About Kim in Fiji

American by birth. Baha'i by choice. Wife. Mother. Retired Nurse. Writer. Living in tropical islands for more than 3 decades, but just started paying attention.

15 October 2020

ADVENTURES OF ROCKY

Surely many loyal readers have been rooting for the naughty dog. He got naughtier. Akka and Monica let him go for a short run, and he ended up killing a GOOSE. Nica and I were going to Suva the next day, and so we planned to take him to SPCA where he would be neutered and adopted by a good family. Not such a happy life for a country dog, but what could we do?

Rocky did not improve on the ride. He filled the cab of our pickup with such noxious gases that the passenger nearly puked and the driver nearly passed out. Monica saw some people on the road with a dog – maybe they would want another. Turned out it was someody she knew, and it was obvious they didn’t want another dog.

I told her, “It has to be men with at least two dogs already.” Just a few kilometers down the road Monica pointed – “THERE are two men with two dogs!” My eyes aren’t that good. When I finally saw them, I sighed – “I wish they were on our side of the road.” I started slowinig down, and with a quarter kilometer still to reach them … they started crossing to our side! As I got near, the two dogs were STILL in the road, right at the speed bump.

Monica rolled down her window and called out greetings in Fijian. The fellows faces lit up when they spotted Rocky. A bunch of stuff was said that my “Fijian word of the week” was useless for. Nica told me they were super happy. Yes, they wanted Rocky – they couldn’t believe it.

Did we have a rope? No? Wait, I’ll go get one.

One fellow ran off. Monica and Rocky got out of the car. Rocky and the other two well-fed, healthy-looking dogs sniffed each other peaceably. The fellow came back a only few minutes later on horseback. “We’ll only tie him for a few days so he knows his home.”

They need him for HUNTING WILD PIGS . Oh happy, happy!

Rocky’s Lucky Day

***

FIFTIETH FIJI DAY

The tenth of October is the anniversary of Fiji’s independence from the British Empire. For this FIFTIETH anniversary, the Fiji Mint put out a new fifty cent coin, and a new fifty dollar bill.

50 cents for 50 years

***

SILLINESS

So we were in Suva and went to the big store. Monica was staring at this door.

Staff party behind closed doors

Bunches of naked pink pork legs sticking up out of a basin. Time to par-tay!

***

Happy week, Everybody.

***

8 October 2020

Austin told me that our sunflowers are confused. They always point east.

Here they are, pointing east in the late afternoon. Maybe they just like looking at the picture of Austin’s sweet mother.

While getting this photo, I found another surprise in the little garden Austin planted on Beamer’s grave.

Black vincas. Well, extremely dark red ones. Really beautiful.

***

Dr. Smarty’s active mind at it again. One morning he looked out the window and said, “You see those pockets of fog on the mountain?”

Yes, I did. So I took this photo through the mosquito screen. “I wonder if there are waterfalls in each of those spots,” he mused. Apparently waterfalls increase the humidity and cause fog to condense. Hmmm.

***

It’s been a non-stop week. I ended up in Suva – and walking. Something new in my own neighborhood, a derelict house on the corner was renovated into apartments. The wall is up with some really nice artwork.

***

Happy week, Everybody.

***

1 October 2020

Kids in the neighborhood

I saw these little guys on my walk yesterday. Are they cute or what! Identical twin kids.

***

Patiently waiting

You may have trouble guessing what this is. It is MOCA (mo-tha) – local amaranth that grows as a weed and is a delicious spinach-like veggie. I’ve shown you moca before, you already knew that (or didn’t care) – I was just joking. Where the moca is growing is in Austin’s stalled project … a water slide. Carpenter had to take a few weeks off. This project is taking for-ev-er. I hope it will be worth it when it’s done.

***

water hyacinths

Meanwhile, Austin brought up these water hyacinths to save them. The geese have eaten them up, the sheep love them, and so do chickens. Some day we will be purifying the swimming pool water and producing a lot of animal chow at the same time.

