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”

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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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19 June 2014

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When I saw this glove, I knew I had missed the collection of the bee boxes – sorry about that.  But I did get a lot more of the honey processing.
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Austin showed off the comb of a box of wild bees he’d caught.  He didn’t have honey trays for the box, so he just used sheets of cardboard and they built this big comb.
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He opened up to this cell of pollen – which he then made me chew because he was sure it would be good for my allergies.  Not as tasty as honey.  Not close.  {{ gag }}
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This is a honey tray – full of honey.
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This is Akka using a “hive tool” to scrape the caps off the comb.
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The trays then go into this extractor – see how 2 trays are in and where a 3rd tray would go?   The trays are spun around by gears attached to that handle..     The honey is extracted by centrifugal force, running down to the bottom of this smooth-sided cylinder.  There is a tap at the bottom.
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This is a bee box with five trays in it that still need spinning.
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After all the spinning the wax scrapings needed to be squeezed in cheesecloth to get the honey from them.   That was done mostly by Austin’s brother Jack.  But my hands were all a’honey, too.   Then we took the basin out for the bees to clean.   Some of the poor bees stuck to the honey like flypaper and drowned.   By the time I got this photo, the clean up was nearly done.    We are “pre-cleaning” the extractor the same way, too.
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Nearby are some of the bee boxes in situ.   We have bee boxes in 4 spots on the property that I can think of.
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Our honey haul this time was 145 pounds of it – three and a half breakfast cracker tubs.
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Yumminess.
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UNDOING OVERBREDING
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I’m seeing chickens in our YARD which is unusual.  The half-jungly (half-wild) birds that Austin has bred are just a whole lot smarter than the imported hybrids.  Many have found a way over the fence and spend the day scratching for food in the grass.   Whenever I try to get a photo, they head right back to the chicken house, as if to say “all right, all right, we’ll go home”
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But they don’t go in…. they go by the fence, where their entrapped brethren can look on in envy.
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FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE INCUBATOR
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Nothing much new here – more hatching chicks.   Austin has 10 dozen babies to sell this weekend.
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FAREWELL
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Austin got my camera and was snapping sunsets like crazy one evening.   Though we had not heard yet, I wonder if it was related to the passing of our dear 92 year old friend Ludi back in Maine.   Ludi visited us 4 times at the farm.  She was just here last December, and it is hard to believe she is gone.   Here is a photo of her from her last October – getting to know a new friend .
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We love you, Ludi – miss you like crazy – and hope to meet again.
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