26 July 2018


2018-07-21 egg on bed 1 R

Went back to my bedroom mid-morning and found this gift on my bed.  What the heck!

This never happened before – but it did happen once again the next day.   This is weird.

In brief, the path to my bed is (1) through the “chicken proof” porch door and across the porch, (2) through the front door that is usually closed,  (3) sharp left through a dark little hall,  (4) sharp right past the dressers toward the windows, (5) hairpin turn to the right and up the oversized stairs, and (6) onto the bed.   And then out again … and without getting caught.  Gee whiz!

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Went to a neighbor’s wedding, but I was herding grandchildren.

2018-07-21 Leo in sling Cr

Missed all the puri making because of this sweetie pie breaking his arm (falling off the LOWER bunk of a bunkbed while playing).

And found myself smitten with this little gentleman (someone else’s grandson) in his good suit.

2018-07-21 toddler in suit 1 Cr

Moments later, he was DONE.

2018-07-21 toddler in suit 2 Cr

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Vina brought a shy neighbor – Ashmita – to come help me clean.  Ashmita is a Wonder Woman!

Behold the before and after on one of my windows:

2018-07-23 Ashmita - wonder cleaner  Cr.jpg

I’m over the moon!

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Last night was the last night for most of the grandkids, so a bonfire and marshmallows.

2018-07-25 last night bonfire R

Burning up the old dry flora.

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And this morning – Austin told me to take this one.

2018-07-26 mongoose tail or soldier grass R

“Mongoose tail” or “Soldier grass”   The story is that the soldiers brought this plant because the seeds (tails) were good for packing weaponry and also for making life jackets.

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Mongoose is manipusi.    Tail is bui (BOO-ee).  Mongoose tail is  bui ni manipusi.

Fire is bukawaqa (BOO-ka, WANG-ga).    And the word for Friday is vakarabuka  (VA-ka-ram-BOO-ka) – indicating it is the day to gather firewood.

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Happy week, everybody.

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19 July 2018

2018-07-14 visiting heron Cr

Four items this week – and I have both Flora AND Fauna.  Kind of proud of myself.

From the order in the camera:  first it is FAUNA.   This is a heron, or something close to it – that swooped by and settled onto a tree in front of me on the hill.  I asked Austin and he said they come from the coast pretty often because we have a pond.   “Pretty often,” eh?  I guess if I keep watching I may notice everything … eventually.

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2018-07-16 another morning light show Cr

Another morning light show.  I’ve been going up to the pavilion most mornings at dawn.  Usually we have had splendid red and gold cloud displays.   “Red at morning, sailors take warning,” is the old wisdom, but we only got one light rain one afternoon.

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At the beach, my daughter comes to impress a guest:  “Henna grows here.”

“What?!”  I exclaim.

She puts it in my hand:

2018-07-16 henna bush grows here 1 Cr

“It’s growing by our kitchen,” she tells me.  “You didn’t know?”

No I didn’t.

Here is the bush at the beach.

2018-07-16 henna bush grows here 2 Cr

I forgot to look here at the farm.

My daughter says she knows about it because her classmates in high school showed her.  She says they said their grandmothers rubbed it in their hair for a free dye job.

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Finally – the most beautifully packed parcel I have ever received by mail.  Books from India.

2018-07-18 Beautiful parcel from India 1 R


The parcel is wrapped in wide-weave cotton cloth.

2018-07-18 Beautiful parcel from India 2 R

See how it is stitched together and has sealing wax!    Wow!

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Beautiful is totoka.

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Happy week, everybody.

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12 July 2018

2018-07-07 grubs Cr

I wandered over to the kitchen one morning, only to see this plate full of grubs.  Coconut rhinoceros beetle grubs.  I blogged about coconut rhinoceros beetle grubs before, many years ago – gee whiz, it was one of my first blogs!  25 July 2013    Maybe the grubs are a seasonal delicacy?!  We did not eat these guys.  We did taste them five years ago (I’ll confess it now) – the taste was not bad, but …..  (nah, it’s too early in the morning to go into details.) (gag)

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2018-07-08 dust bath Cr

I thought I saw some hens attacking another hen at the bottom of the bank beside our house.  I would have sworn they were all pecking at the loser.

I went to get Austin but by the time I found him, no hen was under attack.  Austin did not believe me.  “Was there blood?” he asked.   “Uh, no…” I replied.

We watched the remaining hens for a few minutes.  “They’re taking a DUST BATH,” he announced,   “in that rotted tree trunk.”

Go figure.  But I KNOW I saw one getting pecked.  Maybe they were pecking out feather lice or something….

