30 May 2019


This week’s post seemed to need the title.   It started off with a weird vehicle accident out on Valley Road.  I got some photos after everything was moved.

Late at night a “carrier” (like a very large pick up with a cage and canvas tent over the back) was driving up Valley Road with a bunch of passengers in the back and was going very fast.   Parked on the side of the road was a bus that had broken down a few days earlier.   The front of the carrier cleared the bus, but the back part did not.   It was torn off and WOWSERS – that was something.

According to witnesses the back part flew off the back, landing upright on the paved road, where it slid for many meters until going into a ditch and overturning.  Inside, one passenger passed out and woke up screaming, the rest were just screaming…. and the maximum injuries were cuts and bruises!   The vehicles did not fare as well.

Both windshields were cracked (my photos failed), even though neither got direct impact.  That was weird.

Here is the back of the bus.

2019-05-25 accident 3  R.jpg

Here is the “carrier” part of the carrier.  If you can look you can see the truck’s name “FUSO” upside down.

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And here is the back of the carrier truck.  You can see how the entire bed is gone.

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Some powerful angels were watching over those folks in the back!

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Pool is repaired and full.

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So we are having swimming lessons again.  Hooray.

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Prophetic Dream  (relates to the swimming pool!)

I dreamt I was in our swimming pool except it was larger and a typical rectangle.  My daughter Lua was there, along with some others.  With my toes on the bottom, I had to tip my head back to get air.  But soon my head was clear of the water.  And then my shoulders.   “Hey,” I said to the others, “the water is going down!”   It was going down pretty quickly.   Lua went to get the fish and she put them in the outflow pipe that went into the sea.  The sea was like a big aquarium that I could look through thick glass to see.

“Hey, Lua!  That’s DAD’s fish you just released!”    “Oops.”  she replied.

Next morning, Dad’s fish was belly up in its little aquarium.

2019-05-29 goldfish prophecy  Cr.jpg

Rest in peace.

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Armed !

The neighbors’ dogs are a big pain in the neck.  My grandson’s water gun has a long range.  My husband’s coconut vinegar is Nasty-Nasty, and not fit for consumption by any normal human.   I got a plan, and I got permission from my grandson.

2019-05-27 armed.jpg


So I took my walk.

Yep, the dogs came out.  Yep, I squirted after them.  Yep, they ran.  Yep, they tried again.  Yep, I got ’em again.  Finally, they backed off.  I slowly left, too.

That is when the bigger dog said to the smaller dog something like, “Tovolea mada yani.”

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Tovolea mada yani  (to-vo-LAY-ah   mahn-da  YA-nee)  means “Taste it.” or “Try some.”

Yep, as I left the dogs were licking the grass.  Yum yum yum.   (It smells like poop, so what did I expect?)

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Happy week, everybody.

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23 May 2019

New flora on the farm (not so photgenic) :  Yams.   Hey!  My photo is missing now!  Never mind, it was just big brown yams in a bucket – nothing much to look at.  Kind of like big fat cassava roots that are rounded on both ends.

They were Junia’s yams – he planted them about 3 years ago, totally forgot about them, found them again this week, brought them up, cooked some in a fire (to tell the truth, they were kind of mealy), let the rest get boiled up.  Yum.  Quite nice.  Tropical yams are big starchy tubers – not sweet or creamy like “sweet ‘tater yams” from the southern US, but they are big and filling.  Our yam tubers grow at the bottom of a big climbing yam vine.   Glad we have them on our property.

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New fauna on the farm (well, new to me):  a leaf bug

2019-05-16 leaf bug  Cr.jpg

Yep, it is an insect!   There are little eyes there – and the “stem” is its antennae or something.   Soooooo weird!   Soooooo cool!

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More fauna in the neighborhood:  two cute kids

2019-05-20 two kids at Urmila's  Cr.jpg

Real charmers.   They are at the home of a friend who recently lost another toe to diabetes.  That is really tough.

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Art work.   Daughter-in-law Monica drew the “Teitei flower” for me, and Junia and I turned it into a logo that I hope to stencil onto sulus later.   What do you think?  Not too late to have input as the stencil is not made yet.

Teitei sulu logo.png

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The workshop dealie that Austin was off at last week when his good-funding-news came in was a pretty big deal.   A full-page article in Fiji Times!

2019-05-20 Fiji Times coral workshop article  R.jpg

Here is a close up of the lead.

2019-05-20 Fiji Times coral workshop article  Cr.jpg

Lots of participants – from government, villages, resort management, NGOs and other do-gooders.  It is wonderful how various stakeholders are able to join hands in this project.   For more information on it, just go to Austin’s facebook page.  He usually has lots of links.

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Vinakata (VEE-na-KA-ta) – means “want”

I learned the word for “need” this morning, but have forgotten it already, so “like-want” is good enough.

Au vinakata e dua na i “push pole” –  “I like-want one push pole (for my clothesline)” is about as good as “I need one push pole”

I also learned the word for “push pole” which I promply forgot even though honorable Barefoot Professor tried for three minutes to explain it to me.  It has been one of those foggy brain mornings.

