All posts by Lucy Lee Jones

Meditative Bonsai

BANYAN BONSAI
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BANYAN BONSAI

 

I can’t remember exactly when I first became interested in the beautiful Japanese art of bonsai. It was probably in the 1960s, when I traveled to Japan on four different occasions. On one of those trips, I climbed Mt. Fuji with friends, an exciting story for another time.

At the hotel where we stayed the night before our climb, I was quite taken with their bonsai garden. Many of the trees there were over 100 years old with an incredible history. I vowed then to learn how to create these for myself. I brought home many of the “bon” or trays in which to plant the trees. They have survived many moves since that time.

JAPANESE BONSAI POTS
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JAPANESE BONSAI POTS

 

Before I go any further, I want to make sure you know how to pronounce the word “bonsai.” I’ve heard it called everything, including “banzai,” which is the suicide attack word used by the Japanese during World War II. The correct pronunciation is a softer sound of “bone-sigh.”

On one of my favorite sites, you can discuss issues with other bonsai enthusiasts, order supplies, buy bonsai books and tools, learn new techniques, and so much more.

Another site offers a beautiful bonsai allegory written in 1993 by Horace A. Vallas, Jr. that can teach us how to be good managers or good parents.

The American Bonsai Society, Inc. was founded in 1967, around the same time I visited the bonsai gardens in Japan. Their official site has many beautiful pictures of bonsai.

The banyan bonsai at the beginning of this post is one of many created by Carole Baker’s late husband and shown in an earlier post of her yard. Here are two more pictures showing others that he created and tended.

CAROLE'S BONSAI
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CAROLE’S BONSAI

 

MORE OF CAROLE'S BONSAI
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MORE OF CAROLE’S BONSAI

 

I think you can tell from these pictures and from the websites I’ve listed that bonsai is the art of miniaturizing a tree or group of trees. Land is so precious in Japan that often the only way a person can experience nature or go into a forest is to kneel silently before a “grove” of bonsai trees in a tray. In this way, we can simply let ourselves melt into the tiny landscape and imagine walking among the trees, or be drawn into sitting at the base of an old tree. It’s difficult for me to describe this type of meditation, but it is a very effective way to put yourself into a peaceful setting, if only temporarily.

If you can imagine this pot filled with a miniature grove, then you have the ability to create one of your own. The Wikipedia site on bonsai has many beautiful pictures of not only groves and forests, but of other styles that can be produced.

SINGLE FLAT POT
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SINGLE FLAT POT

 

There are a variety of ways to begin a bonsai. What I talk about here is one of the methods I was taught in the 70s at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The roots of a bonsai are trimmed and secured to a pot or bon with a wire threaded through a wire mesh and tied around a twig underneath. This is one of my pots from an old bonsai that didn’t live. As you can see, there are many sizes and shapes for the trays, or pots.

POT SHOWING BOTTOM MESH
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POT SHOWING BOTTOM MESH

 

Once the plant is secured in the pot, soil is pressed around the base and roots. Try to find bits of moss, carefully lift it up and transfer it to the top of the soil. This helps to keep the soil from washing away, as well as helping to create an illusion of age.

Then the process begins of trimming the tree itself to a size and shape you desire. This is not to be done in a hurry. The entire process is quite meditative and I can get completely lost in it all.

MORE BONSAI POTS
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MORE BONSAI POTS

 

There are many ways to proceed. One trick in getting the gnarled effect right away is to buy an aging root bound plant from a nursery, like a Juniper that is no longer really any good for planting in your yard. I love the ones that seem to be growing around a rock. The roots have been secured in such a way that the tree appears to be sitting on top.

When I start talking about bonsai, I don’t know where to stop. There is so much to say. All I can suggest is that you get a book from the library to start out, find a nice flat tray, get a plant and just try your hand.

Something else you might try is to attend one of the shows put on by the Big Island Bonsai Association. Classes may also be available.

I promise you that it’s extremely addicting. Once you start, you may never be able to stop. Why would you want to??

The Garden Isle Revisited



BABY BEACH AT POIPU

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BABY BEACH AT POIPU

Periodically, I like to repost an older one so new readers can see what they missed. It has now been about ten years since I posted this one about Kauai, one of our neighbor islands. It is a beautiful island and one that many people think of when they think of how “Hawai`i” must be. Here is the old post.
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Almost two years ago, I visited with friends from California on Kauai where they had gone to visit their son. As long as I have lived in Hawai`i, I had never gone to Kauai. I stayed with them in a house they had rented in Poipu, across the street from Baby Beach, pictured above.