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2018-07-11 another chicken deterrent R

The never-ending quest to keep the chickens out of the human areas.  The screen above the gate worked for my porch.  Now the ice cream tub lids are serving as a deterrent at the laundry room gate.   Clever!

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After years of observation and contemplation, I have finally decided to institute a “new” temperature scale that is suitable for the tropics, based on the freezing point of coconut oil.

Coconut oil gets hard, or “freezes,” at approximately 23.5o Celsius or 72o Fahrenheit.  That is 0o Niu  (pronounced, “new” – which is Fijian for “coconut” – since the C has already been used.)  In my Coconut Scale – 1 degree N = about 1 degree F or about 0.5 degree C.  Yes, I know it gets inaccurate the further from zero you go, but that’s ok.  This is a scale of COMFORT, not a scale for carrying out sensitive engineering operations.

24-07-14 cake 3 R

Here is a photo of frozen and not frozen coconut oil from July 2014.  (Amazing how I’m finding all these companion photos from July’s of yesteryear…. or maybe not so amazing since we are in the depths of winter.)

2018-07-11 almost zero degrees Niu - coconut R

Here is a photo of coconut oil in my kitchen at four in the afternoon.  The temperature must have been around  5o N (five degrees Coconut).  This was causing the previously frozen oil to be melting.

2018-07-12 freezing coconut oil R

Just as with water, both freezing and melting start from the edges, so it is easy to tell whether temperature is rising or falling by the location of what is frozen.  This one is in process of freezing.

Anyway,  on the Coconut (Niu) Scale – the average daytime temperature is around 10o N, (which is 83o F  or 28o C).   Normal tolerable temps for us tropical softies is 0o  N to 15o N (that is 73-88o F or 23-31o C).

For excess heat – well, we’re tropical.  We just head for the shade and turn on the fan, and wait for sunset.   But for the excess cold … that is tough.

At -5o N, we are wearing sweaters and using blankets.  At -12o N  we are using three blankets, and claim we can see our breath.   At -20o Coconut we really can see our breath and we think we are going to die.  And it is not very kind when relatives from Canada and Japan are still walking around in shorts and calling us wimps.   MINUS 20 COCONUT (53o F or 14o C) is PAINFUL STUFF.

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2018-07-08 grandchildren R

All seven grandchildren – in their Happy Canada Day t-shirts, and imported colorful cowboy hats.  And Granddaddy.

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Fijian Word of the Week

Niu  (“new”) = coconut

Wai (“wye”) = water

Waiwai (“WYE-wye”) = oil

So coconut oil is waiwai ni niu.

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Happy week, everybody.  Stay warm (or cool).

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5 July 2018


2018-06-27 giant pawpaw Cr

You think this is a big pawpaw?

It is not so impressive compared to the monster papaya from four years ago.

4-10-14 Monster Pawpaw Cr-anew

Happy memories.  (Madam, the lady in the photo, is no longer with us.)

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Chickens found a pumpkin in the field before Austin did.   So Austin put a candle in it!

2018-07-03 chicken carved jack'o'lantern Cr

There are aliens among us ….

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(It seems a rare week that I have both Flora and Fauna any more)

2018-07-04 one-legged duck Cr

A one-legged duck.   Austin told me to take this photo.  The duck had been standing with his leg up for over half an hour.  Dr. Smarty Pants claims that ducks routinely warm up one leg at a time in the winter in snowy climes …. so this is proof to me that it is Horribly Cold Here right now.  Ah, the depths of winter.

2018-07-01 new caterpillar Cr

Also a new caterpillar – very fast critter.  This was the clearest shot I got.  What kind of butterfly or moth is is fated to become?

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“Take this photo!”

2018-07-03 Austin's brains Cr

“Why, Austin?”

“Because it represents my brains.”


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2018-06-28 fixing the feeder road Cr

Surprise – the government fixed our feeder road this week!  Scraped the sides, deepened the drains, grated it … and put good gravel on the worst spots.   Very smooth, very nice … at least until rainy season.  (photo was of the operation in progress)

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We have spent so much time at the hospital this week, that my daughters really wanted me to get this last series of photos;

2018-07-04 ER 1 Cr

The hospital on approach.  Which is the Emergency entrance?

2018-07-04 ER 2 R

The most likely door on approach, but no sign.

2018-07-04 ER 3 Cr

From the inside looking out.   Aha!

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Gone  (pronounce NGO-nay) means “child”

Gone tagane (NGO-nay tang-AH-nay) is a boy,  gone yalewa (NGO-nay ya-LE-wa) is a girl.

I have 5 gone tagane and 2 gone yalewa  here right now.  Makubuqu (ma-koom-BOONG-goo) – my grandchildren.

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Happy week, Everybody!

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