Category Archives: LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

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,

New Home!

1-spring flowers

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!

Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens

During a recent seminar for college teachers, I played unofficial tour guide to several of my colleagues from other parts of the United States.

One of the women in the group had been watching for the so-called “corpse flower” to bloom. We were told that the flower was to bloom at the Pana`ewa Zoo and Gardens. The seminar we were attending was held at our Volcano National Park, so we were not far from the zoo’s location just outside the town of Hilo.

Even after all the years I’ve lived here, I had never been to the zoo. After all, I had lived in San Diego for many years, and had grown up near St. Louis, both cities having zoos that are rather spectacular! I had envisioned this local zoo as a small and rather insignificant display.

I was wrong! I was amazed at the variety of rainforest flora and fauna they have gathered. Not only do I plan to return for a more leisurely visit, but I will recommend it highly to future visitors to our beautiful island.

We found the display of the “corpse flower,” but we were one day late to see it in full bloom, as it’s a very short-lived blossom. However, we were able to see it before it completely went away, and get a whiff of its decaying flesh aroma.

Follow this link to view a slide show of the rainforest.

A hui hou!

“Wine and Words”

If you haven’t checked out Kona Stories, give yourself a treat and stop by. There is much more than books to be found as you cruise through, and comfy chairs where you can relax.

Kona Stories was begun five years ago by Brenda Eng and Joy Vogelgesang. They recently moved from Mango Court to the Keauhou Shopping Center. Be sure to check out their web site for the many events going on there.

For me, one of the highlights offered by the shop is the monthly “Wine and Words.” This happens at 6:00 pm the first Tuesday of each month, when various local authors are invited to read excerpts from a book they have written. As you wait to listen, you can visit with friends, browse the shelves and enjoy a glass of wine (or water) along with a few pupus.

Last week I attended with several friends to listen to Nancee Cline, who teaches English at our West Campus of Hawaii Community College. There was standing room only as Nancee read from her book, Queen Emma’s Church in Kealakekua: Crossroads of Culture. She began by saying it was so much more than simply a history of the church. Her book is rich with anecdotes, interviews, and more.

After the reading, people lined up to visit with Nancee and buy an autographed copy.

I didn’t get a chance to cruise through the shop as much as I would like because it was way too crowded. That won’t be the last time I stop by, however. I want to return for a visit with the store’s mascot!

Congratulations, Nancee! We’re proud of your accomplishments.

A hui hou!

Hawai`i Tropical Botanical Garden

Last Saturday, a small group from the Ocean View Garden Club visited the Hawai`i Tropical Botanical Garden just north of Hilo on Onomea Bay. As long as I have lived here, I was not aware this existed. It’s a wonderful place to take visitors and I definitely will go back myself! Admission is $15 per person and there is a discount for a group of 10 or more. We took lunch with us and ate at a picnic table by one of the inlets.

I have taken pictures of the signs that tell the history of the garden. Be sure to read them carefully. I apologize for not being able to give you the sound of the ocean in the background as you amble along the path.

I usually go through and pick the best 10 to 15 best pictures out of a group, but this time, I will not do that. I have put them all into a slide show so you can look through them at your leisure, and pretend that you are walking through the garden.

From the back of the map:

Founded by Dan and Pauline Lutkenhouse in 1978, the Garden was opened to the public in 1984. The Founders purchased seventeen acres on the ocean and spent six years hand-clering the impenetrable tropical jungle to create the winding trails and outstanding beauty you will experience as you walk through the Garden. They later purchased an additional twenty acres and donated the entire thirty-seven acres to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, establishing a non-profit nature preserve.

I have included a few pictures of the inside of the gift shop, as well as a glance at the map and trail guide we were given when we entered. My neck is sore from looking up so much. Plants that we may have only seen in a much smaller size in our own gardens are monsters here. Even if you would like to, you don’t need to know the names of all the plants in order to enjoy their beauty.

Follow me as I take you down this path into a garden of delights! Click here to view the slide show.

A hui hou!

Seven-Link Challenge

One of the blogs about blogging I read is ProBlogger. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? This week, there was a challenge to respond to seven categories. I decided to take part, mostly because it requires some thinking about my posts in the past and where I’d like to go in the future. Here are the seven categories:

1) My first post.
I started this blog as a record for myself only. I was trying to make soil from compost and other materials in order to get something to grow on this acre of rocky lava we call a`a.

2) The post I enjoyed writing the most.
The reason I enjoyed this post is that it is about a special family event I wasn’t able to attend. My first granddaughter got married in October on the mainland and I couldn’t get away from teaching to fly over. Also, I didn’t take the pictures, but it showed several of my children and grandchildren. Needless to say, I shed a few happy tears as I put it together in a post.

3) A post which had a great discussion
I’ve written about lilikoi (Passion fruit) several times and each post brings more discussion than anything else I write about. Mainland readers probably don’t have a clue what lilikoi is, so it’s mostly Hawaii residents who get into great discussions about this fruit with an unusual flavor.

