Honokohau Harbor

 

Five years of my life were spent living on my 37’ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. It was something I’d dreamed of ever since I was a young girl. I remember reading many books about sailing and people living on boats, even though I’d never really been on a boat.

 

There are a few stories of my life of being a “liveaboard” on an old blog of mine. I sold that boat just a few years before I moved to Hawai`i, and I still miss it!

 

So when Judy Jones asked me to do a memorial service at sea for her husband, Bob, I jumped at the chance. Judy is a close friend, as well, and I assisted with the organization of a beautiful send-off out of the Honokohau Harbor here on the Kona side of the Big Island. Bob suffered a fatal heart attack while he was fishing on Christmas Island.

Here are a few pictures I took of that trip out into the Pacific Ocean when I wasn’t busy officiating. This first one shows some of the boats in the harbor as we pulled out.

 

This was the first time I’d seen Honokohau Harbor from the ocean side of the entrance. There is a mountain behind all that mist. We’d had small craft warnings all week. Then on the day of the service, it was calm and beautiful.

 

Here are a few more shots of the harbor from the ocean side. I probably should have put these into a collage, but I prefer looking at the bigger pictures of the ocean!

 

 

 

 

Friends joined us on their boats. When we were about five miles out, we had the ceremony and tossed leis into the water. The boats circled the leis several times, then headed back to the harbor. A beautiful Hawai`ian ritual! I wasn’t able to get a picture of that because I was in the process of officiating. I’ll need to leave that part to your imagination.

 

 

 

The skipper of the boat I was on had been Bob’s fishing partner on Christmas Island when Bob had his heart attack. He helped with the funeral the local Christmas Islanders held for Bob, and he placed Bob’s trusty fishing pole on top of the casket.

 

When we got back to shore, there was a huge potluck feast for everyone. It was a moving and yet joyous celebration of Bob’s life. He was well-loved by many.

A hui hou, Bob! You were well-loved by all!

 

The Singer

Today’s post is a bit of my short fiction.
From time to time, I will post something on that order.
Photo of lava flow taken at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i Island

 

The Singer

 

A primal aurora gives birth to color, from muted blues through brilliant sapphire to a deep azure, until the horizon is thick with cloudless black indigo. The awakening valley is surrounded by rough crags, whispers of creation are heard. Throughout the realm, the gauzy wrap is shoved aside to reveal an unimaginable panorama of fluid rock.

Pele, feral Goddess of the Volcano, pushes her creation process across the distant edge of the world, slithering forward over the solid ground, hot and bloodthirsty, greedy to expand and own a solid empire. Her pleasure sends vast fields of melted ash, smooth swirls of licorice fudge that can only be eaten by titanic warriors and calls it pahoehoe. Her raging and mercurial lunacy ejaculates nuggets from Her bowels, heaps them along the path and names it a’a.

The forlorn music of the harmonica drifts over the wind, telling tales of the legendary yet carnal Goddess. The watcher appears through the mist and haze to witness the birth of new land. This witness drops the harmonica on the promontory, lifts his head to sing, becoming another voice on the wind. The stories are heard by villagers beyond the fresh terrain.

“Let us go to see this virgin affair that has come to pass,” they murmured to each other.

“Yes, we must organize a quest to see the achievement of our savage Goddess,” one said.

“Who will coordinate the preparations for our journey?”

“How shall we research this phenomenon?”

“Who will finance such an enterprise?”

The Singer hears the confused deliberations and weeps for the paucity of their perception.

“No, no!” the Singer calls. “This quest must emerge from your hearts, from your intuitive and individual Self, not from your structures or formal institutions. Let the fire of the Goddess be your guide. Give yourself over to Her for strength and sustenance.”

“But She is a jealous Goddess,” the villagers cry out. “She will destroy us all.”

“She is a Goddess of Love,” the Singer reminds them. “It is She who created you, it is She loved you into being. It is She who loves you enough to make a new land for you so you can produce vineyards and forests.”

“And why does She seem so angry?” a leader asks.

“Love and anger are not opposites,” the Singer says. “If She did not care about you, She would not be angry with your lack of initiative, your abuse of talents, your shortage of foresight. It is Her way of providing a new opportunity to once again belong to Her, to be Her children. Bow down before Her and let go.”

And so it was that the land cooled and began the centuries of decomposition providing fertile fields for their needs. Each morning as the day breaks, the Singer once again calls Her forth with his music. Each evening, the Singer praises Her with song, and She calls it good.

 

Fresh-From-the-Garden Stir-Fry

OKRA PODS
OKRA PODS

 

Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot, toss in lots of sliced garlic, fresh string beans cut into 2” slices, thickly sliced okra, whole sugar snap peas, maybe a few greens like kale, chard, mustards, or even arugula, plus any other veggie you happen to pick from your garden.

