12 June 2014

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Betty Cat had a good week.
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THE GOOD OLD DAYS
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This has been on my mind for ages – how I never see laundry hanging in the US anymore – even in Austin Texas in the middle of summer in poor neighborhoods!  All this free solar energy going to waste.   Anyway, I ran around the neighborhood and grabbed a few shots.   Maybe somebody else besides me finds the sight of a full clohesline cheerful.
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I especially liked the last one – clothes line by the satellite dish.  You don’t have to be last millennium to still hang your clothes out.
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FLUFFY FRESHNESS
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This is what 12 hours of air drying can do.   The duckling in the middle is a new hatchling, and he is flanked by siblings who are about 12 hours old..
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ODD STUFF HANGING
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My neighbor needed a pumpkin, and Austin said “sure, there is one hanging in the tree.”   Hanging in the tree?  A pumpkin?    Sure enough, a pumpkin vine had crawled up a tree by the chicken pen.  Look at the funny heart shape of this pumpkin that never sat on the ground..
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ODD STUFF SWIMMING
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Yes, this is a bucket of toads.   By the rain tank.   This might be x-rated stuff in cane toad world.
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DON;T TRY THIS AT HOME
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Austin got excited about these millipedes he found in an old log.   The little round wood pellets are their millipede poopoo.
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He thought the photo wasn’t good enough, so he put the millipede in his hands to photograph.
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And about 10 minutes later, he realized he’d gotten chemical burns from the millipede secretions.   (Luckily, they did not get worse than this)
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MAHOGANY
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This is a pod of mahogany seeds.  They look a lot like maple seeds!
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I haven’t noticed mahogany on our property, but on Valley Road there is a magnificent tunnel of mahogany trees near the agriculture station.  These beautiful trees were at the end of the pavement, and stood as gateway to the valley.   One family member was so enamored with them on her first visit that we had to stop the car so she could hug one.   When the pavement was being extended on Valley Road, two of the trees were being cut down.  Austin went and yelled at the crew, saying no one had the right to take these down.  The crew said it was only those two, and it ordered by the power company.  Maybe that was true – but we never saw a change with the power lines.
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COLDISH RIVER
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This is the River Safari landing, a couple of kilometers down stream from where we stay.  I don’t remember why Austin wanted to bring out guests here since it is a short walk to the river from our house.  Anyhow, I wasn’t getting in, because I didn’t feel like being cold and wet.  Then I thought of Double Rafters.   One recent guest – Taylor – is a working cowboy son of the Double Rafters Ranch.  To keep their genuine cattle business going, they take tourists on real week-long cattle drives and have done so for years.   Their cattle drive is now on my “bucket list” and I really, really, REALLY want to go.   I told myself, “Kim, if you can’t get in this river, you can’t go on the cattle drive.”  and I dove right in.  Wasn’t bad at all.     This is the place:   http://www.doublerafter.com/home.asp
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Here’s something I’d have never guessed about cattle ranching …. a lot of cattle get “lost” – not temporarily misplaced, but permanently gone.  Taylor said in his father’s whole lifetime of cattle ranching, there was only one year that every head of cattle was accounted for.  I was raised on the Bible story of  the shepherd leaving 99 sheep while he went to find the one.  I don’t know if sheep are easier than cows, but I doubt it.   Much to think on.   How can you even lose 30-50 cows?  I asked Taylor.  He explained that the cows don’t always stay together.  Each pasture is 1500 acres or so of mountain terrain with meadows, and there are predators.  There is never a year with 100% survival, even that fully accounted year.  Ah, nature…..
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Thanks everybody who sent condolences about Tarsi.  The move went well.  Austin said it was nighttime and too dark to get a good photo of her with Michael – but he said they were very happy to see each other.
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20 March 2014

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A WALK TO THE RIVER
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Junia took some guests for a walk from our house to the river – about a 15 minute walk, he said.  I went along, and it was my first time ever.   Truth be told, I really went so I’d have some photos this blog.  It turned out to be really interesting, a big pain in the butt, and a whole lot of fun.    
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We found some untended okra.  I’m ashamed to admit that I had never looked closely at how this very common vegetable, grown by ALL my neighbors, grows.  Here you see an okra flower, and just behind it to the right a full size okra fruit, standing tall.
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This is wild bitter melon that I pointed out to the guests.   This vegetable is cultivated and grows to 4 times the size of this one.  When ripe the fruit is a deep yellow and has bright red seeds.  Bitter melon is harvested green and sold in the market.  Here is a stock photo that is clear.
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 It is VERY bitter, but is delicious when cooked with the right spices – and it is prized because it is very good for diabetes.
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And here is an edible something I didn’t know about at all.   Something like a tomatillo.   You wait until the wrapping is getting yellow…
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 and then the little fruit should be getting yellow too.   Some day we’ll try it.
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But good God almighty!  There was a stretch where we had to walk through mud.  You could kind of tiptoe on the sides straddling it most of the time, but the mud itself was shin deep.  ICKY!   I was a lousy companion for this stretch.  
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On the way back, Junia took us through a newly plowed field – and found a big tire track for us to walk in.  That was much better, but I broke a flipflop anyway.  
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The river itself was terrific.    Huge stand of bamboo guarding it.   We had a big piece of felled bamboo to play with.  Nice currents.     I saw where our creek empties into Sigatoka River – but had to leave my camera on shore.
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LOW  TECH
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A guest wanted to try her hand at grating a coconut the way we did before we bought the electric grater.  We bought this metal scraper in Guam 33 years ago and have carried it everywhere, just nailing it to a new board wherever we are.  It still works as good as new (or as good as the technique of the human using it).
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Our guest got the hang of scraping really fast and was on the second half of the coconut when I snapped this.  The challenge was not the grater, but that Kiki wanted to get into the yummy chewy scrapings.  Also Betty Cat wanted a share.
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BAAAAAAAAD  DOG
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Tarsi got onto our porch and walked through the open door into our sitting room, and ate two little ducklings one morning.  Now I have to keep the door closed unless I am in there.  Dangabbit!!  Of course I did not catch Tarsi in the act.  This is a shot of the poultry newborn nursery in our sitting room, right under the loft where we sleep.   And to think I used to dream of being a farmer’s wife when I grew up…….
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IF YOU PRAY FOR ANIMALS …
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Finally, this is our young dog Inu, who is pregnant for the first time.  Her belly has really “blown up” in the last week!  We’ve never seen such a thing.   This morning I wrote to the only vet I know and have an email address for.   We hope this isn’t uncommon, and that Inu just has a lot of puppies, and that we’ll be able to share good news and darling photos next week.
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Even with a few worries, we have cool breezes, plenty of sunshine and running water.  Life is good.
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HAPPY NAW RUZ !
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