29 December 2016


I started off good.   This was part of the makings of a LOVO that Junia put together for all the kids before they left.  Specifically, this was little flour cakes wrapped in leaves by Ju.


Here some kids are making palusami –  taro leaves with coconut cream, with and without corned beef.


I think this is the very hot rocks that became the base of the oven.


I know this is the oven all covered with sand.


A few hours later, this is the steam coming out of the sand.   The lovo is ready.


The the boys are carefully uncovering the food.  As much sand is moved to the side as possible and then the coverings of  banana leaves and coconut leaves are removed.


Big arms of tapioca (cassava) line the outsides, and here we see foil packets of palusami.


Under the palusami are bigger foil packets of whole roast chickens.

This was my last picture of the lovo.  I know now I really should have gotten pictures of the food on the platters, happy eaters and all that … but all I could think of was eating.  Oops!  Anyway, this is the most typical week in the whole year for lovo meals – because Christmas celebrations to Fijians is that the whole family gets together and EATS.  Yum yum.

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Yesterday, Junia came up with a pineapple he was really happy with.


Here are 3 varieties of pineapple.   Lying down – left to right – are the New Pineapple, the Ripley Queen pineapple, and the Hawaiian pineapple.   I bought the Hawaiian one at the market, not knowing ours were ripe.  The Ripley Queen, is what Junia says is what we have growing here.


Here they are, standing.  Ju thinks the New Pineapple is a cross between the Ripley and the Hawaiian.


This was the FIRST one of the new ones.  Austin got the planting material from agriculture a year ago or so.

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A sprouting house.

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Just figure this one out!

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Happy New Year to you all!

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22 December 2016

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Sometimes I post something just so I don’t break my record of weekly posts – so I hunted in my old photos and found this one from 2014.   I’ll call it  “Hmm …. time to make a cake, what shall I put in it?”

There is a reason I didn’t have photos for the last two weeks: we’ve been hosting an army of kids on school break, doing  … oh, let’s call it “spiritual summer school” (because what WE call it “an intensive” wouldn’t make any sense at all) and community service.  I spend a lot of time hiding in my room!

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This week we had a flood, a threat of a greater flood, and a power outage that blessedly only lasted 30 hours (instead of 5 days).   Cut off from cell phones, everybody got together to sing.  I caught about 1/3 of them in this shot.   That was fun – they are great singers.

But then, I realized – I do have some actual FARM NEWS !   The photos probably not convey the magnificent news that it is.

This is a Wet Grinder.  Akka did internet research and figured out that the exact piece of equipment to take his chocolate making to the next level was a wet grinder.  We went to town the next morning to see about ordering one – and the Very Make and Model was in stock in our store in Sigatoka!   Shocker!.    So what you see above is the grinder from the outside, and the grinder with very smooth 85% dark chocolate made by Akka inside.  Oh Happy Day!

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Here is one more plug for my blogger friend Rabrius – because a “happy week” wish is worth a lot more if it comes with something that will really put a smile on your face:

Winter is Coming

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Merry Christmas, everybody.

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15 December 2016


It’s been a crazy busy week.  Walking downtown, as I practiced “being in the moment” my eye caught this tranquil view of a stream and I stopped.

But that led me to this stream’s context (“the big picture” in a literal sense)  …. and that made me think of a brilliant fellow blogger named Rabrius.   He takes very nifty photos – many times of things that I might have seen somewhere and not noticed – but then gives them titles which are full of humor or insight and makes me stop and look harder.  Here is just one example –

The Trees in the Window

So anyway – in that spirit – I am naming my big picture ….



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That’s it from here for now.    Happy week, everybody.

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8 December 2016

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A neighbor gave us a big cucumber a few weeks ago – and when I finally opened it – SURPRISE!

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Sprouting!   And GREEN, where the sun never shone.   NOT what I expected.  Alex took it to the orchid house to let the sprouts keep growing in the natural “nursery” of the fruit without the chickens eating it.

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Those key words “nursery” and “chicken” lead right into subject #2 this week:


Austin got all excited and dragged me to the back side of the number three chicken house to see the wonderful thing that our carpenter Rakesh had made:  TA DA – “the maternity ward”


Those are CAGES.  Gee whiz.  What about Happy Chicken – as in No Cages?

“No, you don’t understand,” he said.   “These are just for broody hens to be able to set on their eggs in a controlled way.”

So I walked close to immortalize one of the broody hens.


“Oh no, not her.  She doesn’t know what she is doing.  Oh no, she broke an egg already.  David, get her out and clean out the eggs.   (We just started this, we are just learning.)”


“See, there is a good broody hen.  The cage is only closed for a few days for them to get used to it.  Then the door will be always left open and they can go whenever they want to – but since they are broody, they will never want to leave their eggs for long.”


Our trainee from Vanuatu looks at the cages.

I ask:  What is the point of the cages again?

Austin answers, “I’m just demonstrating how you can move the broody hens and their eggs and they will continue to set.  You can put them into a place that is safer from predators, and other hens won’t be adding eggs to the nest – which is a really big problem.   Most islanders will never have electric incubators.  They need to be able to work with the hens.”

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Two weeks ago a vehicle speeding down our beautifully tar-sealed road and spooked a horse who threw its rider who fell in front of the car and was killed – in view of our hill.

About ten days ago one of the drivers that delivered the gravel to our beautifully restored road lost control of a truck with a large load of big rocks down a steep hill on the other side of the high school.  The truck rolled, the driver was crushed.

Two neighborhood boys did not come back from the river on Saturday afternoon.  Relatives going to investigate found their clothes were neatly folded on the riverbank with their cellphone, and the horse tied to a tree.   The twelve year old was a good swimmer,  the nine year old could swim a little.   Their bodies were found the next day.   The first funeral was yesterday; the other is tomorrow.

The very joy of living in a community where everyone knows and cares about everyone else is that when a wave of tragedy washes up, you really feel it.

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May next week be gentle to us all.

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