1 February 2018

Another brief one.

Guavas Galore

2018-01-30 guavas galore  R.jpg

Actually Junia came up from the field with a whole wheelbarrow full of guavas.  Austin threw the inferior ones out to the chickens, who are now disinterested in them, though Ryu the horse never tires of them.   These are ones I cleaned to freeze for future jam.   I’ve got 3 big boxes of them to take to Monica in Suva who will make more jam.  And – according to Ju – there is at least another wheelbarrow’s worth yet to come.  Lordy!

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On the fauna front –

2018-01-30 Dragon fly  Cr.jpg

Grandpappy Dragonfly – who is just not all that photogenic.  But he sure is huge!

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The GONG SHOW that is my Fijian language learning.   **  WARNING **   Do not believe ANYTHING I tell you about the Fijian Language!

So “Siga Vinaka Nikua” (from last week) does not mean “Have a nice day” after all  … it means something more like “It looks like a good day to me.”

“Have a nice day.” is more like “Vakanuinui vinaka ena siga nikua.”  (Vakanuinui vinaka is sort of a general purpose “Best wishes” and siga “day” and nikua “today”  are supposed to make this work.)

Let me tell you a phrase I feel confident about:  ulukau (oo-loo-cow).   It means stupid.   Ulu is head, and kau is wood.  So…. BLOCKHEAD.   I bet I have that one right.

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Happy week, y’all.

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25 January 2018

(I just barely live up to my blog name this week.)

2018-01-24 avocado 1 R

I’ve got Flora – and there’s hardly any flora that could make me happier.   Just look at the size of our avocados !    If the size is not impressive in my hand, behold them next to an average size egg.

2018-01-24 avocado 2 R

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And – I’ve got Fauna.   (Well, actually Junia got the fauna and sent me the pix.)

2018-01-23 wasp potter 2 Cr

This mud dauber wasp,

2018-01-23 wasp potter 1 Cr

and her perfect little pot.

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Siga (pronounced  SING-uh)  – means “day”

Vinaka – (vee-NAH-kah)  means “good”

Nikua –  (nee-KOO-ah)  means “today”

Put them together “Siga vinaka nikua.” and you’ve got “Have a nice day.”  🙂

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May you also have a happy week.

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18 January 2018

2018-01-12 daily gift Cr

Give us this day our daily egg  – beside my washer?

2018-01-07 curly bread Cr

Or festive bread – that’s how we roll in Fiji!

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After that dinky pineapple, we harvested a papaya that makes up for it:

2018-01-07 Sigatoka LONG papaya Cr

Sigatoka Long.

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Wild turmeric growing on the path to the pavilion.

2018-01-07 wild turmeric on the path R

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Some cute little female coming to check out Sandy Dune –

2018-01-15 feline visitor Cr

she was coming daily there for awhile, but now we don’t see her.

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Isa lei!  Our very helpful visitors are leaving.

2018-01-17 Nakh and Quentin R

Nakhjavani (with cat) and Quentin (with tea): they were here from Vanuatu – with Quentin’s farmer grandpa from Alberta – for three weeks to learn about permaculture and chickens.  Man, were they ever helpful!   Boy, do I hate to see them leave!

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So Austin took the boys and Grandpa to the beach this week.  Turns out Nakh is as good at spotting artifacts as Austin is.   They came home with this collection of stone tools –

2018-01-15 Sand dune finds 1 Cr

(there is a teeny cat mandible there also – which got pulverized afterward by a child playing with one of the stone tools …. if you can imagine that.)

2018-01-15 Sand dune finds 2 R

They  also found this larger rock that Austin is sure was used for something.  For now we are calling this the “pillow rock.”

Austin will be taking all these treasures to the museum with a few other things he’s found.  This is not the first time.  Before we got married, Austin found a lot of American Indian artifacts near his grandmother’s house in NC – he even reconstructed a huge pot – and the Wilmington Museum had to put in a new wing to house all the things!

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Fiji language word of the week (shall I make this a blog feature?) :

VATU – it means “rock” – and can be any size from a boulder down to a small stone.  The only other word for rock is qereqere – which means gravel.

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Wishing a happy and peaceful week for all of you.

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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.

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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.

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The ducks have been around the chickens too much.

2018-01-09 ducks in tree Cr

Since when are there ducks in trees?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Happy week, everybody!

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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.)

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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

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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!

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May your 2018 be magnificent!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.)

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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)

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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?

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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?

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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???

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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!

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Happy week, everybody.

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