6 November 2014

2014-11-05 tamarind mountains  Cr

It’s tamarind season again.  We have mountains here to process, neighbors have carted sacks of it away, and the two trees are still full of tamairnds – which are no doubt getting black and moldy from being out in the rain.  For a start-to-finish on tamarind processing, you can look at my old posts from 10 October and 17 October 2013.

2014-11-05 plumeria 1  Cr


One of the first things Austin did when we moved here was to plant trees – among them: plumeria.   TA DA !    Now in bloom.

2014-11-05 plumeria 2  Cr

This lovely flower was the star of all the leis we ever received or made in our Micronesia years.  It holds up well for a few days and has a delicious perfume.  What’s odd is that the only plumeria here are pink and red.  The yellow-white ones are far more common.   Plumeria is also known as frangiapani, and in Fijian its name is senibua.

2014-11-05 above Fr grave  R

This lovely bench, up near the plumerias, overlooks the grave of Fred Cat .   The pineapples are abundant and in many locations around our farm.

2014-11-05 pineapple 1  R

This one is on the side of Cardiac Hill.   Note the very spiky leaves.

2014-11-05 pineapple 2  R

This one is under the big teak tree.  Note the smooth leaves.

We ate the fatso pineapple from last week once it finished ripening.  JUICY!  SWEET!


Me:  Is there anything going on I could put in this week’s blog?

Ju:  Chickens, geese, ducks?.         Me:   Boring – I do them all the time..

Ju:  Lots of mangoes on the tree?     Me:  Did that 2 weeks ago.

Ju:  OH!  My pocket garden.            Me:  What pocket garden?

Ju:  It has zucchini, cabbages, corn, watermelon, bok choi.


Ju points down the hill.

Ju:  Down there – I planted it myself.      Me:  Is it fruiting already?

Ju:  Yes!                                 Me:  Will you walk down with me?

Ju:   No, I’m tired right now, but don’t worry, you can’t miss it.

So…..   THIS is what we see without Junia

2014-11-05 Junia garden  R

It looks short.  All I can tell for sure is corn stalks to the back on the right.

2014-11-05 Ju gar wmlon flwr  Cr

I hunt and hunt.  I don’t see any fruit of any kind.   I think this might be a watermelon flower.

2014-11-05 Ju gar insect mate  Cr

LIFE!   Two insects mating on a God-knows-what and Junia-knows-what kind of flower.

2014-11-05 Ju gar insect mate  CloseCr

I’ll give us a close up since it is the only fauna this week at all.

2014-11-05 pond still dry  R

Walking back up the hill, I take another shot of our “pond.”   You can see it is green, it is raining.   I am shocked that the water table is still so low.   Thank God our bore hole that supplies us with running water has been holding up!

*   *   *

2014-11-05 dinner bell  Cr

This is our dinner bell.   Just thought you might like to see it.

Have a happy week, and may the suppers you are called to all be tasty ones.

*   *   *

30 October 2014

2014-10-30 wonky pineapple  R

A studio portrait of our clownish pineapple, a heavy-jowled fellow with a tiny fez at a rakish tilt.   All the pineapples on our farm are of this odd shape.   Akka thinks the lack of rain is responsible for the shrunken crowns.   But what is the reason for this bottom-heaviness?

2014-10-30 humpback cowrie 1  R


This is an unusual “humpback cowrie” found by one of our Teitei guests at the sand dunes this week.

2014-10-30 humpback cowrie 2  Cr

I cannot believe her good fortune in finding this shell perfectly intact.

2014-10-30 humpback cowrie 3  R

I am smitten by the utterly gorgeous design shimmering below the glassy surface.

2014-10-30 humpback cowrie 4  Cr

So shiny that even the photographer’s hands are captured in the photo.

2014-10-30 smiley coconut  R


And Auntie Monica is getting ready.   That’s all I have to say!

