Category Archives: HOLIDAYS

No Labor Day For All

1-machinery

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

An Old Southern Memory

The college I attended right after graduating from high school was Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. I spent the majority of the decade of the fifties in Jackson, a decade of great turmoil in the South. I don’t need to remind you what that decade was all about.

My young husband and I went in to register to vote and pay our poll tax. Somewhere deep in a box I still have mine. If I can find it before I post this, I’ll include a picture of it. In the meantime, I’ve used a picture of me at that age. (It is a picture that brings tears as well as laughter!)

Allow me to describe the scene when we registered for the first time in our lives to have the privilege of voting. In order to vote, not only did you have to pay the poll tax, you had to answer a political/historical question. The one we were asked, as “just turned 21” white kids, was “Who was the first president of the United States?” – a question even most first-graders could answer.

There was a young African-American man at the counter, also wanting to register to vote. His question was something like “Who was Patrick Henry and what did he have to do with the Federalist Papers?”

When Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to bring more freedom to his people, in all actuality, it was for all people. On January 23, 1964, the 24th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. No longer would anyone have to pay a poll tax or answer silly questions in order to vote.

We will honor his birthday tomorrow, January 16, 2012, even though today is his actual date of his birth, January 15. It is with great admiration that we have this day of celebration.

A hui hou!

Words

Many of us have read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert written in 2007. The notion of using three words to define a specific period of her life, some have started to seek out three words that relate to their own life. One blogging author finds three words to symbolize her year, both in how she writes and in how she lives.

Just for fun, I decided to try the same thing, but somehow the idea of having to keep three words in mind all year felt a little overwhelming. I’m not sure if that’s because of my schedule or my aging brain!

I chose to concentrate on one word each month, instead. I think what I’m needing out of these words is a shift in attitude more than doing more of what I do, or doing it better. We’ll see if this concept works out by the end of the year.

Somewhere over the past decade, I’ve given up dreaming of what my life could be, or what I want out of life. This year of 2012 is a time for me to examine my dreams and goals in life once more. So I have chosen “Dream” as my word for January, and I don’t intend for this to be just “daydreaming” (as in wishful thinking).

However I apply the word I choose each month, I believe it is important for our mind and soul to actually pursue something in our lives, whether that is change or expansion – or simply staying open to new possibilities.

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
Happy New Year!

Mele Kalikimaka!

We may not have a White Christmas in Hawaii
(except on top of Mauna Kea)
but we do have an incredible display of poinsettias!

All along the highway we find massive blooms,
some in long banks of poinsettia hedges –
others peeking out from behind trees.

As late as April,
I have seen a wayward bloom
here and there that
simply didn’t want to go away.

Wherever you are in this world,
I send you joy in this wonderful holiday season.

A hou hou!
and
Mele Kalikimaka!

Fireworks on Waikiki!

One week ago we celebrated Fourth of July as a nation. I was attending a conference on Oahu, staying in a hotel on Waikiki. I had a ring-side seat to the fantastic fireworks display.

Waiting for the big event, I watched the sun drop down behind the horizon, something we all seem to love – and there’s nothing quite like a sunset on Waikiki.

I was able to get a short video on my little Nikon CoolPix camera. It may be a little blurry or shaky, but in case you missed the fireworks somewhere else, you can watch this YouTube. Pretend you are sitting with me on the balcony of my hotel on beautiful Waikiki Beach!

A hui hou!

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!!!

SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
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SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS

 

. . . from the redwood forest . . .

 

I posted this two years ago, and it is still the way I feel about our country! Enjoy this RE-post and Happy Fourth of July, 2011!

Who among us doesn’t remember singing along and feeling proud of our countryside? It was an era of protesting the educational system, the government, the war, the “establishment” in general, and anything else we could protest, but we loved our land – the unique geography that makes up these United States.

In fact, there is a movement to change our National Anthem to something more sing-able. I cast my vote for “This Land Is Your Land.”

