30 March 2017

( another one-finger smart phone edition )

2017-03-27 mama hen R


The chicks under one of the “biological incubators” hatched.   As much as we’ve kept chickens, I’ve never seen early mothering up close before.  Mama Hen had her wings spread with the chicks underneath.   When I threw some crumbs one chick sneaked out to get it.  So cute!   I thought I’d get a photo later,  but the wing-protection phase was over when I returned a few hours later.


2017-03-25 giant prawn shed R


Junia brought this shed from a giant freshwater prawn over for me to see.  If THAT shell is too small now…WOW!  Austin says it means no one has poisoned the stream lately.   Ju says whenever he finds a big shed, he hides it.

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Happy week,  everybody.

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23 March 2017

Determination!   (This is a one-finger/smart-phone edition. .. computer at the shop for 2 weeks, sigh)

Just a few things this week anyway:


2017-03-21 wild duck 1 R


I’m not sure who gave him/her to Austin.   It’s really different from the breeds we have.

2017-03-21 wild duck 2 R

Such a long bill.

2017-03-21 wild duck 3 R

Such chicken-looking feet!

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2017-03-22 orchid house orchid R


Oh, the orchid house!  We are getting beautiful sprays.   Now we have to figure out what to do with them.

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Can’t do more than this on my phone.  Sorry about that.

Happy week, everybody.

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16 March 2017

2017-03-12 chicken parade R

Austin wanted me to get a photo of the daily Chicken Parade.  He is Mr. Popularity when he walks by with his buckets.  Further up the hill there are more than double this number just waiting for him, not to mention all the juveniles in their “mobile rearing pens”

2017-03-12 one day of munching R

Hungry little buggers.  In spite of being given ice cream tubs of feed they totally stripped the grass in one day.  To the right you can see the grass with one day of recovery.

2017-03-12 fresh grass R

Here is this pen over fresh grass.  We had to move it a little further because of a small hill. The pen is to prevent mongoose predation.  We do not want to give them access through a gap on the underside of the pen.

2017-03-12 pride and joy 1 Cr

Then Austin has to show off his pride and joy.

2017-03-12 pride and joy 2 R

And another one.   He says he has some that are spotted like Dalmatians, and he is thinking of breeding for it.   If I weren’t doing this blog, I might not ever look twice at the chickens except to chase them off our walkways.

This week I started watching a delightful old BBC series called “Pie in the Sky.”  A detective/restaurateur cooks and solves crimes.  He also keeps chickens and spends a bit of time in his chicken coop each week, playing Mozart to them with a small cassette player and meditating about his current cases.  The chickens are lovely and healthy – but you know what is missing:  chicken poo!  There is NEVER any chicken poo.  Even with the hens standing on the tape deck.  It’s a miracle!   (One only wonders how often the stagehands had to change the straw and clean off the cassette player every filming day – ha ha ha.)

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I made one more trip up the hill for schooling purposes for my Canadian grandson.

Dr. Grandpa Arborist in Canada hoped that Victor would do a project of pressing leaves and flowers while here.  I went up to consult Dr. Granddaddy Smarty-Pants about the project.  Granddaddy said to focus on edible plants … in fact  — TA DA — there are some right here!

Right now they are planting coconut trees.

2017-03-13 science lesson - coconut planting R

Okay, I see a few trees.

Austin mentions how they are planted very close together.


2017-03-13 science lesson - coconut planting R - marked

OH….. He says they will protect each other and survive better through a cyclone, and they will also grow out from each other like a bouquet.   All right.

“And here is MORE food,” he says, pointing down.  Okay, I see kumala (sweet potato) leaves.   “Ratu, see if you can find a root.”

2017-03-13 science lesson - kumala harvest R

Hunt, hunt, hunt.  Okay, here is something.

2017-03-13 science lesson - kumala harvest Cr

A  proper little root.  I take it to the house and cook it for Victor.  He is not impressed.  But neither is he really hungry.

To teach is to learn.  I sit down and try to make a list of all the food plants I can think of on our property: bele, moca, moringa, beggar’s tick, turmeric, ginger, curry leaf, oregano, basil (if it’s not dead), corn, coconut, pineapple, banana, papaya, guava, lemons, guava, mango, tamarind, chillies, jackfruit, breadfruit, cassava, kumala.     Akka sees the list and says, “Why did you leave out pumpkin?”  (Answer: because I don’t think about pumpkin, even when we have a stack of them.  Obvious I am never really hungry either.)