***

butterfly leaves

Akka sent me this photo. A plant Monica put in the living room has leaves like butterflies. He said when the leaves are open it is like a clover – so it’s a clover. Austin butted in – “it’s not a clover, it is “oxallis”!

So this morning I went to get a photo of this overlooked-by-me plant.

Oxalis by day

Here it is. Son of a gun – guess what I just learned on Google – One, “oxalis” has only one L in its name, and Two – it is a SHAMROCK! Gee whiz.

***

Akka up a tree

The lump up this tree is Akka, doing the old shakey-shakey-shakey to get the tamarinds out. Not many fell. They dry on the tree and shake out easily once fully mature.

Ladies on the roof

Arti and Vina went up on the roof to pluck tamarinds directly from the branch. At the end there were not so many, so they gave them all to me.

Tamarind drying

This is it. The tree has about 100 times this much, if we can just get it out before the afternoon rains cause the pods to mold.

***

At least daily I hear myself yelp with pain.

Sample scratch

Austin says his legs have gotten all scratched up too – especially one night when he was in a two hour zoom meeting. This is why.

Sylvester and Casper

***

Happy week, Everybody. 🙂

***

24 September 2020

Forget the Flora this week, folks – it’s all Fauna: Canis lupus familiaris.

First off – Bingo disappeared a few weeks ago. I didn’t want to say anything, because it doesn’t look good to lose a dog, and because Austin wouldn’t be THAT farmer anymore (you know, there was a farmer had a dog….). Bittersweetly, Bingo did reappear, but it was never the same.

In the meantime two things happened. ONE – it rained, and all the Bingo-smell was gone. and TWO – Monica brought her dog from Suva.

He is named “Raki” for Rakiraki (rah-kee-rah-kee), the town he comes from – but it sounds like “Rocky” to me – and that’s the name I’m sticking with. Here is Rocky playing with Jumper. Rocky is small but scrappy.

Winky went to her beauty parlor for a new look.

A cow-pie dye job or something. Rocky approved.

Around this time Bingo showed up for some good Teitei chow. No luck. Rocky ran him off, and his two old girlfriends did nothing to stop it. So long, Bingo – there’s a new stud in town.

The only thing not-to-like about Rocky was the midnight serenades. Tarsi used to bark all night about nothing, and we’d gotten used to peace at night since she died. No more. Rocky is a crooner. He really earns the “lupus” part of his Latin name. Ar-Roooooooooo. Ar-rooooooooo. And of course all the other dogs here join in once he starts. Other than that, Rocky was a sweetie.

Then yesterday, I walk over to this:

What is this? Two dead juveniles. Akka told me Rocky got them.

And that was only the beginning of a killing spree.

Jumper, the opportunist, was caught eating one of Rocky’s victims. By noon, Rocky had killed at least five.

We called Monica, who is in Suva this week. She said we can give him away.

For now, Rocky is in the doghouse, metaphorically. We don’t have any real doghouse.

He’s on a rope. Looking contrite. Waiting for sentencing.

I like Rocky. The plan was that he would live over on the site where Akka and Monica will be building. I hope he can be rehabbed. We’ll see.

***

Arts and Crafts Corner. My neighbor wants me to teach her how to knit. I made some samples of different stitches I know, got curious, went on you-tube, found a heap more stitches. The lace was clunky with yarn, so I decided to try it with feedbag string. Ta Da!

***

Happy Week, Everybody.

***

17 September 2020

OY – a day late and a dollar short, again! So it is “17 September” YOUR time….. I got tied up in Suva. But don’t want to miss blogging this week because I have INTERESTING Flora and INTERESTING Fauna to share.

The Flora … a new fruit:

“Chocolate pudding” fruit. Now ripe.

It is DELICIOUS! The texture is just like pudding. The flavor is gently sweet – a bit like dates, even a hint of chocolate.

