Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Last blog before holidays........

It's been hectic here, getting ready for holidays in Australia. So much to do before we leave, so many direction to leave Meei, James & Johnny. The garden being the number one priority. Of course it is full of tomatoes, capsicum and bok choy.
The new veggie beds have been built and the frames so the veggies can grow up has been made, my old SES training came in handy with lashing the sticks together. Photos to follow. Just waiting on composted soil from the famers. Once full Meei has the planting plan sorted, so on our return we should see some rockmelon, watermelon, corn, carrots, cucumber & tomatos.
Sam loves to get a masage from Meei, especially before he has an afternoon nap, usually he falls asleep on the floor!!!

This week I made loads of Sweet & Savory shortcrust pastry and so turned it into quiches to freeze and friut pies. Meei, her boys and my boys had a fabulous afternoon tea eating friut pies with ice-cream - yummo!!

Our Rooster was 'reclaimed' by it's former owner, probably because he has doubled insize living with us & getting a regular meal!! So they wanted him back for Cock-Fighting. which is rife in Tarawa. So the girls lost their boys so we went to Tanai to get a new one and this is 'Red Rooster', he is huge, 36 weeks, never been outside of a concrete run and very tame. The girls and the boys love him.

 Our colourful salad today, home grown tomatos, capsicum & cucumber. The only interloper was the spanish onion - yummo with a bit of Balsamic drizzled over the top!!

Meei, James & Johnny are goint to have a lovely month with LOADS of fresh veggies and eggs to take home

Well that is it for this year, I probably won't get a chance to blog on holidays, so enjoy the festive season and stay safe.

With all our love and best wishes for 2013

Jodie, JJ, Jack & Sam xoxoxoxox

Monday, 26 November 2012

More veggies!!!!!!!!!

...again, I seemed to have been ages between blogs but honestly there is a time monster sucking all the days away!!!!!
the days seem like 'ground hog' but in the best possible sense!!
Here is our Chummy dog all drowsy after his 'visit' to the vet!! He had a lovely sleep on the lead overnight and was a very good boy not touching his sutures! Phew!!

Jack found the ice-cream cones, but there was no ice-cream!! Until yesterday so ice-creams all round and Sam is hopeless at eating one!! Every drip has to be wiped up and he waits while you are doing it so the next drip happens and so on, it is time consuming and messy, methinks cups are better !!

on the other hand, Jack is a pro at consuming a cone....(yes I know he needs a haircut!!)

so Daniel, the gardening guru from the Thaiwanese Technical Mission called on Thursday to see how our garden was going. He was very impressed!! He advised me on the nematodes that are killing my cucumbers, tomatoes and capsicum. So off we went on Friday to Tamaku to visit Daniel's farm!! It is awesome, they stuff they are growing and how they are doing it!!
So after being sent home with watermelon, golden rockmelons, some other friut thing and a belly full of sampled fruit & veg and an organic fertiliser this was my build more garden beds and make frames to grow things on, mulch and dig, everyones helping, Meei and Sam are raking, James and Jonny moving bricks and Jack keeping the chooks out of the way!! Me I get to supervise it all.
Today we picked and ate a cucumber, 15 odd tomatoes and a capsicum. Loads more are ripening as we speak and it is very exciting to eat your own produce!!!
I love my gardens and my chooks!!!

Here Chummy is being 'loved' by two little boys and soon to double his admirers to 4!! We are looking forward to our new family moving in, I get daily questions on what they will be like and what 'girls' like to do and will they play 'star wars' and other boy games!! My lot are certainly impatient!!


Well we are on 'sleep' countdown to seeing everyone in Oz, Jack is very excited and we are all looking forward to a break with a wide variety of food to choose from!!!