And now I think duruka, taro, cowpeas, pigeon peas, cactus, soursop, starfruit – the list is going to be a lot longer… what am I still missing?

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Happy week, everybody.

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9 March 2017

It rained here so much, I was starting to wonder how many cubits of gopher wood we were going to need in order to ride the rain out….  sheesh!   The sun finally did shine again, and it’s just a miracle that we didn’t have a flood.

2017-03-08 split banana R

The bananas took a hit.   See the splits?    That’s from the bananas getting over-saturated with water.   They popped their seams!

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For long time readers of the blog  – you may remember when Austin’s incubators arrived (December 2013):  all beat up in shipment – such a disappointment.  Still, Austin made them work, week after week, month after month (with some help from dear Alex along the way) … and this week the only running one died a final death.   Boo hoo.

So Austin has had to go to BIOLOGIC INCUBATORS. 

2017-03-08 biologic incubator Cr

( That is a setting hen)     They are scattered all over the property.

The biologic capacity does not nearly equal the mechanical capacity, so  – for those of you in our area  – we are now selling eggs again.

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Sorry that my most productive bird-watching time is walking on the road, looking down.  This is the third time!

First a kingfisher:  https://ffwrfromfiji.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/18-september-2014/

2014-09-11 kingfisher 1  Cr

Then an owl:  https://ffwrfromfiji.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/5-june-2014/

6-6-14 dead owl  Cr

Now what I think is a honey-eater …

2017-03-04 honeyeater cr

I’m trying to figure out what seeing dead birds on the road means …

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Dr. Smarty Pants was not happy with last week’s blog. So…..

CORRECTIONS:    The “goslings” in the pen were really big ducklings.  (coulda fooled me… oh yeah , it did.)    The young crooked neck goose WAS in that pen, and I would have seen it if I’d  just opened he top  (well, I’m not in he habit of opening the top of his cages…)   and  HE told Akka to throw the washer in the trash hole. (Really?? … well, ok then).

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A final shot, just something I found moving.   (Another funeral — there so many deaths in a close community.)

2017-03-02 last moments Cr

This time it was an old man whose time had unquestionably come.   During the funeral, is widow sat at the head of his casket in a most serene and informal way  – seeming almost to chat with him at times – in the last moments she still had his dear body in sight.

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I hope you all have a happy week.   In spite of my dreary reporting of rain, broken equipment, dead birds and funerals – things really are going well here.  (I’ll look for happier pictures in the coming days.)

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2 March 2017


Here is that crooked neck duck as promised.  Austin says there was a whole family of them, but he sold all but two of them in the last week – this one and a baby one in a rearing pen.

So I took my Canadian grandson Victor around, looking for that baby and for other items of interest.


Here’s the rearing pen.  I see chicks, I see two humongous goslings – but I don’t see a duckling of any shape.

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Oh boy – Guavas!   It is JAM season!    Yay.

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Forging ahead, I go to show Victor Pineapple Circle.


News flash:  it is not Pineapple Circle any more … it is turning into Agave Circle.

I asked Junia what is agave good for.  Well, you can make tequila out of it, but not this variety.

Any fruit?  Nope.

Then WHY?     Junia’s answer:  (1)  the pineapple was looking ratty in dry season and was never giving much fruit.  (2) the agave will always look good and will grow big and spiky enough that people will always enter the circle from the entry path.    Fair enough.

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I tell Victor, “This will be interesting for you – we have a Trash Hole.”

“A what?”

“A trash hole.  Here at the farm, we bury our trash.”

When we looked over we were both surprised.


(Oh boy is Granddaddy going to ever be steamed when he sees this photo!)

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A better surprise was around the corner:


“Black earth” piled at the base of the papaya trees.  I had not seen that before and had to ask.  It is manure from the chicken pens.   Thanks to the fellow(s) who did that icky job.


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Finally – a science experiment.  A friend in Suva gave Victor a small packet of magic pellets to be  grown in ” 400 gm of water.”

Who measures water in grams?

2017-03-01 magic pellets 2  R.jpg

The instructions were as entertaining as the pellets.  “one clear beauty satiety face will grow up.”  “when the flower want to oxygen and nutrition, I will help you too much.”

The result was semi-squishy marbles, way more impressive by camera flash.

We think these are probably the same algae water-catchers that are in disposable diapers – at least that is Dr. Smarty Pants’s idea.

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Happy week, Everybody

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