peering into the bag, you see a Unicef baseball cap and a short bumper sticker. Then out I pull a program with a photo and description of each speaker.  (Austin missed the photo shoot, and they found this photo on line somewhere). a hand fan (this was honestly very useful, even though the studio was air conditioned), a jump rope from the Ministry of  Health, and this classy looking something from South Pacific Commission.

Waiting waiting.   Finally the program started.   There was a singing group…

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and the fellow on the far right looked an awful lot like our dear Junia.  (This is the only clear photo I got of all the on-stage photos.)

The organizers welcomed.  We saw a recorded TED talk of How to Start a Movement.  3 minutes.  Inspiring.  The first speaker spoke.  The second speaker spoke and ended with a dancing troupe!  We had a break – GREAT FOOD!  The organizers encouraged us to tweet! (I don’t know how.)  The third speaker spoke,  The fourth speaker spoke.   The fifth speaker spoke.  Another break – more great food.  We saw a hysterically funny recorded TED talk about Responding to Spam Mail.  The sixth speaker spoke.   And then, finally……

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Austin spoke.  He had to bring his whole talk about saving the coral reefs in under 18:00 minutes or the talk would be, basically, discarded – no web link.  The pressure was insane.  In all his practice sessions he talked about cutting certain pieces out, but the other speakers said “No, no, we like that.”  I had my silent stopwatch on and was praying so hard he wouldn’t go over that I couldn’t listen to what he was saying – photos of the audience show me with my head in my hands or my hands over my mouth (ha ha ha). Anyway Austin delivered what would be for him a half-hour talk in 17:35.   Whew.   Oh Lordy – how intense.  Anyhow, it was over.   And he was the last speaker of the day.

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We got our celebration photo in front of the sign with one of the head organizers.  And ate the delicious dinner (that was, alas, not followed by cake.)

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CORRECTION:  Dr. Smarty Pants says that last week Alex didn’t “pick up” the dove:  it was caught in the net above the chicken pen, that he has for keeping wild birds from eating the chicken food.   As if I care…..  ha

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The MOST INCREDIBLE SIGHT EVER – this week – and I could not capture it on film … Ju, David and I saw a RAINBOW IN MOONLIGHT,  an honest-to-God rainbow arching across the sky in the light of the moon one day short of full.  It was a white luminescence, and sometimes we could almost see the colors.  Really wow.

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If anyone would like to know about all seven speakers and their very interesting subjects, you can read about them at TEDx Suva 2016 Speakers  Some day soon we will be able to get the links to their talks there.

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21 April 2016

2016-04-21 Dove and Alex

Thought I’d start off with some eye candy.  This is Alex,  my daughter’s brother-in-law, currently at the farm, with a bird he was able to pick up.

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Pretty dove!

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The only real news this week is that the chickens finally discovered the lower field and have gone there to graze.  I didn’t get a picture.

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2016-04-21 Road to Yada House

I went walking to my neighbors up the hill and had to turn back.  Look what happened to their road!

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And for the only other photo from the week.

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Guess what!   I had no idea so I don’t expect you to.  This is “suki” (soo-kee) – braided tobacco that is cut up and rolled in a piece of newspaper to be smoked.   Hard to imagine, isn’t it.

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Happy week, everybody!

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14 April 2016

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Austin:  Ooh – look at that flowering tree!  [visible from our dining table]  What is it?

Ju:  It’s a native tree.

Austin:  What’s it called?

Ju:  I don’t know.

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The weather is beautiful, and I forget all about the storm until I look in the camera and/or drive to town.

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Boarded up, ready for the winds that never came.

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River as seen from Pineapple Circle, normally not visible from that spot.

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Good God!  Creeping up our highway.

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Looking north from Beamer’s grave.

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This is what that normally looks like.

Anjila, who lives in this neighborhood tells me that all her young eggplants bushes got washed away in this flood.  Three lines of them.  She’d only had 2 pickings, where normally the plants would be producing for 1-2 years.  Sigh.

A near disaster in the flood was the near  death of animals.  Junia was worried about a cow in the field he could see from the sink. (My eyes aren’t so good – so I could never see what he was pointing at.)   The cow was up to its flanks in water, and we didn’t think the neighbors were home to move it.   Finally Junia went down to movie it himself – and it turned out to be a myna bird sitting on top of a rusted car..

Humans really could have died as well as animals.  Rakesh swam the rushing creek to move Ryu, the horse my son Guy gave him, to a higher, safer place.

Anyhow – the flood is gone now and here are a few “after shots.”

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flood plain from Pineapple Circle


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where the river took the papaya plantation

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big tree gone to sleep with the fishes

There are a few other reminders, too.

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Guess what?

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Can you tell?   This is a “smudge” – made of a burning coconut husk, and used for ….. mosquito control.   Yes, alas,  the rain has settled into some happy breeding grounds for mozzies.   We’ll get the buggers under control eventually.

Another reminder:  storm relief.   Bags of peanut seed and packets of high yield pumpkin seed, ready to be taken to Moturiki this week.

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CRITTER CORNER – Akka grabbed the camera to take a shot of these new crickets (?) that have appeared on our ceiling at night.

(long blog this week … we’re not done yet)

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I went to the school this week and happened to see Austin’s Happy Chicken project – the fenced in  fish pond/duck pond and chicken house.   Yes, I see the pond, the fence, the ducks.  Ah – new tin on house beside it – Austin said that was good – use the new tin on a house and use the used tin for the chicken house.  (Where is the old tin?  Just curious.)

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And, finally …..

Clickety clack.  What time is it?

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Time for a new tyre.

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7 April 2016

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MAN oh MAN – can you hear me over this racket???  

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This is how our week started.  Peaceful.  Driving down the old Valley Road (somewhere in this pic is a sheep, so Austin says.  I can’t find it.)   We were taking home a gent and his dozens of just-purchased chicks.   Turns out he was a former mayor of Sigatoka.   “What was your greatest accomplishment while in office?”  I asked.  “The Melrose Bridge,”  he replied.

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Wow.   Our lifeline to Suva.  Erected just a few years before the old bridge got torn in two by a flood.

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Down at his place by the river stood the tallest mango tree any of us had seen, somewhere around 80 feet tall.

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Then we had Beautiful Guests.  The mother is a potter and gave Austin and me beautiful mugs and a matching bowl.   And she and Austin talked pottery.

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When she and her party came back from a trek to the sand dunes, they had shards. Actually a big heap of shards.

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And Austin was all excited about a pattern in the pottery he had not seen before.

As soon as they left, it started raining. Cats and dogs and frogs and guppies worth of rain.   Floods-worth of rain, though our fields aren’t submerged yet.   FEA turned the power off 3 days ago (hence the generator).   More rain is falling, more is scheduled, and we have a category 2 hurricane predicted for the wee hours tonight.  So I will send off the blog a day early, in case something goes amiss with the Digicel tower or (choke) our twice-a-day generator.

So here I leave you–  with a happy sculpture made by a young artist from the Beautiful Guest party:

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Happy week, everybody.

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