I'l try for one more blog before we leave.....10 sleeps :0)

Ti a bo


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Our New Chicks!!! continuing on from the saga of the little black hen, I was woken by the chick, 'cheep, cheeping' in our house so I kept then chooks in and kept an eye on them, still no black hen by midday so as I went down to try and catch them they appeared at our front door, so at the moment they are insitu in a cardboard box alternating between the laundry and verandah!!! Out of 9 chicks only 4 remain - dogs :0( Of couse the boys love them to bits, things might change as they lose the chicky fluff!!! 

the new chook house is finally ready to go, Darren has designed and built the most fantastic feeders and the girls will move in tonight to their new home affectionately know as the
"Cluckingham Palace"

Poor old Chummy is so good with putting up with the boys, just waiting for the vet to de-sex him for us, but today the luckiest dog on Taeawa got a bath & frontline!!!
Sam has decided he is the best one to water my bananas!!

Yes!!! THe 1st tomatoes, not long till they ripen, I can't wait!!!

The 1st Capsicums, maybe another few weeks till they are ready

Bok Choy, we are eating loads and it is yummo!!!

the 1st Cucumber - yummo
With 4 weeks tomorrow to go till we fly out I think that Meei and James will have a wonderful December with loads of veggies to take home, bugger we'll miss it but intend to do some planting late November so we aren't ar off more veg when we return!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Time is Flying.....

I am still wondering where time goes, maybe here on Tarawa so close to the equator it gets sucked away!!! Goodness it is nearly November & not long til we depart for Oz!
Not much has been occupying our time that isn't routine. The veggie garden, chooks and kids take up most of my day and a visit to the gym. I am how ever constantly saying to Meei, is it 4pm already????

Meei's daughter got married on the weekend and I did their cake as they are trying to save money. The only bakery on the island does pox cakes about $150 each so I volunteered!! So this is my version of a wedding cake. It says "Good luck on your wedding" Kotao & Janet!!!
Sam decided to get his brekky, crumble up his weetabix and prmptly spilt it all over the floor, her is my little mr independent cleaning up!! He gets so angry and frustrated when he can't get it done. Sam is toilet training at the moment and it is self lead. He is even taking himself off to the loo and we have to wait while he gets his stool, turns lights and fans on, pulls off his jocks, climbs laboriously up onto the set and sits, and sits and sits while rolling and unrolling the toilet roll.
Doesn't he get cross if we try to do something for him, pull up his jocks, peel his banana, it is so funny to watch him tell you off!!

Mummy and Jack reading in Jack's bed. Since aquiring "Reading Eggs" Jack's reading is going really well, he is sounding and identifying words. Here we are deep into a book about the environment that he chose himself at the library.


This hen lives next door but when the dogs chased her day old chicks into our yard she promptly flew over the fence and hearded them into our chook coop for the night, my girls were not impressed!! But the baby chicks are oh so very cute. She has 9 in total and we listen to them cheep, cheep, cheeping all day long as they live along our fence line - too cute. Jack would love to get his hands on them!!

The new chook house is a work in progress with a builder who takes "island time" very much to heart, so I don't bother hoping for a spedy build any more but have imformed him it must be up by mid november so I can get the girls settled in their new home well before we go away!! Photos to follow the moment it is up

ti a bo for now


Monday, 22 October 2012

The veggie garden!!

So I am the veggie queen!!! Well I am feeling pretty smug, the bok choy or cabbage as the locals call it is ready for the table and it's yummo, even JJ was impressed and asked for more!! He who doesn't like veggies!! I have 3 teeny weeny tomatoes and everything has flowers, the capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, just the beans to go!

yummo, it has taken me ages to buy my own Yellow Fin Tuna, but as I am starting a detox with only whole food I need as much variety as possible, and believe me there ain't much on this island to chose from. My filleting skills are a little rusty, Chummy got a good feed of fish tonight!!

The veggie garden looking very green and edible!!!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Photos of our week

I'm not sure where the time is going but the day seems to rnd before I have got everything done!! It is only 7 weeks till we leave for our Christmas break!!!

Here Meei and Sam are off to collect the eggs and water the veggie garden while Jack and I do some school work. Sam and Jack both have their own egg collecting baskets, so they don't drop all the eggs!!!

Our new outdoor setting finally arrived, a 2 & 3 seater lounge, armchair and pouffe!! Also a 9 piece outdoor dining setting. I managed to get a brief relax with no children and a recent Woman's Day (curtesy of Mum!)

