May Day/Lei Day!

LEHUA BLOSSOMS ON OHIA TREE
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LEHUA BLOSSOMS ON OHIA TREE

What do you think of when May 1 comes along?

The Lehua blossoms on the Ohia tree above are one sure sign that we are on the verge of summer. By May 1, the trees are loaded with red blooms and more are opening up.

When I was a little girl many moons ago, on May 1, we made little baskets to hang on the door knobs of neighbors. Sometimes these were baskets folded out of construction paper strips that we had made in school. Not as frequently, we were able to go to the “dime store” and buy a few little woven straw baskets.

Whatever we used, we filled them with flowers as our way of saying “Happy Spring!” on May 1, or May Day. Even today, May Day is celebrated here in Hawai`i as “Lei Day” with hula, everyone wearing lots of leis, and the crowning of the May King and Queen in the schools.

When I was a senior in high school, I was a member of the May Queen’s court. As a child, I enjoyed dancing the May Pole Dance, which originated in Great Britain.

For those who have ever done any sailing, “Mayday!” meant a life and death situation at sea. Fortunately, I never had to radio that emergency when I lived on board my boat.

However you think of “May Day,” it primarily means lots of flowers and a feeling of new life in our gardens. Here are a few signs of “new life” as we begin the month of May.

I call this my “Buttercup” plant because of the many yellow blooms that cover it. Some have already fallen off but there are many more buds ready to open up.

BUTTERCUP PLANT
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BUTTERCUP PLANT

Blossoms on my little coffee tree was one of the many surprises I found this past week! What do you think the chances are that I’ll get a cup of coffee out of this?

COFFEE TREE IN BLOOM
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COFFEE TREE IN BLOOM

Two weeks ago, I planted three Spic & Span gladiolus bulbs and today, I saw that two of them have sent up spikes of almost two inches! Today, I also planted one Florence Vaughn Canna
and one Canna Indica. I can hardly wait to see these all sprout.

Somehow, I have squash vines coming up in the oddest places, especially where I did not plant them! I think the birds have left me these gifts. At any rate, here’s one of the squash plants that many people around here eat. Sometimes they get about two feet long! The vines must be spreading out at least four or five feet. Here is a squash and I have no idea what kind it is. I have another one growing where I planted okra!

VOLUNTEER SQUASH
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VOLUNTEER SQUASH

The fig tree my daughters gave me last spring has five branches covered with figs. Here is just one branch! There were two figs on it last summer and they were sweet. It looks like I’ll have more than two to eat this year, if the birds don’t get them!

FIGS
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FIGS

I’ve planted nasturtiums to cover some of the areas that are not hospitable to other plants. They have just started to come up.

NASTURTIUM
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NASTURTIUM

My donkey tail is getting plump. I need to make or buy some macramé hangers to get them up where they can really grow.

DONKEY TAIL
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DONKEY TAIL

My mixture of salad greens is about ready to give me a little salad.

SALAD GREENS
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SALAD GREENS

Along with the salad makings, I have several beautiful basils. Here is the Siam Basil.

SIAM BASIL
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SIAM BASIL

I have planted Holy Basil, also, but it’s not big enough to see yet. The Sweet Basil is growing like crazy, however. This picture was taken last week, and it’s about three times as big now. You can see the small lettuce plants a student gave me beside the basil. The other day, I ate a fresh sweet basil, tomato, and Jarlsberg cheese sandwich on whole grain bread that was heavenly.

SWEET BASIL
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SWEET BASIL

A common flower, but one of my favorites, is the geranium. These red ones are in pots outside my kitchen window, taking their cheer inside.

This peach colored geranium is starting to get a little growth on it.

PEACH GERANIUM
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PEACH GERANIUM

Today I did a lot of pruning, planting, watering, and weeding – then fed the weeds to my hens. On these warm, sunny days, I run out of time with so many projects to take care of. Once school is out (just one more week!), I’ll be able to spend more time outside.

A hui hou!

A New Blog on the Horizon!

Later this month,  Lavalily will be ten years old! It’s hard to believe that I found that much to say, or that people found something in it they thought was worth reading.

I will continue to post here occasionally but I have started a new blog that will document a research project I’m launching as I take a sabbatical this fall semester. If you would like to check it out, please go to  lljonesperennials.com and my first post here.  I will return to my teaching position in the spring semester 2019.

Mahalo for being a reader of “Lavalily” over the years.

A hui hou!

Lilikoi Butter

 

First, you need to know that “lilikoi” is our Hawai`ian word for passionfruit, the fruit of the Passion Flower vine. Read the Wikipedia religious explanation of the word “passion.” But I’m passionate about the passionfruit (groan), which I know mostly as lilikoi.

