Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Semi-Brief Update

The Technicolor Twins

Just a little update after a month long absence.  I managed to catch the cold that was going around about a month ago and was laid low for about three weeks.  It actually felt more like the flu in intensity, but that part of the cold only lasted about four days.  I've been hitting the sack pretty early and really not doing much more than knitting (besides working).

I managed to complete a hat for Larry for Christmas.  I am pleased with how it turned out.  It is Harry Potter themed and features Hedwig delivering mail.  It's a stranded fair isle pattern found on Revelry.com.  The wool is a cashmere blend that is super soft.  I told him explicitly not to throw this one in the washer.  You would think a guy married to a knitter for thirty years would know these things.

I also finished a pair of Christmas socks, which he has been wearing, like a good boy to work. Currently I am working on a linen blanket and yet another pair of socks.  I am enjoying the blanket project, but am still knitting the squares that I will ultimately crochet together.  I have something like 43 squares and need either 56 or 63, depending on how big I decide to make the blanket.  Blanket making is new to me  - it's kind of a bucket list thing since it takes devotion and focus to finish such a big project.  I am determined to see it through.

Stevie, our kitchen gecko, suffered a serious mishap two weeks ago, ending with a severed tail and a gecko gone into deep hiding.  Until today.  We were so happy to see him once again, although he is a mere shadow of his former self.  We are all very fond of him and are very happy to see him returned to the fold.

Perhaps we should call him Stumpie for now.  

I cut open a lilikoi and set it out for him.  He enjoyed liking up the juice very much.  Larry also left out a nice pineapple top for hime to crawl around on.  He is a big fan of hanging out on anything green.

The chickens are doing well.  We haven't seen Buffy for a few days, but I did spy  Little Brown Hen earlier today and I haven't seen her in quite a few weeks.  The rest of the crew stops by at least twice daily.

Yesterday morning, while Larry was attempting to get some much-needed shut eye, the chickens made the strangest noises for quite awhile.  I searched online and found that chickens can make more than 30 vocalizations, so it may be awhile before I have this while chicken communication thing figured out.

I hope you survived and perhaps even thrived during the holiday season.

I am happy to report mine has been quite thus far and free of any excessive drama -- just the way I like my holidays.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


The Technicolor Twins
When I pulled up to the house today, there were seven chickens waiting for their meal. The two above are the Technicolor Twins. They are two of Joan's babies from her last clutch. Their coloring is spectacular: deep navy blue, purple, bottle green, buff and white.   
Colonel Beauregard joined them.   
Then Joan.  I love Joan. Also in attendance was a little spotted buff colored hen (Buffy), and two of the original babies we fed last spring. Oh, and Joan's Body Double.  She's about the same size and shape as Joan, but is more of a golden light brown. I love hearing their chickeny sounds outside my window.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our First Papaya!

Today was a landmark day on our little slice of this planet: we harvested our first papaya from seed. These babies were born in our compost pile and transplanted.  We will have them for breakfast when they are a bit more ripe - probably the end of the week.  
This morning we also harvested our first white guava.  I didn't even know that tree was bearing fruit. It was planted a year ago from a gallon-sized seedling. It is delacately flavored and has a beautiful fragrance.  
And finally, that is a poha berry ( cut in half). Looks a bit like a tomatillo when it's growing but it is smaller than a grape and tastes a little like a sour cherry -- makes great jam and is also good dipped in chocolate or inside mochi.  We planted the bushes from four inch pots over the summer. They grew fast. I think we're going to need more than two bushes if I ever want enough to male jam with. 
Life is good on the farm. Our growing area is maybe 40' by 30' and we are trying to grow as much food as we can in the space. I can't wait to harvest bananas one day. We have 6 or 7 trees so at some point we may be inundated -- sort of like zuchinni season on the mainland. Some day. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The African Queen

I'm watching The African Queen. 

I'm very glad I don't have to pick a favorite movie (for me an impossible choice), but this one would be in contention if you held a gun to my head. 

The acting and direction along with amazing cinematography and a good story means it hits all the right notes for me. Over the years, I have watched this film again and again. 

I once read the location filming was difficult. I can imagine the heat, humidity, and bugs must've been maddening--and it went on for weeks on end. Perhaps that's what's part of what makes this film magical for me. 