4) A post on someone else’s blog I wish I’d written.
My brother writes a blog that is way more popular than mine, and he tells of great things to do in and around the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area. Like me, he writes about his travels. He and I had just been to England, and we both loved London. I absolutely love this post he did all in black and white photography. It gave me an entirely new perspective to London.

5) My most helpful post.
This post was about a little book that has guided my life and the lives of others over and over. If you are looking for a way to set goals and objectives for the next year, this is the book that will help you.

6) A post with a title I am proud of.
I think the reason I’m most proud of this title is because it represents several decades of waiting to have my book of the same name published. It is about a book I used in my psychology practice and with students. It can also be a self-help book by exploring some hidden meanings in your life.

7) A post that I wish more people had read.
This was posted to honor AIDS Day, and invites us to look at our lives and how we respond to unexpected events in our lives. AIDS awareness is growing, but still not enough.

It took me a while to decide on each of these categories. There are so many posts that would fit into each category. After looking at these seven posts, I get a good sense of where my pleasures reside in writing this blog. My topics have evolved quite a bit over the past two years, and on an unconscious level, I think I have been going in the direction that most suits me best.

I hope you are finding these rambling posts helpful when you garden or cook or travel or reflect on life.

A hui hou!


Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Ocean View Salon


This post is completely out of character for my blog, but it does tell you of one of our local businesses. About two years ago, I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time ever in my life! I always thought I had ugly toes and feet (I still worry about that), but I discovered that a good pedicure can do wonders! My ugly toes are gone forever! (Oops! See addendum below.)

Christie Gibson is well known beyond Ocean View for her unique designs and results. Check out her website to read more about her, to see photos of unique nails, articles by and about Christie, and much more. Click on the picture of the salon group on her website to see the entire staff.

If you enlarge that photo, Charlie (the one with the red streak in her hair) is the one who always does my pedicures. And Charlie learned from Christie, the very best. It’s fun to know that our little community of Ocean View is home to so much fame. Here is Christie at work on a customer.


There are so many colors and designs to choose from, even for the lowly toe!


The earrings are made by Marty, and I have bought several pair of the big ones, of course.


Here is a little photo story of my pedicure last week. While I relax in a vibrating massage chair, my tired feet get a good soaking. Gardening in lava is hard on feet!


Pictures cannot describe the delight of having your calluses sanded, followed by a lower leg massage. I got Charlie to stop concentrating on her work long enough to take her picture.


After nails and cuticles are trimmed, the painting process begins.


The color coat is brushed on in two layers. There were other things brushed on, too, but I’m not sure what they were for – perhaps to make sure the paint stayed on longer?


I usually get something in blues or purple, sometimes even green. This was the first time I opted for cherry red. I decided on little white footprints for my “nail art” this time. In the spring, I had tulips. You can see the footprints in the opening photo as one of many choices. Charlie is carefully painting them onto my big toes.


At last, here’s the finished product, waiting to dry before I head home.


As I left, I took a shot of the length of the salon from the front door. You’ll find this shop tucked in the strip of shops on the mauka (mountain) side of Ocean View, near Ace Hardware.


It’s a friendly, professional, and neighborly place to spend an hour or so. I try to get a pedicure with a new and different paint job every couple of months as a special treat for myself. I highly recommend it for anyone! This isn’t a salon for “women only,” by the way. Men come here for haircuts or for a pedicure to ease their tired and sore feet, also.

A hui hou!

Addendum: Two days after I had this pedicure, I stubbed my right toe and ripped the entire beautiful toenail right off! OUCH! It is wrapped in a bandaid now, while I’m hobbling around, wondering if I should see a podiatrist. All that fun with Charlie for naught!


Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Bite Me! Fish Market Bar & Grill


The first time I visited Bite Me! was within the first week it was open, and I was … uh … hooked! I love fresh fish, and if there is anything I love more, it’s fresh fish tacos. I’ve eaten them in many places, and made my own on the beaches of Puerto Peñasco in Mexico, and more recently, at El Pachuco right down the street from where I live.


When I’m in Kailua-Kona, I love taking friends to Bite Me! for their fresh fish tacos and any of the other fabulous fish on the menu. You can find the menu on their website.

“Fish” is the resident kitty. I tried to take a picture of her, but she scampered away. Look closely and you’ll see her tail disappearing among the bar stools.


Later, she came to me and jumped up on my lap while I was talking with Captain Brian, owner of Bite Me! He held her while I snapped this photo. He and I discovered we’d both been “liveaboards” on our respective sailboats, but in different parts of the world.


He said another friend had caught a rare picture of Fish. He sent it to me to include here. Many mahalos to Brian’s friend for letting me use it.


Inside the market you can pick from the very freshest fish to take home.


Most of us dine outside on the deck overlooking the harbor.


You can also eat inside . . .



. . . but who would want to do that when you can sit outside, enjoy the sun and fresh breezes – and watch the boats? It makes me homesick to watch others on their sailboats!


A whiteboard sign at the entrance shows the day’s specials.


