A Ghost Town in Hawai`i

VIEW OF OCEAN AT HONU`APO
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VIEW OF OCEAN AT HONU`APO
 

When I first moved to Hawai’i, I lived in the plantation village of Pahala on the southern end of the Big Island in the district of Ka’u. I couldn’t have had a better introduction to the true spirit of local Hawai`iana. Neighbors raised several dozen fighting cocks that lived under my bedroom window. Need I say more?

Approximately eighteen months before I moved into the community, the sugar plantation closed down. The folks still talked fondly of the last day the cane workers brought cane to the mill. The truck drove through town full of freshly cut cane while villagers threw leis onto the truck and wept. That last load was dumped at the mill and everyone went home – the end of an era. T-shirts were made to commemorate the day.

This is the main corner in “Greater Downtown Pahala” today. It shows several of the old camp houses where the plantation workers lived. I call them “sugar shacks.” When the plantation closed, people were given the opportunity to buy the houses to fix up and keep for themselves.

SUGAR PLANTATION HOMES
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SUGAR PLANTATION HOMES
 

One blogger has done a superb job of discussing some of the history and describing the ambience of Pahala, the small plantation town where the sugar cane was processed into sugar for the C. Brewer Company.

During the active days of sugar cane production, the cane was shipped out of a small port near Pahala. A small camp was set up for the workers and immigrants. Today, all you see is a sign leading you to Whittington Beach off the highway.

VIEW OF HONU`APO
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VIEW OF HONU`APO
 

I first learned about Honu`apo when I was attending a Leadership Conference. The idea of building barbecue pits there came up so we all went out to look at the possibilities. This website was created several years ago by a group called Ka Ohana O Honu`apo, people committed to preserving this piece of Hawai`i.

If you click on the “Getting There” tab, you will find directions for where it’s located and driving directions. On that same site, click on the “Photo Galley” tab and scroll down to the bottom for vintage photos of the original village.

Here is the foundation to one of the buildings as it appears today.

OLD FOUNDATION AT HONU`APO
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OLD FOUNDATION AT HONU`APO
 

John Replogle (my friend Velvet’s husband) grew up in this area and here he is explaining the names of the various hills we can see from Honu`apo, and telling us about what is being done to preserve the natural surroundings of the area. Many people have helped to clear out the rubbish and brush.

JOHN TALKING TO OUR GROUP
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JOHN TALKING TO OUR GROUP
 

If you don’t look at any other link on this post, please check out this one that explains why the pier was rebuilt several times, ultimately not rebuilt and no longer in use. There are a couple more lovely photos of several past periods of time.

Some of the natural growth is starting to come back, now that the ponds have been cleaned up.

PONDS AT HONU`APO
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PONDS AT HONU`APO
 

I spent many years living in Arizona, where I loved visiting many of the ghost towns, so when I discovered that Honu`apo is designated as a “ghost town,” the place became even more intriguing.

Several friends have told me about their Japanese mothers coming to the island as “picture brides” through ports on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This was very common in the early 1900s. I think it was fostered in order to keep the workers happy. I took this photo that shows another foundation left from the village and the remnants of the pier.

MORE OLD FOUNDATIONS OF HONU`APO
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MORE OLD FOUNDATIONS OF HONU`APO
 

Honu`apo is one of those places in Hawai`i that those of us who live here love to keep as a secret. It’s a lovely place for any sort of celebration and as a pastor, I have performed several marriages there. Such a beautiful and romantic backdrop! I recently attended a healing circle there for my friend, Velvet.

Honu`apo is a great place to fish, picnic, camp (at the Whittington Beach section), relax, or whatever your soul needs. If you are traveling around the bottom end of the Big Island, stop by with your picnic basket and let your mind wander back to the village that is no longer there. Just don’t tell anyone I told you how to find it.

A hui hou!

Meditative Bonsai

BANYAN BONSAI
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BANYAN BONSAI

 

I can’t remember exactly when I first became interested in the beautiful Japanese art of bonsai. It was probably in the 1960s, when I traveled to Japan on four different occasions. On one of those trips, I climbed Mt. Fuji with friends, an exciting story for another time.