Hmmm, quiet comfy, I could stay here all day and look at the view. This piccy is for you Sonia!! The new play equipment will arrive soon and be put just to the left of our house down the front, so our balacony is the perfect place to relax and watch the kids play!!

Jack wanted to make a chocolate cake, how rude, he gets to like the bowls and spoons and I get the dirty dishes to wash up!!!

Jack and I did the icing and put the bowl in the sink for washing. The 'Icing Thief' found it and helped himself!! He loves icing, not so keen on the cake!!

Right the boys and I are off to the library to read, as I am filling in for a volunteer. Better get a crack on with brekky or we will be going up hungry, have a great day


Monday, 1 October 2012

A busy weekend

It was my turn to read at the library on Saturday.....I inherited the Saturday reading program from an outgoing volunteer. We spend and hour or so at the library reading to and then listening to the local kids read in English. Jack and Sam enjoy the interaction and visit. Meei brings her kids along too and watches Sam for me but this weekend she was away. I ask JJ to come along and to our delight he did, and thoroughly enjoyed it too. It is great to hear the kids reading, many read well, just don't have the comprehension skills.

Reading "Jollo Olly Octopus" to the 40 odd kids that turned up this weekend
Jack and Sam doing some drawings in the School Room with Nancy's new crayons!
The kiakia out the front has finally got a roof on. It is SO plesant sitting there having a wine at the end of a long day, watching the kids play with the dog and the chooks scratching about. The tide is high here, just the other side of the fence, with a gentle breeze it is bliss!!
Sunday was a busy day of cooking in preperation of our two guests. I cooked an orange cake, Sonia's slice, jamdrop bikkies, a raisin loaf and a quiche shell ready to be filled today. Meei and I had prepared the guest room with a single bed etc only to find out late last night that our secong guest is not arriving due to her plane not leaving Tonga, gotta love Air Pacific and their lax attitude to getting people around the Pacific!!!!
So JJ's collegue Birgetta arrives today until Thursday. Another busy week as JJ flies out next Monday for Tuvalu. He has organised a joint patrol with the Kiribati and Tuvalu Patrol Boats.
I can't belive that in 9 weeks we shall be leaving Tarawa for Melbourne and Christmas, my how this year has flown.........
si a bo for now

Friday, 28 September 2012

Update On Chooks

OMG, talk about blown out of all proportion!!!!

Meei has followed the leads and talk to so many of the kids on Betio to find the 2 missing chooks. I have offered a reward to whom ever returns them.

Tonight I was sitting out on the kiakia with the boys playing with the girl next door. All the chooks were pottering about and I counted them as I automatically so these days and there were 9!!! Yes I re-counted about 10 times and someone has obviously chucked a chook over the fence!! How cool is that??

The local builder is about to start building the chook-mahal of chicken coops!! This along with the fencing job I have done will keep them from getting out!!! Naughty girls!!!

The veggies have kept on growing, very exciting, the cucumbers and eggplant have their frst flush of male flowers, I'm expecting, with no setbacks (no chook interference!!) fruit within the next month!!

The facility managers visit was awesome, the best part is we are to employ a maintance man, whom will do everything we ask and it will be such a help, the compound will certainly benefit and things will be greatly emproved to our specifications.

Right JJ is ready to watch 'The Tudors' , we recieved the whole series yesterday. We have just finish watching 'The Straits', thanks Tess, we so enjoyed it and can't wait for series two!!!!

Sai bo for now


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Damn Chooks!!!!!

What gives???? If it is not one thing it is the other, so the chooks have discovered boys, well roosters to be exact!!! So we discovered the chooks slipping under the second gate to go over to visit the rooster!! In the rain, I filled in the gaps with chicken wire and cable ties!! Only to discover they were then getting out in the gaps between the new gates!!

So two chooks got out and disappeared into 'thin air'. Today two girls told Meei that boys had taken them. Meei has gone on this huge 'chook quest' into the police village next door, the boys have been beaten by their police detective father for aiding and abeiting a chook kidnapping and so the Betio CIB are investigating the kidnapping of the i-matang's two chooks!!! No stone will remained unturned as Betio police and Meei investigate the disappearance of my girls!!!!

