26 October 2017

2017-10-24 gazebo-pavillion is done 1 R

What a week!  The pavilion (formerly known as the gazebo) is DONE!  Well, done for now.  (Always more to do, you know – tiling the floor, putting in gardens, etc.  Not to mention that the varnish on the benches was still a wee bit tacky…  still “done enough” – and it was spectacular.)

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And the party!  For those interested in the more religious aspects of the celebrations, I dusted off my Baha’i blog and did a post Twin Holy Birthdays.   Here, in my regular Flora and Fauna weekly, I am showing you some of the behind the scenes Cooking Stuff.

2017-10-20 jackfruit for party R

Ladies with jackfruits from our tree that were to be turned into curry.  These two were over mature, and so we had to keep picking smaller and smaller ones til we got some that were the right size.  Cleaning those two small jackfruits took a team of ladies several hours.

This is my back porch before as it usually is, and then in use as a cooking site.  You’ll see that the ladies laid down some roofing iron and built a fire on that.  Then my friend Madhu – who is about 5’0″ has an oar and is stirring a huge pot, full of chicken, rice and spices: chicken palau.

2017-10-21 picking eggplant Cr

The eggplant we’d ordered was not enough and we could not find a supplier for more, so in the middle of cooking I took my friend Beauty to her own farm down the road – and here she is picking baigan, i.e. eggplant, a few hours before the party was to start.

On the Fijian cooking side of things:

2017-10-21 lovo - chickens defrosting for the lovo R

Here are chickens defrosting for the lovo.

2017-10-21 lovo - ripping feedbags R

Here are Junia and Akuila tearing damp burlap bags to cover the lovo.

2017-10-21 lovo - playing in the smoke R

And here is Ratu playing in the lovo smoke 🙂

(Thanks to Akka for getting these clever “lovo shots”)

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2017-10-18 cooks - thank you and a half hour of my life Cr

When the cooking was done, I gave the cooks a little gift I’d made for each of them – a little heart with “200” (for Baha’u’llah’s 200th birthday) on a hanky.  I’d never embroidered before, but thought about my grandmother who did embroider the whole time, a lovely meditation but not much help with all the preparations.  As I gave them out, I said with all truthfulness, “I’m giving each of you a hanky and half an hour of my life.”

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2017-10-23 new flower - shocking color R

FLORA – Austin got this new flower that he just loves.  The colors are even more vibrant than the photo shows.

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FAUNA –  Attention, Alice!  (my 7-year-old wannabe entomologist)  New bugs!

No, I don’t know what they are – either of them.  Maybe Alice will find out for me and have her mom send me an email.

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One other bit of farm news:  FIRE !  An irresponsible neighbor set a fire this week that crept onto our property and was climbing the hill and up the valley.  Junia and our neighbor Sanjay had to work for Three Hours creating fire breaks to keep it from catching out Sanjay’s cows, our coconuts and Junia’s permaculture site.  Sheesh!

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Happy week, everybody.  We have more official visitors supposed to arrive in a few hours.  If yes, you’ll get a photo and a report in the next blog.


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19 October 2017

2017-10-16 Biosecurity R

Real farm stuff – a Biosecurity team came from Suva to inspect Austin’s chicken operation.  So far so good!  He has to re-purpose one chicken villa that is too close to the hatchery, otherwise his set-up is perfect.   Now they need to send one officer to draw blood for salmonella testing, and if that is clear, Austin will have the permit to export his Super-Jungli chicks to other countries.  Yay!

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It is a mad house here as we get ready for a huge community celebration for the 200th anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s birth (a Baha’i holy day).   I planned to bake 10 cakes, and the oven door was falling off.   Luckily it is Diwali, and I could hit the DIWALI  SALES !

2017-10-18 diwali new stove

Ta da!

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More getting ready.   I was in charge of varnishing the pieces of a beautiful bamboo lamp that a Teitei guest sent to us.

2017-10-14 lamp pieces R

It took all my ingenuity to find a way to hang and separate them:  heavy thread, drinking straws, paper clips and indoor clothes lines.  (ok, Austin suggested the straws and Monica suggested the clothes lines….)   It was still a messy job!