Au vinakata e dua na i mona vinaka.   I like-want one brain good.  That is probably a really horrible way to say “I want a good brain” since it is not specified that it is MY brain.  Noqu mona.   Ha ha ha ha…. the possibilities of this having gone wrong are many 🙂

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Happy week, everybody.

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16 May 2019

The cat’s away, the mouse will play.  Somebody is not here, and somebody else played a LOT of computer games and does not have many photos this week.  Ha ha.

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You have to use your imagination.  What do you think this is?

2019-05-14 downtown birdbath  Cr.jpg

Ok,  it is some kind of disturbance in the pavement, not exactly a pothole, and it has a stone in it…. oh yeah, and water.    Ok, moments before this photo was snapped, it was all that and something more.

It was a birdbath.   (I exaggerate.)   It was a bird’s drinking pool.  A myna bird was standing there daintily drinking.

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If you are a long-time reader, you might remember these:  photos of waka (that is a bundle of kava roots)

I was shocked to see this sign in a store window.

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I knew it had gone up in price – but, oh Lord, if you want to drink grog, you need to go rob a bank!

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A sight that makes me happy – oxen in the field, plowing.

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Seems pretty normal, but remember that it is autumn here.   Plowing in the fall to get ready to plant the winter crops.  Just a friendly reminder that we are in the tropics and that plants can grow below freezing when the substance that is freezing is only coconut oil.

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Now for the cat that has been away:  Austin has been out at Plantation Island all week, doing the first ever workshop to train coral gardeners for a number of resorts at one time.   He is still out there (without internet), as this email (which he has not seen yet) arrived today.  The writer is Nancy, a friend in the US who has been fundraising like crazy for Austin’s coral work (and chicken work, too).  She wrote:

God bless all our pea-picking hearts, the hard work of your lifetime and the flurry of activity from your donor friends secured Corals for Conservation a coveted spot.  Our project is now a proud and grateful member of a select 6 chosen by Global Giving and crowd-funding votes to be on the Climate fund.

Congratulations! Due to Corals for Conservation’s tangible outcomes, long-term sustainability of the project through job training, and holistic approach, we are very pleased to announce that your project earned a spot in GlobalGiving’s first-ever Climate Action Fund cohort!
Austin Bowden Kerby

Yay, Austin – and Yay, Nancy – Fundraiser Extraordinaire!

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FIJIAN WORD of the Week

Vutuniyau  (voo-too-nee-YOW)  means  “rich”

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Happy week, everybody

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9 May 2019

I cannot believe what a full week we’ve had when I look at the photos.

2019-05-03 Aus and Tagiyalo Vakaloloma at Ag in Nadi  RE.jpg

This is Austin and Agriculture Officer Tagiyaco Vakaloloma at the Nadi Ag Station.  We went to the agriculture station while our dog Po was in surgery.   Austin and Ms. Vakaloloma talked and talked (she is the mushroom specialist), while I played computer games…

2019-05-03 Ag in Nadi R.jpg

and wandered around a little.  This photo is of one shade house.  The ag station in Nadi is really beautiful.  Lots of well-kept buildings, cut lawns, tarps out with drying vegetation, fruiting trees, etc.   I played with my camera, but the photos didn’t turn out well.  So it goes.  I did not write down the ag officer’s name because I KNEW I’d remember it.  After a week, I forgot and had to search my memory.  Got it! and it will be the Fijian lesson this week 🙂

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Slacker that I am, I didn’t get photos of Po at the vet’s.  However, here she is this morning, six days post op.  Happy and healthy with her bobbed tail.

2019-05-09 bobtail Po  Cr.jpg

Funny Po.  On the day of surgery she did not want to get into the car.  Austin put her puppy in and still was struggling to get her in.  She was anxious all the way to Nadi, and didn’t want to get out of the truck once we arrived.  Then she had surgery and was still pretty high on anesthesia when we left, lurching a bit on the way back to the truck.   NOW – every time we go out, she wants to get in the truck.  Ha ha.

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Here is something that Austin brought back from Nadi Ag

2019-05-03 fake mangosteen from Nadi Ag  R.jpg

“False Mangosteen” is what he calls it.  He says that is what THEY call it.  Doesn’t taste a bit like mangosteen – just has a seed arrangement that is the same  We are now calling it “Sour Mangosteen” – which is a bit more descriptive, but still has to be wrong.  The fruit must have its own name somewhere.

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Right as we had 3 different Teitei guest parties, George and Margaret came back to finish up the solar installation in the hatchery.

In these photos George is instructing Nicole, our Hatchery Officer, on how to monitor and care for the system, and what to do if there is a problem.  Each set of two panels has its own battery and its own power display.  The led lights are color coded – red lights go through red-labelled wire to red marked battery.  Blue with blue, green with green, yellow with yellow.   All goes into an “inverter” (not photographed because it is boring – ha ha).

Also not photographed is the candle-ing flashlight prototype that George made and brought – he gave that to Austin, and Austin uses it for making the dogs stop barking at night.  It is a strong light, and the dogs know Austin means business when he shines it out the window and yells “Shut UP!” at them.

