Cats!

Katrina Relaxing
Katrina relaxing

As a child, I only had one pet, a dog I named “Sugar.” This was in the days of WW II food rationing, and sugar was hard to get, just as the dog (when he would get under the house) was “hard to get.” After a few days, my parents decided we didn’t need any pets at all – and the dog was sent away.

Since I have became an adult, it seems like I’ve always had a cat, along with miscellaneous dogs. Deep down, I know I’m mostly a “cat person,” although I do love the dogs I’ve had in my life.

My dear friend and colleague has a beautiful Birman who reigns supreme. She is so covered with fluff that I often wonder if there is any actual body underneath the fur.

A close up shot of “Darlin’ Miss.”

Last week, I attended a “Wine and Words” evening at Kona Stories in the Keauhou Shopping Center. Once a month, various local authors read excerpts from their books, visit with those of us there and share in the pupus. Naturally, I was drawn to this beautiful gray, also enjoying the social event. It looks like this beauty had her/his share of crackers, cheese, and wine.

Many of you know my beloved Kaimana who lived with me for many years before he became too ill. He is buried beneath an ohia tree on my property.

Later that same year, I was given Katrina, a feisty little kitten who is finally becoming a lady. I took several pictures of her playing (and hiding) in the garden, but she kept moving around so much that it was difficult to get a clear picture. I probably should have taken a video, but check out this brief slideshow.

Watch for another post on one of the authors (Nancee Cline) and her book from the “Wine and Words” event I attended.

A hui hou!

Katrina’s Trick

Not long ago, I promised a video of Katrina playing fetch like a dog. It wasn’t something I had to teach her. She dropped her toy at my feet and sat there waiting for me to do something. I tossed it across the room and said, “Go play with it.” She got it and brought it back. Even now, several months later, she still loves to play fetch and could go on forever.

I was playing around with my little Nikon CoolPix to see if I could take a movie with it. As a result, I was able to get just a couple of minutes of her trick with the help of a friend. I love the way Katrina dives behind the pillows to get her toy.

She had already been playing for several minutes by the time I was able to figure out how to use the camera. At the end, she got tired of playing with my friend and brought the toy to me, then went off to play alone.

Enjoy this little clip until I can make a better one.

A hui hou!

Lessons from Lava

The official theme of this blog is ” homesteading, food, travel, and philosophy from the side of a volcano in rural Hawai`i.” So far, I’ve done mostly the first three, but very little of the fourth – philosophy. I could elaborate philosophically on many topics, and over the next few months, bear with me as do more of that.

The official title of this blog is “Lava to Lilikoi,” and that is a great deal like saying “how to make lemonade out of lemons.” In other words, when given an acre of lava, how do you produce lilikoi (our name for passion fruit) in abundance?

The drought has discouraged me from doing a lot of gardening, although I did plant 45 garlic cloves this week! They don’t like a lot of water, so this area should be perfect for them. I bought a pound of California softneck garlic from an heirloom seed company, since most stores sell garlic that is treated to prevent it from sprouting. (I understand that health food stores might have organic non-treated garlic, however.)

The opening photo shows some of these garlic bulbs, plus a few miniature pumpkins from the grocery store, and a couple of even tinier acorn squash that never did grow big enough to eat!

One of the many lessons of gardening I have learned has been not to plant anything that requires plenty of water, plenty of rich soil, or a different climate.

For example, my geraniums have taken over various spots of my acre, and they add a great deal of color to an otherwise gray landscape. Herbs in pots are growing nicely. I have been able to get some delicious beets and arugula occasionally. My donkey tails seem to do well. Palms that don’t require a lot of water are doing okay. Various flowering shrubs have done fine (when the Mouflon sheep don’t eat them). Other veggies did quite well when we had regular rains, or when the birds didn’t eat them.

Please don’t mistake this for complaining! I’m just stating facts about my own particular situation. Everyone in my garden club seems to be suffering from the drought, too.

So on this weekend after Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks for the beautiful ancient ohia trees scattered around my acre, for the hens that give me delicious fresh eggs, for the splashes of magenta, purple, orange, blue, red, pink , white and yellow that adorn my lava “lawn,” for a year-round temperature that allows me to be free from snow and ice. Living and gardening on lava makes me thankful for every single sprout!

I’m also grateful for my friends, whether here or on the mainland, who keep in touch; for my students who challenge me, and who keep my mind active and alert; for good health that permits me to continue gardening and teaching; and for my family members who make me proud to be their mama, grandma, and great-grandma, sister, cousin and aunt!

Finally, I’m grateful for my little Katrina, a sweet and photogenic joy in my life! Doesn’t she look pretty in blue?

A hui hou!

Happy Halloween from Katrina!

When I checked my website this morning, I realized it has been over 2 weeks since I last posted something. Fall semester is my heaviest term, and as a result, school prep has come first. Now that we have passed the middle of the semester, I may be back on a regular basis again.

On September 4 of this year, I brought home a new kitten. As near as the vet could figure, she was born somewhere around the middle of June. This past week she was spayed by the Humane Society, and is doing fine. I took this shot of her with my cell phone about a month ago.

I have taken several pictures of her and like most proud owners of the feline species, I will be posting these periodically. Several of you have known about her from the beginning and are interested to know how she is doing now.

Katrina has several places where she likes to sleep – or survey her world, like the picture at the top of this post.

Her favorite place of all is across the red pillows of my chaise.

It’s not easy to get a shot when she’s asleep. The minute she hears me approach, even in her sound sleep, she is awake and watchful.

Then of course, there’s the big yawn and the question, “How dare you wake me up?”

She has found the ledge on my kitchen window.

