28 March 2019

2019-03-25 Ilimo - Austin - and big chicks Cr

It was a fun week.   Junia’s permaculture teacher, Tom Kendall from Queensland, was visiting a site in Fiji and ended up coming here with the guys from there.  Tom only spent one night here, but the local guys ended up spending three nights.  It was great connecting with another group working the land with permaculture principles.   In this photo we have Ilimo and Austin with two young roosters Aus was sending to breed with their hens in Silana Village.  Ilimo’s wife has over 15 chickens, and our roosters will replace her small local ones to upgrade their flock.

2019-03-25 Joni's crew and their haul R

And here is the whole gang with the pickup bed full of goodies from our farm. Front to back on the left: Ilimo, Alipate, “Joni” (Johnny), and Teddy – the driver – sticking his arm out.  With Junia on the right side of the truck.   We sent cuttings, coconut seedlings, etc.  They went to the mushroom farm in Nadi and arranged that we all will get a mushroom workshop together – oh boy!

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Lots of odds and ends this week.

I went to the sink to wash my hands, and it smelled like poop.  Really bad.  What was it?

2019-03-23 candlenut Cr

THIS nut!   Pee-yew!   It is a candlenut.

Austin tells me it is a rotten candlenut.  They don’t stink when they are fresh.

Really?   This nut did not LOOK rotten to me (ok, in the photo, I do see it is brown – but the meat seemed firm).    Heaven-save-us …. hold your nose!

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Guess what this is.

2019-03-27 old fashioned nut cracker 1 Cr

Nicole saw it lying around and she guessed.

2019-03-27 old fashioned nut cracker 2 Cr

Macadamia nut cracker!  (when used with hammer)

2019-03-27 old fashioned nut cracker 1 Cr2

Ta da!   (Those nuts are way too hard to crack with any normal implement.)

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Speaking of hammers:

2019-03-21 JB Fales hammer Cr

Handmade by Austin’s grandfather, circa 1930.   DIY

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DIY  Public Works

2019-03-27 Public Works - Valley style Cr

Water pipe from pump to tank that serves seven households needed replacing, and men from all seven households showed up.  Digging a trench with hand tools, circa Still-In-Progress.

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“It’s time you found a wife.”

The hatchery to-do list this week:

2019-03-27 wedding bells for the geese Cr

Austin and Nicole (and maybe Faith)  put each single male goose into his own pen with single female goose.  Forced marriages.  As you can see from the list, there is one more gander to get a wife.  There are plenty of single girl geese, so he could be singing “I’m getting married in the morning!”

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“Up” is cake (THA-kay)

“Down” is ra  (rah).

I thought of cake (tha-kay) because honourable Barefoot Professor’s expectations of me have now gone up.  And, uh-oh, I do not know if cake can be used in that symbolic sense.   More to learn!

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Happy week, everybody.

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21 March 2019

2019-03-21 morning mist  R E.jpg

Lovely morning mist this morning!

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I forgot to tell you that we have a terrific volunteer here named Faith!  I’ll introduce her properly next week.  I thought about her right now because of the walk we took.  We walked to the end of the road.  I was just exercising, Faith was looking around.

Look!  A goat eating the tree!

2019-03-15 kid eating leaves  R.jpg

Look!  The beautiful hibiscus!

2019-03-15 hibiscus in the sky  Cr-E.jpg

Yep.   I need to take folks on walks with me now.  It seems I’ve stopped looking.

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I see chocolate in our future

2019-03-13 rinsing cocoa seeds  Cr.jpg

This is Austin rinsing some cocoa seeds.  They’ve now been sun dried and are now stored in the freezer.  By and by we’ll take them out and roast them and make chocolate.  Yum!

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Progress continued with the tiling, and we were cut off from the kitchen.  But Rakesh is a clever fellow.

2019-03-17 bridge over fresh tiles  Cr.jpg

He made a bridge!   Glad I’m not afraid of heights – ha ha.

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We have a lovely couple of Teitei guests who are Birders, Spencer and Manda Simmons

2019-03-21 Manda Simmons our Birder guest  Cr.jpg

Manda is also a wonderful photographer.  She very generously shared photos of several of the birds right around our house.

This is the White Collared Kingfisher.

DSCF4615 - White collared Kingfisher in tree from Manda  Cr.jpg

The Spotted Dove

DSCF4730 - spotted dove from Manda  Cr  E.jpg

The Polynesian Triller in a soursop tree.

DSCF4661 - Polynesian triller in soursop tree from Manda  Cr.jpg

The Vanikoro Broadbill looking over his shoulder

DSCF4628 - Vanikoro broadbill from Manda  Cr.jpg

The White Throated Dove

DSCF4674 - white throated dove from Manda  Cr E.jpg

And, finally,  Junia’s family totem bird, the Wattled Honeyeater, sitting in a betel nut tree.

DSCF4583 - Wattled honeyeater in betel nut from Manda - also Junia's totem bird  Cr.jpg


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Sorry to say there are a few corrections to last week.  “Honorable Professor” wants to be known as “Barefoot Professor.”

And honorable Barefoot Professor tells me that O Rakesh sa cakacaka vinaka  means “Rakesh worked well.”  NOT “Rakesh works well.”   sa is past tense.   Dang it!  and there is no easy way to put it in present tense.

“Rain” is uca  (OO-tha)

“Fall” [literally “land” as verb] is  tau   (the “au” is prounced OW as in cow)

“It is raining” is  E tau na uca.     E  (eh)  is the present tense.