During the past few weeks while I was in California, I re-visited the coastal range where I’d spent so much time during the 70s and 80s. Some of those years were spent in the San Francisco Bay Area and some were along the Central Coast of San Luis Obispo County, but it’s all fairly similar.

Winding through the streets from Palo Alto toward the Pacific Ocean, I felt the same sense of freedom that I had so many decades ago. Much has changed, but the terrain will remain the same forever, I think.

Because I was at the wheel, I couldn’t take as many pictures as I wanted to, so mostly they exist only in my mind’s eye. I was able to stop and get a few shots, however.

One of the stopping points along the crest was the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. This sign warns visitors what to do in case they encounter a mountain lion.

WINDY HILL OPEN SPACE PRESERVE
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WINDY HILL OPEN SPACE PRESERVE

 

Beyond the sign, a path led into the preserve area. The sky was just as beautiful as I remember it. We used to call the hills “golden,” even though they were basically just “brown.” I still love those golden rolling slopes.

ON THE TRAIL
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ON THE TRAIL

 

This preserve of 1,312 acres includes 12.2 miles of trail. Please check this link to read more about it.

MAP OF THE PRESERVE
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MAP OF THE PRESERVE

 

If you carefully cross the road from the parking area, you get a spectacular view of the Peninsula.

VIEWS ACROSS THE PENINSULA
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VIEWS ACROSS THE PENINSULA

 

Another stop along the drive was by a restaurant that was closed for the day. It was explained to me about the “second-growth” redwoods. As you can see here, there is a cluster of trees around a bare piece of ground. The original old redwood was either logged out over 150 years ago or could have been hit by lightning. These new “baby trees” sprouted up around where the mother tree had been.

MORE SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
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MORE SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS

 

The opening photo gives another perspective on a grove of second-growth trees. These magnificent trees may be relatively young, but they still take my breath away – and make me proud that they are a part of my country.

VIEW THROUGH THE REDWOODS
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VIEW THROUGH THE REDWOODS

 

The tops of the trees just seem to reach toward the sky for an eternity!

REACHING FOR THE SKY
REACHING FOR THE SKY

 

When I stopped for gas at a crossroads, I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a shot of Alice’s Restaurant! This is not the restaurant that inspired Arlo Guthrie’s song of protest against war. In fact, it is the other way around – this restaurant took its name from the song. The original “Alice’s Restaurant” was in Massachusetts. It seemed appropriate somehow, to include this bit of nostalgia here.

ALICE'S RESTAURANT
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ALICE’S RESTAURANT

 

We had lunch at Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero – a busy spot where some of the very finest food can be found. I started with a bowl of Cream of Green Chili Soup, a dish I’m going to experiment with making at home. It was heavenly, but there was no way they were going to give me the recipe! I followed the soup with a fried oyster roll. It’s hard to say which was better! A dessert of warm Ollieberry pie with ice cream was shared with my friend.

Even though I live in “Paradise,” there is a lot about California I miss. What I do not miss is the traffic, which has gotten worse since I left. I’ve become too accustomed to a more casual lifestyle. Still, I intend to keep visiting whenever I get the chance.

Today, we could write more verses to add to our song that would include our island state of Hawai`i, or our northernmost state of Alaska. All fifty states are worth going to see! If you have never been to California, it’s worth braving the crowds and traffic to see a special part of our incredible country. “This land was made for you and me.”

You might enjoy watching a video of a this modern-day song that reminds us of what our country is and what it stands for on this Fourth of July Weekend.

 

A hui hou!

 

Kele’s Garden Revisited

Our Big Island Self-Sufficiency group (BISS) here on the Big Island meets quarterly for a potluck and to share or exchange seeds, plants and cuttings. Other people there took lots of pictures, but you can see pictures I took at last year’s gathering here.

