8 May 2014

5-8-14 Tunisian lamp 2  Cr

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I love having guests here!  Every one of them brings something interesting and surprising to our lives.  This week we learned to make a Tuniesian lamp.
.5-8-14 Tunisian lamp 1  Cr
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Our sweet Tunesian guest was really chowing down on half an orange one night.   Then pouring olive oil into the rind.   Then taking a match to the orange’s spongy core.  It was too thick.  He thinned it a few times and finally got it going.  Once lit, a lamp like this will burn all night long.
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5-8-14 banana mousse R
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And his lovely German wife gave a cooking suggestion to Monica that has completely revolutionized desserts here.   She suggested smashing the frozen bananas and adding cocoa powder.   Monica took it two steps further.  She stuck the bananas in the food processor with the cocoa powder – creamy delicious.  And then she thought to add coconut milk to it.  Dear God in heaven!  It is like a perfect soft serve ice cream or a lovely mousse.  And no added sugar!  Unbelievable!
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5-8-14 moth brown Cr
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MORE MOTHS
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A friend from NC identified my “humpback” moth (24 April ’14) as a tobacco moth.   Well, well.   There is a tobacco factory about 3 kiometers down the road, but I’d never though of it in insect terms.   We’re seeing a lot of different moths right now, and Akka has a thing for them – is always having me go grab my camera.  This is a brown moth with orange gussets that always seems to be around.
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5-8-14 moth green  Cr
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But this little green beauty has just come to our attention.   I’m always happy for information if somebody can tell me more about either of them.
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5-8-14 beetle grubs in chicken pen R
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CHICKEN RUGBY
 
Austin found more rhinoceros beetle grubs. (They’ll keep you from starving, but won’t kick steak off the menu.)   This batch went straight to the chickens.   If you throw anything that looks like worms to chickens, they go crazy excited, but that didn’t happen with the grubs  – too fat, I’m guessing.   Instead the chicks circled around suspiciously for a long time.
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5-8-14 beetle grubs in chicken pen  Cr
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Finally Red here got curious.  He grabbed one grub and ran for a corner.  Others pursued.  Somebody else grabbed a grub – ran for another corner.   Chicks tussled over the “prizes” and then someone realized there were still more grubs in the tray.  After 15 minutes, there was no trace left.   They play for keeps.
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5-8-14 what an egg  R
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THIS IS RIDICULOUS
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I know I’ve shown you a goose egg already, but I saw this when I walked into the kitchen this week.  What the heck?!    It was a double goose egg.
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5-8-14 red earlobe hen
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AND NOW WE KNOW
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You can’t tell what color eggs a chicken is going to lay from its feathers.  All colors of chickens can lay white eggs or brown ones.  Most of the eggs we get are brown, but we get a few white ones.  Where are they coming from?    Not from the hen above.
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5-8-14 red earlobe rooster
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Not fathered by this rooster.
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5-8-14 white earlobe rooster
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Could be fathered by this rooster.
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5-8-14 white earlobe hen
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THIS is the one!  This is the white egg mother!    You can tell by the “earlobes” – the normally red fleshy part around where you’d expect ears.  See!
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And that’s my week.   Love to all y’all.
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25 July 2013

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Here are Austin’s hands full of rhinoceros beetle grubs that he found in a rotting coconut log from a tree we chopped down before Cyclone Evan last December. The grubs had turned the center of the log to mush/compost.   If allowed to mature, they would be a plague to our coconut trees: adult rhinoceros beetles eat the coconut crown and the young leaves.  So here are the grubs….. chicken food?  human snack? …  chicken food?  human snack? … If you really want to know – ask.
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A curious reader inquired,  “Why do you kill the mongeese?  Do they eat your chickens?”  Thank you for asking.   Mostly, they steal the eggs of the chickens and ducks.  An adult mongoose can pick eggs up like footballs and run a long way with them.  They will grab ducklings and chicks, if given the chance, and they will also go for adults.  We had a large dead duck in the pen that Austin is pretty sure was a mongoose kill.  He put more than a dozen poisoned eggs over a period of weeks and he killed two mongooses that way.  In just one week we’ve caught 9 mongooses with the trap from the States.  (PS – dictionary editors agree on “mongooses” as the correct plural form.)
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“Good God!,” I said, “what is THAT thing?” …  that piece of vegetation lying on one of the porch tables – brown, dry and about a meter long.  It reminds me of the “rain-stick” given to Jayne Cobb in one Firefly episode.   “It’s a torai,” replied my friend/housekeeper.   Torai?!  No way!  Torai is Hindi for sponge gourd, something I really like to eat when it is about 1/4 this size. I had no idea they get THAT big.  This granddaddy will be for seeds, I guess.
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This week it has gotten to 12 degrees below freezing in the early mornings – that is 60 degrees F.  (coconut oil freezes at 72).  That is painfully cold for us… but it doesn’t seem to be having much effect on the other fauna.  Well, there aren’t any houseflies, and there are hardly any mosquitoes.  And other than that the only change I’ve noticed is that the cats seem more cuddly.
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Flora-wise, I noticed the fence-post trees (vaivai) on the top of the hill have lost their leaves.  Do they think this is fall?  But the vaivai down by the road are in full leafy glory.  Then again, the vaivai way low in the neighbor’s field are bald.  What the heck?!   I gave up and asked Austin.  Answer:  it’s two different species of vaivai.
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Absolutely the worst thing about the farm for our recent guests was the dogs barking at night.  Just as they were leaving, our young bitch (technical term) Inu went into heat.  What a bother.   She finally got out of heat, and now her mother Tarsi is in heat.   IF YOU ARE A VETERINARIAN AND WANT TO COME SPAY OUR ANIMALS – WE NEED YOU !  
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Actually, last year a very sweet veterinarian did stay here for a week and was going to spay our cat. She brought everything but the ketamine and couldn’t get the pharmacy or the vet in Suva to let her get any.  Son of a gun – that was so disappointing!!!!    Now we have two darling female kittens needing a home.  Any takers?