1 June 2017

2017-05-31 meyer lemon R

It’s JUNE (on this side of the international date line)!  And meyer lemons are in season.

It is also Duck Nesting Season.  Junia has collected hatched-out ducklings from two different nests and put them in the incubator room to keep them safe from hawks.

2017-05-31 duck nesting season R

I found this sitting duck beside the kitchen.  All these years here, this is the first time I’ve seen a duck nest.

In the “cute construction” category, Junia constructed a trellis for our Pearl Dragon Fruit cacti.

2017-05-31 pearl dragon fruit 2 R

The small pearl dragon fruit plant is at the base on the right.

Going up the hill to take the tinker toy trellis photo, I was quite surprised to see THIS:

2017-05-31 what is wrong here -- roosters Cr-marked

What’s WRONG with this photo?    I will tell you!

Whenever I told anyone in Rabi about Happy Chicken, I started off with the best ration of Roosters to Hens.  It is 8:1.  Six to ten females for every male.   In the photo above I have put a blue dot above every rooster and a pink dot beside every hen.  Twelve roosters to seven hens!  Sheesh!  That is almost 1:2 … sixteen degrees out of whack.  We are overrun with roosters!

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Okay – there was one more photo from Rabi.  My favorite actually.  I didn’t share it because I didn’t know how to.  I sent it a few very close friends, and they liked it – so here goes:

2017-05-21 outbuildings R

This was our bathroom at the home we stayed in on Rabi Island.  It was a typical pair of structures – better than many.   The photo was taken from the kitchen door.

On the left is the toilet – which was a nice water-seal type.  What an improvement over the outhouses Austin and I used when we lived in the Caroline Islands.   But the “strange” thing about i-Kiribati/Rabi custom is that they are not shy about using the toilet – so the wall only goes up shoulder high.  Your head is always visible through the window (unless you choose to double over).   At least the outhouse is well ventilated 🙂

In the middle of the photo is the “shower.”   The tin was about armpit high on me, so it’s definitely a place to squat to shower!

2017-05-21 outbuildings Cr

(close up) Water from the nearby creek is piped in, and the tap is typically left open.  That was a first for me – leaving a shower without turning it off.  Like bathing in a waterfall.   This is also the laundry house.   Ah – hand laundry.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Austin got home last night from Christmas Island .   This certainly makes my week happy.  May you all have a happy week as well

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24 May 2017 – better late than never…

I look in my camera and I want to scream.  A full week in Rabi and only one photo worth sharing.

2017-05-24 below the spring R

This is SO inadequate for the experience.   Grandson Victor is standing under some uncaptured overflow from a mountain spring that was gushing, GUSHING above (I didn’t take my camera up for fear it would get wet as I was not sure at all that I wasn’t going to fall).  Thirty gallons a minute or more pouring out from under great boulders, running through a small cemented catchment, strained through a wire grate and directed into three large pipes that carry the water to the homes in the nearby settlement.   Water so clear as to be invisible when caught in a bottle.   The twenty minute trek to it, part of it barefoot through nearly knee deep muck, was worth every second.

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Rabi is awash in food.  For those actually interested in the flora, there are noni fruits as big as my hand.

2017-05-20 Rabi noni R

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The family we stayed with were so kind, loving and generous.  I kept planning to take a photo, and before I knew it the kids were asleep on the last night, and we had to leave at 2:30 am for the boat ride to take us to the bus that left at 4 am that got us to Savusavu at 8 am, for the 4 pm check in for the ferry that left at 7:30 pm that got us to Suva at 8 this morning, for a long typical Suva day followed by bus and truck and finally getting back to the farm at 9 pm.   Kind of hard to go back because I didn’t get that family photo.   DRAT.

So instead, I shall have to tell you a story from the family.  It is a true story.  I am giving it the title “The Clever Wife”   (The lady who told me this story is the mother of my hostess, Eriten.  Rabi names are hard for me, and so I always called her “Aunty.”  In retelling her story I will call her Lady, and her husband Gent.  And everything is basically what she told me: I only took creative license in the very beginning – because I can see that that would have been the truth, too.)


Lady was a beautiful young woman who felt very lucky to be married to Gent, the kindest man in Rabi Island.  He was thoughtful of everyone and very generous.  Gent was a local police officer and that gave him a good income.  Every payday, Gent would go see all his friends, the poorest people, and help them.  Everybody loved Gent very much.

As the years passed, they were blessed with one, two, three, FOUR sweet daughters!  How wonderful!   Except now Lady needed for Gent to bring some of his paycheck home.  She would tell him, “Husband, we have four daughters to take care of now.  I need you to bring some money home.”

She would tell Gent this, but he could not change his ways.  He would still go straight with his money to all of the poor people and buy them groceries and everything else they needed, and no money at all would make it back to the house.  Oh well.

Lady thought about it.  She had vegetables and cassava and chickens and eggs.   She could get pay on payday!   She made dinner parcels and took them down to the work place.  Other people getting off work were happy to buy some ready made dinner.  Lady was able to make as much money as Gent was giving away.  And everybody was happy.

