3 December 2020

I spent the early part of this blog-week in Lautoka: home of a flora & fauna version of Beauty and the Beast.

BEAUTY: I expected never to see this golden shower tree again. It was stripped and shattered by a hurricane several years ago – major branches broken. How beautifully resilient it is!

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BEAST: My friend in Lautoka had asked me to bring a cup of chick starter for “Screech” – her rescue bird.

Fledglings probably never look all that good. Anyway, Screech is a baby bulbul that was sitting in my friend’s driveway as the mother looked on frantically. The little idiot had pushed itself out of the nest and would not stay put. My friend brought it in. It was not eating well – hence the request for chick starter. Didn’t like the chick starter either, but learned to LOVE fruit and porridge while I was there. So far, so noisily good.

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Back at home – rats went for the corn that is still sitting on my porch. There is an interesting angle to this.

Rats completely finish off one cob at a time. Very different from the birds that attacked the mangoes in Hawaii – every mango had a hole. This is much more civilized.

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SOAP TALES

Yesterday a group of lady friends came for lunch and Austin kindly demonstrated soap-making. Lye, water, cheap oil from the store – stir stir – ba da BING – Soap! He added blue food color which turned pink and finally purple. He added orange and anise essential oils- put it in molds – it was solid in an hour

Needs to cure for a few weeks, but it was basically done in an hour. The ladies were SO impressed and some are planning to get together to try it at home.

Austin ALSO showed how to use old cooking oil for making soap. He poured all our old oil into a big pot with some water and boiled it. This morning he made the used-oil into soap today and I got photos. Well – he tried. He’s trying. It’s lucky he used the new oil yesterday.

The used oil that rose out of the boiling experience is still really orange from the turmeric in the cooking.

Austin had already put the lye in but had not stirred much yet.

After a few minutes of stirring, slushy but not thickening like yesterday’s batch.

An hour later it has separated into liquidy and chunky bits. “Oh, I forgot to stir it,” Austin said. When he stirred, it was still slushy.

Austin cheats and sprinkles in more lye. “Don’t put that in the blog – it’s not the way you are supposed to do it.” HA HA He has done this before and will do it again. The result is harsher soap that is fine for dishes and laundry.

The soap recipe, if you are curious, is 1/4 cup lye (caustic soda) put into 3/4 cup water, then add 2 cups oil. Proportionally, that is 1 part lye, 3 parts water, 8 parts oil. Mix, put into mold when thick, remove from mold when firm, let cure for a few weeks

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Happy December, Everybody.

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