17 August 2017

This has been a week for LEARNING … and there is one gruesome photo, so just pass by this week’s post if you are weak of stomach.

It started off well enough … Austin hosted a workshop for people from Moala – an island in the Lau group, to the east of Viti Levu (main island).

2017-08-11 HC workshop for Moala R

Lots of learning.  Missing from the photo is the Peace Corps couple who will follow up and troubleshoot.  Following up and trouble-shooting will be necessary …. because one particular problem is that the monthly boat to Moala is not until 10 days after the workshop ends.  That means that the foam incubator, the 27 dozen chicks, the rolls of wire for mobile rearing pens … all of that stuff is STILL AT OUR PLACE.    And …..

Austin has skipped the country!

Yes!  Austin is gone!  (for 2 weeks – doing Happy Chicken training, and coral work, in Vanuatu.   Remember Iopil and Joel who were here last January, cooking up our myna birds?  He is seeing both of them this week and getting them set up with incubators).   Anyhow …

Four days before Austin returns we have to get the incubator, 27 dozen chicks, the chicken wire, and TWENTY-SEVEN BAGS OF FEED to the boat in Suva.  The thought gives me nightmares.   Thank God, Kevin and Carissa (the Peace Corps couple) are coming back to help that happen!

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Two days after the Moala gang left, and while Austin was in Hyper-Mode trying to get everything done before he was to leave …. he did not get the feed to one pen of juveniles quickly enough … and he arrived to see THIS:

2017-08-12 Cannibal chicks R

Horrors!   Cannibal chicks !!   The hungry chicks had turned on each other and were going to peck each other to death !  Seven of the chicks had serious injuries.  This was new learning for Austin, which I documented with a few photos and which will now be one more piece of information to share in the workshops.

On the bright side – he brought them into the hatchery and put them in a box.  The light he had was red – and that turned out to be a great thing.  With the red light, they could not see the injuries and they stopped pecking at each other.

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Austin left while we were entertaining lots of Teitei guests – 3 different families.  Lucky us !  They were all so wonderful.  And on Tuesday, as Austin had predicted, it started raining.  Rain!  Should be great, right?

Only it was during the rain that our young female dog, Winky, went missing.   I haven’t mentioned that she was pregnant, but she was.  Very much like Inu – our dear young pregnant dog who died in the bushes a few years ago.  Junia hunted that evening most of the next day (still raining) and could not find her.

Learning:  young pregnant female dogs avoid older female dogs.  (I don’t know why)

She was not in any structure – house, shed, chicken house, porch …. nowhere.  And it was cold and raining.  Dear God…..

FINALLY … in the late afternoon Ju was asking the dogs to find Winky – and Po finally pointed him in the right direction:   Winky had dug herself a hole under a breadfruit tree.  This must be what wild dogs do!

2017-08-17 Winkys delivery room 1 R

Ju had taken food and water to her by the time we went with a camera.

2017-08-17 Winkys delivery room 2 R

And she finally showed her face.

One of our sweet guests texted Ju to ask if we’d found the dog.  On hearing that we had, he wanted a photo.   So this close up is for you, Paul.

2017-08-17 Winkys delivery room 2 Cr

If you look closely, you can see one pup’s little head and teeny ear.

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Happy week, everybody.

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10 August 2017

2017-08-04 plowing time Cr

The fields are alive with the plows a’ scratching….

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RAKHSA BANDHAN:  THE NEXT GENERATION

I told you about Raksha Bandhan – the brother/sister ceremony two years ago (in this post)

Now it is also the turn for Kiki.  Two of my three brothers have granddaughters.  Kiki was SO HAPPY and EXCITED that he was going to get two sisters !!!

We went to Rakesh’s house.  After I did my Rakhee ceremony with him, his daughter-in-law helped baby Myrah do her first-ever Rakhee with Kiki.

2017-08-06 Kiki Rakhee 1 R

First they tied the bracelet.

2017-08-06 Kiki Rakhee 2 Cr

Then gave Kiki sweets.  (He made himself suffer through that part.)

2017-08-06 Kiki Rakhee 3 Cr

Then Kiki gave Myrah his present.  He’d picked it out himself and she really loved it.

2017-08-06 Kiki Rakhee 4 R

So here they are.   (Unfortunately the knot just would not hold, and Kiki lost his beautiful Rakhee bracelet at school.  Luckily he had another new sister to tie with, the granddaughter of my late brother Dip.)

As we were walking up, he was saying “I’m going to see my Girlfriend!”  And I told him very strongly – she has to be your Girlfriend OR your Sister – she can NOT be both.  So you can give your present and just be girlfriend, or you can accept the bracelet and the sweets, and then she is your SISTER.   Sweets won out over Sweetheart.   And he got a big surprise as well.

2017-08-07 Kiki Rakhee 1 R

The youngest granddaughter, Ria, tied a bracelet as we expected.

2017-08-07 Kiki Rakhee 2 R

But so did the other two big daughters, Sneha and Komal.  So WOW –  Kiki ended up with FOUR sisters.    Luckily part of the present he brought was a pack of 3 pretty handkerchiefs, so there was something for every sister.

2017-08-07 Kiki Rakhee 3 R

Here is Ria with the bangles Kiki brought her.

2017-08-07 Kiki Rakhee 4 R

And here he is with all three sisters at Dip’s house.

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Finally, walking up my drive was a scary sight I’d not seen before.

2017-08-05 2017-08-05 electrician on pole 1 R

A wonky ladder affair with a human at the top.   So I went into my house for a better shot of the human.  Our electrician!

2017-08-05 electrician on pole 2 R

Oh Lordy.

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Happy week, Everybody.