At the hotel where we stayed the night before our climb, I was quite taken with their bonsai garden. Many of the trees there were over 100 years old with an incredible history. I vowed then to learn how to create these for myself. I brought home many of the “bon” or trays in which to plant the trees. They have survived many moves since that time.

JAPANESE BONSAI POTS
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JAPANESE BONSAI POTS

 

Before I go any further, I want to make sure you know how to pronounce the word “bonsai.” I’ve heard it called everything, including “banzai,” which is the suicide attack word used by the Japanese during World War II. The correct pronunciation is a softer sound of “bone-sigh.”

On one of my favorite sites, you can discuss issues with other bonsai enthusiasts, order supplies, buy bonsai books and tools, learn new techniques, and so much more.

Another site offers a beautiful bonsai allegory written in 1993 by Horace A. Vallas, Jr. that can teach us how to be good managers or good parents.

The American Bonsai Society, Inc. was founded in 1967, around the same time I visited the bonsai gardens in Japan. Their official site has many beautiful pictures of bonsai.

The banyan bonsai at the beginning of this post is one of many created by Carole Baker’s late husband and shown in an earlier post of her yard. Here are two more pictures showing others that he created and tended.

CAROLE'S BONSAI
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CAROLE’S BONSAI

 

MORE OF CAROLE'S BONSAI
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MORE OF CAROLE’S BONSAI

 

I think you can tell from these pictures and from the websites I’ve listed that bonsai is the art of miniaturizing a tree or group of trees. Land is so precious in Japan that often the only way a person can experience nature or go into a forest is to kneel silently before a “grove” of bonsai trees in a tray. In this way, we can simply let ourselves melt into the tiny landscape and imagine walking among the trees, or be drawn into sitting at the base of an old tree. It’s difficult for me to describe this type of meditation, but it is a very effective way to put yourself into a peaceful setting, if only temporarily.

If you can imagine this pot filled with a miniature grove, then you have the ability to create one of your own. The Wikipedia site on bonsai has many beautiful pictures of not only groves and forests, but of other styles that can be produced.

SINGLE FLAT POT
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SINGLE FLAT POT

 

There are a variety of ways to begin a bonsai. What I talk about here is one of the methods I was taught in the 70s at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The roots of a bonsai are trimmed and secured to a pot or bon with a wire threaded through a wire mesh and tied around a twig underneath. This is one of my pots from an old bonsai that didn’t live. As you can see, there are many sizes and shapes for the trays, or pots.

POT SHOWING BOTTOM MESH
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POT SHOWING BOTTOM MESH

 

Once the plant is secured in the pot, soil is pressed around the base and roots. Try to find bits of moss, carefully lift it up and transfer it to the top of the soil. This helps to keep the soil from washing away, as well as helping to create an illusion of age.

Then the process begins of trimming the tree itself to a size and shape you desire. This is not to be done in a hurry. The entire process is quite meditative and I can get completely lost in it all.

MORE BONSAI POTS
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MORE BONSAI POTS

 

There are many ways to proceed. One trick in getting the gnarled effect right away is to buy an aging root bound plant from a nursery, like a Juniper that is no longer really any good for planting in your yard. I love the ones that seem to be growing around a rock. The roots have been secured in such a way that the tree appears to be sitting on top.

When I start talking about bonsai, I don’t know where to stop. There is so much to say. All I can suggest is that you get a book from the library to start out, find a nice flat tray, get a plant and just try your hand.

Something else you might try is to attend one of the shows put on by the Big Island Bonsai Association. Classes may also be available.

I promise you that it’s extremely addicting. Once you start, you may never be able to stop. Why would you want to??

The Garden Isle Revisited


BABY BEACH AT POIPU

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BABY BEACH AT POIPU

Periodically, I like to repost an older one so new readers can see what they missed. It has now been about ten years since I posted this one about Kauai, one of our neighbor islands. It is a beautiful island and one that many people think of when they think of how “Hawai`i” must be. Here is the old post.
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Almost two years ago, I visited with friends from California on Kauai where they had gone to visit their son. As long as I have lived in Hawai`i, I had never gone to Kauai. I stayed with them in a house they had rented in Poipu, across the street from Baby Beach, pictured above.

Nearby is the Spouting Horn. Here it is in its dormant state.