If you have carrots or little beets, add a few of those for color, flavor, and nutrition. Add whatever herbs and spices you enjoy – or none at all.

I like my veggies slightly underdone, but when they are the way you like them, an optional finale is to shake in a tad of balsamic vinegar or some red pepper flakes for a bit of extra flavor.

I literally went out and picked a few string beans as the oil was heating up when I made this dish for lunch last week! Now that’s fresh!

Except for the garlic (plus the olive oil and balsamic vinegar), everything comes out of my own garden. I plan to put out garlic this winter, however. There is an old saying that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year, then harvest it on the longest day. No one knows exactly where that saying comes from, but it’s a good guide.

Also, I don’t mince garlic – I slice it, or quarter it! Can you tell I like my garlic? It’s good for you, too.

When this is all ready for eating, dump into a bowl and eat with chopsticks so you don’t gobble it down too fast. Take time to enjoy the flavors. This is definitely a heart-healthy meal.

A hui hou!

August 2009 Update

8-22-09 August Catch up
GARDEN CLUBBERS
GARDEN CLUBBERS

(photo courtesy of Charles Tobias)

 

The July meeting of our Ocean View Garden Club was at my place. I told them I was definitely a work in progress and not a show place (yet)! They all wanted to see what was growing on my acre because they’d read my blog and seeing a garden that was not finished gave them hope. This post is my monthly catch-up with what’s going on here.

At my front door is this hanging fuschia.

 

Just below that is my cluster of orchid plants. Here is the latest bloom poking a head through the leaves.

 

As I stand on my front stoop and look out, this is what I see.

 

Here it is when I step down and look at these plants from another angle.

 

These are the Atom Gladiolas. The description from Old House Gardens states that it is a “brilliant red cooled by the finest edging of silver.” They are smaller than most glads and they provide a bright spot of color against my gray/black lava.

 

I cropped out the Spic and Span Glad from one of the photos above so you could see the difference in color. This is closer to the normal size of gladiola and runs from coral to pink. Both the Atom and the Spic/Span glads are heirloom bulbs dating from 1946. It’s too bad that the blooms don’t last longer.

 

Let’s walk on around to the right side of the house and look at my small beds of veggies. The sugar snap peas are full of blooms, and I’ve gotten a few pods to add to salads. You can see a piece of my patch of mustard greens.

 

I have several of these Thai hot peppers that will give me something to toss into my hot Thai cooking! If you’ve seen the little firey hot peppers in a Thai dish, that’s what I have here. It takes a mighty brave soul to bite into those with haste!

 

One of my students gave me a pot with a macadamia nut seedling. I was afraid it wouldn’t make it at first, but suddenly new leaves started to shoot out. I’ll give it a fair chance to make it before I transfer it out of the pot.

 

Walking back toward the shed, I have arugula and tomatoes, string beans and okra. I’m making salads with the arugula, but the tomatoes only have blooms so far. There are a few tiny beans that are in the process of becoming bigger beans. Here are a few pods of okra I’ve harvested. I toss a few of these in with whatever I’m cooking up in the skillet.

 

In the patio area I have beets growing, but not as many as I’d like to see. I need to buy more seeds for a fresh planting. These coffee berries will eventually turn bright red and I’ll be able to harvest them. How exciting to see these green berries. I hope I can get a pot of coffee out of my own trees.

 

Here is the Little Beeswings Dahlia that produced a few small blooms.

 

I think my favorite dahlia is the Prince Noir. I hope that eventually I’ll get a whole bush full of these gorgeous blooms.

 

Recently, a colleague gave me several bags of bromeliad and one has actually bloomed for me already!

 

Of course, I would love a whole yard of daylilies. Some of the ones I’ve planted have started to bloom.

 

The pikake plant is full of fragrant blossoms, about three times the number just since I took this photo a couple weeks ago.

 

I was given a small shoot of this plant. People have given it several names, but after looking on the internet, I’m still not sure what it is. If anyone can give me a link to what it is, I’d appreciate it. It’s been called a “stick plant,” but I’m sure that’s not it. It has also been called “zigzag plant,” but it doesn’t look exactly like the pictures on the web.

 

It seems like there’s always something waiting to be planted – like these bags of plants given by a friend.

 

And like most gardeners, I have so much more to be done. Like any addict, I keep buying more seeds than I’ll ever be able to plant!

A hui hou!

 

Cherry Crumb Pie

 

I’ve been trying to grow bush cherries here in my “lava garden,” but the bare root plant I received from a mail-order nursery didn’t survive. I’ll try again because I love cherries so much!

Until I can grow my own, I’ll continue to buy them because they are so good for you – not to mention delicious! Wonderful cherries have been filling up our markets, and although they are not “local,” they are hard to resist.

One of my favorite ways to eat cherries, other than right out of the box, is this crumb pie. I seldom have the patience to work on an elaborate lattice top crust for pies, so I tend to use a crumb topping for most fruit pies. But it allows for more cherries per bite!

