14 November 2013

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Gardenias in bloom – heavenly perfume in the air.
And a ripe strawberry – 8 grams of strawberry – from right below the kitchen sink outside.
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Here are our modest strawberry plants growing in paint cans.  And I got a good look at a strawberry flower for the first time in my life.  It also had an ant on it for perspective.
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Another something new for me….
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Akka took me to see this plant.    “Guess what!”

I had no idea.
“C’mon, Mom – you know what this is.”
No, I didn’t.  So finally he told me.
It is STEVIA.
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Sister-in-law brought us seeds six months ago, and we’ve been sucking on the leaves for a few months.  Sweet.
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(Some people are going wild for stevia as a natural artificial sweetener in the States.  Naturally artificial – ha ha)
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Akka also called my attention this this brown orchid, growing right below my clothes line.  What a spray!  I’ve never seen flowers this color before.
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OLD MYSTERY OF THE WEEK – SOLVED !
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Austin has been busy in his office for much of the week, but did manage to escape his desk a bit and he found this during one of his treks somewhere on the farm.
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Dog tags for our dog Chewy.   We thought the tags might have been stolen when they first went missing – and then we forgot all about them, especially since Chewy died not long after and didn’t need them any more.   She was a sweet dog from the city – and she really loved the freedom to run out here.   So she managed to get out of her collar in tall grass, and then a grass fire exposed the chain and almost destroyed the whole tag.   One little mystery – solved.
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SYLVESTER
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Akka drilled holed in the top of the white bucket when we were making pickles a couple of years ago.  For the last month it has served as the Snake Temporary Holding Facility.   He is building a proper cage – on Fiji time.   Vina used to have nightmares that the snake was going to get out of the biscuit bucket but he never does.
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Meanwhile, i have made friends with him.  We don’t know for sure it is a “him” – but we’ve named him Sylvester.  I’ve taken to telling the neighbors about the snakes that lived around my childhood home in the mountains of North Carolina – 2 venomous species and 3 not poisonous species.  We needed to know the difference: avoid the poison ones, and keep the non-poison ones safe. King snakes were not only harmless – they also could take out the copperheads and rattlers (poisonous ones).
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People give themselves a lot of needless grief freaking out over the harmless ones.  I’m surprised how many people here think all snakes have venom!   The pacific boa (Sylvester) does not.
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I was about to write that the only poisonous snake in Fiji is the banded krait – a sea snake that has to be severely provoked in order to strike (this is true) – when I decided to check google.   Strike me with lightning – Fiji DOES have a venomous land snake!  Good God almighty!   http://www.ryanphotographic.com/bolo.htm
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On reflection, I am comforted by the fact that the weakling-cobra-cousin is extremely difficult to find, and the few specimens that were found could not be induced to strike no matter how provoked they were – and also that we live a long way from Namosi..
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