6 August 2020

Mishap early in the week.  I was driving up the driveway one evening with a pickup full of friends.  Dogs and geese in the driveway.  I slowed way down and yelled out the window.  The critters scattered.  I felt a bump, but a goose went running off.  We had our little party and I didn’t think any more about it until it was time to take people home, and there was a big white lump in the driveway.  Oops, I’d killed a goose.

Austin did not yell at me or tell me off.  I felt bad enough.  I really did not know why the goose was silly enough to get hit … they’d gotten out of my way heaps of times.  Austin said the poor gander was probably blinded by the headlights and didn’t know where to run.  That’s heartbreaking.

But this is a farm and we don’t let sentimentality ruin a windfall.  Goose meat is yummy, and so we “dressed” the goose.  Also, I learned more about this beautiful creature.

Do birds have teeth?  Technically, no.

2020-07-30 goose teeth  Cr.jpg

But try telling yourself they don’t have teeth if THIS grabs you!

Do birds have fur?  Technically, no.

2020-07-30 goose fur CrE

But these feathers on the neck were as thick and soft as fur.  It was amazing.

What do angel wings look like?  They look like GOOSE wings!

2020-07-30 goose wing  CrE.jpg

The wing was just stunningly beautiful.  The only part I could manage to photograph was the top ridge … totally lovely.  Some day, maybe, we’ll be able to get a good photo of a whole wing.

And then we plucked.  Oh the DOWN!

2020-07-30 down for pillow Cr

Half a pillow’s worth!  There are at least two of us lusting after that pillow when it will be finished some day.


The other matter this week SEEMS like it is the same thing, but it actually unrelated.  Austin noticed a goose quill in the yard and suggested I show Kiki how to write with it.

2020-08-02 quill  R.jpg

So I got out my little bottle of india ink, found a second quill in the yard, used scissors to snip the nibs, and taught Kiki the very beginnings of quill calligraphy.

It’s obvious if we are going to do this much at all, I’m going to have to learn how to make our own ink.  That will be a project for another week.


Happy August, everybody.


30 July 2020

2020-07-26 popping field corn alone cr

Guess what this is!  It is NOT popcorn … it our field corn, popped.  This was Kiki’s idea and he brought it over for me to see the result.


And this was the week for the anniversary.

2020-07-27 forty 41 cake R

My biggest baby is 40 years old.  Our marriage is 41.   Same day.

2020-07-27 bday picnic at pond 0 R

Monica heard the hint from Akka and set up the “party” as a picnic down by the pond…. water level is low, but there is some water there.

Looking to the left, you can see the deck of the cottage; looking to the right you can see the orchid house.

2020-07-27 bday picnic at pond hitchiker seeds R

Looking down … what is that on my foot???  It was the gummy-sticky-est seeds I’ve ever met.

The rest of the family showed up.

2020-07-27 roasted birthday chicken R

Two young roosters were guests of honor: one roasted, one curried.

Monica brought up her idea of a “petting zoo” again.

2020-07-27 bday picnic at pond family sheep Cr

Obligingly, the sheep showed up.  Larry was enjoying some heart of palm.  Some geese wandered by, too.

It was a very pleasant little celebration.


Happy week, everybody.


23 July 2020

It is a “mechanical” week.

But first one plant and one animal.

2020-07-22 hyacinths in pool  Cr.jpg

Water lily in the “cement pond.”

2020-07-22 blueback chick CrE

And a new color of chickie – Austin calls it a “blueback.”


Here is my current obsession:

2020-07-17 String 1 CrE

String from feed bags.  Austin suggested I try using it.

2020-07-17 String 2 Cr

That mess of string made a ball THIS big.

2020-07-23 string 3 RE

Then I started crocheting with it.

2020-07-23 string 4 Cr

And that ball became handiwork THIS long.   Akka somehow thinks I’m going to crochet a hammock.  That feels too ambitious – but I’ll make something.  I found it all so fun, I went digging in the feed room and found a bigger mess of string.

2020-07-20 string 5 Cr

And made THIS string ball.  Unknotting and tying and rolling took almost 6 hours.  Yeah, I’m a nut case.  But it is so FUN.   Now every day I look for the new feedbag strings and I’m working on a third ball as I crochet up the second ball.


One evening Austin told us the great news that he had planted cauliflower and broccoli that day.  He was really excited by it … and then the story continued.  Not long after his cauliflower and broccoli was in the ground – the geese went and they ate all of it!

2020-07-22 goose fence  Cr.jpg

Now there is a blockade at the top of cardiac hill.

