25 April 2019

This is the picture everybody has been asking for:

2019-04-21 Angel 0 Cr

One very well-fed puppy – getting the milk for four.  Her mother went to the waterfall with Austin and some guests, and he called to tell us to take her up to the house to say hello.  I could have sworn his words were “PHOTO OP”

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Eyes not even open yet.    And her name is Angel.

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Because of the pair of wings on her back.  🙂

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I found this charming

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Neighbors working together out in the field, planting.

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A couple of poultry stories starring Austin.  First of all, how to clip a wing:

2019-04-21 clipping the wing 1 Cr

He was showing Faith, who was grossed out but watching anyway.  Pulled the wing out and clipped the feathers below the insertion point – it would be the pain equivalent to the hen of our trimming fingernails not too short, i.e. no pain.

2019-04-21 clipping the wing 2 Cr

Ta da!  One wing long and one wing short.  That’s what the farmer wants – now this hen will stop being an escape artist and will stay in her pen.  If both wings are clipped, the bird can still fly a bit, it just takes more effort – it is the inequality that grounds it.  (Which always reminds us of the quote from Baha’i Writings, “The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.”)

The other poultry story:  Austin saves a duckling.

2019-04-22 Austin saves a duckling Cr

The shell was stuck and he helped crack it enough for the duckling to poke his head out and get some air.  (Duck shells are very hard, and mother ducks often help their babies to hatch.)

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Great Guest Suggestion:  put a rug around the pole so Daisy will stop scratching at the furniture.

2019-04-22 guest suggestion - Daisy's scratching post Cr

Yay!   It’s a start.

She’s the scratching-est kitty we ever had.

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Isa, isa!

2019-04-24 Isa - out-of-business 1 Cr

The neighborhood store, the Bulatale Shop, which was closed for nearly a year, opened up the first of March, leased by a woman named Shital.

2019-04-24 Isa - out-of-business 2 R

Yesterday I saw this sign out front.

I asked her why she is closing so soon, and got a very quick little education on running a shop.  Rent is too high, revenues are too low.  Her daily sales are only about $70, and the markup is 10% so she only profits $7/day.  And one month’s rent is more than two months’ profit.  Can’t be done.

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Oti  (oh-tee) – finished

Sogota  (sohng-oh-ta) – close

I’m not sure how to say “Bulatale Shop is closing.” (more or less)

Maybe – sa oti na Bulatale Shop   (it’s finished the …)

Or –  Na Bulatale Shop na qai sogota tiko.  (the shop will be closed staying)

OOPS – both of those “understandable” but not quite right, according to honorable Barefoot Professa.  What I need to say is:  Sa sogo na Bulatale shop.   (sogo is the root of sogota, which means To Close)

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Happy week, everybody.

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18 April 2019

We got a big surprise this week…. there was a secret PREGNANCY going on:

2019-04-14 Po baby  Cr.jpg

Po had a baby.  A baby.  Just one.

At first we were wondering if she was going to bond with it.  Well she did.  She bonded strongly enough to kill hens on two different days who dared to walk too close to her baby.

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More in the “aren’t our animals weird” department –

2019-04-16 maybe a bigamist gader  Cr.jpg

I think this gander may be a bigamist.  In pilgrim geese – a gander (male) is white and a goose (female) is gray.  One gander and one goose mate for life when they are 2-3 years old and they live for 30 years.   Well this gander has a wife and a girlfriend, it looks like.   Hmmmmmm………

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Today I found out we are growing grapefruits here.   Real grapefruits with the correct taste and everything.

The reason I had no idea is …..   our grapefruits are tiny.  (sitting in the photo in front of normal size limes)

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See!   Tiny but tasty.

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All the other stuff in my camera has to do with the international workshop that just ended.

2019-04-13 VCO and cooked oil  Cr.jpg

The virgin coconut oil mixture bubbled over the top of the bucket and about half of it went onto the floor (the new, beautifully-tiled, clean floor).   Austin scooped it up and cooked the oil out.   Here you can see the virgin (not-cooked) oil is white, and the cooked oil is yellow.  Cooking activates or creates glycerin that makes it sticky and not good as food.  It’s still great as body oil though.

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Austin had this dried seaweed stored, eucheuma species, that he had picked up in Christmas Island (in Kiribati).  The “salt” on it is actually potassium – good fertilizer.  He made pie and hair lotion out of the algae, after washing off the “salt.”  The pie was too sweet for me, but the hair lotion was GREAT, and I was really sorry that it all went back with the workshop team.  And the team was really excited to learn uses for a resource that grows at home.  Austin’s pie was not too sweet for them!

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Here is the first page of the first printing of  the Chicken Handbook, handed out to the participants.  An elderly chicken farmer in Australia has been in touch with Austin and made big contributions to the handbook, so Austin gave him the first author credit. 🙂

Finally, here is the group this morning saying goodbye.

2019-04-18 i-Kiribati workshop leaving  CrE.jpg

You can tell the participants because all but one of them is in kalavata (matching outfits).   God willing, we will all meet again.

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Yadra  (yan-dra)  –  is a greeting saying “morning” or “wake up”

Yadra vinaka   – is the friendly way to say “good morning.”

So, this week I learned that yadra also means “security guard.”

I asked Honorable Barefoot Professor, “How can yadra mean Security Guard?”