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Wishing you all a cheerful week.

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18 May 2017

I gave my camera to 4 year old Kiki and asked him to take some photos of plants and animals for my blog.  Instead he came back with ART!

2017-05-16 Kiki ke photo 2 R

This is view of the mountains looking west across the railing.

2017-05-16 Kiki ke photo 3 R

This is view of the chickens from the walkway.

2017-05-16 Kiki ke photo 1 R

And, finally, feet on bridge.

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Recently we had some houseguests – previously unmet but related to our household.  Raijeli, wife of our buddy and resident carpenter Kaiyum, has a sister who lives in Oz and was visiting here with her daughter and THEIR nephew – son of a different sister.  The nephew is named Robin – a fairly common man’s name for Brits, so I didn’t think much about it.  I had a surprise coming.

Kiki’s actual name is Keith, and he is named for family friend Gerald Keith Robinson. Robin’s actual name is Robinson, and he is also named for Gerald Keith Robinson.  Here are these two namesakes together.

2017-05-08 Kiki & Robin R

There is a third namesake that I know of, Jerry – which is the name that our friend was always known by.  Little Jerry is the grandson of my good friend.

Alas, alas – big Jerry is no longer with us.  And oddly, I do not have a photo of him in my computer.   But I do have some of his paintings, and I just took their photo.

(oops, I think the one on the right is upside down.  or not.)    Miss you, Jerry!

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I’ve scheduled this post to come out on time, and when it is going live, Victor and I will be arriving in Rabi.  Adventures await!   I don’t know about internet coverage.  Next week’s post may be unavoidably late.

Happy week, everybody.

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11 May 2017

2017-05-04 danger cliff 1 R

Cliff of death!    There are not too many things around our compound that are dangerous for active boys who want to run and explore.   I never thought my two big grandsons (ages 9 and 4)  would be THAT …. (I don’t want to say “stupid”) ….. uh, um …  THAT clueless.

There is a gravel pile at the top – and they were both playing on it.  According to their reports:  Kiki slipped down on the cliff side – caught air – hit the bottom and cried a bit.  Victor tried to climb back over the gravel pile and he also slipped – caught some air – went bumpety bump and hit the bottom.

Here is that cliff from the top:

2017-05-04 danger cliff 2 R


Here is the full extent of the injuries sustained by the two:

2017-05-04 danger cliff 3 R

(After this, anybody would have to believe in Guardian Angels !!)

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The only other thing in my camera worth sharing is the MONGOOSE

2017-05-08 mongoose & Kiki Cr

caught by our dogs!   One got the head end and another got the tail end and they pulled.  The mongoose looks really yucky from the other side … but Kiki, obviously, does not mind.

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A storm is in the neighborhood.  If it doesn’t cause disruptions, Victor and I will be off on an adventure this time next week – so the blog will be offset by a few days.

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Happy week, Everybody!

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4 May 2017

2017-05-03 new chick house by kitchen Cr

All of a sudden there is a new tin hut I see from the kitchen sink.  I ask.  It is a new chicken house.   Austin is planning to spread the birds out more strategically.

And there’s more!  (one more)

2017-05-03 new chicken house by orchid house R

Behind the orchid house.    This one is easier for me to get to.

2017-05-03 new chicken house grand entrance R

It has a grand front entrance.  No doubt the cement block steps are for the convenience of the humans who will go to collect eggs and stuff.

SPC (South Pacific Commission) kindly gave Austin a grant for these chicken houses as well as the main breeding house (in progress), 100 bags of feed (all gone now, but what a help it was!), and new incubators (due to arrive later this month).   They came this week for a site visit and seemed to be really happy.

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Curious readers wanted to know what the helicopter was here for.  Okay.  It was from Kokomo Resort, where Akka’s wife works.  The boss wanted to check out our orchids, and also to talk with Austin about the coral restoration work and the happy chicken project.   He’s over at Kokomo right now, scoping out the possibilities for the projects.

Funny web of connections – our good friend/carpenter’s father-in-law is the chief of the village affected by the damaged coral from that resort.  He and Austin have also been friends for years, independently of our friend’s marriage to his daughter.   They’ve all (carpenter and wife plus in-laws)  been staying in our Suva house for the last few months – getting it ready for us to sell, and are just going back to Kadavu Island this week. What timing!

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Maybe it is not the best idea to have chickens running free in the presence of other birds.

2017-05-03 rooster and duck Cr

Just sayin’

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Getting Beamer’s grave decorated while son Guy is here.

2017-05-03 decorating Beamer grave Cr

Gravestone in.   Setting the “glass jewelry” into the corners – just a bit of it.     So happy.

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CORRECTION to last week.  That wasn’t actually kitty litter: it was really sand – so the cat was not mistaken, I just didn’t expect him to lie down in something he was supposed to poop in.   He is now using it for the intended purpose and is no longer napping in it. …   And he is doing fine.

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Happy week, everybody.

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