11 January 2018

2018-01-06 drone mapping 3 R

What do you call the prize winning farmer?  A man who is out standing in his field.  (haha).  Here is Junia out standing in the patch he is developing into a permaculture site.  And this week he got some help.

2018-01-06 drone mapping 1 R

These lovely ladies from Project Everest (who stayed here before but now have rented houses on the coast) came visiting with a  ……

2018-01-06 drone mapping 2 R

Drone Camera !

And off it went.  They were mapping altitudes and contours, and also identifying wild turmeric to see if that was possible (yes, it was) before taking the drone to another site.   They came back a few days later with the results.  Junia is happy happy.

*     *     *

Walking back from the far land, I noticed this:

2018-01-06 toads in the creek Cr

Toads in the creek.   It was so hot I felt like joining them.

*     *     *

The ducks have been around the chickens too much.

2018-01-09 ducks in tree Cr

Since when are there ducks in trees?

*     *     *

Geese live about 30 years and they mate for life – so Austin tells me.

2018-01-10 goose couples Cr

Yesterday I noticed the goose couples – males white, females gray.  A 28 year marriage out of a 30 year lifespan makes a human marriage of 50 years seem like not such a stretch.   Thank you, Geese, for a good role model!

*     *     *

Dr. Smarty Pants getting more publicity.   Yesterday a Fiji TV crew came to interview him about the Happy Chicken project and the permaculture work for a segment on Talk Business.   They were really sweet and seemed to enjoy themselves a lot.

2018-01-10 Fiji TV crew Cr

The segment is supposed to air on Tuesday.  I will look for a you-tube link – and will post it next week if I find it.

*     *     *

When it doesn’t work, you can at least make FIRE out it!

2018-01-09 styrrofoam and gasolene Cr

Back in Micronesia days we learned that by melting styrofoam in gasoline you can make a goo that is an excellent patch for fiberglass.  So we’ve been doing that and storing it in old paint cans.  Last week “Someone” (hint:  photo at top) mixed the styrofoam with Premix (gas + oil) – which makes an oily goo that takes forever to set.   His experiment was in a peanut can.   When the power went out, it turned out to be kind of useful after all.

*     *     *

Happy week, everybody!

*     *     *



4 January 2018


(My Fijian teacher taught me the wrong thing last week – this is the right way to say Happy New Year as a greeting.)

*     *     *

All flora, no fauna this week.  The blog-year is off to a pitiful start.

2017-12-30 casuraina female flowers 1 Cr

This is the flower of the island pine we have (in the casuarina family).

2017-12-30 casuraina female flowers 2 Cr

This is the mature flower off the tree.  It is supposed to have little seeds in every hole.  Poor old girl tree.  No seeds.

So this week Austin got All Excited because he found out that one of his other pine trees is a male!

2017-12-30 casuraina male flowers 1 R

Here’s a close up of the male flower.

2017-12-30 casuraina male flowers 2 Cr

(Interesting, but not as interesting as pulling sensitive grass, which is what I was doing as this discovery was being made.  Still going at it, too.)

The other excitement is that our own pomegranates are fruiting.

2018-01-01 pomegranite 1 Cr


2018-01-01 pomegranite and Kiki R

*     *     *

In other news we got another grandchild – Noah Kazuki  (Peaceful, Bringer of Light) – doing well with mum, dad and big brother in Japan.  We are eager to hold him!

*     *     *

May your 2018 be magnificent!

*     *     *



28 December 2017

2017-12-02 kids getting big Cr

The neighbor’s kids are getting big.  We talk about getting a few goats, but never do.

*     *     *

Just on the main road near the shop:

2017-12-21 cotton bush 1 R

Look closer.

2017-12-21 cotton bush 1 Cr

A cotton bush!   What a surprise!

2017-12-21 cotton bush 2 Cr

Even Austin was surprised, and we pass it every day.   He says this is wild cotton.  I want to get some.

*     *     *

I stopped paying attention for just a moment – then WHAMMO

2017-12-25 Cycad flower R

The cycad flower kind of exploded and there are all these leaves gushing out!

*     *     *

Back to an old obsession …

2017-12-27 sensitive grass R


There is a lot of “sensitive grass”  (Mimosa pudica, I think) growing on the new road, and my job is pulling it out.   Once I start pulling I can’t quit.

*     *     *

A tiny culture note – Men’s haute couture

2017-12-24 Sunday best R

Akka is not wearing a skirt.  This is a “pocket sulu” – a tailored item of clothing that men wear for formal events such as going to church.  Akka put it on last Sunday for going up to the pavilion for prayers (because the rest of his clothes were dirty.  Ha ha.)

*     *     *

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and a happy Boxing Day.   I will say the next bit in Fijian since I am finally trying to learn the language:


(Happy New Year)

*     *     *

21 December 2017

2017-12-14 soaring hawk Cr

This hawk was flying low when I walked up – then it took to the clouds, circling, but never left.  We didn’t have any little chicks loose on the hill, so what was it targeting?

*    *    *

More on Birds:  a COCK FIGHT !

2017-12-20 cockfight 1 Cr

2017-12-20 cockfight 2 Cr

2017-12-20 cockfight 3 Cr

The naked neck chickens do well in the heat and are very productive, but have a clear disadvantage when it comes to fighting.  How do you let them know how big and tough you are without your neck feathers?

