30 August 2018

Pretty, pretty this week.  I went to an Indian wedding.  (Once again, I apologize for the poor photo quality)

The decorations were as pretty as I’ve ever seen.  The cloth was brilliant.  The elephants, majestic.

2018-08-25 wedding music Cr

We wait, we wait – we listen to the music.  (I didn’t notice that kettle until I formatted the photo – I find it endearing.)

2018-08-25 wedding groom Cr

We spy the groom – doing his set of ceremonies.

I admire the dresses of the guests.

New styles.  New colors.  More embroidery.  Brand new sticker art for the back.  Friends who normally look fairly plain suddenly looking like princesses.

Kiki asks me why the ladies are showing their skin.  I tell him it is just the style, it is ok – and I show him that even I have a little bit of skin showing.  Shock!

2018-08-25 wedding bride 1 Cr

Finally the bride appears.  Such a beautiful bride.

2018-08-25 wedding bride 2 R

Here is a better shot of her clothes.

2018-08-25 wedding mother-of-the-bride Cr

And then the mother of the bride – looking so lovely.  She wears her sari with the drape part to the front, and clipped up to her hair.

** At this point Kiki was really tired and wanted to leave.  We went to eat – it is rude to leave before eating, and besides which the food is delicious.  So I left before the circling the hawan (sacred fire).  I just didn’t have the extra time.  We were there for two hours, and the family knows that we wish them well.

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Very soon I was out the door for Hawaii.  I made it.  Didn’t take any photos until the airport on departure.  I looked down, and AWWWWWWW…….

The Japanese garden – looking better than ever.  Isa!  When my kids were little and we lived in Micronesia, we used to have to spend hours at HNL, and would often go down to spend time in the beautiful garden.

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And today, first whole day in Canada:

Play Abby, and indoor kiddy park.  I tried to give a feeling for the SIZE of this place, but couldn’t.  Easily 2 stories tall.  Capacity of 210 people at any one time.  Great, fun, safe place.  (with free WIFI … Hi!!!  It is really hopping with people now.)

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“Play” is qito  (ngGHEE-toe).  That is active, physical play.

“Play” is also vakatatalo (va-ka-ta-TAH-lo).  But that is sit down or imaginative play.

Funny thing about qito is that you take away one letter and you get qio (ngGHEE-o) which is “shark.”   Makes me think about “bless” – which is a great thing in English, and “injury” in French (blessé).   Let the foreign language user beware.

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Happy week, everybody.

Maybe Happy Month or Happy Two Months.  Here is the deal:  I’m not getting back to Fiji until the fourth week of October.  I have found my blogs from Canada and Hawaii to be boring, nothing I want to do more of.  If folks from home send me photos and stories from Fiji, I will happily put them up – but otherwise I’m taking a vacation.   SO –

I will see you next week, or 25 October, or some time in between.

Moce mada.  (Bye bye)

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23 August 2018


2018-08-21 burn scabs Cr

Still so dry here.  We woke up one morning to see that a lot of the mountain to our south had been burned off – never noticed the fire.  This isn’t a “burn scar” – because scars last forever, and this one will disappear in a few weeks.   Maybe it is a “burn scrape.”

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2018-08-17 hen toenail globs 1 R

Austin is holding a hen – what’s different about that?

2018-08-17 hen toenail globs 2 Cr

Because she has balls of packed dirt on her toenails.  Apparently this is common, the stuff is hard as cement, and it makes it impossible to scratch for food.  Who’d have imagined?

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Remember the beautiful globe light for the pavilion from last October?  Well, in spite of my varnishing, the elements took a toll on the bamboo.

2018-08-18 gold ball light 1 Cr


So last April when the big storm was coming, we took the lamp down lest it get cracked up in the wind – and we had the great plan of painting it before re-hanging.  Plus, the friends who gave it to us were planning to come in August.  Plenty of time.

Oh my God – it was August already!  And they were coming on the 19th!  Oh Lordy!

2018-08-18 gold ball light 1 R

Akka hung the ball beside the tree house on the morning of the 18th.

2018-08-18 gold ball light 2 Cr

In less than half an hour, and after two cans of spray paint, the globe was looking pretty good.   (Photo is of “in progress” – not of “finished job”)

It was dry by afternoon.

And it sat.

Next day, our guests came.   The ball sat on the dining table.   We had a lovely visit anyway.

Xav, the little angel who came up with the idea of making ornaments to sell to raise money for the Happy Chicken project (original article HERE), had a new donation to give.

2018-08-19 Xav and the HC donation R

Austin was so happy.  He decided that this money will be earmarked for shipping the first Happy Chickens from our farm to other island nations in the region.  Biosecurity is giving the final inspection TODAY.

