20 November 2014

2014-11-20  hidden eggs  R

Behold another hidden clutch of chicken eggs, this one on an undeveloped part of a hill near a set of bee boxes.    Such fertility.

Speaking of fertility…..

FAMILY REUNION 2014: A QUINQUIENNIAL EVENT

Our kids live all around the Pacific rim – last time we all managed to get together was 5 years ago, and there are more of us now.   In celebration of the triumph of family over inertia and other commitments, I give you each family member with the bit of flora or fauna of choice.

2014-11-20 BEAMER and coffee Cr

Doris (“Beamer”), our beloved matriarch,   Crown of thorn flowers in her hair, and more importantly COFFEE in her cup!

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2014-11-12  AKKA and strawberry  Cr

Akka and a big fat strawberry he grew

2014-11-20 MONICA and uci  R

Monica and an uci (OO-thee) plant.  This plant is very important for traditional garlands.  It has a unique “clean” scent.

2014-11-20 KIKI and 4-petal plumeria  Cr

Kiki and a four-petal plumeria.

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2014-11-20 MAKI and jackfruit  Cr

Honorary Uncle Maki – lucky us that he is in Fiji right now – with jackfruit.

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2014-11-20 LUA and Mangoes  Cr

Lua and mangoes – she was asking for mangoes once she arrived and was surprised to hear we have them at the farm.

2014-11-20 MAX and dogs  'Cr

Max and our dogs.

2014-11-20 VICTOR and chickies  Cr

Victor and some chickies.

2014-11-20 ALICE and Teddy  R

Alice and Teddy the cat.

2014-11-20 HAZEL and bougainvillea  Cr

Hazel and bougainvillea.   We picked it out for her thinking it would be easy.  Then she started carrying it with her everywhere.

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2014-11-20 JUNIA and Flora  Cr

Junia and “Flora” margarine spread.  Austin won’t let me buy margarine, but one of the in-laws smuggled some in.

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2014-11-20 CLARA and bananas  Cr

Clara and a stalk of bananas.  She was shooing away fruit flies with her hand.

2014-11-20 NIGEL and crabs  R

Nigel and mangrove crabs.  His brother had caught these crabs (Nigel’s family lives near Nausori on the other side of Suva) and Nigel brought them to the farm for one of our dinners.  YUMMY !!

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2014-11-20 RAKESH and wild fledgling  Cr

Uncle Rakesh, one of my Raksha Bandan brothers, and a wild fledgling.  Herein lies a story.  Clara wanted to be photographed with the nest of baby birds.  Junia warned us not to get too close or the birds would jump out.  We got too close.  The dogs were too interested.  Rakesh rescued the fledgling to return it to the nest.

2014-11-20 VINA and betelnut  Cr

Auntie Vina  (she is Beamer’s personal assistant, Rakesh’s wife, Maki’s “Rakee sister” all at once) and betel nuts growing in front of the house.   Vina just told me betel nut is very important in some of the Hindu prayer ceremonies!

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2014-11-20 GUY and peppers  R

Guy and some of the beautiful bell peppers (capsicums) Austin bought at Taiwan Mission.

2014-11-20 MAMI and duranta   R

Mami with a purple flower we did not know the name of.  Junia tells us it is “duranta” – and they also had it in Haifa.  (Guy, Mami and Junia all served in Haifa together.)

2014-11-20 LEO and hibiscus  Cr

Leo, currently the youngest family member, with hibiscus.

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2014-11-20 GRANDDADDY  R

GRANDDADDY!

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13 November 2014

2014-11-10 ylang-ylang under cottage  Cr

What a surprise – YLANG-YLANG growing on our property.  I had no idea.  Austin says he planted it when we bought the land six years ago – and here it is flowering already.  These are the flowers, the yellow-green petals hanging down.   They don’t look like much, but they smell heavenly.    This tree is growing below the cottage – so our lucky lucky guests get to smell it every evening.   I want an ylang-ylang tree up near our house!

