A Pink Whale and a Very Tall Tree

Since we only have one computer on the island, when it goes out of commission, we go out of communication. I’m happy to say the computer is up and running again. Finally! Whew. We are nearly through a very snowy winter. I see small signs of spring – Some birds are returning after spending the coldest season in warmer climes. The sun’s rays are growing stronger and the daylight lasts longer. Spring will be here very soon! I think some of the Fofers are growing anxious for it! I saw Arzo out in the garden trying to dig at the frozen soil. And Seada was out bike riding even though the paths are still covered in ice!

I have very exciting news! I’m working on a musical animated DVD about my adventures here on the island. It’s called “A Pink Whale and a Very Tall Tree” and I think you’re really going to enjoy it! I’ll keep you posted.

Goodbye for now,
Otamo

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Summer summer summer…

Boy, it’s been a very long time since I’ve written! I prefer to be outside and away from computers when the weather is nice! So that’s where I’ve been…Swimming, gardening, picking berries, eating berries, rowing my boat on the bay. Summer sure is nice, though quite short on Fof. So, I’m enjoying it while I can. I’m sure I’ll write a lot more as the days grow cooler! I hope everyone is having a very fine summer. -Otamo

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Spring!

Ozuma and Baby Jing
Spring is really here! The buds on the trees are ready to burst with leaves. Yesterday, I went for a walk through the woods and fields of Fof with Uzoma and baby Jing. It was Jing’s first ever spring-time walk. She smiled and pointed at all the birds flying about and singing happy songs. It was a lovely day with warm sun and good company. Now, back to planning and planting my vegetable garden!

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Electricity and Heirlooms

beach1.jpg

I don’t want to talk about the weather because this is my least favorite time of the year: With both ice and mud, it’s not winter or spring. Instead I’ve decided to answer my mail.

A little girl named Petunia wrote asking if we have electricity on the island of Fof.

Yes Petunia, we need electricity to run this computer! So Aki built a bicycle that powers the computer. In order to use the computer, another Fofer has to pedal to keep the juices flowing while we type or compute.

Petunia wrote back immediately : Where did the computer come from? And what about the bicycles?

Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you the story: A long, long time ago, way before I was born, a huge box the size of a house (made of a super-strong material, harder than rock!) washed ashore at Silver Sandy Beach. We call it the “Big Box.” According to the legend, first the Fofers banged on it with sticks (we still do that and it makes a wonderfully loud noise) then the Fofers eventually pried it open. The box was filled with great treasures which we call the “Heirlooms.” Inside the Big Box were twelve bicycles, three hammers, two shovels, five tin buckets full of nails, eighteen windows, seven pair of ice skates, five scissors and a whole bunch of kitchen knives.

Since these objects became indispensable to the Fofers, one Fofer always has to be responsible for heirloom maintenance. These days Verness (since she’s the handiest) takes care of the treasures. She sharpens the skates, scissors and knives on a special stone atop Firefly Hill. She uses fish oil on the bikes to make sure they don’t squeak. If a window breaks, she can fix it. (Hopefully! We’re very careful and haven’t had a window break in a long time.)

As for the Big Box, it’s still on Silver Sandy Beach. Every couple years, we try to figure out a way to move it, but it won’t budge. (It’s too heavy!) Every other couple years, someone tries to make the box into a home, but it’s just too dark and wet and rusty.

A sailboat washed ashore three years ago after a crazy summer storm with the biggest waves and the strongest winds ever-For a summer storm. Winter storm winds are an entirely different matter. On the sailboat we found a bunch of stuff. Honestly, I had no clue what any of it was, but my friend Aki is super-smart (she’s also our librarian). She started messing around with the items found on the boat and figured out how to make them work. So now we have this computer and a camera that allows us to take fofergraphs and make foferfilms. It even allows us to record music! Please don’t ask me how all this works. Do what I do… ask Aki.

The boat is made of a material we’ve never seen before and we can’t figure out how to make a patch of leaves, bark and tree glue stick to the huge gaping hole in the side. But that doesn’t stop us from having a great time in the summer when we take the boat for short floats and then it half sinks and we abandon ship and the boat bobs ashore with the rising tide and always returns to nearly the same spot on the beach, right next to the Big Box.

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Skating Party

skater.jpg

I love winter. Although we’ve had just a tiny amount of snow on the island of Fof, it’s been super-very cold in the past month. Icy Pond (whose name fits well right now!) is solid, maybe even two feet thick. Which is good news…Since there’s not enough snow for sledding, we were able to have a skating party!

Most of the Fofers came. Verness was the most graceful, pirouetting and jumping as she turned and turned and turned! I was very proud of my figure eights that stretched across the pond. Seada spent most of the time skating backwards around the edge. And Aki – wow – she’s super-fast! She’s like lightening and looks like a streak of bright yellow on skates!

When our toes grew numb from the cold, we took off our skates and walked to Ibo’s cottage. She doesn’t like to skate. She’s more of a bookworm during the winter. But she had made us some delicious hot cocoa and hand whipped some creamy whipped cream.

We sat by Ibo’s woodstove and sipped our warm, sweet drinks. Keema showed up with her flute and played a wonderful new song. It was dreamy and hypnotic. I think she nearly put us in a trance with her melodies. I felt so relaxed I maybe even dozed off. She just keep going and going. I have no idea how long I sat there listening, mesmerized, but when she ended her song, I realized my hot cocoa had turned cold. The sun was going down and it started to snow-soft fluffy snow. The type that sticks to the trees. And if it snows all night, tomorrow we can go sledding. Did I mention I love winter?

Here’s Ibo’s recipe for hot cocoa and creamy whipped cream.

Serves 4

Pour a half pint of fresh cream into a medium-sized bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Add sugar and a little vanilla until it is as sweet as you like it. Set aside.

Melt 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in a medium-sized sauce pan over very low heat. Stir constantly until it is smooth. Pour three cups of milk over the chocolate and continue stirring until the mixture is nicely blended. Heat until it is steaming hot, but not boiling. Pour into mugs and top with the freshly whipped cream. For an extra treat sprinkle with cinnamon!

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