And Austin jokes about having goose for dinner.


One of Sigatoka town’s charms for me was the old sugar train tracks.

2020-07-22 losing tracks 1 R

Even though the bridge broke years ago, tourists could still ride a train from Cuvu to town – and folk would sit up on the hill and have their lunches.

2020-07-22 losing tracks 2  R.jpg

The tracks and their hill are in the process of getting torn down.    The only way I’m willing to see this as progress is if there is some program to beautify and make better use of our riverfront.


Proofreaders Begone!

2020-07-22 EIXT sign Cr

Head for the nearest Eixt!


Happy week, Everybody.



16 July 2020

Two trips to the site for Akka and Monica’s house this week.   First, Monica took me over to climb the hill above their house one afternoon.  Winky, Bingo, Monica and me, crashing through underbrush to get there.

2020-07-10 hill above Akka's  Winky Bingo-spot  R.jpg

The view was terrific.

2020-07-10 hill above Akka's R

Here are close-ups – from left to right.

2020-07-10 hill above Akka's  Cr Pavilion and Hatchery-Ju's.jpg

The pavilion and the hatchery (Ju and Nicole’s house).

2020-07-10 hill above Akka's Cr - Cottage-Main House-Nursery-Wood house

The cottage, main house, nursery and wood house.

While we were sitting up there, I kept asking about the helicopter that was supposed to pick us up.  It never arrived.  But luckily our neighbor showed up to move his bullock and he told us where we could find a good path to get down the hill.


A few days later Austin spotted someone of interest on our porch.

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A young gos-hawk taking interest in our chicks.

2020-07-12 chix on porch Cr

Ever since Po had her $75 snack, we have kept wire over the chick boxes.  So the hawk was doomed to frustration even if I had not arrived.


I came up with the easiest pattern ever for a phone purse – and can knock one out in just an hour now – so I made a bunch this week.   (the blue one is the old pattern, the 3 on the right are the new pattern)

2020-07-15 crochet phone pockets  R.jpg


And the second trip to Monica’s place – she took me there to get me out of the house – but I did end up actually helping with the work a little.

2020-07-15 Akka's hill at work R

This is us unloading stuff.    If you can see the pond on the left – my job was getting water from there and watering the plants.

2020-07-15 Akka's hill at work Wild Rose  Cr.jpg

This is a wild “rose” growing beside the pond.


After working so hard, Monica came back and cooked kai (clams) for dinner.

2020-07-15 kai with stick out tongues RE

Here they are still alive with their tongues sticking out.

Usually I’m not all that fond of kai – but however she cooked them, they were DELICIOUS last night.  Wow.  Yum!


Finally – and it pains me to do this – I warned someone that if a certain holey item ended up in the laundry again instead of the rag basket, it was going on my blog.

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There you have it.


Happy week, everybody 🙂





9 July 2020

Busy week.

Started with a party, making good use of the new deck in front of the cottage. Guests showed up half an hour after this.

2020-07-04 party on deck  Cr.jpg

Happy first birthday to “Junia Junior” (Baby Keanu).



We got water hyacinths from our friend George in Nausori.  Hyacinths will be the low tech filtering system our pool when we get the channels created.

2020-07-01 Water hyacinth Cr

For now the hyacinths are just in the pool itself.


Yesterday, today and tomorrow – one of Fiji’s “winter flowers”

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Full of blossoms, petals blanketing the ground.



A sack of toads …. whee.

2020-07-03 bag of toads R

This came from cleaning out the fish pond.  Why?


The number one comment on last week’s blog (on Facebook) was that the maggots did not look gross.  I had cropped the photo super tight.  So HERE.  THIS is what I found so gross.

2020-07-01 maggots in a nutshell  Cr bigger view.jpg

You’re welcome.   (gag)



Akka finally got his citizenship.  Yay.  To celebrate we dug the foundation on the site of what will be his and Monica’s house – across the field by 3 unused fish ponds.

2020-07-09 Akka terrace R

Excavation turned up a lot of wild turmeric.

2020-07-06 Akka terrace haldi  CrE.jpg


We also dug the foundation for Junia and Nicole’s house at the end of his piece of land.  Photos coming by and by.


Happy week, everybody.


2 July 2020

This is a gross-out week – but I’ll start off tame 🙂

2020-06-26 farmer Akka Monica Keith  Cr.jpg

Family at work.

2020-07-01 cucumber harvest R

Already a harvest (Granddaddy’s cucumbers).


And I’m not saying any more about Po’s puppies, because I don’t want to get attached – we will not be keeping any of them.  But I will introduce the Baby Daddy, I mean PUPPY Daddy.