Nearby is the Spouting Horn. Here it is in its dormant state.



DORMANT SPOUTING HORN

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DORMANT SPOUTING HORN

I managed to get a fairly decent snap as it was spouting, but it kept happening too fast for me to get all the shots I wanted.



ACTIVE SPOUTING HORN

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ACTIVE SPOUTING HORN

Too bad I can’t give you the sound to go along with it!

One night, we all stayed in the house their son and his family had rented. It was a vacation rental called The Waterfall House. The waterfall was right outside the window with a constant sound of flowing water.



WATERFALL HOUSE

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WATERFALL HOUSE

If you turned your head slightly to the left, you knew you were in the middle of a typical tropical rain forest.



RAIN FOREST

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RAIN FOREST

My friends took a picture of me in silhouette against the waterfall. This shows how close we were to it.



SILHOUETTE AGAINST WATERFALL

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SILHOUETTE AGAINST WATERFALL

One morning, we made a sight-seeing drive around the island. The roots hanging down on the high cliffs made an impression on me. You can get an idea of how tall the cliffs are by the size of the cars.



CLIFF ROOTS

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CLIFF ROOTS

Along the road on the North Shore, we passed this cave, one of many.



ONE OF THE CAVES

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ONE OF THE CAVES

We stood on the edge of Waimea Canyon – an incredible sight!



EDGE OF WAIMEA CANYON

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EDGE OF WAIMEA CANYON



MORE OF WAIMEA CANYON

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MORE OF WAIMEA CANYON

Here are a few random shots of the views on Kauai as we drove.



ONE VIEW ON KAUAI

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ONE VIEW ON KAUAI



ANOTHER VIEW ON KAUAI

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ANOTHER VIEW ON KAUAI



STILL ANOTHER VIEW

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STILL ANOTHER VIEW

There is an area of the highway called “Tunnel of Trees,” and it is exactly that.



TUNNEL OF TREES

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TUNNEL OF TREES

One stop along the way gave me a perfect shot of these beautiful Nene, Hawai`ian Geese, our protected state bird.



NENE

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NENE

On Sunday, we went to church services in Hanalei.



HANALEI CHURCH

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HANALEI CHURCH

Here is another little village church.



VILLAGE CHURCH

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VILLAGE CHURCH

Before I left to come back to the Big Island, we made the steep hike to the Queen’s Bath.



TRAIL TO QUEEN'S BATH

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TRAIL TO QUEEN’S BATH

Can you imagine hiking into this place, then taking a bath under this waterfall in the pool? What luxury!



QUEEN'S BATH

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QUEEN’S BATH

The last evening I was there happened to be my host’s birthday. He took his wife and me out to dinner at the Beach House near Poipu, just at sunset.



BEACH HOUSE SUNSET

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BEACH HOUSE SUNSET

I hope to get to Kauai again someday, although a lot of it has been damaged by flooding recently. Each of our islands is a unique experience.

A hui hou!

“Blue Zones” Gazpacho

This is a post I made about seven years ago and it’s definitely one of my favorites. In fact, I happen to have everything on hand to treat myself with a cold bowl. It’s better than a smoothie, a salad, or soggy veggies, and fits perfectly into a “Blue Zones” way of eating.

I learned about Gazpacho when I first moved to California in 1960. It was a huge fad at that time, and I was knocked over by it! It’s been called everything, including “liquid salad,” but whatever you call it, it’s simply delicious!

This may seem like a summer-only dish to many of the mainlanders, but in California, and especially here in Hawai`i, we can eat it year-round.

The beauty of a healthy serving of Gazpacho is that you can put almost any kind of raw veggie into it. Take your pick from:

fresh tomatoes (about 2-3 pounds cut into quarters, skin and all)
cucumber
carrots
onion
bell peppers (I used a combination of orange, red, yellow baby bells)
garlic
hot pepper to taste (maybe a Jalepeño)

Zap it up in a blender or food processor with a dollop of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil until thick and chunky.

Store it in the fridge until it’s good and cold.

Ladle it into a bowl, top with crumbled feta and sprigs of cilantro.

To go with this, I like to serve a good loaf of crunchy rustic sourdough bread fresh from the oven, and maybe a glass of red wine?

Dig in!

“Blue Zones Project” Coming Our Way!

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About fifteen or more years ago, I became interested in the Okinawa program and diet. The exact title of the book I bought was The Okinawa Program: how the world’s longest-lived people achieve everlasting health – and how you can, too.