Kele’s garden is still full of banana trees and various tropical plants that would fill any gardener’s heart with envy! Needless to say, the food was excellent! I came away with several small plants and a bag of various seeds. Some of the items were new to me, like these.

Sonia is another garden and food blogger. She makes sure everything is in its right place! “Hot dishes go here, cold dishes go here, and desserts are over there – and I’m so happy you could join us!” Be sure to check out her blog from yesterday to find out a bit of the history behind BISS, and see more pictures from our gatherings.

This year, several of our members brought musical instruments to jam. I was able to get a couple video clips of them playing. Ignore the background chatter of all the people (65 people showed up!) in this YouTube, and you might hear the music that reminded me of my old “hippie” days in California. My little camera may not produce the finest fidelity, but the music was good toe-tappin’ stuff!

Peter played Mandolin, Altar played guitar (sometimes they switched), Phil played banjo and harmonica, Melanie played violin. Peter and Altar are from the Akaka Pit Stop where you can buy fresh fruits and veggies from their farm when you are on the Hilo side of the Big Island. Be sure to check out their website and tell them I sent you!

A hui hou!

Happy Father’s Day!

AL JONES WITH UKELELE
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AL JONES WITH UKELELE

This is a post from two years ago, but I wanted to post it again this year as a tribute to everyone with a Jones heritage, and in memory of my cousin Don who left us this past week.

This post is to honor the memory of my own father who would have been 102 years old this July, and he died 42 years ago this fall at the young age of 60, an early recipient of open heart surgery.

He was an artist – see one of his pen and ink drawings at the end of my brother’s post on London. I have many more of his that are done in the same style.

He was a musician – he accompanied my mother on piano while she played violin. Besides that, he was an accomplished pianist and had a beautiful Welsh voice. He gave up much of his own piano playing time in order to let me practice. The above picture shows him in his teens, playing ukulele. I still have that very same uke.

He was a pastor – a United Methodist minister and still in active ministry when he died. I don’t think that’s the reason I went into the ministry, but it certainly was in my “blood.” His father before him was also a pastor, in true “circuit rider” tradition, shown here with his horse and saddlebags heading out to preach.

M.R. JONES, CIRCUIT RIDER
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M.R. JONES, CIRCUIT RIDER

And he was a jokester. One of the many practical jokes he played on some of the old ladies in the church was with a woman who was always picking lint off the shoulder of his suit. One Sunday, he put a spool of thread in his pocket and fixed one end of the thread on his sleeve. Sure enough, she started to pull the thread off, and it kept coming and coming and coming. I’m not sure it cured her, but we had a laugh over that.

I called him “Daddy,” a truly Southern term of endearment, and since he was from the Deep South (Mississippi), it was an appropriate title for him.

Here are a few of my gardening projects that he would appreciate. So many of the foods and flowers I grow are ones that are reminiscent of Mississippi –Pole Beans, for example, and so much more.

I would say that at the top of the list I’d find peanuts! I remember these from the home of my Grandpa Jones (above). He always grew the best peanuts right in his front yard. Here are mine just starting to sprout.

PEANUTS SPROUTING
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PEANUTS SPROUTING

In the South, we ate peanuts roasted or boiled or raw, but my favorite way was raw from his stash of peanuts that were hanging up to dry, like these few I harvested here.

DRYING PEANUTS
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DRYING PEANUTS

I grew up eating mustards and collards. I still grow as many as I can, and eat them often. So delicious!

MUSTARDS AND COLLARDS
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MUSTARDS AND COLLARDS

Then of course, there are the figs! The ones in the South were so sweet and juicy. The two I harvested from this little tree last year were just like I remembered. Looks like I’ll get more than two this year.

WHITE FIGS
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WHITE FIGS

I can’t forget the gardenias that are synonymous with the South. In my early marriage (1950s) there was a gardenia bush as tall as the roof by my kitchen door in Jackson, Mississippi. Daddy loved gardenias, too, and sometimes wore one in the lapel of his suit on Sunday morning. So far, I haven’t had much luck in growing them here, but I’ve had a couple blooms show up. [Since I originally wrote this, I now have a bush that is several feet high and produces beautiful gardenias!]