If you need a couple of hours' escape from reality, please do watch. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Plant It Hawaii's Semi Annual Plant Sale

I have written about Plant It Hawaii's semi annual plant sale on a couple of occasions previously.  They are a plant wholesaler (mostly fruit trees) on the Big Island.  They are only open to the public twice a year and we try to go every time.

This year, we were able to purchase a pulasan tree.  Pulasan fruit looks somewhat like a cross between a lychee and a rambutan.  They are rarely seen at the farmers market and are not yet farmed on the Big Island (that I am aware of).  It is my favorite of this type of fruit, with lychee being second (which we purchased at our last trip to this sale).

We also picked up a couple more bare root dwarf apple bananas and a dwarf clementine.

I love the idea of gathering fruit from our yard.  We have mangoes, papaya, lilikoi, and avocado that have set down roots in our compost pile (which we have moved to the other areas of the yard).  The papaya has lots of fruit growing as does the lilikoi.  Soon we will be pulling papaya down from the trees for our breakfasts.

Also growing well are our pineapples, which we also get for free.  We simply save the tops and plant them.  Farming is a slow process, however, and we will not see any pineapples for at least another year.

We are still learning about growing food in our new home.  We do have some tomato plants that grudgingly give fruit.  We certainly have not mastered something that was once so simple as growing a tomato and yet, when we turn the compost pile, we have hundreds of papaya seedlings every time.  So, gardening continues to be a bit topsy-turvy, with easy things being difficult to grow and hard things growing without any work at all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Liliokulani Park
I am grateful that my job allows me 13 paid holidays each year (14 in a presidential election year).  I will gladly take Tuesday, November 8th off in order to reflect on life.  

This election is the most stressful I can recall in recent years, although I think I am forgetting how stressful the time of Gore vs. Bush and the land of Hanging Chads was.

It certainly was a stressful period and I do recall thinking that Gore really should have won, but he did the right thing in not forcing a recount in Florida.

And please do recall that we did survive the next four years, and many after that.

I remember a two-part tv movie released in the late 1970's called The Day After, which was set in the heartland of USA after an atomic blast.  I remember being absolutely devastated by the possibility of nuclear war and I could not conceive of a time of peace.  I spent a great deal of time worrying about what might happen.

I recall my mother's blasé attitude when I shared my fears with her -- she was not worried at all.  I must say that a 14 year old really does not have the gift of time that a forty-something person has with regard to cycles of life and the understanding that things really do work out for the best -- most of the time.

And while I, too, am stressed about the outcome of Tuesday's election, I know that this, too, shall pass.  We will survive the next four years and move on.  We will even forget this time of stress when we look back over the years.

So please don't panic, whatever the outcome.  We will survive.

One of my favorite US companies is Tom Bihn.  If you are looking for a new everyday bag, or travel gear (or even pet gear), do check them out.  They are based in Seattle, where everything is sewn.  Most supplies are sourced in the US as well. I have several bags that I have used (in some cases) daily that look brand new. I have never regretted a Tom Bihn purchase.

Why do I bring this up?  I was thinking about the label they used to sew into their bags  (during the reign of our last republican president):
Actual Tom Bihn Label

I know some of you speak French, but for the rest of you single language folks (like me), here's the translation of the last few lines of the care label:

"We're sorry our president is an idiot. We didn't vote for him."

I bid you adieu.  See you on the other side.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rooster Roll Call


Col. Beauregard, sort of

I'm sitting in the living room on a rainy afternoon listening to the neighborhood rooster roll call. I believe it's Colonel Beauregard I hear crowing downstairds representing our house. He's quite shy so I don't have a photo of him. He looks like the rooster above except he's white with just a few small spots of black. He's very handsome, indeed. I think of him as salt-and-pepper looking.

The other morning (thankfully a Sunday), Col. Beauregard hopped onto the roof of the carport, scrambled up to our bedroom window and gave us a nice, big good morning crow. Two out of three of us found this amusing.

It reminded me of the craziness of the film, The Egg and I starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.  1947.  Love that movie.  Look it up, if you can.  If you can't get enough Fred MacMurry, then also check him out in Double Indemnity (Barbara Stanwyk, and Edward G Robinson) or The Apartment (Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon). I love him in both where he can be seen playing men who are not so nice.  

Colonel Beauregard and Fred MacMurry. That's how I roll.