22 March 2018

3-20-14 Welcome sign Sgtka Cr

Our province is Nadroga.  The provincial symbol is the “Nadro Stallion.”  I took a photo of this welcome sign four years ago, and never used it  Now it has been painted over.

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25485335_10155106585173779_513106714_o flame tree flower Cr

Here is the beautiful blossom from our flame tree that Akka took about four months ago.  The tree is not blooming now.

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20170524_165038 Banaban VCO R

This sign is from Rabi Island when my grandson Victor and I were there almost a year ago.  I loved the fact that they have a virgin coconut oil factory there, but figured the oil would be insanely expensive.  Months later, when I was in Labasa (city on the northern island, Vanua Levu), I saw the Banaban VCO being sold at a street stand for less than $10/500 ml.  I bought some.  It was GREAT!  I really wish they sold it here.  Magnificent product!

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IMG_0826 Hindu mango leaves at a jewelry shop Cr

Mango leaves hanging in a jewelry shop.  This is a Hindu custom to ward off bad spirits or something.  I took this photo in May 2013.

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20170927_120734 geese under bougainvillea Cr

Finally, a goose couple under some bougainvillea, from last September.

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Have you noticed the pattern?  Every one of these photos has been sitting in my “on hold” file for weeks, months or years.  I did not take a single photo this week.  Fact is, I’m pooping out.  Soon, maybe very soon, I will do a final issue.

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FIJIAN WORD of the Week

Kalokalo –  means  “star”

Kaloko – means “clock”

There is a village that was supposed to be name Big Star but got named Big Clock by accident because folks left out a syllable –  Kalokolevu.

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Happy week, everybody.

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15 March 2018

2018-03-09 reject eggs R

When Austin candled the eggs – this is how many were duds – about half of the eggs that were set for hatching.  The hot weather is causing low fertility in  the roosters, plus it is the time of year for the hens to molt and over half of them have stopped laying.  So Austin is closing the hatchery for a few weeks.    These eggs became dog food, but the ones that are being laid now are CAGE FREE EGGS FOR SALE.  Great price.  Come and get ’em.

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We had a bit of a miracle.   Bees had crawled into the wall of the cottage.  The wall was too strong to open without a lot of damage, and we couldn’t just leave them in the cottage to threaten our guests, so we were going to have to use insecticide.  But then….

2018-03-09 bees crawl out at wall R

they crawled out!   Big big balls of bees climbed back out the wall.  The whole colony!   Our professional beekeeper friend was amazed.  Told us this just doesn’t happen.

2018-03-09 bees crawl out boxes R

Austin got a bee box and coaxed them to stay with some honey.  The colony was so big, he had to get a second box.  They settled in.  Next step, put the bee boxes on a wheelbarrow and slowly move them to a new location a few meters a day.

But it was only a bit of a miracle.  The queen must not have joined them, and a few days later the whole colony swarmed off again.

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2018-03-10 Indian engagement and cake Cr

We went to an Indian engagement party this week.  There is no end to the imaginative ways to make an elaborate occasion even more elaborate.  The engagement party usually involves a cake.   At the previous one I went to the fiance and fiancee each fed it to each other, and then each parent fed some to each child.  At this one, there were FIVE cakes, and not only did the fiances and the parents get in on the feeding, but also the aunties, the uncles, and every other guest who wanted to share sweetness with the happy couple.

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FIJIAN WORD of the Week

Yaloka – it means “egg”   Definitely a word we need here at the farm.

Mata – means “eye” and it also means “face”

Put them together – yaloka ni mata – and you get “eyeball”

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Happy week, everybody.

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8 March 2018

2018-02-06 lily bud Cr

A beautiful, unopened wild lily on the road to the baipound (horse jail).

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So it was a hard day here – the power was out all day long, and that is why this blog is 12 hours late.  But the day ended with a bit of a bang, which I’ll tell you toward the end.

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After weeks and weeks of rain, this week took the prize as the rainiest short of causing a general flood.   Austin had to run dig some new drains and filled his camera with photos of the water world.

IMG_7111 Mar 2018 Deluge 1 stream floods R

Our creek that has been bone dry for almost a whole year is about to jump its banks.

IMG_7131 Mar 2018 Deluge 2 new stream develops R

A new stream develops, carrying gallons of water toward the fish pond.

IMG_7128 Mar 2018 Deluge 3 fishpond about to jump banks R

Our fish pond is just about to overflow and join the creek – in which case all the fish swim out, and the neighbors have happy fishing in the drains.