GARDENIA
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GARDENIA

With all his talent and humor, not to mention the white hair, I think it’s fairly obvious that this man was the father of my brother and me!

AL JONES-1964
AL JONES-1964

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world! To quote an old cliché, “If it wasn’t for you, the rest of us wouldn’t be here.”

A hui hou!

A New Year For The Old Me!

During the current semester break, several events came together that caused me to stop and remember who I was am. Perhaps everyone would find it valuable to take time to remember who they were in a “past life,” i.e., in their younger years. Many surprises will arise out of that exercise.

One of those revealing events for me came in the form of an email from my brother. He had sent me a link to a beautiful site called “Trawlers and Tugs Blog.” http://trawlersntugs.com/blog/ All she does is cover art about working boats. I suggest you check it out because of the beautiful art work in her posts.

In response to his email, I said that as much as I enjoyed painting with watercolors, I have taken no time to indulge in anything artistic – and that I missed it. It was his answer that made me think. He said, “It bothers me that you don’t take time for yourself to make music, paint, sew, act, direct, etc. All my life I associated those kind of things with you.” I promised him I would start again.

Another revealing event is one that actually comes every other spring semester. I teach a course called “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” It’s my favorite class to teach, and yet I put my own artistic past aside and simply teach others how to draw on their creativity.

Sometimes I get a glimpse of that “old Lucy” when I’m teaching other courses, too, but I shove it aside in the interest of the students. This year in my preparation for the “expressive arts” class to begin on January 10, it came to me that I need to take an active part in the very class I teach on creativity.

When I find myself re-reading books like Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life’s Purpose, Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life’s Purpose by Lindsay C. Gibson, Psy.D, or other books about finding “the authentic you,” then I know there is something I’m needing to pay attention to. These books finished pulling everything together for me.

So I went out to my storage shed and started rummaging around for my art materials, deeply buried. When I opened up the first box of pastels, I said “Ohhh!” right out loud. The brilliant colors took my breath away, and tears came into my eyes. I cleaned up an old oak index card file box I have, put all my boxes of pastels in it, and placed it with a big art pad. These are going into my car to have handy.

Perhaps you are someone who has already re-discovered the “old you” – the authentic you – and are living the life you were meant to live. If so, I congratulate you! My suspicion is that most who will read this post need a reminder to take time this New Year and think about who they are.

As an instructor, I must be authentic if I want to continue to inspire my students to be authentic – and creative.

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
(Happy New Year!)

This Week of Lights

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, meaning “dedication,” is an eight-day Festival of Lights celebrated by the Jewish faith. This year, it began at sunset on December 1.

The second temple in Jerusalem was rededicated after a successful uprising of the Jews against the Syrian government. Their leader, Judah Maccabee, lit the branched menorah, which was to burn every night.

According to legend, there was only enough olive oil to keep this candelabrum burning for one night, but it continued for eight nights. This gave them time to locate more oil to keep it burning after that time. This is an exceptionally abbreviated history of this celebration, but you can read more details of the history behind Hanukkah here.

Traditionally, latkes or potato pancakes are eaten during this period of time. You may wonder what the connection is between potato pancakes and Hanukkah. The latkes are fried in generous amounts of oil to symbolize the oil that kept the menorah burning for eight nights, although I imagine in today’s time, many look for lower fat ways to make their latkes. Just recently, I saw a recipe for sweet potato latkes that looked delicious and healthy!

The basic recipe for latkes is grated potato and onion mixed with a beaten egg, a couple tablespoons of matzo meal or flour, salt and pepper to taste, and made into small pancakes. These are smashed flat and fried in a skillet in several tablespoons of olive oil, turning to brown on both sides. I remember eating these topped with applesauce. I have read that the starchier the potato, the crispier the latke. If you search Google for latkes, you’ll find all sorts of variations.