*    *    *

On the Flora Front

2017-12-20 new breed not better pineapple R

Here is the new breed of pineapple.  Excellent if you want a lot of pineapple leaves…. (ha ha)

2017-12-16 cycad flower stage two Cr

Update on the cycad flower.  Now it has nodules!

2017-12-14 Fiji dandelion R

And Fiji has a dandelion of sorts.  I never saw it before.  Wonder what flower it goes to???

*    *    *

Some things to munch on

2017-12-14 roasted cashews  R.jpg

Roasted cashews – OUR cashews!

and …

2017-12-20 oopma Cr

A new Indian treat: oopma.   For those who already know Indian treats, it is like halwa but savoury.  Made from semolina, butter, chillies, salt and mix veg.  Yum!

*    *    *

Happy week, everybody.

*    *    *

14 December 2017

2017-12-06 old girl R

The other old girl here.  We’ve had a slow week, to tell you the truth.

We have a sweet, permaculture-studying guest from Germany and I cut his hair yesterday, but I didn’t take a picture of it.  ….

2017-12-11 harvest - cashews pineapple duruka Cr

Harvest:  our own pineapple, cashew nuts (still needing roasting and in shells) in the basin, and duruka (wonderful local veggie that is a cane flower).

2017-12-12 moth from Akka Cr

A new moth Akka noticed with white triangles on the wings – photo from his phone.

and, finally – an update

2017-12-11 cycad flower stage 2 Cr

That cycad flower now has off-white rubbery bumps in it.

*     *     *

The big whoop of the week is that Austin now has sex-linked colored chicks – but I haven’t seen them yet.  Something to look forward to.

Happy week, Everybody!

*     *     *

7 December 2017

2017-12-01 Mr Popular - Austin and ducks Cr

Mr. Popular and his plucky DUCKY entourage.   Last time I posted something like this, it was Mr. Popular and his happy CHICKEN entourage.

More on the animal front:

2017-11-29 Ryu - prodigal son R


The prodigal stallion returns.  He was gone 10 days, the longest time so far.  We actually got him back last week, but I didn’t put his photo in.   It’s getting worrisome.  We need to get a mare to keep him company so he doesn’t get such itchy hooves.

Also – remember my cats in boxes last week?  Sandy Dune got very weak and crawled off into the bushes to die.  (We were thinking poisoned rat.)  Junia couldn’t accept that he was dead and so he kept calling …. and found him ALIVE yesterday afternoon.  Brought him up, he ate and drank a little.  There is hope.  And Austin thinks it is chocolate poisoning (we have some cocoa in process).   Anyhow – I’ll post an update next week.

On the flora front:

2017-11-29 betel nut Cr

I was surprised that we have betel nut growing here – don’t know where on the farm it is.  We don’t chew it, but if we took it to Suva we could get a lot of gas money by selling that to USP students from Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, maybe Vanuatu and Solomons.  Ah well.

2017-11-29 hoe hoe hoe Cr

Hoe Hoe Hoe!

I took up hoeing the crab grass.  Guess what ….. it is a great ABS WORKOUT!  I never knew.  Ouch!  By the fifth day my abs weren’t hurting any more.

Ok – here is the biggie for the week.


I never knew!  The black on the bananas is where they lost the shade they should have been getting from those big leaves.  It can happen before or after harvesting.   Live and learn!

*     *     *

Happy week, everybody.

*     *     *


30 November 2017

Let’s just call this week WILD THINGS

2017-11-26 wild anthurium 1 Cr.jpg

This is a wild anthurium growing in front of our house.

stock anthurium.jpg

This is what a common anthurium looks like (stock photo from google images).  You’d think that the major difference would be color and size.  I disagree.  The main difference is that our wild anthurium… Smells like Cow Manure.   Next difference is that our wild one is Floppy.   Why does Austin bring me a flower like that with excitement in his eyes???

*    *    *

Ok, a lot of this week is going to be further info on photos that made it to my OTHER blog.   First up, the passion flower:

2017-11-21 garandila passion fruit flower - gift from Dip to Ju  R.jpg

Actually, this was a different variety of passion fruit called a garandila.  I think this is the wilder, older version.  The fruits are smaller than our usual passion fruits


2017-11-28 garandila 2 R

And TOUGH.  Really, really hard to open.  I didn’t have a hammer, so I used this heavy glass paperweight.

2017-11-28 garandila 3 R

But inside — passion fruit!  Yay!

*    *    *

Next up: cats in boxes

2017-11-27 Cat in box  Cr.jpg

That was from this morning.  Akka actually pointed this out to me and made an astute observation:

He has seen cats in boxes, in baskets and in plastic baskets – but he has never seen a cat in a bucket.  I haven’t either.   Must feel claustrophobic.

*    *    *

Next: the mouse rescued from the washer.

2017-11-25 mouse from washer Cr

In that same blog I also mentioned RAT GLUE ….

2017-11-27 rat glue  R.jpg

Yep.  Austin took care of it.  His method is to turn it over onto cardboard and put the trapped varmint out of its misery with a swift kick.  (And he didn’t think my rat glue would work).  (For readers from the other blog – I am considering this a kindness to people…..)

*    *    *

Wildest thing of the week:

2017-11-29 cycad flower R

This thing is a FLOWER – the flower of a cycad (strange palm-like tree).  It looks like a huge pine cone.  Austin says it is going to do more strange stuff.  I’ll keep watching.

*    *    *

Wishing you all a very happy week.

*    *    *