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Village Chat: 03/01/2014

Village Chat

For the last year and a half, Sue and John Campbell have been sailing around the South Pacific on their sailboat Wizard. Along the way they ended up in Tonga, and Sue sent us this report:

Life in the slow lane
“We arrived in late January to care take the Reef Resort for the owners, Josef and Renate. We had met them sailing through the islands this past September. We anchored in front of this beautiful open restaurant surrounded by five “Fales” (guesthouses) overlooking the beach of Kapa Island and decided to stop for a beer. The owners were very welcoming, though we couldn't stay for dinner as most of these island resorts only prepare food for the “private paying guest,” but they could offer a cold beer! We enjoyed ourselves so much that we visited a few more times and during our conversations asked if ever they needed someone to “house sit” while they took a vacation. Well, you guessed it…here we are, feeding the dog, the three cats, keeping the cockroaches to a minimum and keeping the pigs out. That is pretty much our “job description” as we care-take the resort for three months.

“Did I mention there are a lot of pigs in Tonga? Pigs on the beach, pigs in the road, momma pigs and baby piglets and pigs just about everywhere. The Tongans save pigs for special occasion feasts, like Sunday dinners and weddings and so there are a lot of pigs just waiting to be meals… and while they are waiting they wander at night foraging and rooting up the grounds. This doesn't look good for a resort, so our job is to keep the pigs out!

“Most tourists come here for the water, which is pretty special with coral reefs to explore that are amazingly alive. Tonga is waiting to be discovered. It's still a little 'third world' by our standards and not for everyone. Plane travel is spotty and can be cancelled at any moment due to weather. This contributes to the cost factor of getting here. Surviving the daily gauntlet of people, pigs, potholes and a general “laid-back” approach to living is a little overwhelming for some visitors. Only the well-traveled will enjoy the simple Tongan ways. We are still learning.”

The Campbells will be back in Kenwood in May, and family and friends are looking forward to hearing all about their adventures, maybe over a Tongan pork feast?

Speaking of animals everywhere, dogs are no longer allowed inside the Post Office. This is not a rule imposed by our local staff - it came from the higher-ups. Just so you know…

Popping into the office the other day was Gwenllyn Fry, the new Wildlife Animal Care Coordinator of Wildlife Fawn Rescue. Gwenllyn has worked in animal control for 18 years, in both Sonoma and Marin counties, and first met Fawn Rescue founder Marjorie Davis when bringing in fawns in need of care. Gwenllyn has lived in Sonoma County for over 25 years, and currently lives in Agua Caliente. Since 1989, Wildlife Fawn Rescue has specialized in the rehabilitation of injured, ill, and orphaned Black-Tailed fawns, challenging and exhausting work that is never-ending, but, as Marjorie has told us many times, satisfying, never dull, and very important. Not only is it Gwenllyn's job to coordinate the rescue and rehabilitation of fawns in Sonoma County, but she will also be out in the community doing outreach, education, and fundraising. To learn more, go to If you find a fawn in need of help, call Wildlife Fawn Rescue at 931-4550.

Linda Hale with some new friends in Thailand.
Thailand was the place to be for travelers lately. Linda and Keith Hale traveled through that country for six weeks, and sent in this photo (p. 27). Linda wrote, “Here I am at the Ancient City in Bangkok with students out for a Saturday in the park. Thai temples and ancient ruins are on display and you can bike around and have lunch at the floating markets.” She said the students posed with her for the picture, then they went and got their own cameras to have more pictures taken with her. She says Thais love to pose for pictures.

Alex and Breanne Benward on their honeymoon in Bangkok
Alex and Breanne Benward
were also in Thailand a few months ago on their honeymoon, and sent in a cute picture overlooking the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Alex's family owns the Beltane Ranch, and he and Breanne have just bought a house and moved to Kenwood. Welcome!

Finally, on a sad note, we mourn the loss of Nathan Miron who died last week. Nathan wrote the astronomy column “Star Spangled Banter” for us for many years, which means he taught me everything I know about astronomy. He was a true Renaissance Man and a gentleman, and we will all miss him.

Thanks to everyone who sent in their news and pictures for “Village Chat.” You can, too! Just email, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP

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