At the table you are presented with a full menu. I love the cover.


Their dessert menu is one of those “to die for” listings. My friend Judy always asks for a root beer float, while I just order another fish taco.


As you leave, there is a full array of t-shirts you can buy to boast about your own “catch of the day.” You can enjoy a day of fishing on one of Captain Brian’s Bite Me! boats.


The next time you are hungry, head out toward the Honokohau Harbor in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai`i, drive past the docks on the right to the area where boats on trailers are being launched and retrieved. Look for the Bite Me! sign, and you will not be disappointed.

A side note: I found out later that Tim, the chef at Bite Me! and Captain Brian have been good friends ever since their childhood. What a neat way to honor that friendship!

A hui hou!

Fish Tacos at El Pachuco


In November, I wrote a post about El Pachuco, the Mexican café at the bottom of my road. I love to stop by there to pick up supper for myself as often as I think I can afford the calories. When I drove by yesterday, there was a sign out on the road that said “fish tacos.”

Well, that’s my favorite way of having tacos, so I couldn’t resist going in. Evie had acquired some fresh ono, a delicious local fish. For $6 I had two huge fish tacos filled with fresh ono chunks lightly braised in olive oil, dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, grated cheese, and sour cream, plus beans and rice. Oh my!

“Ono” means “delicious” or “good to eat” in Hawai`ian and there is no doubt that these tacos were ono! Thanks again, Evie, for being there!

A hui hou!

Road Sights


The theme for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is “looking.” So I am always on the lookout for sights along our Hawaii roads that might not be typical in other parts of the world. The sight above is fairly normal on the Big Island – driving into the vog, sulfuric air resulting from our volcano.

As we drive into the area of Kilauea, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, you can see the steam vents alongside the road.


Then take a look at this load of outriggers I was following not long ago. I think this is what they call a “wide load!”


A hui hou!

Banyan Trees


Don’t you just love the old banyan trees lining Banyan Drive that circles a small peninsula extending out into Hilo Bay? The banyans there were planted as saplings by celebrities a mere 75 years ago. A plaque by each tree tells who planted it and when.

The banyan is actually a fig, a member of the ficus family. What we see are aerial prop roots that surround the actual trunk, making it spread out and look many times larger. The largest of this species is in India, but another one was planted in 1873 in Lahaina on Maui, and now covers almost an acre. The link above shows a picture of that particular one. Scroll down until you see it on the right.

I took the photo above one afternoon when I stopped at the beach park in Hilo to take a nap in my car. The cool shade and sea breeze made for perfect snoozing!

A hui hou!

Ka’u Coffee Festival


Right away, I headed for the food booths. I know how delicious Pahala foods can be! The 4-H booth served beef plate lunches from home-grown beef.


Typical local-style plate lunch is a meat, “two scoop” rice, and macaroni salad.


Dane and Terri Shibuya are good friends. Dane is the Community Policeman for Ka’u District. They are also owners and operators of Masazo’s Pig Farm.


Their oldest daughter was missing in this Shibuya family photo, because she is on the mainland working on a graduate degree. Their daughter Brandi was First Princess of the Ka’u Coffee Festival.


After a huge plate lunch, it’s time for dessert!


Is that a “shave ice” he has?


Honu`apo, a local beach also known by some as Whittington Beach, had their own booth . . .


. . . and the women working the booth showed off their beautiful shirts. The profits go to return the beach to its original state.


New plans are underway to continue renovation of Honu`apo. For a previous post about Honu`apo, click here.


There will be a special ho`olaule`a (festival) on Labor Day Weekend, 2010 at Honu`apo to celebrate. Watch for more information.

The Coffee Festival brought out folks from all over the island, and probably elsewhere.


Inside the exhibit hall . . .


. . . various coffee growers had their coffees on display and available for tasting.


There were also displays of foods by local culinary students and chefs.


Be sure to look at the slideshow at the end to see each of these individually, and read the names of the dishes. It’s too bad they weren’t available for tasting! I’d love to have some of these recipes.


Other booths featured crafts, some decorated with traditional Hawai`ian designs . . .


. . . and various items made from coffee bags. Ka’u coffee is quickly taking over the Kona monopoly in flavor. If you get a chance, be sure to try some.


I had a chance to visit with my friend, Kazu, who caught me up on various other people who had been members of my church there in Pahala.


There were “choke” (plenty) food booths. You can tell the people of Ka’u love to eat!


Anywhere else, we might call it all “ethnic foods,” but here it’s just “local.”


Here is a luscious display of local Ka’u produce. The weekly farmers’ market is usually loaded with wonderful fruits and veggies, homemade breads and more.


No gathering in Hawai`i is quite complete without a good local band.


Pahala is a small sugar plantation village. When I moved there in early 1996, the plantation had been closed less than two years. They seem to have rallied over the years. If you are driving around the Big Island, be sure to stop and visit this historical spot.


To see individual pictures of all these photos, view this slideshow.


Click here for a larger view of the slideshow. You will be rewarded!

A hui hou!