I suspect I was not the only person who was looking for a program that would help me live a long and healthy life. There was a lot of good information in the book, even though I am not terribly fond of processed soy products that try to mimic “real” foods. I do like tofu if it is prepared well. I have a terrific chocolate pudding recipe that is made from tofu, for example.

Less than ten years later, when I began to hear about Dan Buettner, I was even more intrigued. Dan is a National Geographic Fellow, and in his travels he found spots in our world that have large numbers of centenarians, which he circled with a blue pen – thus the name “blue zones.” Loma Linda, California was one of the areas he found that produced long-lived people, primarily because they were Seventh Day Adventists. Dan found nine principles that were common to each of these areas.

Probably most of you who read this blog have heard of “The Blue Zones” by now. A group of people began to experiment with bringing Blue Zones to other cities in our own country, and the Blue Zones Project was born. Gradually, various towns began to incorporate the same nine principles and have become Blue Zone cities.

In Hawai`i, we are taking part in The Blue Zones Project in an effort to create a healthier population and become one more of the Blue Zones areas. I am a member of the Leadership Team for West Hawai`i, and we are creating strategies to accomplish this goal.

Watch for the Blue Zones logo at your grocery stores, restaurants, schools, workplace, civic organizations, and more. In the next few posts, I will explain the nine Blue Zones principles and what being a Blue Zones community involves. In the meantime, please check out https://bluezones.com to learn more.

A hui hou!
Lucy

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Cooking Under the Stars

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This past Saturday, at the King’s Shops of Waikoloa, the Culinary Arts Program of Hawaii Community College (both Hilo and West Hawaii Campuses) offered their annual “Cooking Under the Stars” to the public for spectacular tasting.

A bit of drama was added at the end of the evening as the full moon burst through the clouds to provide a glorious view to our Hawaiian locals and visitors.

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Watch the slideshow below to see some of the local chefs, instructors, and students as they cook, taste, and stroll among the booths.

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Pictures were taken by Becky Stalder and Chef Mark Johnson.
A hui hou!

Palamanui Update as of December 2014

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In November of fall semester 2014, I visited our new Palamanui campus. You can look at the slideshow from that trip and read a bit of the school’s history here.

Then in December, with all classes and exams complete, our faculty and staff gathered for our annual “end of fall semester” celebration with a potluck. This year, we gathered under a large tent at a location just above the new campus so we could look at it as we ate.

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Through our gathering, we felt like we were staking our claim for the new school. We have been told we can start teaching there in fall semester 2015. In our minds, we visualized walking into the new classrooms to join with eager students in their educational process.

The pictures from the November post were of the inside of buildings primarily and I wasn’t able to post pictures of the overall campus. I took more pictures from our vantage point during the December potluck, and thought those of you who have an interest in Palamanui would like to see.

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Most of the work is being done on the inside right now, so the outside doesn’t look finished yet. These pictures show several buildings and the total layout of the new campus.

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I’m sure our community will get a chance to visit this new campus in the near future. We look forward to bringing higher education to the North Kona side of the Big Island of Hawai`i.

A hui hou!

Palamanui – Then and Now

On May 19, 2004, a group of instructors from the University Center at West Hawaii were taken on a trip to see the land where a new campus would be built. We went in a convoy of four-wheel drive vehicles. I took quite a few pictures, but two stand out in my mind.

The first is where the buildings would ultimately be put up.

The second is a shot of us seeing the plans for the first time. It was raining, and as we huddled under the tent to stay semi-dry, the site was pointed out to us. We all became excited!

That was over ten years ago!

This past week, November 14, 2014 I had the wonderful opportunity to be taken on a private tour of the buildings by Dr. Marty Fletcher, Director of our facility. Below is a slideshow of the pictures I took to show the progress, and I was almost in tears as I remembered how long we have all waited for this. We have been assured that we can start teaching in the new buildings for fall semester, 2015!

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The windows go in right away, and then they can start finishing the inside. Walkways will be covered and shaded with solar panels. It is like a dream that is coming true! I’m sure I will be giving an update as soon as we are actually in the new campus, or maybe a few more as we start moving in.

A hui hou!
Lucy

No Labor Day For All

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We love Labor Day for giving us that last bit of summer for cookouts, beach trips, one last vacation day, and more. But not everyone gets to take off on Labor Day. You know who you are:

• medical personnel at the hospitals
• pilots taking you on your trips
• clerks in the grocery store for those few items you forgot
• farmers with animals who need care every day
• workers in any store that stays open today
• police who are always on the job
• radio and TV announcers
• and so many more . . .

It is to you who keep our world going even on holidays that I send a big MAHALO today!

