29 September 2016


I was walking down my road.  My neighbors, out in the field, looked up and waved with smiles – they were back at doing whatever by the time I got my phone out to take the photo.  What WERE they doing digging?   Improving the drain?  Digging a pond?  … About 20 minutes later a Fijian from my household joined me down the road.  “Did you see them burying that bull?” she asked.  ….  Duh!

That’s kind of symptomatic of the whole week.

Actually days earlier Austin was asking the boys here – “Who burned my trees?” … I didn’t know what trees so I didn’t pay any attention.   This week I noticed it:


Good grief – that is right below our kitchen!  And the next time I took a walk, I got a photo of it from the road side.


This is actually a bit of a security issue for our chickens.   So, one more thing to deal with.   Sigh.

Akka and I went to town and there was haze everywhere.   Akka thought it was from burning, and saw one column of white smoke in the distance, but when we returned, the haze was even thicker.   Volcano somewhere?   I decided I’d get a photo the next day – but by then it was clear around here.

Then yesterday we had to go to Lautoka (2 hrs to the west) and the haze was there, and very thick.

Behold.  Needless to say, I do think there is a volcano somewhere kicking fine ash into the air.  That would not only explain the haze, but also my stinking asthma every night.  Ah well.

And on that cheerful note – we were going to Lautoka for a funeral  (at least the deceased was someone older than me).   My friend Venaisi pointed out something that I considered blog-worthy, but first I will set the stage.

2016-09-28 grave house typical  Cr.jpg

Grave decoration with little houses is a standard Fijian practice – we are all used to seeing them.   More than just tapa cloth covering the fresh dirt, family will often raise poles on the four corners of the grave and hang cloth around like window treatments.


Some even have roofs. I’m sorry my photo of this tin roof isn’t so clear.  Just trust me, it was zinc roofing iron.


And this nice wood roof.  (more clear – yay).    So we are used to the little houses with and without roofs.   What Venaisi saw was odd, even to her.


Venaisi said, “Why a mosquito net?”  Why, indeed !

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Luckily there is a bit of beauty, so that this week is not all burials and baneful matters.

Walking to a neighbor down a different road, I saw a flower I’d never seen before.  It wasn’t the flower itself that was so pretty, but the leaf underneath it.   Charming.


Then walking home – on my own road ….


Ta da!  The same flower and more of them.  Man, oh man – I just REALLY need to learn to LOOK !

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Happy week, everybody.

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22 September 2016


This little sign was posted in numerous places in the beautiful house where I stayed last weekend.   What does it mean?

A Malaysian friend told me it is the Chinese word  PROSPERITY.  Okay.  It is interesting to muse on how different cultures think.

The house we were in was amazing – and I was feeling energetic and so I went around and took a bunch of photos.

Flora – the first thing that hit most of us was the beautiful indoor gardens.  How did the gardener keep those plants so healthy?      The trick, of course, was lots of light, and a gardener with a very green thumb.

Fauna – Early on people were saying to each other, “Have you seen the dogs?”


I looked around and figured they were talking about the statuary.


Though why they’d mention the “dogs” and not the elephants did not compute.  Obviously I was missing something:

2016-09-17 Cho house 16  R.jpg



Gorgeous dogs – not seen in Fiji.  Their fur So Thick!   (I feel a bit sorry for them thinking about summer.)

Architecture –  I loved the view, the peacefulness, the roominess, the different sets of stairs, so many things.  Sorry that I somehow neglected to get a photo of the front entrance.

This is the “vacation home” of a family that lives in Suva – about 20 minutes away.  The owner is a farmer-turned-businessman, who planned to retire to it and got bored after a month!   Now the family uses it when they want, and other times rent it out for events and the like.  Frank, the oldest son, came by to see how we were getting on … and it turns out he knows my son Guy!  (They both graduated from Yat-Sen, about 4 years apart)


My last shot of the beautiful Cho home:  a couple of the guys paddling out at sunset to set some crab traps in the mangroves.

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The really big news of the week:   WELCOME HOME, JUNIA


He was gone to Australia for more than 2 weeks – taking a Permaculture Certificate Course.   He PASSED  (it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?   ha)   “You can take my picture, but don’t take my face.”    (Gee whiz.)


He came back with delicacies.   (And just this morning was kicking himself because he forgot to buy a big jar of Vegemite.)


And here is a slice of life.  The key element is the uprooted ornamental plant on the right, that is now recovering in our nursery.

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Have a happy week, everybody.

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15 September 2016

2016-09-15 Beachouse hermit crab  Cr.jpg

One perfect photo – that’s what I was aiming for today.  Sorry!  I waited more than 45 minutes for this hermit crab to emerge – what a shy crab! – never known one so immobile that was still alive!

Austin and I are at The Beachouse (with a free room – YAY) – while Austin and a small team are doing some planting of corals.  I’m only getting to spend one night – duty at home calls  but it’s been great.

I am happy to give this place a very enthusiastic plug.  Here is their site  http://www.hostels.com/hostels/coral-coast/the-beachouse/1007?source=BingGlobalGenericsDeskHCEN    Cute rooms with private garden showers (with hot water), friendly happy staff, and an approachable owner who is really committed to a healthy environment and harmonious community.

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The other photos in my phone are not worth sharing:  peaky little cornstalks, Kiki lifting home-made weights (that’s cute, but this isn’t the Grandchildren Weekly Report.)

Hoping you all have a happy and healthy week.

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8 September 2016


Let’s begin with some CUTENESS……  here are three goslings, all females, that hatched under their mother three days earlier.   How do we know they are females?   By their bills.   In pilgrim geese the females always have some darkness to their bills, while the males’ bills are all pink.

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2016-09-05 neighbor tamarind  R.jpg


I took a walk and noticed my neighbor’s tree is full of tamarinds.   There was also a goat, that with the sunshine and shadow looked like he had been drawn onto the landscape.


There was a beautiful red flower that was just a weed by the roadside.

2016-09-07 avocado flower   Cr.jpg

Austin nagged me to get this photo …  not much to look at, but it is an avocado flower.  Regular readers might remember that last December we actually had an avocado fruit growing (same tree) – what I didn’t tell you was that the avocado was lost in a storm the next week.  These are the first flowers since then.

2016-09-07  Joe shell  Cr.jpg

Austin has been taking our guests to the coast to do coral restoration work.  Joe has a camera full of pictures now, and I invited him to be my guest blogger, but he says he doesn’t know what anything is.   For example, he brought home this beautiful shell – and is going to make it into jewelry for his niece, but neither of us know the name of the bivalve it belonged to.

Duty called, and I walked down to the field to see what was going on with all the plowed land.

TA DA.   This is what 2000+ cassava plantings look like.   The cassava is just those sticks sticking up.   Each row is about 200 metres, i.e. the length of two football fields.   Sheesh!   And there is still a third of the plowed area yet to plant: we will have almost 4000 cassava plants by the time we’re done.   As soon as it rains, Austin intends to plant corn  between the cassava cuttings as well.   Woot woot – lots of food!


While down there, I went ahead and took a photo of another flower that is everywhere right now.  An old favorite with a cheeky Spanish name culo de poeta.


And then – HORRORS – a flower I really did not want to see on our property: Spathodia, the most hated plant in my universe.    (If you want, you can read my rant about it from the earliest days of my blog  HERE  )

There is only One Good Thing about spathodia that I just learned …. it can be killed by glyphosate, i.e. Round Up.   And that is about the only One Good Thing about glyphosate as well.   They deserve each other.

That ends my survey for the week.  Let us now close with another spot of endearment:

2016-09-07 goslings 2  R.jpg

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Happy week, everybody.

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