What a brave, adventurous girl!

Like most playful kittens, she loves to pretend she is hiding. Can you find her?

Not only is Katrina a mischievous kitten, but she thinks she’s a dog! In a few weeks, I’ll try to post a little video of her playing “fetch” with me!

Happy Halloween!

Living on the Earth

This is an article I posted over two years ago on an old blog before I became “lavalily.com,” but there are some great books discussed here. I thought some of my new gardening friends might spot a book they want to read.

Since I wrote this article, my beloved Kaimana has been put to rest, but I have a delightful Katrina. She started out like a hurricane, but her storm has subsided and now she’s merely playful and mischievous.

I hope you enjoy looking through the books I’ve discussed below!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I can’t remember a time when I was not in love with books. Even before I could read well, my parents made regular trips to the little libraries in whichever town we lived in at the time. I spent many hours looking through the books in my grandfather’s library. They were on a huge revolving stand, and although they were much too deep for me at the time, I would take them out and thumb through the pages.

Kaimana thinks he can read some of my books, too, but I think he just likes the smell of paper.

The first books I actually remember being able to read myself were the Raggedy Ann and Andy books. Then came the Bobbsey Twins, Elsie Dinsmore, Heidi, Nancy Drew – and I was hooked. Whether for personal pleasure or academic reading, my library grew from there. I still have books for math, French, Spanish and literature from my high school years!

But books travel to places unknown, and over the years I’ve lost books because of floods, being stomped on by horses, through two divorces, loaning them to people I’ve forgotten, and numerous moves from state to state.

When I moved from Ali`i Drive to Ocean View, I gave over a thousand books to the Friends Of The Libraries, Kona, plus four grocery bags full of books on gardening to Kona Outdoor Circle. I still have over a thousand books here in my home, plus at least that many in a storage unit in California. This next shot shows part of my attempt to sort out which ones to keep and which to give away.

It was in the early 70s when I read a book that changed the way I lived my life. I was re-structuring my life as a single woman, and although I didn’t embrace everything in the book, it did start me moving toward a more “natural” way of living. It’s one book I’ve kept over the years, and my copy is a bit tattered. I was surprised to find it can still be purchased.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0394710568&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

I had three years of Ornamental Horticulture classes at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo under my belt, and I’d always had an interest in gardening. From that point on, I couldn’t get my fill of reading about ways to garden and provide sustenance for myself. If you’ve been reading these posts on a regular basis, you know that I also lived on a 37′ sailboat for 5 years. My gardening slowed considerably during that time, but my interest in gardening never waned. In fact, I grew cherry tomatoes in hanging pots and kept a pot of aloe vera on hand for sunburned passengers.

When I lived in Tucson on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, I found a wonderful book that provided me with ways to use the “Fruits of the Desert.” Many of the author’s recipes and information on those fruits can be extended to some of our own produce. The cover is beautiful, and I’m sorry that Amazon doesn’t have an image of it to show you.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0960775803&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

One book I forgot I had until just recently, is Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally, by Robert Kourik. It’s a large and rather detailed book, but full of good information for the gardener who is serious about planning an edible garden.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1856230260&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

If you are interested in an adult version of a picture book and dream book, pick up a copy of In a Mexican Garden. I drool over the photos in that book! I would label this book and others like it as “garden porn.”

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0811841308&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

This should keep you busy for a while, and I will be telling you about more off-the-beaten-track garden books in the future.

In the sidebar of this blog, I have listed books I use on a regular basis for my gardening ideas. If you are interested in buying one of those or ones I mention in this post, please order through this site. It will help support my purchase of more gardening books. Please note that I receive a small commission from Amazon to help support “Lava to Lilikoi.”

Is this an addiction that I want to cure? I think it’s too late!

Miss Katrina

I wonder how many people have named their children or pets “Katrina?” It’s a sweet name, although one we generally associate with a hurricane (and that might be appropriate whether for children or cats)!

After my post on losing my beautiful Kaimana and another post later about my daughter’s cats, several people have called about kittens they thought were meant just for me. I also wrote other posts about a couple of the neighborhood strays.

But when I responded to Donna’s call, I fell in love with little Katrina. I had a hard time getting her to be still enough for me to take these photos, but maybe you can tell something about her from these fuzzy pictures.

I brought her back to my house in the bird cage that had been her home and put her in the bathroom. I had already fixed it up for her with a covered litter box, a nice bed, water and dry food on a placemat, and a dish for canned food.

She stayed in the cage overnight. I left the door open, but each time I got up in the night, she was in the same position as the time before – inside the cage.

By the wee hours of Sunday morning, she had decided to sleep in the litter box. It was probably dark and cozy for her, but I managed to fish her out and hold her for a while. She has a delightfully loud purr and loves being held.

I left her out of the cage all day Sunday, but still in the bathroom with the door closed. Many times during the day, I went in to sit and talk with her – and take pictures.

One time during the day, I carried her around the house and showed her the new home, talking to her the whole time. After leaving her in the bathroom another couple hours, I decided to simply open the door and let her explore.

She disappeared into my bedroom and stayed under the bed the rest of the day. It might have been a big mistake, but I suspect she will eventually find her way back to the food.

I will say that Katrina is a healthy 3 1/2 months old kitten, and will be spayed on September 28, courtesy of the Humane Society. She was brought to Donna by TommyBoy, another local cat. It’s most unusual for a male cat to take that kind of care or interest in a lost kitten.

I’m not sure what to expect tomorrow, but I now have put her back into the safety of the bathroom with fresh food. She will stay in there for part of Monday (Labor Day), then I’ll try her in the house again (maybe).

More will be revealed . . .

A hui hou!