Wednesday, August 21, 2013

That's right. We're back.'s been a while. A long while. And we were busy. A lot.


Instead of putting this off until we can catch you up on the past 17 months we're just going to move forward from here. And now and then we'll throw in something interesting from the missing months.

Today, I thought I would share one of the views from our patio. It's a special little garden spot.

I can understand the three different kinds of grass. And the three little aspen seedlings. Birds could drop some seeds there. But three of those things look like they come from bulbs.  Not sure how that happened.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Got carrots?

Last year, at about this same time, I needed garden space to plant our peas and lettuce. So I dug up what was left of the carrots that we'd left in the garden to enjoy over the winter so that I could use the space to plant my peas and lettuce. I scrubbed them and weighed them- 17 lbs. And after scrubbing a little over 17 lbs of carrots, I resolved to plan and plant more carefully and not have so many carrots to stand and scrub. And then I put all those carrots in the fridge and ate our way through them.

Then I carefully counted and spaced and planted carrot seeds for the new season. And in the fall, I covered what was left of the carrots so that we could use them during the winter. And we enjoyed carrots all winter long. 

Last week, I needed the space where the last of the carrots were so that I could plant our peas and lettuce. So I dug up what was left of the carrots that we'd left in the garden over the winter. I scrubbed them and weighed them- 31.6 lbs. 

Go figure.

That's a lot of carrots to eat our way through. No matter what's for dinner, we'll be having carrots with it.

And I've resolved to plan and plant more carefully this year so that I won't have so many carrots to stand and scrub when I need the space to plant my peas and lettuce.

Third time's the charm?

Aloha 2012

So here we are again, after another absence. Let's get this Hawaii report done and move on to other things!

Day Ten
We actually did drive to Hawi today. It is about as north as you can get on the Big Island. It’s a small town that was in decline after the sugar cane plantation left the area. It still looks economically depressed, but there are pockets of wealthy homes and the shops along the highway now cater to tourists- galleries, snack shops and cafés, excursion shops.
We went through Hawi and drove out to the overlook at the end of the Akoni Pule highway. It is a beautiful view of cliffs and valleys and coastline. From there you can look down into the Pololu Valley. Maybe someday we’ll hike part way down into the valley.
We took a few side roads on our way back to Hawi and looked at little towns and parks. The Keokea Beach Park is on one of those little side roads and we drove down to take a look. It was mostly blocked off because of extensive renovation work in the park. We’ll have to go back and see how it turns out.
And here is a picture of a mailbox that we drive past every day. I LOVE this mailbox!

Day Eleven
This is our last full day on the island. It was a pretty casual day. Extra long walks along the main drag. Watching turtles and birds and waves on the beach. Getting started on the packing.
We had a funny little episode at dinner. A delicious dinner, by the way, at a nice restaurant. A little visitor showed up in O’s salad. And lucky for O, it wasn’t just half of a little visitor.
The server was appalled and horrified and tried to explain that it was because the greens were organic. Seriously?  The real problem wasn’t the greens, it was the kitchen staffer who washed the greens.
No, we won’t tell you where we ate. And yes, we’ll eat there again.

Day Twelve
This is the day we head home.
Today we spent the morning in the condo, doing laundry, cleaning out the fridge for breakfast. Mostly just passing the time until we had to check out of the condo.
When checkout time came, we loaded our stuff into the trunk of the car and walked up the road to the Huli He’e Palace for a tour. It’s a beautiful building with lots of artifacts and furniture with really amazing craftsmanship. Photography isn’t allowed in the palace, so we can’t give you anything to look at.
After the tour we drove up to Waikoloa to kill time and look for a new Hawaiian shirt for O. Then we had a quick lunch at Merriman’s Market Café before we headed to the airport.

One last parting shot of aloha.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aloha 2012

Day Nine


This was our Temple day. It was a nice little session with 11 women and 4 men. Our plan for the rest of the day was to go north to a little town called Hawi and then have dinner at Roy's on our way back to Kona. This town is very remote and not on the highway that circles the island. We never quite made it there because we stopped to run errands and browse at several shops on our way out of town. Finally we decided that we would not have time to get to Hawi and back in time for our dinner reservation, so we just went to Waikoloa, where the restaurant is, and wandered around looking in all the shops until it was time to eat. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and the dessert was so ono. We always get the same thing: the Chocolate soufflé. It may look like just a simple chocolate cake with ice cream, but there's really nothing like it.
Eat your hearts out!!