IMG_7138 Mar 2018 Deluge 6 waterfall R

We have our own waterfall (for an afternoon).


IMG_7149 Mar 2018 Deluge 7 Neighbors bindi R

The neighbors’ okra crop is under water so long it is probably dead.  There goes a full three-months income.  Sigh.   I hope it survives.

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2018-03-08 new royal palm roots R

Brilliant discovery …. royal palms break out a new set of little roots periodically.   I had seen the hair-like roots around its base and never thought about it … but today – Wow!

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The promised “bit of a bang” – we had roadkill for dinner tonight.  It was killed in our driveway – a duck that failed to clear the tires of a visitor who came to ask if we were selling roosters.  <mutter mutter, bad driver, mutter mutter>   Akka noticed the dead bird and grabbed it, Austin cleaned it, and Akka cooked it, and it was yummy.

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Fijian Word of the Week  (in honor of our dinner guest)

Duck is ga  ,  pronounced “nga.”  That “ng” is the sound at the end of  “ring”

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Happy week, y’all.

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1 March 2018

No sooner had I put up last week’s post than Junia was yelling at me about a “bee ball.”

2018-02-22 bee ball R

Behold the bee ball.  This is a wild swarm that attached itself to the flame tree at the foot of our driveway.

A few hours and an afternoon deluge later, that swarm was on the ground.  (no photo – sorry)

Austin was still at Plantation Island.  Junia is too big for the bee suit.  Akka has gotten stung too many times and is averse to bees.  I am a apiary know-nothing (in fact I’m not even sure about the word “apiary”).  BUT – we had a dear guest Dominique who several decades ago was a beekeeper.

So Dominique asked to be allowed to suit up and care for the swarm.

2018-02-22 bee ball and guest Cr

Here he is.  Junia took a dozen photos – all from a VERY safe distance.

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The Austin-was-away Gong Show.

First thing I had to do when I returned from Plantation Island  but Austin was still there was to remove the eggs labeled “24” from the incubator (that shifts the eggs every few hours) to the hatcher (that leaves the eggs flat and lets the embryos find their air pockets before hatching).   I took all five trays from the bottom row of the incubator.

Two days later, chicks are hatching…..    but I am also hearing peeps from the incubator

2018-02-24 incubator oops R

Oops!   Missed a tray.   Photos not so clear, but there were more than a dozen chicks on the floor of the incubator – fell off the tray two floors up….

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FIJIAN WORD of the Week

Coka  (tho-ka).   It means diarrhea.  I think of coka for two reasons – 1) I was proofreading a friend’s manuscript on local herbs yesterday, and 2) somebody here had coka last night.

Tauvimate means sick.    Look at the length of the two words, and I think we know which word they use more…..

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Happy and healthy week, everybody!

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22 February 2018

Where did the week go?

Well it started with Sandy Dune sitting in the sun.

2018-02-18 Sandy in the sun Cr

He is now completely recovered from the accidental poisoning.

Then – I don’t know.  Suddenly, I was out on Plantation Island again.  This time Austin has taken out 6 “coral gardening” trainees who are university marine science students – 3 young men and 3 young women.  I was struck by the difference in their huts on the second morning – though my photos do not make the difference obvious:

Can you tell which is which?

The girls’ hut is on the left …. they had done laundry.   Already!   The boys’ is on the right with just some swim trunks hanging.

And Austin came back from his first time in the water with them with a present for me:

2018-02-20 starfish regeneration R

A starfish.  Yes, very very odd.   What to make of it?   Maybe it was regenerating a limb and decided to go for broke?   Maybe it is a baby becoming an adult size one limb at a time?  Beats me.   Austin was going to put it back in the water.

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This week I saw a fellow pick up a big rock to knock a bent metal step back into position.   I thought of two Fijian words I could use to describe it –  tuki  which means “hammer” and makawa  which means “old”  – tuki makawa – “old hammer.”    I thought that was pretty clever and I told Austin, who was unimpressed.

Do you remember I told you  vatu  a few weeks ago ?  It means “rock.”   Austin’s suggested term is  tuki ni vatu  which might mean “hammer of rock.”

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Happy week, everybody.

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15 February 2018

Saw this mushroom – maybe a “puffball” – on Valley Road near the farm.  Now that I noticed one mushroom, suddenly I notice them all over.  Probably because of all the rain.