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And now for the gazebo, henceforth known as the Teitei Pavillion – ALMOST ready to be unveiled.   The deadline is our celebration on this coming Saturday night.  I thought I’d have some All-Done photos, but it is still in progress.  Ha ha, Fiji time…

My dear brother Jeswant offered to let Austin buy the beautiful end of our hill, and our friends Patti and Poova Murday generously gave some money for us to build a gazebo.  Austin’s plan got considerably more elaborate – and I have a few photos that show the time line.

2017-07-19 gazebo 1 R

July 19  First posts in.

2017-08-01 gazebo 2 R


August 1   Roof framing up.

2017-08-24 gazebo 3 R

August 24   Framing for the cupola up.

2017-09-13 gazebo 4 R

September 19   Entire roof is on.   This is a view looking up from the middle.

2017-10-11 gazebo 5 R

October 11   Floor is poured, benches are going in.

2017-10-18 gazebo 7 R

Last night!   Here is that beautiful globe lamp.   Unfortunately we cannot let it hang because it is so windy on the hill.

2017-10-18 gazebo 6 R

And the rope lights that Austin is having installed around the edges of both roofs – to be turned on for the holy days of all our neighbors as a source of joy to the neigborhood.   Note:  the photo shows work in progress – that will not be the finished look.

Will we actually be done by Saturday night?    …. Stay tuned.

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Happy Diwali.  Happy Twin Birthdays.  And a very happy week to you all.

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12 October 2017

2017-10-10 a kid on the road R

I’ve been out on foot a lot this week, and I’ve met some interesting fauna on the road.   I don’t know whose little kid this is, but he sure is cute!

And then there was plaintive mewling from the bushes – turned out it was our cat Teddy, very far from home.

2017-10-10 Teddy on the road Cr

He was scared of the dogs and scared of the cows, and wouldn’t let me carry him for more than a few meters at a time.  Anyway, I did finally shepherd him back to our property where he knows all the other animals.

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My first flower photo of the week was of this magnificent handicraft done by Aileen, mother of Kiki’s best friend.   She uses florist tape to put artificial flowers onto a large guava branch which is secured in a plastic potting bucket.

2017-10-09 Aileen's handicraft Cr

Aileen took her first flower trees to town last week and her first customer bought all five of them.

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The living flowers are loving the drought.

2017-10-11 bougainvillea a riot of color R

The bougainvillea is in full bloom everywhere – a riot of color.

2017-10-11 plumeria in the drought Cr

And the plumeria (frangipani) is still pumping out the flowers, even though the leaves are nearly all gone.

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It’s still cool at night, but really scorching by day.

2017-10-11 belly up in the heat R

Nuff said?

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May you all have a blessed and happy week.

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5 October 2017

2017-10-02 piggyback 1 as is

This is what got the most attention this week.  Austin kept saying this was happening.  I never saw it.  Akka took this photo.   Do you not see it?  I didn’t.

2017-10-02 piggyback 2 as is

So I got down and tried the professional photographer approach of waiting patiently. I had to pull the cat off the cage two or three times.  Was surprised Akka took a photo of me waiting.

2017-10-02 piggyback 3 Cr

Finally – one fairly clear picture.   These chicks like to ride this mama hen piggy-back!  Did you ever hear of THAT?

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2017-10-02 large arachnid 1 Cr

A   B-I-G  old spider in a high web.

How big?

2017-10-02 large arachnid 2 as is

Well, just compare him/her to the wide side of this cane knife….

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2017-10-01 Guess who - not Torsett - JACKIE Cr

Guess who!

No – NOT Torsett.      2017-09-21 Torsett R

This is “JACKIE” – a son of Torsett and Po, adopted by a family in Barara.  They wanted a female from Winky’s litter.  We just took her to them this week and were shocked at how much their dog looks like Torsett.  He was all angry and growling at us, but we were all smiley and calm and “awwwwww Torsett !!!”  Anyway, we are very happy to have one of our pups with this family because we can SEE that they take excellent care of their dogs.

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Happy week, everybody.

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