Aloha 2012

Day eight


This was our 'circle the island' day. We made our traditional PBJ lunch and headed south to loop around the bottom of the island, up the east side, across the saddle road between volcanoes and then down the west side to Kona. We check out places where we've been before to see what's new and what's 'just the same as always.' Occasionally we take a little side road to check out one of the many tiny towns off the main road. We stopped in Naalehu (the southernmost town in the US) at their famous little bakery to split a cream eclair and then headed through Punalu'u to check out the campground where we saw our very first mongoose when we camped there in 1989. (We also got VERY wet in this little campground)

Back on the road, we headed for Volcanoes National Park. And then it happened! Finally!

What!? What, you say?

Well, we finally got to see our very first, in the wild Nene. Actually four of them, just hanging out at the side of the road, browsing in the grasses there. The Nene is the State bird of Hawaii, and is an endangered bird.

Somebody's Father wisely asked, "Should I turn around and go back?" and that is why we are able to bring you this picture from our first Nene sighting.
Like all of our endangered Hawaiian wildlife pictures, it's a little fuzzy because of the telephoto and cropping necessary. But even though its fuzzy, it's still our very own Nene picture.
After the Nene excitement, and a chat with the classic over-the-hill, grey pony-tailed biker who was also watching the geese (I decided not to take a picture of him for my wildlife collection), we headed back down the road to Volcanoes National Park for our favorite little 'hike' through the tropical rain forest/lava tube. I love this little 5 minute stroll because there is a lot of lush vegetation and birds singing everywhere. You seldom see a bird, but you sure can hear them. Lots of them and lots of different kinds. One of these years, I'm going to get up early enough to get there before all the chattering people and record the birds.

Back on the road again, we stopped at Akatsuka's Orchid Gardens to admire the orchids and see if we could find a particular variety that I had decided to purchase this year. After much searching, and succumbing to the temptation of a few other varieties, we finally located the one I wanted, arranged to have everything shipped home, and headed to Hilo.

Not one of the ones we bought, but pretty!
In Hilo, we finally accomplished one of our long-time Hilo goals: We identified exactly which road in town would take us directly to the Saddle Road, a road that cuts quite a bit of time off of the drive around the island. This would have been easy if we had simply taken the Saddle Road from Kona to Hilo, but since we were driving the opposite direction, it involved weaving through town until we finally found ourselves on the Saddle Road, and then turning around and driving back in to town until we reached the main highway. With that mystery solved, we headed off along the Saddle Road, passing through the "saddle" between the two largest volcanoes, the military reserves, etc until we arrived in Waimea for a nice dinner at the Red Water Cafe: Kiawe-smoked baby back ribs for me and a Spicy Ahi, avocado, ogo, cucumber and lemon zest roll with a spicy aioli plus a seared Ahi entree for O. Then it was straight back to Kona and into bed. A big day and a big drive around the Big Island.

Aloha 2012

Day seven

Day seven was Sunday. We went to church, ate in- grilled steaks, salad and fried rice- mediated a little tiff between my blog and my iPhoto, and then went for a walk.

Here is a pretty flower that I noticed by the BBQ grills.
On Sundays there is a big street market and concert on the old section of Ali'i Drive. The police block off the road, and artisans, craftsmen, restaurants, etc. set up stalls in the street. Here and there along the way there are also local musicians and bands playing. It's fun and festive. After we walked along the drive, we came back to the condo for popcorn, hot homemade cookies and a video.

And a nice Kona sunset from our lanai.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aloha 2012

What made the tracks?
I was waiting for a few responses before I told you what made the tracks, but I can see that you are all so mystified that you are speechless, except for Grandma Betty, who guessed it right off. And the answer is…..

That's right- a turtle. It had hauled itself up onto the beach not long before we got there. Stay tuned for more wildlife sightings and news of day eight in a later post.