White Rain Lily

I planted a few tiny bulbs about five years ago and I always forget they are there. After several nice rains, one little beauty popped its head through for me this morning. It is known for blooming only after rain, and still it is always a surprise when it does bloom. The rest of the year, I don’t even know they are there. Tiny and delicate, the leaves are like narrow blades of grass, and the bloom itself is small. The wind was blowing the blossom a bit, so one is slightly blurry. I thought you might enjoy sharing the surprise with me.

A hui hou!
Lucy

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!

This is a repeat of a post I wrote four years ago. Somehow it seemed appropriate to post it again, with an updated year!

Tonight at midnight, it will become 2014. I’ve never believed in making resolutions for the New Year. What I like to do instead is set goals, both long-term and short-term. These are usually in several categories.

My favorite book for this is Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny S. Ditzler. It’s just a little paperback that asks ten questions “for making the next twelve months your most successful ever.” I’ve used it for the past fourteen years or longer, not only for myself but for my students.

This book can be used in any area of your life, from income to relationships to self-esteem. One reason I love this book is that it starts out with looking at what you accomplished over the past year. This acknowledges the positive aspects of your life rather than just those things that didn’t work out.

We may think we know what we want for our life, but until it is written down with a bit of structure and planning, it goes nowhere. We cannot leave our life up to chance.

At the end of just a few hours you end up with a one-page summary of your plan for the next year. They become your own words of wisdom for the year. This kind of exercise can help to change your life from merely “good” to “great!” That’s something we all deserve!

May you create joy and abundance in all things this next year!

I’m off to work on my own 2014 goals!

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

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!

Lucy’s Basic Quiche

I was asked to bring quiche to a Christmas brunch with friends, but it’s been years since I made a quiche, even though I love it. This was as good a time as any to rev up my cooking skills. The proof will be in the eating!

There is a lot you can do with a quiche, and it’s hard to go wrong with the ingredients. The basic mixture of eggs, milk and cream of some sort plus seasonings is fairly standard. Some people bake the crust first in a blind-bake, but I’ve always had good luck just putting it in the raw crust. I think it’s the addition of a little flour in the egg mixture that does the trick. Others swear by coating the crust with egg white. Whatever works, right?

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Pour boiling water over ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Let this soak while you do the rest of the preparation.

Sauté the following in a little extra virgin olive oil, or do what I did and nuke the veggies about 2 minutes to soften them.
2 cups broccoli florets or 2 cups sliced Brussels sprouts
½ medium onion, diced
equivalent of 5 mushrooms, sliced (depends on size of mushrooms)
other veggies could be added, too (like spinach, chard, kale)

Prepare egg mixture:
4 or 5 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ cup commercial sour cream
¼ cup flour
1/8 teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves (chopped)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Beat until smooth, then add ½ cup grated cheese (variations below).
Drain and chop the soaked sun-dried tomatoes and add to mixture.
Pour over softened veggies and mix so all veggies are well coated.
Pour all into unbaked crust and bake about 50-60 minutes until brown and firm in the middle.

Pie Crust:
1½ cups flour
dash salt
½ cup baking oil (not olive)
2 Tablespoons cold milk
Mix the oil and milk until milky and well combined. Pour over the flour and salt. Mix well with a fork, then press the dough into the pan to make a nice crust. For this recipe, I used a 10-inch 1 ½” high tart pan with straight sides, but could be done in a regular pie pan (large).

Variations:
To make two quiches, I doubled the recipe and made them different.
1) In one, I put 2 cups broccoli florets, used Swiss cheese, and topped it with freshly grated Pecorino Romano.
2) In the other, I put 2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, used pepper jack cheese, added 1/8 teaspoon Thai red peppers (crushed) to the egg mixture, and topped it with crumbled feta.

I grow the tiny Thai red peppers in a pot outside my kitchen door. Sometimes I use them fresh, 2 or 3 in a pot of soup or stew. The ones I used for this had been dried and kept in the fridge for whenever I need dry red pepper flakes.

NOTE: Even with all the tasty ingredients, these both seemed a little bland. The one with Brussels sprouts, peppers, Jack cheese and feta seemed a bit tastier, but could have used even more of the peppers.

A hui hou!

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!

Apple-Plum Crumble

On a daily basis, I eat one of the large organic Fuji apples from Costco. The last time I bought a box, I saw these huge beautiful plums, which I bought on impulse. I love fruit, but there are just so many you can eat in a day!

Flipping through some of my favorite web sites, I found a recipe I could adapt to my own taste buds. It may have originally been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s site, but I couldn’t find it there.