Ylang-ylang was the primary part of the leis in Chuuk where we spent some happy years.  In Fiji this plant is called mokosoi and is the favorite scent put into coconut body oil, as well as going into garlands for traditional dances.

2014-11-13 golden spider   Cr

LITTLE FRIEND

Akka noticed this golden spider in my sitting room yesterday.   It is quite tiny and was quite quick.  Akka finally got a clear picture of it on my index finger.

2014-11-10 toads in pond 1  R

YUCKY SIDE OF LIFE

There’s a hole, there’s a hole, there’s a hole in the bottom of the pond.  And what is in the hole in the bottom of the pond?

2014-11-10 toads in pond 2  R

Oh my!   Toads.  Tangles of toads.

2014-11-10 toads in sack 2  R

Now “toads in a sack”

2014-11-10 toads in sack 1 R

More than 25 pounds – 12+ kg – of toads.    Death by hypothermia (don’t ask).

There was talk of test cooking “frogs legs” – these same cane toads from Australia are exported to France as that delicacy.   But they’ve been buried already instead.  Whew!

2014-11-10 white plumeria  R

MORE PLUMERIA

I did plumeria last week and bemoaned the lack of white plumeria.  SURPRISE – we do have it.   Look how small the tree is.   The difference – Austin planted the red and pink ones from last week.   Akka and Monica planted this one about two years ago along with some others.

2014-11-10 six leaf plumeria Cr

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover…. but it is a six-petal plumeria.   The one in the front has six petals ….. this is as rare as a four-leaf clover so I wanted to share it.

2014-11-11  what animal got the bananas - questioner 1A  R

SAY WHAT?

Bryan Gosling is asking “What animal damaged these newly harvested bananas?”

2014-11-11  what animal got the bananas 1   R2014-11-11  what animal got the bananas 2   R

I’ll give you a hint, the critter is bipedal, very short and got hold of a knife.

2014-11-11 hatchings   R

HE’S SO PROUD

Austin made me take a photo of this hatching in progress.  If you look closely you can see different stages of the hatching process going on, as well as the different colored eggs and different colored hatchlings.

TAMARIND RECIPE AS PROMISED

(This is for you, Green Lizard!)

Tamarind Rice –  Vina’s recipe –   seriously DELICIOUS

For two cups of uncooked rice you need 1/2 ball of tamarind (say 1/2 cup).

Cook rice, put it aside.

Soak the tamarind in 1/2 C water for 1 hour.  Then squeeze the tamarind which will be a thick paste; strain it and set it aside.

Prepare your herbs and spices:  garlic, ginger, chilli, onion, mustard seed, cumin seed and curry leaf (if you have it).  Fry all these herbs and spices in a little oil.   Add the tamarind paste.  and add salt and a little sugar. Let this cook for 3-4 minutes until boiling a little,  then put it aside.

Now loosen up the rice.  In a larger pot fry some more onion, fry the rice and at the end, stir in the tamarind sauce.

This is so YUMMY that the thought of it makes me both happy and hungry.

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Have a happy week, everybody!