Then our friends left, and two days later:

2018-08-23 gold ball light 3 Cr

TA DA !!

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Cagi (THAHng-ee) is “wind.”

Cagilaba (THAHng-ee-LAM-ba) is “hurricane.”

I’m supposed to fly to Hawaii on Sunday, and a big cagilaba is trying to go there, too.  Which of us is REALLY going to Hawaii?

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Happy week, everybody.

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16 August 2018

2018-08-10 dancing okra Cr

Dancing Okra.

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The big deal of this week was mongooses.

2018-08-09 Mongoose 1 Cr

First, we got this guy in the trap  He was humongous – took up the whole trap.  And he was calm, sweet-tempered – not edgy and feisty like the regulars.  Broke our heart (Junia’s and mine … not Austin’s so much).  We talked about maybe taking him to the coast and releasing him there (Junia and me).  But we cannot just shift our problem to someone else, and Austin did the poor creature in.

Next day, a normal mongoose did THIS to one of his hens.

2018-08-10 Mongoose 2 Cr

She was even more injured than the photo shows.  Austin was pretty sure she was going to die, but she held on and is getting better.

No such luck for her attacker.  Winky Dog got that mongoose and slayed it!

2018-08-10 Mongoose 3 Cr

Here are the two dead mongooses side by side.

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Remember the hole that Ratu could not get out of?  Well it still is not turned into a septic tank.    The guys were talking about the concrete blocks and lining it, etc.  Then Somebody got the idea of using tires.  Other people didn’t think it would work, so Somebody googled it, and found out that it IS done.  So ….

2018-08-15 tire lined septic tank R

Ta da!  The septic tank is seven tires deep.

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It is DRY.

The water pump disaster we dodged a few weeks ago – maybe we didn’t totally dodge it.  I added the receipts up and we have put $90 into the water pump meter in the last month, where normally it takes $20 for 4-6 weeks.  Something is very wrong here.

On the bright side, I was driving home and found myself starting to sing California Dreaming …

2018-08-16 drought 1 R

“All the leaves are brown … (all the leaves are brown) …”

2018-08-15 drought 2 R

and the sky is …. blue.”

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Dravuisiga  (dra-vu-ee-SING-ah)  is “drought.”

Dravu  is  “gray.”      Dravusa (dra-vu-SAH)  is  “ashes.”

And  dravudravua  (DRA-vun-dra-VU-ah)  is “broke” (as in “no money”)

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Happy week, everybody.    May your world be free of  dravu-stuff  and may ours get some rain soon.

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9 August 2018

What a week !!!

Friday, Austin had his birthday.  Son Guy baked his “cake” :

2018-08-03 Austin day cake lemon merengue R

lemon meringue pie.   Wowsers.

FIJIAN word for “cake” is keke  (kay-kay) and for “pie” is pai (pie).

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The NEXT DAY ….   Junia got married !!

Small wedding (about 40 people), huge production (“huge” to me – but not to people who really do HUGE)  Note: my poor photos are only a tiny sample of what all went on.


2018-08-03 wedding puri R

Indian Food: puris (photo above shows a few of them), meat and vegetarian curries, lamb pilau, and more.

2018-08-03 wedding lovo R

Fijian Food: big lovo with cassava, dalo, chickens, palusami and I don’t know what all.  Photo is of the cassava peeling the night before … this is what Fijian grooms do instead of having a stag party.  And that bandage on Ratu’s head?  Everybody was asking him – turns out he ran into some guy’s teeth (no kidding!) while playing rugby.

Japanese food:  Mami made a Japanese rice dish that was yummy.

American food:  Guy and Akka made something like 20 pizzas.  They were a huge hit!

2018-08-04 wedding cake R

Cakes:  Oh geez.  Junia wanted one that had a masi design on it like Nigel (son-in-law) got at his wedding, but there is no colored fondant to be gotten in Fiji.  Monica worked and worked to figure out a way … and came up with THIS.  Beautiful.  And DELICIOUS!  It had actual coffee in the icing.  Oh Lordy!   There were two more cakes out and we still have a few cakes in the freezer.


2018-08-04 wedding pavilion R

Pavilion, of course.   Cloth behind the benches.  Woven palms around the posts,  Flower petals on the floor.   Fijian mats.   Way more than you can see here.

2018-08-04 table decorations Cr

Monica was the wedding decoration champ.  What an imagination.  Here are table decorations she made out of split bamboo, sand, shells and little flowers growing here.

2018-08-04 wedding signage R

And she did cute signage for all over.