Funny – the Fijian name is sapote (sa-PO-tay) which is a whole lot like sapota (sa-PO-tuh) which means “underwear” Do I need to say more?

***

The Fauna … another HUGE mongoose

Austin is sure that this is a completely different species of mongoose. It’s not only bigger, it also acts really different. It is very calm and does not hiss at us. Monica wanted to keep it for a pet, but it had already eaten six goose eggs at least, and Austin was determined to get rid of it. “How about seeing if Kula Eco Park wants it?” I asked.

In June 2019 Austin got a huge one like this and Kula Eco Park took it. He didn’t think they’d want another – but he called and they said yes.

Turns out the older giant mongoose is a female, and Giant Mongoose 2020 is a male. This boy is more than 2 feet long (650 cm+) and weighs at least 3 Kg (7 pounds). He is like a huge housecat. This is one time that everybody wins on the outcome. Yay!

***

Dry weather, ponds going down, so time to harvest the tilapia/malea.

Harvesting was fun and muddy work. Some of the fish are for the table. The rest are in my swimming pool again.

***

ARTS and CRAFTS

I saw some old potato sack in the hatchery and decided to try embroidery with the feedbag strings.

This was the best of the efforts. Austin’s comment: “That will make nice smoke for the bees.” Turns out the burlap’s purpose is to feed the bee smoker. Ha.

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

10 September 2020

Monday was a public holiday and some of us decided to go to the river for a picnic. The nice shallow swimming spot was too sunny, but one of our friends said we could walk across and it’s shady on the other side. She was right.

Looking upstream.

Kids play on the sand bank.
Looking downstream. What is that on the far bank?
Laundry day at the river.
Farmer with bullocks – emply sledge, he has already dropped off his bags of corn.

Fun time in a place that is not so modernized yet.

***

Monica caught this photo of a cactus flower on the path to the pavilion.

Look quick!

By the time I went up to see it, it was gone.

***

Nicole and baby went to visit her parents – and she came back with …..

celery grows here ?!!

CELERY !

***

Ok, Akka is Smarty Pants Jr. …. those WERE ducks last week, not geese. White muscovy ducks. I was wrong. (I would have known the difference in person … and I didn’t know we have white ducks. Well, now I know.)

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

3 September 2020

Wow – the date matches YOUR calendar instead of mine (across the date line) this week. Reason: the power was out yesterday, and then the internet was still down for a few hours after the power came back on. Excuses, excuses.

I’m uninspired – but luckily Akka is.

He sent me these cocks squaring off:

Feathers are about to fly.

Looks like a big fight was about to happen. But what really happened is that one rooster chose to de-escalate matters by pretending to eat. ha ha.

Now that Akka is doing most of the chicken feeding, he is getting kind of fond of the birds. This one is his favorite because of the way the wings sweep up and back (most unusual).

Extra proud posture!

He calls him Wings.

And Akka shot over this photo which he identified as “two white ducks that are always together.”

Best buds – whatever species they are.

I’m pretty sure that it is a pair of ganders. Dr. Smarty Pants will let us know when he sees the blog.

Speaking of which – Dr. Smarty Pants gave me corrections that I never put in for a few weeks back. They were for this photo:

two “turka” chicks

The two “full-blood” naked neck chicks. Only the one on the right is truly “full-blood”; the one on the left is “half blood.” And the bulge in their necks is that their “crops” are full. (The crop is where food sits for awhile on its way to the gizzard.)

***

Oh, Dr. Smarty Pants – he really does keep busy! Right now he is getting quotes from businesses with diggers because he landed a government grant for fish ponds! Akka and Monica are going to be raising some gigantic tilapia – as high quality Fish Food is part of the grant. The idea is that people raise the first batch of tilapia with government help, and then reserve part of the fish sales to pay for the high quality food for the next batch of fish. Grow, sell, repeat. If we can make this work, we can pass it on!

***

Happy week, Everybody.

