28 February 2019

No flora this week.  Instead two fauna and another language lesson.

Do I start with the sweet or the grim?

Ok, the grim.

2019-02-25 another dead bird  Cr.jpg

I found another dead bird on the main road.  Fourth find, fourth species.  Last time was two years ago (9 March 2017) a honey eater. Before that was an owl that Austin had probably been responsible for with rat poison, and before that was a kingfisher waaaaay down the road.


The one this week was a myna – right where the owl and honey-eater had been:  in front of Lata’s pink house, for those of you who know our road.   Dr. Smarty Pants says the only explanation is that they were hit by fast traveling cars along that straight stretch of road.

*     *     *

Now for the sweet:


2019-02-26 Daisy R

Austin brought her home for a present for me.  She is a tough little feline.  She won’t give the dogs an opportunity to attack her, and Betty Cat has been dislodged from her favorite chair.    She also has the stinkiest gas of any cat we ever had – giving an ironic twist to the phrase “fresh as a Daisy.”   Ha.

*     *     *


Mate (mah-tay) is “dead”

Sa mate na manumanu vuka.   The bird is dead.  Literally, “is dead the animal [that] flies”

Isa, isa.   Alas, alas.

*     *     *

Happy week, everybody.

*     *     *

21 February 2019

2019-02-18 blooming path to pavilion R

Lots of work done on the path to the pavilion, including putting in euphorbias.  Some are now in bloom – beautiful!

*     *     *


A couple of months ago the US Embassy contacted Austin asking for our physical address, and Austin told them the address of our Suva house.  A few days later they delivered a present, which Akka received on our behalf, and held for us.  We got it this week.

2019-02-15 Embassy Xmas present 1 Cr

A nice gift bag containing a sturdy coffee thermos with US Department of State logo and a reusable tin of M&M’s with US Department of State logo.   Inside the tin:

2019-02-15 Embassy Xmas present 2 R

Darling red, white and blue M&M’s all saying “USA.”    Cute.

(Is it too grumpy to wish that the country of manufacture would also be USA?  It wasn’t.)

*     *     *


Oh Boy!

2019-02-19 mangosteen 1 Cr

Mangosteens.  Fully ripe.  From our trees.   A little over a year ago I reported that they were blooming, but we didn’t get any fruit last year.  Now, finally – it’s been about 10 years since Austin planted the trees –  TA DA :

2019-02-19 mangosteen 2 Cr


*     *     *


Yaca  (ya-tha) – means “name”

I’ve gotten pretty good at speaking Fijian finally, and when I picked up a lady who needed a ride, I chatted with her in Fijian and asked her name:

O cei na yacamu?    “Which the name-yours?” – the proper way to ask.

She replied.

Na yacaqu o [something really long I was never going to remember].   “The name-mine is…..”

So I asked her in English what people call her.  She replied in English that I should just call her by her last name.


Her last name is  Rabo.

If you remember what I’ve told you about Fiji spelling, you’ll know that her last name is RAMBO.


*     *     *

Happy week, Everybody.

*     *     *

14 February 2019


It was a good week for guests —  actually, it is often a good week for guests and I just don’t say anything, but this week most of my photos are guest related.

2019-02-08 HC workshop from Ba - Mere Ani Mere Jim Jo Epeli and Glenn Cr

We had another Happy Chicken workshop, this time with folks from Ba – a province to the west.   One of the gents is a close relative of Ratu, who works for us.  The ladies know Monica, my daughter-in-law, well because they all come from Vatukola, the gold mining village.

While they were here, we also got a Teitei guest – an intrepid elder from England, who both enjoyed the villagers AND wanted to go out and explore every day.  Somehow I volunteered to guide her to the waterfall.

2019-02-07 intrepid guest waterfall hike R

So did our younger dogs.

(Tarsi sat this one out, perhaps recalling her river tribulations from last month.)

I had forgotten what a long trek it is to the waterfall.   Really not easy.  Lesley was still raring to go, and I was pooped!  That’s what zumba does for her.  Wish there were a class here.

And more “guests” …. Kiki decided he HAD to come visit the farm, so his dad brought him.  In his explorations of the old home turf he found something incredible he just HAD to share with Grammy.

2019-02-10 Kiki's chicken house wasps Cr

A wasp nest!  In a chicken villa.

More folks – friends from the coast came up to visit, so Austin tried frying up some Malabar chestnuts to share with them.

2019-02-10 Malabar chestnuts Cr

We had eaten Malabar chestnuts (nuts from the “money tree”) before, but this was the first time we tried cooking them.  Actually when our friends came, we put them in the fried rice.

*     *     *


Veisiko  (vay-see-ko) – visit

I finally did it!  I went and spent the night in a Fijian home and didn’t speak English …. called it my “stress trip” – to push me to use the language.   I’m much better than I thought I was!  Woo hoo!

Other words I learned on this trip

Vakarau (va-ka-rOW)  – ready    (au = “ow” as in “I got hurt, ouch!”)

Tubutubu (toom-boo-toom-boo) – parents

Taunamu  (tOW-na-moo) –  mosquito net ….  tau means “to land” and namu means “mosquito”

2019-02-13 waiting for a van at end of stress trip R

This was where I sat at 9 in the morning, waiting for a minivan to take me home.  I had no sooner taken this photo than a van pulled up, ready to leave right that minute.   Lucky me!   Kalougata!

*     *     *

Happy week, everybody!

*     *     *




7 February 2019

2019-02-04 Myrah feeding geese 1 R

We have a new helper.  In case you can’t see, here is a close up.

2019-02-04 Myrah feeding geese 2 Cr

This is Myrah – Vina’s little granddaughter – feeding the geese.  She is utterly unafraid, which is amazing considering how the geese scare off people much larger than she is.  The geese are nice and gentle with her.

*    *    *

I got a lot of comments last week about the carved fern logs.  Some people were commenting on how well they held up.  Actually, “holding up” is an identifying quality of fern logs.  They are SOOOOO durable.  They have an honored place in traditional Fijian construction – they are placed at the ends of the thatched roof.  Not weight bearing, just decorative – and mandatory on the house of a chief.

bure with fern logs out the top stock

*    *    *


Myrah and the geese made me decide what to share.   The word for “goose” or
“geese” super easy.  As are the names of a few more animals.

I will give you the names for   goose,  bull,  lamb,  goatsheep and  cow.   (One of the names does double duty – so there will be five names).   See if you can match the Fijian name to the correct animal:

Bulamakao  (bull-a-ma-cow)

Lami  (lam-ee)

Qisi  (ngGee-see)

Me  (meh)

Sipi (see-pee)

*    *    *

Happy week, everybody.

*    *    *