He replied, “Because the guard is supposed to stay awake.”   Ha ha.

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Happy week everybody.

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11 April 2019

Faith and Nicole tell me that the seedlings in the nursery are sprouting now.

No photos, sorry, because the big news is:

The hatchery is open again.

2019-04-05 Hatchery is open R


Eighteen dozen baby chicks last week hatched and sold.  We were especially happy with these new little gray chicks, but sold them anyway.  Ha ha.

More news:  although the chicks are still kept in the ground floor of our house to be sold, the new bio-secure hatchery itself is now in use!

The separate and very clean entry way

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The incubators now up on a table!  (Much easier on the back!)

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The waiting eggs on a well-lit table.

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A shiny new sink with very clean incubation trays.

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What is that peeping sound?   Oh my –

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This week’s hatch hatched two days early.

And now that I’ve got all the pictures taken, a group of trainees are coming to deal with these new hatchlings.

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First they all wash their feet very well before they go in – and then they get a bleach water rinse off before they enter the hatching room.   It is really bio-secure.

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A wonderful group from Kiribati are our first international trainees.   When Iopil and Joeli came from Vanuatu, they learned by doing – now we have an actual course for folks.

So these are the trainees

2019-04-10 Kiribati group doing VCO Cr

Teibi, Ruiti, Ben, Sita and Ataata are making virgin coconut oil.

But their first job was learning how to kill and gut chickens.

2019-04-09 live lunch chicken feet Cr

Except I had taken them to town before the gutting.  And Ashmita needed to cook them so she could go home.   So Austin gutted them alone, and Faith recorded it.  Let me know if you want me to post that video.  (It is very interesting if you don’t mind innards.)

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The really interesting matter was the yellow chicken.  See!

2019-04-09 live lunch yellow hen R

She was “intersex” –  she had spurs.  She never laid an egg.  In fact it was because she never laid an egg that the vitamin A built up and turned her yellow.   When Austin did her autopsy, he finally found what looked like a shriveled up ovary and a vestigial testis.  At first he couldn’t find any sex organs at all.  This is very rare – first case ever on the farm of the more-than-a-thousand chicks we have raised to maturity.

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Some flora:

Wild Spinach

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Wild spinach on the vine.

2019-04-07 wild spinach vine R

I mentioned brown stuff on the leaf to Junia who was showing it to me, and he said, “Flavouring.”    (Ewwwww)    (I thought it was poo, but now I’m pretty sure it is just a dead leaf.    Better)

Junia just recently learned that this plant is edible from his father-in-law!  It’s name is Malabar Spinach.

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One more fauna:

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This is one of Tarsi’s daughters.  We met her at our neighbor’s home.   Isn’t she sweet!

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Osooso (oh-so-oh-so) means “busy”

We have been osooso levu  (very busy) this week.

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Happy week, everybody.

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4 April 2019

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Behold the new Teitei Homestay sign!   This is my maiden effort at sign-making.  I thought it looked pretty good on the table.  Turns out from the road, the only thing that is visible is  TEITEI until you are right on it.  Oh well, it will do.

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It’s a great week for entomologists.  Enjoy, enjoy (???)

2019-03-21 soursop with aphid problem  Cr.jpg

Some scale insect has moved in on our soursops.   Also our rambotans – that photo was so ugly I can’t bear to post it.   Austin says these scale insects are being farmed by the invasive ants that we accidentally brought from Suva.  On the bright side, these scale insects are not affecting the flesh of the fruit, which is tasty as ever.  And also on the bright side, they aren’t affecting the sale price, since we only grow them for our own use.  But it is bothersome.  We haven’t used agricultural chemicals on our farm in more than five years, and are not starting now just because of scale insects.  Austin is talking about making a spray of tobacco or chillie water.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Guess what this is.  It is the weevil version of an ant farm … in my homemade pancake mix.   They really like that whole meal flour!   I always wanted an ant farm, and my mother never would let me, so now I’m finally satisfied and can die happy.   Ha.

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And THIS is a pet spider.  It’s a jumping spider that got on Austin, determined that Austin was non-threatening, and kept hanging around.  S/he also seemed interested in his/her picture on my camera!  A real cutie.

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More from the invertebrate world, I met this little one on a walk down the road.

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A snail, i.e. a slug with a shell.

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On the productive side of life,  Nicole and Faith decided to revive the nursery.

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Even though some of the shade cloth is torn and insects are getting in (repair to shade cloth now on the To Do List), they cleaned the orchid house out really well.  And they started planting.

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They planted basil, cilantro, tomato, rambotan, avocado and moli Tahiti (a kind of orange).  Today they’ll be planting parsley, sage, lettuce, bok choy, kale, radish and cabbage.  Oh boy!

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So much for the Smokers’ Bench.

2019-03-26 chickens on the smoking bench  Cr.jpg

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Yes!  Io!    Cake  (THA-kay) which is “up” can be used for expectations as well as physical location.

A related word is cecere (theh-theh-reh) which means “high” (in physical position).

On top of is dela. (deh-la)

I just realized I never learned the word for “rainbow”!   Austin tells me it is drodrolagi  (nDROAn-DRO-lahng-ee).   Lagi (lahng-ee) means “sky” or “heaven”

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Happy week, everybody!

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