***

27 August 2020

Reality is what we focus on.

One of many new orchid hangings that got put up this week.

The exquisite beauty of a white orchid bathing in the morning sun, or all the junky mess in the background.

NOTE: orchids in coconut husk containers are from our beautiful Monica, the other stuff is not. ha ha

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

20 August 2020

Drat, drat, drat – WordPress has made a bunch of new features mandatory. Not great for elderly bloggers. This MAY be my swan song.

I totally forget what photos I just formatted and what the flip I was planning to tell you about! Arrgh. Let’s take a look.

***

Well, Akka sent me a bunch of photos. Here is what he found interesting:

A good looking chick with interesting coloration. He says he knows it is a rooster because of the comb. I don’t see a comb, but anyhoo.

A couple of pure blood turka chicks. Turka is like “turkey” or “Turkish” – neither of which makes any sense. Turka is the naked neck chickens. Akka especially liked the little one on the right with just 2 feathers on its neck.

A hen having a bad day. (I know the feeling.)

Ducks hitting the water bowl – it was EMPTY – when Akka showed up with water. He stopped to take this photo, and THEN put water into this bowl. Ha ha

And a flower that is usually red, but is now yellow – lack of rain or what?

Last one from Akka – I was there.

My lap with chickies. Monday morning Austin was going to Suva, but he discovered that the hatcher had gotten way too hot. Chickies were dying – it was baaaaaaaad. About a dozen were Gone, about five dozen rallied quickly, and about two dozen were in limbo. I brought most of them to the living room and tried keeping them awake and breathing. About half of them made it. Whew.

***

The market is full of fresh veggies. Yum.

They are also selling reusable vegetable-shopping bags made out of old feed sacks.

***

And my very happy news of the week. Austin went to Suva for a ceremony

… because

… he got a great GRANT.

Work ahead for Monica and me 🙂 Details to come as it all unfolds.

***

Happy week, everybody.

***

13 August 2020

I took coconuts for planting over to one friend’s house and his mother asked if I’d like some tomatoes.  “Sure,” I said,  “some rejects.”  I figured she’d give me a dozen or so.  She gave me ….

2020-08-13 tomatoes from Vinita R

a CRATE full!   “Be sure to bring my crate back,” is all she said.

***

More in this generous spirit – Ashmita came this morning with a container of sweets she’d made.

2020-08-13 sweets from Ashmita R

Yum.  The round balls on the left are called suji laddoo – that is laddoo made with semolina.  They are Austin’s favorites.

***

Ashmita is here because we have HOMESTAY GUESTS for the first time since covid.  (They came in as crew on a yacht.)  It is SO NICE to have guests.

2020-08-12 guest and husking of drinking coconut Cr

Akka was showing how to husk a drinking coconut.

***

Daisy delivered another litter.  Three little kittens.

2020-08-12 three little kittens Cr

Don’t say it:  I know.  I’ll take her off to get spayed once the kittens are big enough. (or at least I’ll never publish news of another litter – ha ha).

***

I had some friends here for tea yesterday.  Had to show the kittens off.  Lanieta said she has been wanting a cat.  Didn’t want to wait for these kittens to get big.  Was really serious about wanting a cat – Buttercup was not too big.

2020-08-12 bye bye Buttercup Cr

So yesterday, Lanieta took Buttercup.

I drove them home, carried Buttercup into the house.  Had Buttercup sit on my lap, which she’ll do in the evening for hours if I let her.  After about 10 minutes, Buttercup crawled off my lap and started exploring the room.  She didn’t want to get back on my lap, so I figure she liked it there.

Lanieta’s family has only one dog that is well controlled.   So there is a good chance it will all work out well for Buttercup.

***

Follow up on the changes to Sigatoka town.  There is parking where the tracks were.  Hooray for more parking.

2020-08-07 removed tracks now parking R

Our truck is the first one.  🙂

***

Happy week, everybody.

***