A third chook wandered off out the new gate yesterday arvo and was returned by our neighbours, squatters who live next door and we moved the new fence line so they could stay, see good karma!!!

The facility manager of the Defence Co-operation Program compounds in the Pacific is here for a visit and a site survey. He must think we are absolutely mad with the carry-on. How ever he has approved 'on the spot' building of a new chook coop and run by a local builder!! It will be big enough to leave the girls in of a day if need be, specially good for when we are away and the issue of letting them out and putting them to bed arrises! Photos to follow, the builder has been told that we wanted it built 'yesterday' so hopefully it will be built within the month!!

James, the facility manager has also approved the kid's play equipment and new large maneaba. Once installed and complete this place will be awesome, so we are taking bookings for the guest room!!!!

Next week the ADA & DA's PA will be here from Monday till Thursday when they will fly out with JJ who is off to Tuvalu for a joint patrol for 2 weeks. Then time will fly to early December and our visit home!! I am so looking forward to being home and catching up, not to mention preparing and eating real salad and vegies!!

With that comment the cucumbers are starting to flower so to is the tomato and the eggplants, everything else is growing like mad - woohoo!!!!

Tia bo for now


Jack and his sandcastle in the 'new section'
Sam and Meei's grandson Seayung (14 months) in their "Cushie Tushie' nappies!!

Friday, 14 September 2012

TRIUMPH at last....

Finally we have hit on a fool proof way to keep the chooks out of the veggie gardens!!!!! WOOHOO!!
Meei showing off our new lattice gate!!

I clipped their wings as suggested and the bitches went straight to the garden and flew over, how rude!!

We finally came up with the idea of fishing net, so Meei picked up a 100 meter long net and we set to work hanging and hammering it into place. It was hard work up on ladders in the glaring sun. The results are perfect.

The chook, with Chummy’s help were also getting in the cocky gates so we replaced those with lattice gates, hinged with cable ties.

We also found some old plastic lattice like stuff and have staked it in the corner garden for the cucumber to grow on.

So we went back to the nursery and got some tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum and cabbage and started planting, only to discover the beds were rock hard so all had to be turned again with the pitchfork. What a huge day, I was filthy, sore, crippled, sunburnt, dehydrated but TRIUMPHANT.

Everything survived last night and today, chooks trying to get into the gardens but in vain. I have such an ENORMOUS satisfaction looking out onto a newly planted, chook proof garden. All done by “Girl Power” (oh James did help hanging the fish netting). I am feeling hugely empowered but oh so exhausted. JJ & Darren better be suitably impressed at our use of off cuts & power tools!!

 Early to bed for me tonight, methinks.
I am filthy, exhausted, sore and sun burnt,(not too badly, more sun kissed!!) but nothing will take away my pride at getting the gardens planted and chook proof!! It has been a long and frustrating process. Now we can move on to the next project, enlarging the chook coop!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Ghost Town

Goodness who’d have thought that with JJ & Darren away it would be so quiet!! But it is, just me, the boys and animals. So it is fantastic news to hear that Darren’s replacement is a chap whom has served with JJ in Patrol Boats in Darwin. I understand he is bringing his wife and two girls who again I understand are closer to 10 in age. I think it is a first for both positions to be filled by families. It will be sad to lose Darren who has been an excellent neighbour and a great help as we set up in Tarawa but that is the nature of the defence force!!!
Well I won't be winning mother of the year with this ripper egg thanks to Jack chasing him and a fat lip due to the misuse of tupperware!!!!

