26 May 2016

2016-05-21 grad 1  R

High school graduation in Hawaii is unlike graduation I have seen anywhere else.  Do not let the picture above fool you.  That is only the diploma-giving ceremony, inside, with two seats per grad.   The lovefest follows outside in the school compound, and the activity is called “lei-ing.”  For real.

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First of all, people have to be able to find THEIR grad – so each family makes a big sign with a photo of the loved one.  This is our Tina’s sign.

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Then the lei-ing starts.  It is not just flower leis.  Here is Tina early in the process with candy leis and a swimming floatie, adorned with love messages from the donor.

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Here is one of the boy grads, whose leis include blow-up dolls.

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Some Samoan grads get lei-ed in more grandiose style – with yards of tapa creating a Throne Room feel.   You might notice the mountain of leis behind this grad.

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Leis of money are also popular.  I’m so impressed with the origami folds!

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A grander folded dollar gift is the “money helmet”   Dollars also star in the flat dollar lei.  Now you can also see a second purpose for the sign.  Once this boy has leis piled around his neck as well, it takes the sign to know whose eyes are peeking out behind all the presents.

This photo also has a clear shot of the “mesh bag” leis.  Stores sell rolls of cylindrical mesh that people can fill with the treats that their grad loves the most.  Most people strive to do something unique.

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So here is Tina’s sister – with Tina’s gift to her fellow grad besties: inscribed toilet seats.  This was a first.  No one had come up with toilet seat leis before…. go figure.

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And now, here is Tina (on the right) toward the end of the lei-ing.  She staggered home not long after.  It took both Nigel and me to help her get all the leis off.  I wish I had written an inventory of what all she had.  This what I remember:  balloons, floaties, ribbon leis with bags of popped popcorn,    about 8 bags of high end chocolates, plastic hard candy leis, a yarn lei of Trojan condoms, a money lei, plastic flower leis, ribbon leis with single items like a can of Pringles and cup noodles, mesh leis full of candy bars, braided ribbon leis,  leis full of Japanese rice crackers that she was especially eager to re-gift, and fresh flower leis: orchids, gingers, tuberose.

Why SUCH a big deal, I asked my daughter Clara.  She said that it is so the kids will stick it out and graduate.  Drop out? No party!    Apparently the incentive really works.

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Flora and fauna …. well here is my one lonely fauna:

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Nigel’s betta fish who is depressed.  Now that the baby is around, nobody is playing with it.  Clara coached me on how to play with the betta.  She’s afraid if the betta gets too lonely, it will die. (like their last one did)

“Why not get a companion fish for it?”  I asked

“Because they will fight and cannot live with  other fish.  They’ll rip each other’s fins up.”  she replied.

I think I know some people like that.

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Happy week, everybody.

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19 May 2016

2016-05-12 Mom and Pregnant Clara  Cr

I’m in Hawaii.  This is what I came to.

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This is what I came for!

He will be 4 days old this evening, and he finally got his name this morning: Austin Hō’aka’oli Isaac Whippy.   The Hawaiian name means Elicits Joyous Laughter, and is a nod to his Uncle Akka among others.

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There’s nothing else in my camera this week except this sorry photo of a really interesting natural feature.

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The hospital where WhatAreWeGonnaCALLhim? was born is situated in the beautiful rugged mountains to the east of Honolulu.   The view from Clara’s window was of this mountain.  I was waiting for the cloud to clear – and it didn’t.  Not for two whole days.  Why would just one mountain have a little cloudy tam  o-shanter while all its equally tall neighbors have sunny peaks?

Mysteries, mysteries.

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Happy week, everybody.

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12 May 2016

20160508 Cocoa heart  Cr

Akka pointed this out to me: remember the stuff going around about vegetables being good for the body part they resemble?  There were inside slices of carrots for eyes and the like.  Well, this is Akka’s contribution . Good for the heart is….. Cocoa!

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Here are more of the beans, some still stuck together fresh from the pod.  Akka’s chocolate production has continued to improve, and he now gets a really rich chocolatey flavor, this by longer fermentation.  Yummy.

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I can’t believe how much has happened in the last week.  Only looking at my few photos makes it real.   One week ago I went to see my young neighbor who moved to Suva and to have dinner with her and her aunty and uncle.

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What on earth was that under the TV?   Kitty litter on a serving tray?  I had to ask.

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Not kitty litter but something equally improbable:  washed jeera.  Jeera, cumin seed, is a common spice.  My friend’s aunty washes and cleans all the spices from the store before she uses them.

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I was present for a long meeting in Suva for the weekend, and came home to this:

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Austin’s first ever Happy Chicken Workshop.  Eight dorm participants, two day participants and resident staff for two full days of training.   Everybody was so stoked by all the information.

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Then Project Everest arrived with 10 people to stay for nearly 3 weeks, except that on Day 3 I took off for HAWAII, where I am now.

No photos, but the trade winds right are like a tropical storm.  Sheesh!

Akka will be sending me news and photos from home and/or I’ll write about  Hawaii.  Anyway, this is arriving a day late because I am sticking with Thursday and I have crossed the date line.

Have a happy week, Everybody!

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5 May 2016

2016-04-28 Tailless Chicken  Cr

Back to actual Fauna and Flora this week.  First up – this chicken that Austin bred by accident.  She has no tail bone at all.  Austin just loves her and calls her “Kiwi.”  She was conceived about the time Austin had a few chickens in isolation because of fever.  Perhaps some wild bird gene got dragged in.

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Edible cactus – we ate it for the first time this week.  Some guest knew how to prepare it.  I wasn’t here for that, only showed up for the eating of it.  I think they scraped the skin off.  Then it was cut into strips and cooked like green beans.  Very tasty.

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And now for a story that has been building for several weeks – but now I have photos…. BATS.  There have been scores of large bats for the last few weeks.  Austin’s idea is that the storm up north destroyed all their food sources and so they have flown south.  There isn’t much food for them here – so we see them going to coconut trees to get a little something from the flowers.  They have to eat all day to keep fed that way, instead of just a few hours at dawn and sunset.  Poor things.

A lot of people are less sympathetic, especially when bats are going for the Very Precious papaya crops – and so they kill them when they can.   Austin was visiting a neighbor whose grandkids had just killed one.  He brought the victim home.

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As I said, these bats are LARGE.

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And soft and furry.

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Flying foxes.

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The amazing webbing in its hand that serves as its wing.

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And its little toe nails – very sharp …. the one piece of a bat that I am nervous about.

Many years ago our family raised an orphaned baby bat to adulthood and it successfully returned to the wild, so we are batty for bats.  I’ll share that story another time.

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Now for a little This and That.   I got the best packed groceries ever this week!  Below is a typical box on the left, and the prize-worthy box on the right.

The fellow had a box cutter and made a hole for the top of the olive oil bottle!  Love it!

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We’ve been at the farm close to eight years.  The first time I noticed saris as an agriculture material was on the papayas a few months ago.   This week I saw this:

2016-05-05 field saris  R

Why?   (Does it have anything to do with the rise in popularity of “sari suits”?)

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Finally, I accidentally shortchanged a cake loving friend by neglecting to take photos of lolo buns before.  Well, I had lolo buns this weekend and got a few shots.

Have a sweet week, everybody.

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