1 December 2016

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Young mother getting the lines all crossed up.

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Austin invited some friends from Lautoka to come to the farm for a Happy Chicken workshop …. and also to give us a masi making workshop.    Well, Alex got the “workshop” – the rest of us got a “demonstration”

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It was at this stage when I showed up.

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Wati and Lisa are peeling the inner bark from the outer bark.   The outer bark, which used to be a waste product, can now be sold for paper making.  (So maybe we’ll figure out how to make paper here, if we start doing masi stuff.)

Once the bark is peeled, it is rolled up and put water to soak.


Oh!  Here are more masi trees arriving.  (Thank you, Eseta and Winky)

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The gang brought their pounding board and their pounders or spreaders.  Notice the grooves?   The pounder has 4 unique sides: one with wide grooves, medium grooves,  small grooves, and none – just smooth.   Each side is used at a different point in the operation.


Now Susana and Wati are starting the pounding process – each with a pounder, using the widest teeth side.

(Just an aside – Austin and I went to see the movie “Moana.”  In one of the screenshots of the Polynesian village, there are three people sitting at one of these boards, each with a strip of bark cloth.  I was so excited to recognize what I had just seen in real life 2 days earlier!)


Meanwhile, more bark is being stripped.


Alex – a farm resident who is also my son-in-law’s brother – is getting his first lesson.   But what to do with all these leftover sticks?


Oh, yes – that works!    I am also thinking perhaps a new handle for the leaf rake.

The process takes hours.   The pounded out strips were soaked.  Now Wati is wringing two of them and placing them one on top of the other, and also folding each “foot to head.”  You can see how much wider the bark is already.  The next pounding is of this four-ply together.


Here it is at the end of the pounding – with an original bark strip for comparison.


And here it is drying on our table overnight. (It would have been left to dry on the floor, but the ladies did not want cat footprints on it.)   You can see the masi is longer than the table and nearly as wide.   That piece is made of two of those skinny masi trees only.

To make a larger piece of masi, they glue pieces like this one together.   A tree sells for $2  (this has $4 of “tree”).  This unprinted masi would sell for about $20.    When printed it could sell for $60.   Value Added !!

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This is our Peruvian purple corn.  Austin made a really delicious drink out of it with ginger and cinnamon.   Healthy.

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And a really magnificent turn…. the government fixed our road.  Just like they said they would – four years ago.  Fiji time 🙂 – it doesn’t mean “never” but it does mean “be patient.”

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Happy week, everybody.

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24 November 2016


Junia took me to see this nest.   He says it is an old nest and that’s why lichens are growing on it.   The nest had two occupants, he says, but now there is one.


I guess that is the underside of the beak.  Weird, huh!


And here we have the baby at a better angle, and have a nice sharp photo of the plants below.   (Banging my head and wondering if I got an SLR if I’d ever learn to use it.)

UPDATE:  The fledgling has taken off in the six days since these pictures were snapped.

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I went to Suva to check on our house we are prepping to sell and to spring my truck from the car hospital.   Walking up the hill, I saw this impressively completed new building:


The Peak.


I’d seen it going up, but could not imagine it finished.

The next day I found myself eating lunch with my old masseuse who is now a realtor – and she mentioned this building.   The ground floor is amenities and the rest has apartments for rent.   On the first floor (which is “second floor” to Americans) – each apartment rents for $5000 per month !!!!!   Each floor up is an extra $500/month to rent.   Wowsers!

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That’s really all I got this week except this photo on the end of the street, on the side facing The Peak.


Just an empty lot – but I believe there were two houses there until recently.  The house that would have been on the left was untenanted from the time Austin and I moved into the neighborhood (2004).  There had been a house fire and two people were trapped inside because of the security grills and they died.   It was big in the news – and I insisted on easy access to exits as we were grilling our newly purchased home.   Strange to remember.

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May we all be thankful for the blessings of life.   May we all stay safe.   May we all have a happy week.

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17 November 2016


I feel a bit like this duck.   Hi, everybody!

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On my way to do a survey of the agriculture, I stumble over these…


teak seeds.   Heaps of them.     (If you know of any use for them besides planting, please let me know.)

And the humble star of that small corner:


the Peruvian purple corn is tasseling.

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A bit of construction down at the main road.  Flooding has become more frequent, and  people are starting to take it seriously.

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One neighbor is building a “flood room” – where she will carry her furniture and appliances in case of flood.


Just beyond, this new house is being built with a full two floors.   (Lack of building codes could end up worse news than the floods, though.  Can you see that concrete porch overhanging without any columns supporting it?!)

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I had Kiki along on the walk with me, and asked for him to point out pictures for the blog.  He gives us –


cow in drain.


pretty flowers.  (this is a first for me – short bamboo post with bowl with sand and fresh hibiscus)


more pretty flowers.  (Kiki insisted.)

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And now – I’m outta here!


Happy week, everybody.

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10 November 2016


I wanted one of the tiny humble daisies.  I tried to focus my camera.  This is what I got.

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I wanted a sweet little daisy because I knew that this was the first photo in my camera this week:


The cause of the traffic slow down on the back road above Foodhall in Suva.   Yikes.  (We were wondering how the driver managed to plow into the pole so hard – going UP-hill.)

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We have Trouble.  Right here in River City.    Trouble with a capital “T” –  and that rhymes with “P” – and that stands for POOL.


I noticed that David – my son-in-law’s brother who lives with us now and is our number one chicken guy – is gone almost every night … and THIS is where he goes.   I guess the shop got a pool table a few weeks ago, but I only got a photo of it yesterday.

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There was also a cow grazing on the side of a steep hill, like a mountain goat – but the photo was too crappy to use.

Also a pile of discarded long red peppers in an isolated spot was quite a mystery, but I walked past without taking a photo.   Since peppers are at least a dollar a heap, such wastage seems really strange….. and the more I thought about it, the farther away I was.

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Life goes on.


Cabbages packed up in chicken food sacks, getting ready to go to market.

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I was de-cluttering recently and found this old treasure.


One of my little darlings trying embroidery so many years ago.

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Why, oh why, did I sing a song from Music Man?   Now I’ve got another one stuck in my head:   There were bells …. on the hill…… and I never heard them ringing …… no, I never heard them at all ….. til there was you……   <sigh>

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May we all have a blessed and happy week.

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3 November 2016


Such a busy week – I forgot all about my blog until I looked in my date book to get ready to go to town.  YIKES – it’s Thursday (on this side of the date line).

And almost nothing in my camera.  Okay.

Here are some pictures of our party to celebrate some Baha’i Holy Days here at the farm.   Monica, my decorator-in-chief, took charge of prettying up the porch.

The decorations are modest, but I love them.


I was blown away by what she did with the rope light.


Here were the performers.   It was actually a tremendous joy seeing the kids do their reciting, their play and their singing.

Here were the rewards.  Decorated by Monica (of course)!   These cakes had a surprise inside – I had split them and put ice cream in there.  It was “kesha badaam” (almond hair) ice cream – and everybody was ooh’ing and aah’ing at it.   Gratifying to the cook.

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We have a special guest at the farm this week:


Daisy.   Daughter of our dogs Po and Torsett.  She’s just visiting for a few days.  If any puppies result – we are to get the pick of the litter.

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Happy week, everybody.

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