But you don’t use e  all that much.  Usually it is just dropped.

Sa vinaka na uca.    “The rain is good.”    That’s because you are not witnessing it live,  you are making a general reference.

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Happy New Year,  fellow Baha’is!     And happy week, everybody.

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14 March 2019

My other blog took up all my blog-writing attention this week – so (to me) it looks like the farm blog is getting the dregs.   Like this:

2019-03-07 paralyzed spiders 1 Cr

Paralyzed spiders.   The mud-dauber wasp makes the adobe house for its eggs, and it paralyzes spiders to serve as food for the hatchlings.    This is just unappealing to me on so many levels!

Or this one:

2019-03-09 edible-maybe puff balls R

Puff Balls – supposedly edible.  Austin was inspired to hunt for them after eating the yummy Fiji-grown mushrooms last week.   In North America all puffball mushrooms are safe to eat.  His Google research was that these are, too –  lack of gills is supposed to be some kind of proof.  I was unconvinced and didn’t cook them.   Finally they shriveled up and got tossed.  🙂

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I thought we were drowning in eggs last week – it was even worse this week.

Now 16 cartons in the fridge, trays 3-deep on the counter, and a basin of eggs.

2019-03-13 eggs galore 3 Cr

Plus a BUCKET of eggs clean enough and fresh enough to incubate.

There would have been a Really Big Deal this week, except Austin’s commercial lime powder was really crushed limestone instead of true chemical lime.  Austin learned that you can preserve eggs in lime water.  He was going to experiment with that bucket, but since his “lime” failed – the eggs just have to go in the incubator.   The experiment will have to wait.  But when it happens, we have hope that it will be spectacular !!!

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What else is going on here is a massive mess!

2019-03-13 tiling 1 R

That’s my floor!

2019-03-13 tiling 2 Cr

And my brother Rakesh and our neighbor Roneesh laying down tiles.   I have homestay guests arriving in six days – is this place going to be decent???

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FIJIAN Word of the Week

Cakacaka (THA-ka-THA-ka)   means “work”

O Rakesh kei Roneesh sa cakacaka levu.

[signifier] Rakesh and Roneesh work a lot.

O rau sa cakacaka vinaka.

They (two) work well.

(If Honorable Professor – Junia – gives me any corrections, I’ll put them in next week.)

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In my opinion, the better stuff already went out in my other blog, in case you are curious – here are the more “Flora and Fauna”-related posts:

2019-03-03 Betty hissing at Daisy Cr

Daisy cat  and   Courage

2019-03-06 nautilus Cr

The nautilus shell  in Gifts

2019-03-08 binding done R

My first stab at hand quilting in Fortieth

2019-03-12 black hands Cr

Mishap with the black paint in Crap Happens

Angel Junia effects

Daisy saved by a Hero in Avenging Angel

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Happy week, everybody !

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7 March 2019


2019-03-04 mushrooms of Fiji Cr

Fiji grown mushrooms!  Some visitors from Pacific Islands Development Forum came to check out the farm, and they brought these along.  Yummy!   Austin wants to grow some, and can learn how from the Agriculture Station in Nadi.  (a good use for the orchid house!)

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Chicken mower.

2019-03-02 Chicken mower R

Austin wanted me to take this photo of the big chicks in the mobile rearing pen and to show how tall the grass is that they eat down.   Slower than a weed whacker, but effective, and no raking needed.

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Empty nest syndrome.

The hatchery is closed because the fertility is low during the summer heat – so no new chicks – so nobody in these mobile rearing pens.

2019-03-02 empty nest R

It just seems so odd to have so many empty cages.

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Simultaneous “overstuffed” nest syndrome.

The hens have not stopped laying, just slowed down to about a quarter of their output, and it is already on the rise again.  So it isn’t that we don’t have eggs.  We do.

Good Lord, how many eggs can we eat?

Dr. Smarty Pants wants me to explain that it is our summertime, and it is the hens’ annual molt, when they change their feathers.  They do this every summer, and we close the hatchery every February and March.

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Bee Inspection Officers

I think these guys are with biosecurity.  Austin told me they were coming, but I’d forgotten.  They appeared one morning, checking the hive right beside our house.  Looking for some invasive mite that could cause the collapse of bee-keeping in Fiji if it gets out of control.

2019-03-05 bee inspector visit R

This was right beside our house, and you see the one guy leaving.  The bees had gotten really aggressive.  Because I stopped to get the photo, I ended up with a bee in my hair, and a kiss-sting on my head.

The good news is:  we do not have those mites.   Yay.

Dr. Smarty Pants:  it is the varoa mite, and is already on the coral coast in one village.

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Lala means “empty.”   Think of someone being in La-La Land – that’s kind of empty-headed, yes?   Lala is an easy word.

Vale (VAH-lay) is “house”.

Lailai  (LIE-lie) is “small”


Sa lala na vale ni toa.   is  “the chicken house is empty”  (is empty the house of chicken)

That’s not what I actually WANT to say.  I want to say the chicken CAGE is empty, but I don’t know the word for “cage” so I use the word for “house”

Normally, I would try “little house” for cage, but there is a problem with that in Fijian.

If I say “sa lala na vale lailai ni toa.”   I’m saying  “the chicken’s bathroom is empty,

because vale laiali  (little house) means “bathroom.”   Ha ha.

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Happy week, everybody.

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