DORMANT SPOUTING HORN

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DORMANT SPOUTING HORN

I managed to get a fairly decent snap as it was spouting, but it kept happening too fast for me to get all the shots I wanted.


ACTIVE SPOUTING HORN

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ACTIVE SPOUTING HORN

Too bad I can’t give you the sound to go along with it!

One night, we all stayed in the house their son and his family had rented. It was a vacation rental called The Waterfall House. The waterfall was right outside the window with a constant sound of flowing water.


WATERFALL HOUSE

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WATERFALL HOUSE

If you turned your head slightly to the left, you knew you were in the middle of a typical tropical rain forest.


RAIN FOREST

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RAIN FOREST

My friends took a picture of me in silhouette against the waterfall. This shows how close we were to it.


SILHOUETTE AGAINST WATERFALL

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SILHOUETTE AGAINST WATERFALL

One morning, we made a sight-seeing drive around the island. The roots hanging down on the high cliffs made an impression on me. You can get an idea of how tall the cliffs are by the size of the cars.


CLIFF ROOTS

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CLIFF ROOTS

Along the road on the North Shore, we passed this cave, one of many.


ONE OF THE CAVES

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ONE OF THE CAVES

We stood on the edge of Waimea Canyon – an incredible sight!


EDGE OF WAIMEA CANYON

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EDGE OF WAIMEA CANYON


MORE OF WAIMEA CANYON

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MORE OF WAIMEA CANYON

Here are a few random shots of the views on Kauai as we drove.


ONE VIEW ON KAUAI

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ONE VIEW ON KAUAI


ANOTHER VIEW ON KAUAI

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ANOTHER VIEW ON KAUAI


STILL ANOTHER VIEW

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STILL ANOTHER VIEW

There is an area of the highway called “Tunnel of Trees,” and it is exactly that.


TUNNEL OF TREES

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TUNNEL OF TREES

One stop along the way gave me a perfect shot of these beautiful Nene, Hawai`ian Geese, our protected state bird.


NENE

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NENE

On Sunday, we went to church services in Hanalei.


HANALEI CHURCH

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HANALEI CHURCH

Here is another little village church.


VILLAGE CHURCH

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VILLAGE CHURCH

Before I left to come back to the Big Island, we made the steep hike to the Queen’s Bath.


TRAIL TO QUEEN'S BATH

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TRAIL TO QUEEN’S BATH

Can you imagine hiking into this place, then taking a bath under this waterfall in the pool? What luxury!


QUEEN'S BATH

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QUEEN’S BATH

The last evening I was there happened to be my host’s birthday. He took his wife and me out to dinner at the Beach House near Poipu, just at sunset.


BEACH HOUSE SUNSET

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BEACH HOUSE SUNSET

I hope to get to Kauai again someday, although a lot of it has been damaged by flooding recently. Each of our islands is a unique experience.

A hui hou!

“Blue Zones” Gazpacho

This is a post I made about seven years ago and it’s definitely one of my favorites. In fact, I happen to have everything on hand to treat myself with a cold bowl. It’s better than a smoothie, a salad, or soggy veggies, and fits perfectly into a “Blue Zones” way of eating.

I learned about Gazpacho when I first moved to California in 1960. It was a huge fad at that time, and I was knocked over by it! It’s been called everything, including “liquid salad,” but whatever you call it, it’s simply delicious!

This may seem like a summer-only dish to many of the mainlanders, but in California, and especially here in Hawai`i, we can eat it year-round.

The beauty of a healthy serving of Gazpacho is that you can put almost any kind of raw veggie into it. Take your pick from:

fresh tomatoes (about 2-3 pounds cut into quarters, skin and all)
cucumber
carrots
onion
bell peppers (I used a combination of orange, red, yellow baby bells)
garlic
hot pepper to taste (maybe a Jalepeño)

Zap it up in a blender or food processor with a dollop of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil until thick and chunky.

Store it in the fridge until it’s good and cold.

Ladle it into a bowl, top with crumbled feta and sprigs of cilantro.

To go with this, I like to serve a good loaf of crunchy rustic sourdough bread fresh from the oven, and maybe a glass of red wine?

Dig in!

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

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!
Lucy

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