Next door tied their rooster to our fence, right next to the chook coop so the poor girls have gone off the lay and are quite out of sorts. Not to mention the 0430 wake up calls, needless to say after a bit of nagging it has been moved. Now they have removed tin from their pig pen also located on our fence line next to the chook coop just upwind of our house, the smell is foul and I have been forced to close up the house and run the AC. JJ can fight that one when he returns!! The girls continue to fly over the barriers and my beautifully healthy flowering eggplant and tomatoes are now reduced to stalks!!!!
Jack on his scooter from Opa, he roars around the compound's paths like a wirlwind

I took the tennis net down as I have no one to play with and let the boys tear around on their scooters. I pumped up the tires on Jack’s bike, which he hasn’t ridden yet and ran around the court a few times supporting him, then he was off and racing, no training wheels, thanks to years on the balance bike. He is so chuffed and I had a tear as I watched my first baby achieve this important childhood milestone. Sam is so funny to watch on his scooter, he’s got the hang of it but steering is still missing, we’ve had a few prangs but they both have got up and got back on which is good. It is also a damn good way of wearing them both out, they come up so exhausted they are happy to sit in front of the box while I prepare dinner and do the other necessary jobs about the house and compound.
Jack on his bike, woohoo
The internet has been so spasmodic this week. I have only managed to get connected 4 times usually in the early morning. It is so rude for skyping, emailing etc. I am sure everyone thinks I am ignoring them, but rest assured I am trying to call & blog etc. I am even writing my blog on a word doc and transferring it over to the blog when I can get on – frustrating to the max!!!

my naughty chooks enjoying a dust bth near the front door!!

Anyway I’ll post this as soon as I get connected, in the mean time


Tia bo moa

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

This week.....

Gracious time does fly. Since being back from Fiji JJ has been away for a fortnight to Honiara in the Solomon Islands for work, bringing home with him the Defence Attaché for a visit. The DA left on Thursday and now both JJ & Darren have departed for Kiritimati Island (pronounced Christmas Is) and onto Honolulu for another 2 weeks. Hmmm, the life for some!!!!

I was chatting to a friend at the Australian High Commission today and she coined how I am feeling exactly, one step forward, many steps back!! That is exactly how I am feeling about my garden. We put up fencing and barriers out of what was lying around but now the garden soil is sieved of all coral stones, had copra and compost added and it is so ready for planting, you can smell the richness in the soil the damn chooks think it is their personal domain or their own oversized dinner plate, I can’t keep them out!!!! I had planted the last of my precious zucchini, also spinach and capsicum and tomatoes. I gather by now the seeds are well and truly chook poo!!!
Meei's son and his brother-in-law sieved all the soil in the veggie garden, the piles of rocks are all the coral they got out, made a huge difference to the beds!!!

As Mana arrived from Abaiang with rocket in hand and we had found some beautifully ripe tomatoes we decided a 'Hamburger Party' was in order!! Fresh rolls were prepared, patiies made and let the wonderful joy of a colourful hamburger, brimming with fresh veggies begin.........tarrra, tarrra!!!

The land mass to the right that is quite hazy is our atoll of Batio. Mana and I are sitting at Carriers hotel one atoll above the 5 atolls that are connected by causeways. We walked cross at low tide.

One of the sleeping bure at Carriers.....
so we walked over but going back was a slightly different due to an incoming tide, so we caught the local ferry!!!!!

It was a great day out and now I know it is there I will go again. The drive however is a long one as the road past the airport is full of potholes that I thought our little RAV4 was going to disappear into at times but our feet stayed dry!!!! Just along from Carriers is a ship building yard and we were shown over it by the foreman whom is an Aussie volunteer, they also have a few sidelines the main one being clam farming for the aquarium markets mainly in the USA and Germany, they are found here in the Kiribati Islands and bought to the clam farm to grow, they also harvest some of their own with these amazingly huge clams that are in their 40's!!! Not such good photos, the colours were amazing, a real feast for the eyes, I could quite happily have stayed there all day gazing at the beautiful colours and patterns on the lips of the clams.

Tia Boo Moa (see you soon) xx

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sam's Birthday

Sam had a magical 2nd birthday, loving all his gifts and spending a wonderful day exploring them all!!
As it was a school/work day not many could make it to our little afternoon tea. Denise came and Darren popped in so we had a nice little number for tea.

the birthday boy opening his presents!

woohoo, the fun begins!

Sam's chocolate whale birthday cake

just a bit pleased with the end result and it disappeared at an alarming rate!