2018-08-04 reception table R

Really cleaned up the road to the pavilion as the ideal site for the reception lunch.  There were bolts of cloth for tables.

2018-08-04 reception head table R

Head table.  Chairs were sourced from the school.  Bride was a bit peeved by the chairs.  I thought they were a hoot, and convinced her to think of them as her present to me 🙂


Sorry!  The couple was back lit.   And the ceremony was very short and very sweet.

2018-08-04 wedding couple Cr

Eminoni (Junia) and Nicole, right before they said their vows.

2018-08-04 wedding couple marriage officer ring bearers Cr

Eminoni and Nicole with wedding officer and their ring bearers – Kiki and Leo in matching pocket sulus and white shirts.  Cute.

FIJIAN for wedding is vakamau.   A “spouse” is wati,  so “his wife” is watina, “my husband” is watiqu.  “Husband and wife” (together) is veiwatini.

Congratulations, Junia and Nicole!

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But wait, the week held more!   It is August – time for Raksha Bandan – the brother-sister time.

I learned to make the Indian sweet “lakri” …. Actually, Ashmita made me do it.  ha ha.

Recipe:  1 1/2 cup flour,  1 Tbsp oil – rub it together.  Add 2 Tbsp milk powder – rub it in with fingers.  Add enough water to make a stiff dough.  Roll it into two disks like slightly plump rotis.  Fry each lightly.  Then cut into little sticks.  Deep fry until just golden.  Drain and toss with powdered sugar.  Easy enough that even I can do it.

When I gave my brothers an Indian sweet that I cooked myself (first time), they were both very proud 🙂

INDIAN word  lakri means “stick” – and although it is a very common Indian sweet here – they do not make it in India!  This one is Fiji-created.   Just found that out!

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2018-08-07 wasabi leaves R

New crop.  We are still a farm.  I saw Austin shaking his head and stomping.  He told me that this plant is wasabi (the very very strong Japanese mustard).  I nibbled at a leaf – it wasn’t that hot.  So I nibbled at a rib.  It still wasn’t that hot.  I asked him What the heck?  Turns out he’d stuck a whole leaf into his mouth!

Na watiqu ulukau.      (Reminder:  ulu = head,  kau = wood)

PS – Junia says this is NOT wasabi.  It is only a mustard green.

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And finally … just yesterday ….  Farewell

2018-08-08 farewell my sweet ones Cr

Guy, Mami and their boys left, concluding nearly four months of non-stop family company here at the farm.

FIJIAN for “goodbye” is moce  (MO-thay), and for “don’t cry”  is kua ni tagi (KOO-ah nee TANG-ee).   Sniff.

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Happy week, everybody.

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2 August 2018

Ugly Photo Warning – I didn’t get even one pretty photo this week.

2018-07-29 water power box R


This is the power box for the neighborhood water pump.  It is at our house.  Before we moved here, back when the house was empty, neighbors would come up to turn on the pump for half an hour every morning and evening.  That became our job when we moved in 11 years ago.  Austin soon got tired of it and bought the timer.   This week, the timer stopped working, so we (Austin) by-passed the timer.  About midnight he checked and the pump did not work.  OH NO!!!   Had he left the pump on and burned it out?   (Ugh – $2000-$3000 to replace it and cannot ask neighbors to help bear the cost for OUR mistake.)   At dawn he called Roneesh to check and alerted him that they’d need to source a new pump.

Roneesh called back 10 minutes later:  The pump was just disconnected.  YAY!  Pump still functions.  And somehow so does the timer now, too!   WHEW!

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2018-07-31 septic tank hole R


This will be a septic tank.  Our friend Ratu dug this basically in one day – by himself.  Junia was looking for Ratu – couldn’t find him – was calling his name, but Ratu is hard of hearing.  Finally Ratu heard Junia and called out “help!”   He was down in his hole and couldn’t get out!

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2018-07-28 new nest Cr


This one decided to use the car seat for a nest.  We are getting an egg a day there.   And…..

many people had theories about how the egg got on my bed last week with it NOT being a hen’s visit.  Well, I went to put away a suitcase (a door separates the bed from the luggage spot).

2018-08-01 proof of chicken upstairs R

No child put chicken poo on that suitcase….

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2018-08-01 roof for pizza oven R


Awwww.  Guy came back from Japan to put a roof over his pizza oven.

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You remember siganisucu?  “birthday.”

Mataka is “tomorrow.”

Translate:    Na siganisucu  o  Austin   ni   mataka. 

The word that means “love”   loloma  is the same word used for “gift” –  so when I say I don’t have any presents for Austin, I’m also saying I don’t have any love for him.  Oh no! Better remedy that today!

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Happy week, everybody!

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