Instead of always looking up, sometimes it’s fun to look down, especially when you are looking down on a group of people making ti leaf leis.
May Day in Hawai`i is also known as Lei Day. Making and wearing a lei is such a soft, gentle, and loving way to honor someone.
In order to make the leis from ti leaves, you need to press with a warm iron to soften them. Then using your big toe as a holder, you begin twisting and pulling on the leaf. With each leaf, as you add a new leaf, you can leave a little point sticking out as you twist.
When everything is long enough, twist the ends together to form a circle. Tuck a few flowers into the twisting ti leaves and place it around someone’s neck with a kiss on the cheek.
Traditionally, ti plants are placed around a home to bring good luck.
Last Saturday, on April 24, I was one of many who volunteered at the Earth and Ocean Fair at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort and Kahalu`u Beach, a county park that adjoins the hotel. I even took part in the raffle fun, which consisted of getting your card stamped at specific displays. This card was then entered into a drawing! (I didn’t win anything.)
I was told that this fair began about ten years ago as Coral Awareness Day in an effort to let people know how to protect our fragile reef. It is still one of the primary features of this fair. Volunteers train to monitor the reef that is forming around the Big Island.
Information about the Big Island Reef Fund was available.
Everyone was there several hours early getting set up for their displays.
All the displays gave information on how to protect our natural surroundings here in Hawai`i, especially our giant sea turtles.
This display of debris found in our ocean is eye-opening.
A Mini Cooper and a sailboat were on display. I never did find out if they were being given away or just for show. Both are economical ways to travel.
This is just one of several displays of solar power businesses.
Someone walked around inside this humuhumunukunukuapua`a (our state fish), reminding people to protect our ocean life. I’ll bet you can’t say that name fast (unless you live here on the Big Island)!
I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the tide pools and beach area. What a beautiful and restful place to have a gathering of environmental folks.
Several culinary students from our West Hawaii campus, led by Chef Betty, prepared a variety of meals so we wouldn’t starve. They offered regular chili, vegetarian chili, chicken Caesar salad, and more.
One of the insects that plague us here is the fire ant.
Groups of young people who are committed to saving our earth and ocean put up several displays.
We take so much for granted. Here is a cost analysis of what our Natural Resource Management puts out to protect plants and animals, and control the weeds and invasive species of plants.
A colleague, Betsy Morrigan, volunteered at the “Fish for Knowledge” booth.
Much of the work done to protect and monitor the waters that surround our island state is funded through Hawai`i Sea Grant.
One area of the hotel was available for local crafts. I love the hand-woven baskets.
Several of the local “aunties” were demonstrating how to do the Lauhala weaving. I want one of their hats!
I accepted a cup of kava and started to sip it. One of the men standing by said to just knock it down in one gulp – so I did! I can’t say it’s delicious stuff, and it would take me a long time to deliberately include it in my diet.
Another Hawai`ian traditional food is poi, or pounded taro. This is another of those “delicacies” for which I haven’t acquired a taste yet. One of my students used to bring fried poi balls to class occasionally, however, and they were absolutely wonderful!
These taro roots are ready to be made into poi. In the background, this mother is feeding her child a bit of poi.
There were plenty of crafts for children. Betsy is holding a fish for them to add their colored thumbprint to the fish.
This is only a sampling of the many local crafts on display.
I was delighted (and proud) to see a former student, Ruth, representing the National Park Service.
Of course, no Hawai`ian festival is complete without a band and hula dancers.
It is nearly impossible to show you all the displays. I hope I was able to capture a feel for the day. You might Google this event because there were articles in the newspaper and other places. I love living in Hawai`i. Please do what you can to help preserve this Paradise!
Wheatgrass isn’t necessarily one of those food items that’s on every table, but should be. Recently a friend brought me a tray of soil and a bag of wheat berries. After soaking them for a few days until they were starting to sprout, I spread them over the top of the soil in the tray.
I saved some of the sprouting berries and put them in a jar to toss into my salads. If you buy your berries from a health food store, you still need to check if it’s suitable for sprouting.
In order to keep the birds and cats away, I loosely covered the entire tray with foil tucked in at the ends so it wouldn’t blow away. Each day, I sprayed it with water and watched it grow! In just a few days, I had my own little 20” X 10” private lawn.
As the wheatgrass grows, clip off the tops for your use. Some folks simply add a little water and whirl in a blender, then drink for a taste of fresh spring. There are expensive wheatgrass juicers, but I find that your regular blender works just as well.
Why drink wheatgrass? It’s full of everything you can possibly think of that’s good for you! Check out a longer list here, or Google “wheatgrass” for recipes and more information. Basically, it is 70% chlorophyll and is a total protein, with loads of vitamins and minerals.
My favorite way to get all those goodies in one drink is as a wheatgrass smoothie. When I buy strawberries or other berries, I use a bunch while they are super fresh, then blend the rest of them into sort of a “sauce” to use over ice cream or cheesecake or pancakes or whatever. (Oh my!)
To make this smoothie, add strawberry puree, a little soy milk or fat free milk to make it more liquid, and a little organic agave nectar for sweetness. You’ll need to experiment with your own quantities of each for your own tastes. Zap it up in your blender until it’s just the way you want it. Pour and drink!
A couple weeks ago, I showed the spring flowers at my daughter’s home in Boise. Since then, different friends have sent me pictures of the spring blossoms in various parts of the country. Last week we were in Arizona.
This week we are visiting North Carolina. These photos were taken by my friend, Sonia Martinez, while visiting her family there. Please check out her food blog, and while you’re there, let her know how much you enjoyed her pictures!
I have lived in the South, and I forgot how many plants we had there that I don’t have in my Hawai`ian garden. It seems like eons since I saw something like dandelion puffs!
Of course, tulips are beautiful everywhere.
Wisteria is one of my favorites. I wonder if it would grow here? It has such a Southern and old-fashioned feel to it.
Violas, wild violets and other wild flowers are sweet and romantic.
Beautiful fields of phlox, with fairy lilies tucked in out of the way places.
Another tree I haven’t seen in years is the dogwood. Such simple yet elegant beauty!
And then there are two of the most colorful shrubs that herald the end of winter – azaleas and forsythia.
What a treat to be taken back to a glimpse of spring in the South.
My daughter says that seeing everything come to life is what makes it easier to survive the cold, snowy winter months.
No words are needed for this Salute to Spring, although I have to say that I’m envious of her soil. Enjoy and pretend this is the first time you’ve ever seen something like this in your life! Can you imagine how that would feel? A few pictures of her cats ended up being tucked in with the flowers.
A hui hou!
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