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Ashmita says, “Uncle, I can’t close the door!”

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Junia goes and takes care of it.

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Yesterday, Biosecurity showed up  (exactly on time!) to do more testing of our flock.

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There is some common illness they are trying to track.  We are pretty sure we have it – causes respiratory symptoms and sometimes affects the eyes.  Austin told them how he isolates the sick chickens, and they said he was doing good.   This disease does not  interfere with export permission since it is already found everywhere.

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Also, yesterday – a really last minute deal – an entomological team came to visit the farm.   They were in insect heaven here, because we don’t use pesticides.  Austin, Junia and the team talked heaps.  I trailed them and got a few photos.

PhD student from Philippines taking avocado leaves.  Austin talking to a plant pathologist about what the new invasive ants are doing.   Those invasive ants colonizing every coconut tree.   Some little critters making windows in the coconut leaves.  Even a big hole in a coconut rib from rhinoceros beetles!!  And Austin showing off his bug collection from years ago here, when the beneficial insects were numerous.

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As weird as a seven dollar bill.

Fiji Sevens Dollar Bill.png

Yes, minted currency, in circulation .

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Tagi  (TANG-ee)  is “cry”

Yaco  is “happen” or “happening”

So Tagiyaco – the lady from agriculture must have been a fussy baby!


Vaka is “with”  and

Loloma is “love”

So her mother must not have been too bothered by her fussiness.  That’s my guess anyway, and it is why I was able to remember her name six days later.

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Happy week, Everybody!

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2 May 2019

I’ve got a blog full of people this week.

First off (forgive me), a selfie …. with Mr. Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati.  He is a hero for the ocean, establishing the largest marine protected area on the planet and getting it declared a World Heritage Site.

2019-04-26 Mr. Tong and I  Cr.jpg

What a blessing to get to meet this gentleman and to get to talk with him.

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Remember George – the “Austin of mechanical stuff” who I blogged about a few months ago  (here)  ?   Now I have a photo of him.

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This is George and his lovely assistant Margaret.  They were at the farm for two days putting the solar batteries in for the hatchery.

George aims for Affordable and Durable – here is an example

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Whatever this electronic gizmo is, he has it housed in a FOOD CONTAINER!   It is waterproof, ant proof, durable, and only costs $10.

2019-05-01 solar in hatchery 2  R.jpg

Every unit is totally sealed, and the plastic cover for the “select” buttons was 3-D printed to fit exactly – and they made it to say “Teitei” – isn’t that sweet!

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Speaking of plastic, the plastic that George uses in his 3-D printer is made from sugar cane waste, not petroleum.   It is strong and also biodegradable.  And when it burns, he says, it smells like candy floss !!

2019-05-01 coffee bottle flashlight 1  Cr.jpg

You’ll like this, too:  a flashlight housed in a small coffee bottle.  Insulation is some repurposed packing material.  Top is 3-D printed.  Guts are some high quality stuff I don’t understand.  There are little lights always on for finding it at night.  Low lights for getting around in the dark.  A USB charger port.

2019-05-01 coffee bottle flashlight 2  R.jpg

And a strong light that can illumine a room!

And they did not leave it behind.  Dang it.

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Another person picture – has nothing to do with flora, fauna, farm or local culture, but geez….

2019-05-01 Mr Patches  Cr.jpg

He wears a really nice new shirt, and look at the shorts!

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That same fellow, Mr Patches, was driving up Valley Road Sunday afternoon – and saw a goat get hit by a carrier that didn’t stop.  He knows the goat owner so he stopped to check.  The goat was alive so he put it in his truck and carried it back to the owner’s house.

2019-04-29 hit and run goat  Cr.jpg

Probably could not be saved, poor goat.  But at least there was now the opportunity to give him a good end.

And speaking of sick animals – Torsett has some infection going on and Po got her tail run over somehow.  Both have appointments at the vet in Nadi tomorrow.  I’ll give a report next week.

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Better animal news …

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Is this a PIGLET?  or just one Very Well-Fed Puppy?

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FIJIAN WORD of the WEEK – and one more selfie

yalo – means “soul” or “spirit”

yaloyalo – is the word for “shadow”

This week I wrote my little story in Fijian to tell honorable Barefoot Professor about this photo

2019-04-29 Monica and Mom at the movies R.jpg

Dear daughter-in-law Monica took me to the movie.

In my story, I wrote

Au a lako ki na Village 6 vata kei Monica. I went to Village 6 with Monica.

Keirau a rai na movie – na yacana o “Breakthrough.”  We two (not you) saw a movie – the name was “Breakthrough.”

Sa vinaka na movie.  It was good the movie.

“Do you want to know the word for ‘movie’?”  he asked.

“NO” I said.  (not too much too fast)

“Really, you should learn it – you’ll like it.  It’s easy.”  he said.

“Ok,”  I gave in.

“Movie is yaloyalo.”  he told me and laughed.

The word for movie is “shadow” which is the same as “soul-soul” – ha ha ha.

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Happy week, everybody.

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