A hui hou!
Lucy

Iselle on the Leeward Side

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I know some of my readers are interested in knowing what happened here on the Big Island when Hurricane Iselle hit this past week.

Fortunately, I live on the leeward side of the island with two mountains dividing us from the windward side. Iselle’s landfall was in Ka’u District, where Ocean View, Na`alehu and Pahala are located, creating lots of flooding and loss of trees. It seems the biggest damage, however, was in the Puna District. Here is a link to some of the pictures showing the results of Iselle there.

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The morning after Iselle hit, I walked with some friends visiting from California on the beach just below my home to see the surf. The pictures on this post are from that walk.

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We got rain earlier that morning, but it was nothing like what I had expected. A little later in the morning, we got quite a wind – so much that I almost had white caps on my pool! Other than that, we were not hit at all. Many of my friends were not that fortunate, and too many are still without power and phone. It’s a miracle that people lived through it all.

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Mahalo for all the thoughts and prayers that came to our island!
A hui hou,
Lucy

Sunrise – Sunset

Sunset from my patio

When I lived on Guam, I always thought the sunsets were particularly spectacular, and they were. I haven’t seen anything like them anywhere since then. I will find those slides someday and do a post on them.

In the meantime, the sunsets (and sunrises) on the Big Island of Hawaii and other places are beautiful, too, and in a different way. It’s not easy for me to explain, but here are a few for you to enjoy.

The sunset above is from my patio, looking out toward the ocean.

Each morning, we walked along St. Petersburg Harbor around 6:00.

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This sunrise picture was taken just as the dark was ending on Coffee Pot Bayou in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I spent a few weeks this summer visiting my brother.

Coffee Pot Bayou

Early evening on our cruise, we enjoyed sitting on the top deck. Here I am looking toward the bow of the ship. It was not quite sunset, but getting close.

Sunset just starting-toward bow

I attempted a shot of the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico heading toward Cozumel, Mexico. The reflection on the water was almost too bright to photograph well.

Sunset on cruise

At the end of the cruise, my brother took this picture on our return, with an interesting view of Tampa Bay just before sunrise.

early morning return to St. Pete

A hui hou!
Lucy

New Home!

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In 2005 I bought this sweet small house on an acre of land consisting of nothing but a’a lava rock. Then in May of 2008, I started this blog. I began to share photos and write about how that acre of lava was developing (or not developing).

Since late spring of this year, I was given a home that is closer to the college where I teach, closer to town, and has land that will actually grow something. It is still rocky, but the lava has decomposed enough that it manages to provide more of the lush greenery for which Hawai`i is known.

Down side yard toward back1

While I lived in Ocean View, I complained about not being able to grow anything, or at best what did stay alive was growing at a snail’s pace! Now my complaint goes in the opposite direction – everything grows too quickly! This view into the side yard was taken in April.

Down side toward back2

Two months later in June, it was so overgrown that no one could walk through it! There is a lot of work to be done still, but with the help of some friendly landscapers, it is beginning to take shape. I’ll post more pictures as things start to look beautiful again.

I look forward to cleaning out this little area with its raised beds. It is a perfect spot for growing herbs, or starting seeds, or potting seedlings, and more. The purple sweet potatoes growing here were probably from starts the previous owner was tending. I will transplant some of those into a backyard garden.

Raised bed for herbs

Friends have given me lilikoi seedlings and several white pineapple plants. So much to look forward to here!

A hui hou!
Lucy

More About Lilikoi Butter

Ever since I made my first post about Lilikoi Butter back in early September of 2009, I have had more than 50 comments on that post alone. When I did “Lilikoi Butter Revisited” in that next summer, I received 26 more comments – a record for any of my posts – and they keep coming. Mahalo to everyone who has written about this delicious food!

People still tell me about their tricks in getting out the juice, about how their efforts turned out, and many made recommendations on what to change, or how they changed it. I’ve learned a lot but haven’t been able to make any lilikoi butter in ages.

Recently one of my readers sent an email about her overabundance of lilikoi. I asked if I could get a few for seed. When I put the last ones into the ground, they were stripped right away and never did do anything. She gave me two different kinds and this time I’m going to keep them in pots under a trellis or tree. I’m determined to get them to grow!

This afternoon I’m picking up more from her. I love them just to scoop out with a spoon and eat, but probably will freeze most as juice for use later.

Now I’m looking for anyone in my area that might have Seville Oranges for marmalade. I love the tartness of true Scottish marmalade, so regular sweet oranges don’t work. I’ve made Pink Grapefruit Marmalade but I miss the flavor of the oranges. Also, pink grapefruits aren’t always available.

A hui hou!
Lucy