Oh my, I’m getting hungry for latkes!

Shalom!

Season of Light

During the month of December, there are many celebrations from various cultures, faiths, and events to remember.

Many of these are linked to the winter solstice, which has been celebrated throughout history as the “rebirth of the sun.” The natural rotation of the earth was not known in earlier times, so the shortest day of the year (December 21) and the gradual lengthening of days afterward took on a meaning that has largely been forgotten.

We don’t know the exact date of the birth of Jesus, but over time, his birth was also associated with this “birth of the sun,” or many say “birth of the Son.” Early Christian celebrations were generally observed on days that were already holy days, such as the solstice, to help make the transition to Christianity.

…Shab-e yalda, the rebirth of the sun, was an ancient Iranian ceremony that reflected the basics of goodness and light against evil and darkness. (from Suite 101 – see link)

There are many other interesting days of celebration listed on that last link, including The Festival of the Wild Women!

Because I spent many years in Arizona, and Tucson in particular, one of my favorite December traditions is Las Posadas. This procession is a reenactment of the trip Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem. A group dressed as angels, shepherds, and the holy couple go from house to house seeking shelter. The word posadas means “lodging” in Spanish. At each home, these “pilgrims” are served various foods, including tamales.

There are many other dates to honor during December, but three stand out for me as a special way of honoring this season of lights. They are World AIDS Day on December 1, Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, and Human Rights Day on December 10.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Lessons from Lava

The official theme of this blog is ” homesteading, food, travel, and philosophy from the side of a volcano in rural Hawai`i.” So far, I’ve done mostly the first three, but very little of the fourth – philosophy. I could elaborate philosophically on many topics, and over the next few months, bear with me as do more of that.

The official title of this blog is “Lava to Lilikoi,” and that is a great deal like saying “how to make lemonade out of lemons.” In other words, when given an acre of lava, how do you produce lilikoi (our name for passion fruit) in abundance?

The drought has discouraged me from doing a lot of gardening, although I did plant 45 garlic cloves this week! They don’t like a lot of water, so this area should be perfect for them. I bought a pound of California softneck garlic from an heirloom seed company, since most stores sell garlic that is treated to prevent it from sprouting. (I understand that health food stores might have organic non-treated garlic, however.)

The opening photo shows some of these garlic bulbs, plus a few miniature pumpkins from the grocery store, and a couple of even tinier acorn squash that never did grow big enough to eat!

One of the many lessons of gardening I have learned has been not to plant anything that requires plenty of water, plenty of rich soil, or a different climate.

For example, my geraniums have taken over various spots of my acre, and they add a great deal of color to an otherwise gray landscape. Herbs in pots are growing nicely. I have been able to get some delicious beets and arugula occasionally. My donkey tails seem to do well. Palms that don’t require a lot of water are doing okay. Various flowering shrubs have done fine (when the Mouflon sheep don’t eat them). Other veggies did quite well when we had regular rains, or when the birds didn’t eat them.

Please don’t mistake this for complaining! I’m just stating facts about my own particular situation. Everyone in my garden club seems to be suffering from the drought, too.

So on this weekend after Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks for the beautiful ancient ohia trees scattered around my acre, for the hens that give me delicious fresh eggs, for the splashes of magenta, purple, orange, blue, red, pink , white and yellow that adorn my lava “lawn,” for a year-round temperature that allows me to be free from snow and ice. Living and gardening on lava makes me thankful for every single sprout!

I’m also grateful for my friends, whether here or on the mainland, who keep in touch; for my students who challenge me, and who keep my mind active and alert; for good health that permits me to continue gardening and teaching; and for my family members who make me proud to be their mama, grandma, and great-grandma, sister, cousin and aunt!

Finally, I’m grateful for my little Katrina, a sweet and photogenic joy in my life! Doesn’t she look pretty in blue?

A hui hou!