In January, I wrote about trying to grown my own, but I haven’t had much luck so far. In that post, I also included a recipe for lilikoi butter, but I’ve refined it a bit. Also, this is for the benefit of those readers who are new to “Lava to Lilikoi.”

A friend in Na`alehu gave me a huge box of lilikoi fresh from the vine. I love to simply scoop out the insides with a spoon and eat, seeds and all. But this time, there were way too many to simply sit and eat myself sick. So I asked around for some recipes. My masseuse (Velvet) gave me this recipe.

The process I use for juicing is to cut them in half, scoop out the insides, and let that drain in a colander for about 24 hours to get rid of the seeds. My house smelled like lilikoi for days after I finished juicing them.

Lilikoi Butter

4 eggs
4 cups sugar (I used a little less and mixed it with Splenda)
1 pound unsalted butter
1 ¾ cup lilikoi juice

Mix juice, sugar, butter in a large pan. Heat until butter is melted. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl and temper by drizzling a little of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs so they don’t scramble on you. Keep stirring and when the egg mixture is about the same temperature as the hot liquid, pour it into the pan with the juice, butter and sugar.

Bring to a rolling boil, then down to a slow rolling simmer for about half an hour. This will thicken as it cooks.

I don’t know how to improve on this simple recipe other than to use it whenever you can, over whatever you can find. I like it over ice cream, on toasted English muffins or scones, over plain cheesecake, or just right out of the jar with a spoon!

I made a double batch with all the lilikoi I had, and ended up with twelve jars. They look like jewels on my shelf!

I first published this in September 2009 and have had many requests for it since. If you are interested in seeing later posts I did on Lilikoi Butter, look for them under “Categories” on the left-hand side of this post.

A hui hou!

The Mermaid

Today’s post is a bit of my short fiction.
From time to time, I will post something on that order.
This photo of surf and rainbow was taken on Ali`i Drive, Kailua-Kona HI
 

The MermaidGingerly, she steps around the walkway encompassing the hull of the boat. She is deprived of the oxygen tanks’ guardianship this time. Only Spirit protects her. A new alternative reality begins. Capturing one final breath of the salt air, she plunges into the dubious nourishment of the salt water.

She comes to swim with the shark. She comes to be recreated, to become the virgin mermaid. Deeper and still deeper the woman is drawn into his world. Forever on the quest for Life, she carries the light that could guide her way, never knowing what lands will be found in the depths of this foreign territory. She knows, for this is not the first time she has been called to this place, yet time changes all.

Down she spirals, seeing life at every level. Schools of clown fish wiggle through their anemone playground, while angel fish glide quietly in their heavenly realm. Turkey fish compete for space with stone fish. Darts of color flash by as she peers into their temples. Ever watchful for the moray eel, she searches the crevice for friends to surround and join in her transmutation.

Preparation is needed to live in so many worlds: this world of water and wave, that world of sand and dust and danger, a world of tropical splendor, a frozen world. Will she endure? Another test of endurance? Of power and talent?

The passion begins, the body veers into a new form. Lungs expand to absorb the new life force. Arms grow stronger for stroking the tides. Hair flows behind her for stability. Hips broaden into solid encrustation as scales form to enable her survival in this new world. The vulnerable womanhood now hidden, she is granted safe conduct through a hostile outpost. Feet flow into one mass, supple and fluid, feathery.

Now more swiftly she swoops through the kelp, surging past the curious crowds. Her goal draws closer. The shark sleeps below, then wakes as her body generates ripples in the water round about him. He waits for the mermaid, circling … circling … circling as she arrives, but she is bold and fearless. No longer can his threats keep her away from her destiny, no longer overpower her genius, no longer stifle the transformations.