2020-07-02 Bingo  Cr.jpg

He is “Bingo” – was our neighbor’s dog, but he decided he likes it here better and he won’t go home.  He’s kind of a sweetie.


We have a new toy tool: a long handled axe.  Keeping Kiki away from it is a challenge.

2020-07-01 Axe for coconuts Cr

Akka’s using it to open coconuts for the chickens – says it is a real improvement.


Okay – we are going to gently start our slide into the less palatable.  More on MOTHS.  Austin was dissatisfied with my photo of our nightime moth invasion last week so I gave him my camera.

This was a pretty little moth.

2020-06-27 moths by Austin 2 Cr

Here was a committee meeting of diverse moths.

2020-06-27 moths by Austin 3 Cr

And here is a close up of what much of it looked like to me.

2020-06-27 moths by Austin 1 Cr


As luck would have it, we had flying clusters of moths in the daytime a few days later.  The moth clouds did not photograph well, but here they are settled on a branch.

2020-07-01 moths by Austin 4 daytime  Cr.jpg


And now to yuckiest photo of the week – I apologize – just giving you a tiny cropped bit of it.

2020-07-01 maggots in a nutshell Cr

Maggots in a coconut.  Turns out this is pretty common.  EWW.   These were strange because they were blue and green.  Anyway, the odd color maggots led to a big discussion of how the flies could get eggs into there … but what wasn’t said, but what I’m thinking is “chicken food with a bonus.”   (I’m so glad I’m not a chicken!)


The rest would be FINE – if I could just resist doing a Fiji language lesson.

Kiki had a job pulling a certain kind of weed.

2020-07-01 deni vuaka 1  R.jpg

Turns out this weed is called deni vuaka  (DEH-nee  VWA-ka).  Vuaka  means “pig”.  ok.   Deni means “poopoo of”.  ok.  So deni vuaka  means “pig poo”  Odd name for a plant, and I asked how it got that name.  The answer I got had absolutely NOTHING to do with its name.

“Deni vuaka was my TOOTHBRUSH,” Monica gushed.  “When I was a child, we all had to go and pull out a deni vuaka and scrub our teeth with the stem.”

2020-07-01 deni vuaka 2 CrInset

“When we used the deni vuaka with charcoal, our teeth were super white.”

While brushing teeth with plants and charcoal has a wonderful back-to-nature appeal, saying this all with the English name of the plant is just plain yucky.

(I was thinking “roots” and Monica corrected it to “stems” – hence the photo that does not exactly fit the text.  oops)


One morning Akka and I were headed out the driveway with Bingo running in front of us.  Akka turned to me and said,

“Dad is That Farmer now.”

“What farmer?”

“There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name.”


Happy week, Everybody.








25 June 2020

If you are looking for plants, this is not your week.  All I have is animals and more animals….


Austin got a new chicken coloration that he loves –

2020-06-20 penguin style chick  Cr.jpg


2020-06-20 penguin & stripey style Cr

Here is that chick next to a stripey one, with somebody else’s head sticking out.


Austin took me to the new fenced chicken yard to see his triple-blood hybrid, but I cannot pick that bird out of the crowd – so we’ll see him another time.  Meanwhile, Austin also wanted to show the size difference in his chickens that have the “Kabeer” blood.

2020-06-20 that Kabeer blood 1  Cr.jpg

We could not get a good photo of them in his arms.  So Austin wanted me to show them from a different angle.

2020-06-20 that Kabeer blood 2 Cr

Big Foot and Little (no-Kabeer) Cousin.

And here is a photo of the new fencing around this chicken pen.

2020-06-20 chicken fence old terraces  R.jpg

It is on the terraces.  Austin is always trying something new.  A funny challenge from fencing on terraces is that the lowest side is fairly easy to hop over.  Adjustments are needed.



We have been surprised at the huge number of moths appearing on our ceiling in the lounge every night.

2020-06-23 moths galore Cr

At first they were congregating around the tube lights – with a strong preference for the yellower ones.  But then they were just spreading out across the ceiling.  As we tried to figure out why, we noticed something:

No Geckos!

What happened to the geckos?

(Could the boric acid Austin put out to kill the invasive ants have hurt our suction-cup-footed friends?)



Way back when we had to get Po’s tail amputated, we did not get her spayed because she’d had a litter of four pups followed by a litter of one, so we figured she was going through menopause.  And yes, she did have a litter since that time, but I still kind of forgot.  Then Po got “fat” again…

2020-06-24 Po delivery room R

Here is the hole that she dug for her delivery room.