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3 August 2017

2017-08-02 hen on incubator Cr

The old girl is in some kind of big hurry – has laid her egg on top of one incubator and in front of another one.   These are on my porch and I try chasing her away, but she won’t leave.

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It was a slow week for me, except on Monday Austin went to Suva and left me on hatchery detail.  I didn’t take photos – but gee whiz!  What a lot of work!   Every 2 hours I had to transfer newly hatched chicks,  give bigger chicks (maybe 150 of them) water and food.  Every 4 hours I had to roll all eggs in the 7 in-use, not-the-hatching-one, incubators. ….  It’s a wonder to me that Austin gets anything else done and doesn’t forget the babies.

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2017-08-02 repaired sock Cr

On Tuesday I repaired my favorite sock that now had holes on the bottom.  I did this by cutting up a very sturdy cleaning cloth, with the plan to sew it on the bottom like footy pajamas.  As you can see, I succeeded, but it wasn’t easy.  How to sew onto shrunken knit-ware?  I thought, “What would Grandma do?” and came up with DARNING EGG.  In my case it was a Wee fruit for part of it, and my actual foot for the rest.  It worked good enough!

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2017-08-03 sketch sock R

On Wednesday I sketched.

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2017-07-28 cows in lorry Cr

And today I found THIS in my camera … a sight that you don’t see very often:  Cows in a Lorry.

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Wishing a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Austin …. and happy week to all the rest of you.

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27 July 2017

2017-07-26 simple joys Cr

Simple joys.  My sweet neighbor Jeeya pulls a leaf off the living fence, snaps the stem and blows bubbles.  For real bubbles, just like you get with soapy liquid and little wands.

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Mostly it is work, work, work  here right now.

Austin unpacked more of his hatchery gizmos.  They are on our porch because the big new building is waiting for the electrician to show up.  The new machines are a “hatcher” on the left, and a fancy little incubator on the right.

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The professional bee guys (Marcus and Satish) came to talk with Austin about something, and pulled three of our boxes with about sixty pounds of honey, for Akka to extract.  Austin swore he’d never leave boxes just lying around after harvest, but things got busy and here we are.  I walked through a thin cloud of bees to get this shot (with a cropped close up).  As I tell Kiki – they don’t sting unless they are scared.  So move slowly and don’t scare them.

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And then I see this

2017-07-26 fish harvest 1 Cr

in my kitchen sink.

2017-07-26 fish harvest 1 R

Although it is so cold at night that we sleep under two blankets (yeah, really), in the daytime it still gets hot.  And it is so dry that the pond level has dropped.  And Austin was yelling that the fish in the ponds were all going to die and they had to be harvested NOW.

So it got started.  And we had a big dinner of fried fresh fish – YUM.   And, the tale of my poor swimming pool is as sad as ever…..

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I’ve been trying to decide what to name this section  “Look what the cat dragged in.”  OR  “Welcome home, Ma.”   What do you think?

2017-07-24 Tarsi home Cr

Tarsi: the exile has returned.  We gave her away after she bit one human too many.  But the friends who took her cannot keep her any more.   Her children (Torsett, Gogo and Po) did not recognize her on her return, at least they did not torment her.   She seems happy to be here and acts as if she remembers home.   So she is on probation.  As long as she behaves she gets to stay.

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Happy birthday, dear Akka.  He is 30-mumbledy today.

And happy week, everybody.

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20 July 2017

Back from Canada now.  Here are a few treasures from my trip.

Flora:  This beautiful water lily/lotus in Mill Lake Park.  (Several years ago I had photos of this lake frozen with ducks skating on it.)

2017-06-29 lotus in Mill Lake Park Canada Cr

Fauna:  A bear came to the first grade.

2017-06-27 a bear came to grade 1 Canada 1 Cr

2017-06-27 a bear came to grade 1 Canada 2 R

Furry!

Chickens:  I saw this feeding set up at a petting zoo, and wanted to show it to Austin.

2017-06-20 chicken feeding set up Maan Farms Canada Cr

Hey, Austin – look at the PVC pipe dealio!

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And now, on my return ….

Flora:   A mystery weed.

(The kids are there to give perspective to the size of the weed plant.)

More Flora:   I was told this is a “Raksha Bandhan” flower

2017-07-17 Raksha Bandan flower Cr

I guess it must bloom this time of year.  Raksha Bandhan – the brother/sister celebration – takes place each year in August.   (Some excitement coming on that front; stay posted!)

And Food:  Akka has started with chili condiment production.  Woo hoo.

2017-07-19 Akkas delicious chili condiment Cr

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That’s it for the weary traveler returning home.   Happy week, everybody!

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13 July 2017

2017-06-11 almonds 1 R

Guess what.

Almonds!   Local Almonds!

A young neighbor showed these to me – and had me taste them.  Yummy!

2017-06-11 almonds 2 Cr

But still not quite believing it, I needed to see an “almond” in the shell.   Yep – that looks pretty much that the unshelled almonds I’ve known.

2017-06-11 almonds 3 Cr

And here are some almonds on the tree.  (Boy do the insects love those leaves…)

Dang!  I have tree envy.

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I’m on my way home from Canada as this goes to press.   When I get home, I will see about getting some almonds planted on our property.  I may have to (shock!) take up some horticulture my-SELF.  (oh no)

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2017-06-13 Curly Joe the Okra R

And an oddity –  Curly Joe the Okra

Happy week, y’all.

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6 July 2017

2017-06-10 rainbow papayas R

Rainbow papaya.  Austin was so proud of it, he insisted I take a photo.  It tastes as good as it looks.  He thinks we are the only people who have this.

Who knows?   He could be right.

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I am still in Canada.   Hope you all have a very happy week.

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