 

Pie Crust

This is extremely fast and easy – always delicious and reliable! You’ll never roll out another pie crust the old way again!

Place 1 ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour + 1 ½ teaspoon sugar + ¼ teaspoon salt directly into ungreased pie pan.

Into ½ cup canola oil, add 2 Tablespoons cold milk. Mix with fork until milky.

Pour over flour mix in 9” pie pan, and mix it all together. Press the mix onto the pan until it resembles a regular pie crust. Be sure to leave enough up on the sides to squeeze into a fluted rim. It’s light and flaky. No one ever leaves the edge of this crust on the plate!

Filling

Combine 1 cup sugar (I use ½ cup Splenda and ½ cup sugar) NOTE: If the cherries are sweet, you can get away with less sweetening, 1/3 cup flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt

Add this combination to 4 heaping cups of pitted cherries that have had 3 drops of almond extract added to them.

Toss the sugar-flour mixture with the cherries until they are thoroughly coated. Place into unbaked pastry-lined pie pan. Cover pie with crumb topping


Crumb Topping

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
½ cup (1 stick) chilled butter

Mix together until crumbly, and spread to cover top of pie.

Bake in hot oven (425 degrees F.) about 40 minutes. If the edges look like they are browning too quickly, cover loosely with a strip of aluminum foil.

I usually dig into this long before it’s actually cool enough to eat! This can be eaten with some kind of whipped topping, ice cream, rich coffee cream, or creamer, or just alone!

A hui hou!

A Trip Around the Stanford Quad

 

It seems that most large universities, as well as some smaller ones, have a “quad.” When I was a campus minister at University of Arizona, there was a massive quad where students and faculty hung out, played Frisbee, studied, slept, nuzzled with someone special, or whatever else they could find to do.

For an old college instructor like me, being on the quad of any school is thrilling. From the moment I first set foot in a classroom as a teacher, from kindergarten through university, I have loved teaching and being on a campus, being a part of campus life. I think I’d be deliriously happy just hanging out in a university library doing research in musty old tomes.

My visit to Stanford University (guided by a friend who is a Professor Emeritus from the Medical School there) included their quad. He added to my limited knowledge of the campus.

As we approached the main building of the quad, I was drawn to the floral arrangement in the center of the vast lawn.

 

It wasn’t until I stood a little elevated and distant from the floral arrangement that I realize the flowers created a large “S” for Stanford. I wondered if everyone else who visits miss it at first like I did.

 

Everything about the Stanford campus has history behind it. A walk along the corridor of the main building takes us back more than a century.

 

One of the stones on the floor of the corridor commemorated the centennial.

 

Each graduating class added a stone showing the year. This is the first one, laid by the graduating class of 1892!

 

You can walk along the corridor and see a class for every single year since then. A nice tradition!

 

And here is the latest one – for the class of 2009.

 

One of the pillars shows some of the damage done by the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989, almost twenty years ago. You can read more about it here and here.

 

Other news articles discuss the donations and work done to renovate the Stanford campus . . .

 

. . .and how it looked 15 years later.

That last link has excellent pictures and history of the quake, including more information about the World Series that had to be cancelled that day. To read about damage that is more specific to Stanford, go here.

One dominating attraction on the quad is the Memorial Church

 

This chapel was built by Jane Lathrop Stanford in memory of her husband, Leland Stanford in 1899.

 

This close-up shows the intricate and exquisite mosaic artwork.

 

Due to regular church services being held, visitors were not permitted to enter, so I took many shots outside. I loved this sign in several languages.

 

The courtyard of the chapel offers areas to stroll, rest, meditate.

 

The jacaranda were in full bloom in the chapel courtyard.

 

So many tucked away treasures like these side doors of the church.

 

Every detail was considered, as evidenced by this mosaic floor in the foyer of the chapel.

 

I have included a slide show below of all photos I took around the chapel, many more than are in this post. Today, I end with a shot of these marvelous sculptures near the chapel. In a few weeks, I will do another post that shows the individual statues and who they represent.

 

A hui hou!

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

 

To watch a larger version of this slideshow, click here, then click on the large arrow.

 

San Mateo in Bloom

ROSES ON A PICKET FENCE
ROSES ON A PICKET FENCE

 

I hope you aren’t sick and tired of seeing photos out of California. Even though I lived there for many years, I had forgotten how brilliant the flowers could be. Part of the time I was there for my May-June visit, I stayed with friends who live in San Mateo. We walked all over their neighborhood and I was stunned by the abundance of beautiful roses. The geraniums are like weeds in California!

Please enjoy the photos! There isn’t much I can add about them, so I’ve put them here in a slide show for you.

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

I suggest that you go here to get the slideshow in a larger version and get the full benefit of the beauty.