2020-06-24 Po plus eight R

Here she is, moved to the old cabin, with the EIGHT survivors, from her litter of ELEVEN.  Oh Lordy.

Does one of the eight look a bit “different” to you?

We got a Green Pup!

2020-06-24 Po's green pup 1 Cr

And it case you think it is a trick of the light, here it is again with a flash on.

2020-06-24 Po's green pup 2 Cr

So she isn’t the greenest pup ever, but “green puppy” is a Google-able condition – generally attributed to staining from meconium (baby poo).

I think we are going to have to take Po to the vet once these pups are weaned.  Enough is enough already!


Happy week, everybody.



18 June 2020

I stepped out from my porch, and the overgrown bougainvillea bush was nearly all trimmed.  “Wait!,” I said to Monica, “I want to get a photo.”   But by the time I grabbed my camera, she had already finished lopping off all the long hanging branches.

2020-06-17 at work Monica bougainvillea R

And she wasn’t the only one working hard.

2020-06-17 at work Kiki bougainvillea Cr

How did Kiki get big enough to work a wheelbarrow by himself?


Just after that, when dumping the branches, they found the biggest most orange spider they’d ever seen.

2020-06-17 big orange spider Cr

Sorry it is fuzzy.   I wonder what is the white stuff on the belly.  Ewwww.


Austin got all excited about a group of Fijian doves that settled on our power line one afternoon.  There were a dozen or more.

2020-06-16 Fiji doves SOQEI on power line Cr

They are called soqei (song-gay).  These birds love to eat wild chillies, and their meat is spicy-hot for those who eat them, so I hear.   Around our place, they eat the moringa leaves when they come to visit.


Daisy was playing with a skink … and got as tired out as he did.

2020-06-17 Daisy and skink napping Cr


The coconut sombrero –

2020-06-17 at work Monica bougainvillea - funny hat Cr

not the best head cover for a man with a bald spot.  Ha ha.


Happy week, everybody.


11 June 2020

I’m on “holiday” – at Plantation Island Resort again.  No guests.  Just a team of staff getting the place ready to reopen whenever that day comes.  Austin and the two coral gardener girls are moving the coral nurseries to a better location where they should not need maintenance.

Here is Austin:

2020-06-08 covid hair Austin Cr

“Covid hair” – ha ha ha.  The real joke is that covid is no excuse.  The only person who cuts his hair is his wife and she lives with him.  Ha ha ha.  (Maybe when we get home…)

Ok – so here is a pretty flower. Hibiscus tiliaceus.

2020-06-08 hibiscus tilaceos on tree Cr

On the tree/bush it is yellow.

2020-06-08 hibiscus tilaceos on ground R

When it falls to the ground, it turns a beautiful red-brown.

More than just another pretty face Hibiscus tiliaceus provides inner bark that becomes the “grass” of grass skirts.  Known as “vau” in Fijian, this plant and fiber is widely used as twine – when it is green, it is impossible to break.

Last shot for the week

2020-06-08 Security Kim Cr

Believe it or not, I got pulled into work as a security guard, complete with vest and walkie-talkie.  My job was to remind  visiting fisherman not to come on shore.


Happy week, everybody.


4 June 2020

Flora – not this week.  Fauna – Yes !!!

Akka’s having to take care of the chickens while Austin is off, taking care of the corals.   He sent me the photo of this “interesting” rooster.

2020-05-30 Akka's rooster Cr

The dude has a “rose” comb (rare),  has a naked neck (rare), and is BIG – has some of the Kabeer bloodline.  So this fellow is a super-hybrid from the farm.


Also in caring for the chickens, Akka made another discovery and sent the photos.

2020-06-01 Lamb 1 Cr

An oddball among the geese.

2020-06-01 Lamb 5 Cr


2020-06-01 Lamb 2 Cr

Lamb Chop, Junior!


No photo of this one:  while Akka was in charge of the chickens, I was in charge of the chicks – 55 of them – in a box on my porch.  When I got home from shopping the number looked small.   There were exactly 24 chicks there.   I thought ( hoped ) that Akka or Junia had sold the others, leaving two dozen for the next buyer.  But Nope…..  Some dog must have gotten on the porch and enjoyed a $75 dollar snack. …..   AY!   Live and learn.


Since we can now enjoy gatherings of up to 20 people, we were able to have the ladies over for morning tea.  Turns out that more than anything, they just wanted to LAUGH – so Monica got out the “Headbanz” game.   Guess what you are (what your picture is) using yes-no questions.   Hilarious!


Happy week, everybody.