*   *   *

28 August 2014

2014-08-26 plum 1  R

Monica brought these in – new fruits on the farm – mangosteens, she thought.  I was SO EXCITED!  Mangosteens are delicious.  I knew Austin had planted some mangosteen trees a few years back, but they are supposed to take twenty years before bearing fruit.  Wow!  Ours were so early!

We cut one.

2014-08-26 plum 2  R

Well, the skin was not hard like a mangosteen.  And the flesh was not pearly over the seeds like a mangosteen – but what the heck:  this was 14 years premature!   (I still hadn’t clued in.)   I ran down to the pond with Monica to show off our mangosteens to Austin.  He broke the news to me – they aren’t child-prodigy mangosteens after all – they are some kind of plummy thing.  Even Austin doesn’t know what they are, even though he planted the tree. They are growing on our land and they taste pretty good.  Anyway, it is something new.

2014-08-05 chrysallis 2  R


Austin was going to put them in a jar so he could see the moths emerge.    Well here is a chrysalis from one.

2014-08-26 dalo sphinx moth  R

And here is the dalo sphinx moth that emerged.   It had been in the jars several days before I got around to taking its photo, and it was flapping its wings, trying to figure out how they work.   The poor thing finally did manage to take off.

*   *   *


Austin:  You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me:  What do you mean?

Austin:   You said none of the ducks ever recovered [last week’s blog]

Me:  I thought they didn’t

Austin: No, some of them did.

The Upshot – the blue egret from last week is doing well, as did SOME of the ducks that got sick before.

*    *    *


Me:  Where’s Billy?  [the goat from 24 July]

Austin:   Oh he got well and went home.

Me:  (surprised)  Ha.

2014-08-27 sundried tomatoes 4  R


It’s the end of the tomato season and we bought a crate of tomatoes.  I refused to blanch them for freezing (photos from that in my blog almost exactly one year ago!) – huge bother!   So Akka, God bless him, decided to try sun-drying them.  This was yesterday morning.   They’re on a screen, see their cute shadows!

2014-08-27 sundried tomatoes 5  R

This was yesterday afternoon.    Lovely.  We’ll pop them out for a few more hours of sun today and then they can be stored in much, much, much less space.

2014-08-27 burning 3  R

I took shots of the grasslands being burned this week, only to find out that exactly a year ago (29 August 2013) I covered the burning grasslands as well.   This seems to be scheduled like clockwork!

a 2014-08-25 JuLin dawn at pineapple circle


Ju-lin, a recent guest,  shared her 233 photos from here with me, and agreed that I could post them in my blog.  I chose a handful of my favorites and will share them briefly.   The one above is “dawn at pineapple circle.”

b 2014-08-25 JuLin dawn

Another shot of dawn (I don’t know where exactly)

c 2014-08-25 JuLin morning spider web

Dewy spider web.

d 2014-08-25 JuLin bananas


e 2014-08-25 JuLin papayas


f 2014-08-25 JuLin duck in its outhouse

Goose on a nest.  (Austin tells me that this is the goose who is determined to sit.  LONG story.  Maybe next week.)

h 2014-08-25 JuLin incubator

Austin at the incubator, with eggs hatching in the bottom tray.

j 2014-08-25 JuLin weird flower   Cr

Flower in a tree (I have no idea what it is – very pretty!  I must try to find it!)

k 2014-08-25 JuLin weird fruit

Weird fruit (I have no idea about this one either).

l 2014-08-25 JuLin digging ginger

Monica digging ginger – the observer is Austin’s namesake who was here visiting.

m 2014-08-25 JuLin Kiki & Beamer

The youngest member of our household helping the oldest one to walk around.

n 2014-08-25 JuLin bug

An impressive beetle.

o 2014-08-25 JuLin food

An impressive dinner, starring fish from our pond.

p 2014-08-25 JuLin toadlings

The porch of the cottage at night.

q 2014-08-25 JuLin toadlings   Cr

The stars of the porch stage show.

Thank you, Ju-lin.  It was fun to see our place as you saw it.