Directions for topping:

Mix until crumbly:
• 1 ½ cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
• ½ cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
• 1/3 cup butter
Add ¾ cup oats and set in fridge. Preheat oven to 390F

Directions for fruit filing:
Cut 6 large plums and 2 large apples into big chunks. (I don’t peel the fruits.) Put in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook on slow heat until fruit is soft.

Place in a lightly buttered oven dish and cover with topping. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is brown enough for you.

Top with anything your stomach craves – plain cream, whipped cream, ice cream… You get the idea!

A hui hou!

The Case of the Disappearing Hen

Once upon a time, on the island of Maui in Hawai`i, there was the story of an escaped “big cat.

Everyone thought it was a black panther or something similar. That mystery was never solved, but I know someone who can verify the existence of such a big cat that was roaming around in his Up Country neighborhood on Maui. In fact, one article states that this same cat was seen “crossing an intersection going into the mountains at 9:11 Maui time on the 6th of January, 2011.” You need to scroll down to the section on Hawaii to read it.

Another story about the Maui cat can be found here.

Now I wonder if the same thing could have happened here on the Big Island of Hawai`i? Listen to my story, and if anyone knows what the predator is, please let me know.

Over the past few years, I’ve had several of my chickens either die, or be pecked to death by other hens in the coop in the traditional “pecking order” fashion.

Finally, I was down to two hens that still managed to give me eggs occasionally. When I went out to feed them one night, I took the picture above.

The next morning, there was only one hen in the coop. I searched all over for her, but found nothing. There is no way she could have gotten out. The other hen was not doing very well, scrunched down and barely moving.

I wondered if there had been cannibalism going on, but I honestly don’t know how one hen could have eaten up another whole hen over night! Each day I searched again, hoping I had overlooked a spot where the other hen could be.

The front edge of the lid to the nesting box had been chewed up and there were holes, as though something had clawed or gnawed at the soft wood.

I didn’t think much about the size of the holes until a friend came to visit. He said that the holes were too big to be from an ordinary animal. The holes were slanting downward, as if a claw had attacked the wood.

He placed a 3 mm drill bit into several of the holes and it fit them all. It’s has to be a very large animal that caused these holes!

The one hen that is left is badly damaged, as if a huge claw had come down on her back and pulled. The skin and feathers have been ripped open down to the bone.

After a week, she is beginning to move around a little more. I keep thinking she might die anytime, but she keeps eating, drinking her water, and clucking at me.

The scenario we have put together goes something like this…

The animal was strong enough to stick a nose under the lid of the nesting box and grab the hen that was there, take it away, and eat it in private. This animal must have come back later, tried to reach in to get the other hen, but she got away somehow. Because the hen wasn’t able to get back up into the nesting box, the animal couldn’t get to her, and hasn’t come back.

Does anyone know of an animal that might be roaming around, or anything that could do this sort of damage? I keep thinking of a bobcat or lynx, or maybe even an owl. If a cat, it would have to be a pet that had gotten away from its owner. We don’t have “big cats” running around on the Big Island….or do we?

A hui hou!

Pumpkin Scones

Few of my recipes are original. Like most average cooks, I find something online or in a magazine that looks good. I take it and alter it to whatever I have on hand, and/or whatever sounds right.

I found this one from King Arthur Flour Company and had to try it! You can find the original recipe here.

My version was only slightly different. As I was putting them in the oven, I wondered why the recipe didn’t call for sugar. I checked the recipe and there it was – 1/3 cup sugar!

After eating one right out of the oven, however, I realized the chocolate chips (I used about ¾ cup) and the minced crystallized ginger (I had about ½ cup), they were plenty sweet for my taste.

Instead of coarse white sparkling sugar, I sprinkled half a packet of Splenda on top of each before I stuck them in the oven.

Please check out their recipe and try them. They were easy to make and extra delicious for a fall treat!

A hui hou!

A Garden Surprise

My garden has suffered from too much neglect this fall. A friend in Hilo gifted me some “old” unwanted plants. One was a pot of orchids that seriously needed to be divided. I’ve been trying to remember to nurture them along until I could do something with them. I have managed to sprinkle them with a little water from time to time, so they have survived (barely).

One morning as I was leaving for school, this is what I saw. Not only that, but there are four more spikes about ready to open up anytime. What a delightful surprise!

I have no idea what variety they are, so if someone knows, please let me know. Now that I have seen how beautiful they are, and as soon as they have finished their blooming, I’ll divide them and get them into my “orchid patch” under the ohia tree.

A hui hou!

Lava to Lilikoi – homesteading, food, travel, and philosophy from the side of a volcano in rural Hawai`i