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24 July 2014

24-07-14 billy 4  R

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This is Billy.   He belongs to a neighbor who lives about 1/2 km away.  She called one morning to say our dogs had attacked her goat at 1 am. We were doubtful, but Austin offered to pay for him anyway, but the owner said, no, maybe the goat would recover.  She called again in the afternoon to say the goat was doing badly, to come get it.  If he recovers, give him back, and if not, replace him later. … When Austin got home with him, our dogs were CRAZY EXCITED (so, hell yeah, they were guilty!!!).
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Billy’s doing FINE now.  Two shots of norocillin sent up by the vet.  Plenty of food.   The dogs are used to him now and are not bothering him.  He’ll go home soon.   And I bet we start seriously looking around for a young nanny goat.
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07-17- 14 cassava harvest 3  R
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CASSAVA STARCH
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On the way to making cassava flour, it is easy to make cassava starch.  This is step 2 – bringing it up.  (Pulling it out of the ground is step 1)
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07-17- 14 cassava peeling 1  R
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Next step – peeling it.   Cassava roots have a bark-like brown paper over a thick pink skin.  Both peel off very smoothly leaving a clean, white root.
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07-17- 14 cassava grated  R
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For flour, the next step is grating.   I missed it.  I think this was done in the food processor this time.  We used to do it with a hand mill.
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07-17-14 cassava drying 2  R
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Onto the roof it went for drying.   We didn’t even have good sunshine, but in 2 days it was dry anyway.
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07-17-14 hot water system  R
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While on the roof, would you like to see our fancy solar hot-water system?   Ha ha ha.   It works as long as you want your hot shower in the afternoon.
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07-17- 14 cassava starch  R
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Next step on the cassava – Akka soaked some of the grated cassava in water and got this starch.  Wet cassava starch has one of the oddest textures ever – it looks wet, feels dry, can be slowly sunk into, can be broken apart with a ragged edge. Weird, weird, weird.
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07-17-14 cassava pudding 1  R
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And the pudding made from the starch is weirder still!     It looks like snot.   We ate this in Palau, a dish called seb-O-seb-UH.   In Palau it was delicious, and our version was too.   Just close your eyes when you eat it.
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I will show the cassava flour next week.
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07-10-14 spathodia Cr
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STINKING SPATHODIA
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When my naturalist friend Keven was here, he admired the “beautiful” tree with the orange flowers.  Spathodia.  I tried to talk him out of it, but he kept insisting it was pretty.  It reminded me of an identical conversation 14 years ago when I thought it was pretty, and Austin was insisting it was an invasive pest.  On this matter Austin is right.
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07-17-14  spath (honeyed morning 1) cr
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Although spathodia was moving up the valley,  there was none blooming in view of our house, 20 km inland, when we moved here six years ago.  Now it is.
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07-17-14 Spath at funeral 1  R
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When I went to a funeral 2 km even further inland – behold.
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07-17-14 spath at Natadola 1  Cr
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On the way to the barbecue at Natadola (maybe 1/2 km from the beach).   UGH to the spathodia, although the horses were cute.
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24-07-14 spath 8  R
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Admittedly the spathodia flower has some visual appeal.
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07-17-14 Spath tofrom Jeswant 6  Cr
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But DON’T let it into your neighborhood.
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On, now, to happier things!
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24-07-14 cake 0  R
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A CAKE FOR THE LADY
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I promised Lady (one of my 2 best blogger cheerleaders) a cake this week.  This one has the crumb of a butter cake, but without the butter.
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24-07-14 cake 1 R
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It starts with frozen bananas, that I soaked to get a little soft.
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24-07-14 cake 3  R
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I got out my coconut oil, which was frozen since it was less than 72 degrees F (22 C).  I thawed one bottle.
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24-07-14 cake 2  R
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This is important – whip the bananas until they are smooth.
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24-07-14 cake 5  R
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Then blend in the coconut oil – to get it as close to “real butter” as possible.
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24-07-14 cake 6  R
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Here is Fiji sugar.  Both of them.  It is all cane sugar and the difference in color comes from the different time of crushing. The dark sugar is from the end of last crushing season – farmers burn their fields – the dark sugar came from burnt cane.   The pale sugar is from the beginning of the season.    Both sugars taste the same to me.   (I always store sugar in peanut butter jars.  Don’t ask why.)
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24-07-14 cake 7  R
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Anyway – you cream the “butter” and sugar –  and then carry on with mixing a cake as normal.   I did put some instant coffee in as well as cocoa power.
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24-07-14 cake 12  R
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Lady,  this bite is for you!
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17 July 2014