Together they circle and stalk, stalk and circle. Will he never fear? Will he always reign in this channel? Without a quaver, she perseveres in her mission. He cannot thwart her progress. He consumes her, denounces her, abuses her until she will yield to him. The woman will never succumb. She simply desires to swim in his space, beside him. Where is her solution?
~~~
From Feral Fables by Lucy L. Jones. To purchase check out my Author Page on Amazon.com.

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

 

When I was pastoring at a church in Arizona, someone always brought several dozen doughnuts from the local bakery to serve with coffee during a fellowship hour. If some were left over, I took them home and let them get stale for a couple days.

Then I would break them up into bits of about an inch to make this bread pudding – regular doughnuts, cake doughnuts, jelly-filled doughnuts, cinnamon twists, and the like. What a delicious and unusual bread pudding!

So I recently got hungry for some old-fashioned bread pudding and dug out my old recipe. This time I used whole wheat bread and dark raisins. The photo above is fresh out of the oven. In the next photo, it is topped with vanilla bean ice cream and dribbled with caramel syrup. Too delicious for words!

 


Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding
1 heaping quart of dry bread – use any kind of bread or leftover pastries [see comments above]
½ cup seedless raisins – or maybe even some dried cranberries or dried blueberries
2 cups milk (I use non-fat, but you don’t have to. Some even add coconut milk.)
2 beaten eggs
½ cup brown sugar (or less if you use sugary pastries)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine bread and raisins (or other dried fruit) in a buttered 1 ½ quart casserole. Add milk to eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until well mixed. Pour over bread and dried fruit. Bake at 350 F for about an hour.

You can add almost anything fruity or nutty to this, like flaked coconut or chopped macadamia nuts. I like it warm with ice cream or cold applesauce. Bread pudding is a popular dish here in Hawaii. I guess it’s a comfort food for a lot of people!

A hui hou!

The Burghers of Calais

Several years ago I visited the campus of Standord University in California. I was intrigued with these sculptures of Rodin. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with the entire story behind them. Blogging is so educational!

These six men represent the Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais).

 

In 1885 the town council of the French city of
Calais commissioned Rodin to produce a
sculpture that would pay tribute to the
burghers of Calais, heroes of the Hundred
Years’ War and symbols of French patriotism.
~ ~ ~ ~
Rodin chooses to portray the moment in the
narrative when the men, believing they are
going to die, leave the city. He shows the
burghers as vulnerable and conflicted, yet
heroic in the face of their likely fate.

(Two excerpts from “THE STORY OF THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS”)

Most of the time, these men are portrayed in a cluster. Here on the Stanford campus, they are shown in separate bronze castings (1981). These were not from the original, however. By law, only a small number were made from the original after Rodin’s death. Here is a casting of Rodin’s signature.

 

Calais is an important French port on the English Channel. In 1347, during the Hundred Years’ War, Calais had been under siege for over a year by the English. Due to starvation, King Philip VI of France was not able to hold onto Calais. King Edward III of England said he would “spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed.”

Eustache de Saint-Pierre volunteered to be first. Five others followed.

 

They walked out wearing nothing but their “breeches” (underwear) with nooses around their necks. Jean Froissart (circa 1337-1400) wrote the story in his Chroniques that relate historical events of that era as he saw them.

The figure in the final monument portrays Pierre de Wiessant looking over his shoulder, his hand extended as if in despair. His face shows great anguish, and his intense emotions make him appear withdrawn from the other figures.
http://www.cantorfoundation.org/Rodin/Gallery/rvg34.html

 

As we confront Jean d’Aire, we find ourselves focusing on the self-absorbed quality of the figure and gradually, almost without our awareness, we come to realize that we are confronting the unheroic, complex human being that is ourselves. http://www2.davidson.edu/academics/acad_depts/art/facilities/jeandaire.html

 

Although Froissart does not mention Andrieu d’Andres in his Chroniques, the name of this man was uncovered in 1863. The figure is shown “already clutching his head in despair.” http://nga.gov.au/International/Catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=115165

 

Jacques de Wiessant was Pierre’s brother, and the fourth burgher to volunteer. Rodin gives his “his final gesture, the raised arm.” http://nga.gov.au/International/Catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=115165

 

Rodin assumed Jean de Fiennes to be the youngest of the six burghers. . . . The burgher’s expression is very doubting as if he has not quite accepted his seemingly imminent fate. http://www.cantorfoundation.org/Rodin/Gallery/rvg33.html

 

It was this moment, and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death that Rodin captured in his sculpture, scaled somewhat larger than life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burghers_of_Calais

 

Philippa of Hainault, England’s Queen, was expecting a child and she convinced her husband not to execute the men, claiming that “their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child.”

A remarkable incident in history – and a stunning set of sculptures for Stanford University, located in Memorial Court at the entrance to the Main Quad and Stanford Memorial Church.

For more of Rodin’s work, you might like to visit the Rodin Sculpture Garden, located off the Palm Drive entrance to Stanford University.

A hui hou!

Petroglyphs at Punalu`u Beach

 

When I first moved here, one of my favorite places to visit was Punalu`u Beach, often called the Black Sand Beach. Everything from luaus to committee meetings to camping out takes place there. I still love to sit at one of the picnic benches and simply let the surf pounding on the rocks be my meditation.

 

One day while I was there, a local man from the community showed me the petroglyphs that had been carved in the rocks. These deserve to be looked at in their bigger size. Click on each picture to get a clearer picture of the petroglyphs.

 

The article above doesn’t list these petroglyphs at Punalu`u Beach. Sometimes I wonder if just a few of the locals know about them. I stand in awe of their history.

 

These are surrounded by a low overgrown wall. If you stop at this particular beach, please take care in preserving this part of our island heritage. Enjoy the beach, but please don’t take any of our black sand home with you!

A hui hou!