Then I ended up having to come to Suva….

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The familiar fish market beside the canal.

2018-02-13 barricuda and vendor R

A big ocean fish and a vendor who wanted to be in the photo.  I thought I didn’t know the fish, but when the vendor said, “It’s a barricuda,”  I replied, “Oh – it’s Ogo !!”  This is a fish we eat a lot at the farm, but we buy it already cut and frozen in Sigatoka.

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Our next-door neighbors in Suva gave us Tarsi – the mother/grandmother dog at the farm – many years ago.  Now that I’m back here I see their dogs and I feel as if I’m back at the farm.

2018-02-13 Tarsi's sister Blackie Cr

This is Tarsi’s sister, “Blackie.”

2018-02-13 Winky's son Boxer 1 Cr

And this is Winky’s son, “Boxer.”   Boxer is an angry sort, but I can’t be scared of him because he looks so much like his mom.

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Ruins in the city

2018-02-13 ruins on Brown Street Cr

Looks like a tiled bath.

2018-02-13 ruins on Brown Street R-trim

The wider view – all that is left of the house.   With Suva growing so quickly, it it surprising to find this lot still undeveloped  (except for the taro patch in the corner).  I wish I had the insight of my fellow blogger Rabrius, who comes up with really witty titles for his photos.   Oh well.

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A hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Suva.  Yang’s Restaurant, around the corner from Caines Jannif Photography, for those who know Suva.

2018-02-14 Hole in the Wall restaurant in Suva R

Akka and I had lunch there yesterday.  He has known this place for 15 years or more, since Uncle Jerry discovered it and showed it to him.  They have great red pork, if you like pork.   Akka got pork, I got beef – the “serviette” was a roll under a plastic cover – perhaps you can see it.  Amusing.  And delicious food for less than US$5 each.

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Two girls and their drinking coconuts.

2018-02-13 girls and their drinking coconuts Cr

That’s Ita, Monica’s cousin, and me in our kitchen in Suva.

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(I’m not making any progress right now, so I’m giving you words I’ve known for years, but they are useful.)

Drinking coconut is BU.  It’s called this in many islands of the Pacific.

Fish is IKA.  This is also a pan-Pacific word.   If you know these two words, you can survive.

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Happy week, everybody.

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8 February 2018

Cue Wedding March – DUM DUM daDUM….

2018-02-01 wedding dress mushroom R

Monica saw this “wedding dress mushroom” growing in our compound in Suva and showed it to me.  I’d never seen a lacy mushroom before.

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I’ve shown this before, but it is getting so thick now:

2018-02-07 Spanish moss Cr

Spanish moss.  Austin found it and loves it and has it in Suva and on two of our trees here.    It can’t reproduce – it won’t flower here – which is a blessing, otherwise people could think they suddenly landed in Louisiana.  (Does anybody besides me think of Beards when they see it?)

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Update on those beautiful avocados …. they didn’t ripen evenly!  Dang!  Fully ripe at the seed and not even starting to get soft at the neck.   There must be some way to get it to ripen all together at once, but I don’t know how yet.

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Speaking of food:

2018-02-07 guava jam R

We made that guava jam.  Yummmmmm…..

And I might have mentioned that we had many wheelbarrows of guavas yet to pick.

2018-02-07 guava wheelbarrow R

Yep.   ( and Junia had already processed a big pot full out of here before I got this photo.)

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Needed some fauna this week – and alas, could not get a photo of the beautiful, tiny, green lace-wing insect I saw.   So instead I snapped these ….

2018-02-07 chickens think Im Austin Cr

chickens who rush to me and hope I’m coming with food.  Too bad.

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Oh, I don’t know if I mentioned that the drought broke and the pool is full – actually CLEAN and full – whoopee!   Before the rains came, Austin bought the materials for the kiddy pool, waterslide and living water cleaning system he wants to put in,… and stored the cement outside under a tarp so it wouldn’t trigger my asthma.  Much of the cement may be hard as a rock now.   So anyhow, this scene is a testament to love.

2018-02-07 cement under wraps R

Cement under wraps.

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There is a surf shop “Waitui” (salt water) which I thought meant “ocean.”   Nope!  Waitui  just means “salt water.”    Ocean/sea is wasawasa.

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The giraffes of the flower world.

2018-02-07 sunflowers Cr

We have Sunflowers.    I forget how tall they are til they grow way over my head … again!

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Happy week, everybody.

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