07-17- 14 bananas  Cr

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We’ve got bananas again.   Whoop-dee-doo!  (Lots of food this week – I know one friend is going to enjoy it 🙂 )
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07-17-14 Natadola 1 R
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A BARBECUE AT NATADOLA
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Natadola is a really nice beach, site of a very ritzy resort, about 45 minutes from our home. Two members of our household decided we all had to go on a beach barbecue, and two other members decided it had to be at Natadola.  By the end, we were all glad with both decisions..
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But we were hardly out of the car before one of the ladies said, “Where are the fishing lines?” ….. They’d been forgotten.
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07-17-14 Natadola 5  R
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So instead of fishing, the girls went off on the exposed reef flat while the fellows barbecued.
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Then one fellow said to the other, “MAN!  I can’t believe we forgot the TONGS!”   The other said, “Don’t worry, Bro.”
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07-17-14 Natadola 8  R
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Behold the island-boy tongs: not just a stick, but one that looks like a chicken foot!
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07-17-14 Natadola 12  R
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We brought a sack of coconut shells for firewood.   Coconut shells are GREAT for barbecuing over.   The smoke was pretty in the trees, too.
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07-17-14 Natadola 13 R
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I had farm on the brain, because I was sure I was seeing a chicken egg there on the sand.  It was just some kind of seed.
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Anyhow, after awhile, the guys told me just five minutes until it was done – please to go get the ladies.   So I hiked out onto the reef flat.
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07-17-14 Natadola 16 R
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I was amazed at what-all was underfoot.   There were things like slime molds.   And odd pink things (I have a lot more photos).   This one is of an edible algae, so I was excited to see this.
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07-17-14 Natadola 19 R
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Here is some other leafy thing – looks like I ought to know  what it is.
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07-17-14 Natadola 23  R
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And some corals.
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Anyway, I got the girls and we hiked back,  Granddaddy and Kiki came up from digging in the sand.   We all ate.   Oh yummy – salad, cassava, barbecued tuna and lamb chops and sausages.   Monica had bought two tubs of ice cream.   Austin thought that would be to much, and we’d give a tub to some kids who were also at the beach … until he found out it was Cadbury, best ice cream available in stores.   Talk about a Pig Out!
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Then we “washed” our dishes with sand.
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And then the girls showed off their treasures.
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07-17-14 Natadola 29  R  box crab
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Monica’s sister came back with a box crab.
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07-17-14 Natadola 30 R shells
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And Monica came back with a bunch of edible sea shells….. well, snails inside sea shells.
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07-17-14 Natadola 31 R
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Turban shells.
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07-17-14 Natadola 32 R
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And something else.   They were all excited because these babies were going to be Breakfast!
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07-17- 14 turban shells R
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I DIDN’T GET UP EARLY ENOUGH THE NEXT DAY!    Most of the shellfish had been eaten by the time I got to the kitchen.  “We didn’t know you wanted to eat it, Mom.” (Fijians are VERY generous and I knew this was true) The bites I did get were really, really, really delicious though.
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07-17- 14 gracilaria Cr
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And Austin did go collect some of the seaweed.  It’s scientific name is gracilaria edulis. This photo is of it still raw.  It makes an excellent pickle.  We have gone through one large jar already.- just three days.
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07-17-14 honeyed morning 1 R
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SUNSHINE LIKE HONEY
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One morning it was clear – in other words, welcome rain was coming – and there was a brilliant rainbow outside our bedroom window.   I have not changed the exposure or hue on these photos at all.  The sunlight was like honey.
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07-17-14  roselle bush R
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This is one of our roselle bushes in that morning light.
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07-17-14 eggplant jam  R
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EGGPLANT JAM
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It is not a misprint – and I didn’t believe it either – but my strange and clever daughter-in-law made jam from eggplant and roselle.   Everybody who has tasted it, says it is delicious.  (Alas, I cannot do sugar, and so must give second hand reports.)   Austin says it tastes like plum jam.   (What is next – okra pie filling?)
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* Have a great week! *
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