Local Aquaponics


Our Ocean View Garden Club makes a tour of local gardens periodically. Last month, we visited La and Mike’s place where she has an extensive garden and he has started a thriving aquaponics system.

The tilapia live in this tank, the pipes carry the rich water to the plants.



Mike has also started a catfish pond here, but they are timid and don’t come out to have their picture taken.


There is a transition area between the aquaponics system and La’s vegetable garden.


Here you start to get a glimpse of the lush veggies and herbs.



It seems every garden has at least one Jackson.


La grows several patches of epazote, an herb she uses in her Thai dishes.


She also grows a number of Thai jalapenos. I brought home one to dry so I can plant the seeds.


I suppose these bunnies get the leftover veggies.


In December, 2009 I wrote a post about the system some friends started near the airport. You might like to refer back to that for other pictures.

If you are interested in starting your own aquaponics, check here for interesting information.

I took more pictures of this operation than I show here, so please watch this slideshow to see them.

For a larger version, click here.

A hui hou!

A Class Project


One of my ways of getting students out of their desk seats is to require a “gift to the community,” what we might call a service project. Some of them serve meals to the homeless, others help to clean up our beaches. Each team of students gets to choose what their project will be, then they share their photos of what they did with the class.

These two students helped one of our local schools by shoveling compost and working in the school garden. This collage shows only a few of their photos of the hard work they did that day.


Thanks for doing this, you two!
A hui hou!

Workings of a Local Food Farm


Most of us are interested in eating locally grown food these days, and some of us even try to grow as much of our own food as we can. Try as I may, I don’t seem to be able to keep enough growing to insure that I’m well fed. There are certain times of the year that I seem to have more time to do the nurturing (and work) that is involved, but at other times, I get too busy with my teaching career and something called “Life.”

Fortunately, there are some who make their career out of producing food for the rest of us. Such is the case with Chas Canon and his family. Our Garden Club made a trip to his acreage here in Ocean View in late October of this past year. If you’re like me (and if you read my blog regularly, I suspect you are), you enjoy seeing where your food comes from.

Rather than elaborate too much on what we saw there, I’m going to give you a quick look at what he grows and how he grows it. Please click on the slide show at the bottom to see all of these pictures, and more.

There is a deep gulch on the property where he grows a few things at the bottom – even along the edge of the gulch as shown here.


Path to the gulch


Growth in the gulch


Up above near the house, we were shown how he mulches, sets out the irrigation lines, and grows great produce.



I don’t even get tomatoes like this that I try to grow intentionally!

Volunteer tomatoes


Here is where it all starts.


He showed us the book that he follows religiously. I promptly ordered a copy for myself. It is put out by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Cornell University strongly supports the organic food movement.


Look for his produce at our local farmer’s market on most Saturday mornings.

You’ll get much more out of this if you watch it in full size here.

A Country Haven

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It’s hard to believe that only twelve miles away is a hideaway this lush and fertile! On twenty acres of volcanic land that has decomposed, my friend Connie has created a delicious and peaceful botanical garden.

My friend, Velvet and I were invited to come and take pictures. Once we were through the gate shown above, we walked along this beautiful roadway.

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All along each side were many plants and flowers. It is obvious a great deal of loving care has gone into developing her acreage. Tucked into the ferns were several of the colorful Stromanthe sanguinea.

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Many were plants that we don’t commonly associate with brilliant or startling color, like this bromeliad with scarlet spotted leaves.

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Under thick foliage, we discovered hidden treasures like this Japanese lantern.

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I love looking back through the foliage and wondering what else is back there.

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Color keeps popping up everywhere.

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Even without color, most plants are striking and dramatic.

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At one point, we stopped and looked back along the path. I would love to live at the end of this lane, hidden from the world.

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Finally, we reached Connie’s living space. In addition to the flowers, I’m always attracted to the figurines. This heavenly angel keeps watch over the flora and fauna.

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She is joined by the Buddha in protecting the property.

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I was stunned at the size and beauty of her yellow native Hawai`ian hibiscus. I found out that mine is from a cutting of this particular plant. Click on each of these small pictures to see a full-sized version.


This climbing Mandevilla vine gave me a great idea for my own property. It is a way to lift the color up off the ground and toward the sky.

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Here is a bit of whimsy.

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There are too many scenes of flowers and greenery to show individually. Please take time to look through this slideshow before continuing to read this post.

For a larger version of this slideshow, click here.


I’m also envious of this shade house. I don’t need shade on my property, because it rarely stays very sunny for any length of time, but a shade house makes it possible to keep many shade-loving plants together in one spot.

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Ideas for my own place kept coming to me throughout the morning we were at Connie’s. At the end of the day, what better place to enjoy a cup of tea and to survey your work?

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Another bit of information about Connie . . . she is the owner of TLC, a business providing indoor plant services. If you want to contact her, leave a note in the comments and I’ll let her know you are interested.

For the next two weeks, my brother Hilton will be the guest poster. He lives in Florida and writes a travel/food blog about the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area. Please visit to see some of the gardens of Florida.

A hui hou!


Yard Sculpture

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Last week, I showed some of the flowering plants and landscaping of Bob Elhard’s plot of land. I love to show local gardeners and their work because it gives me so much hope!

The photo above is a stone table in the entry patio he has created out of a lava slab.

He has used bits of found wood and stones to create little pockets of art everywhere you turn. Most of us here in Ocean View end up with all sorts of pieces of ohia that has blown down during a storm. I have my own piles of dead wood (like the one shown below) and someday I’ll go through them to find interesting pieces to use like Bob did.

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Some of these pieces may be driftwood, although the sun-bleached ohia branches look much like that.

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This piece looks like it is growing right out of the gravel.

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Here is an attractive combination of wood and stone. The wood cradles pieces of both rough and smooth rocks.

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Even something as utilitarian as barrel hoops add a touch of the whimsical to the lava rock sculpture.

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Another barrel hoop and an unusual piece of wood create a wall sculpture.

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This wall sculpture contributes to the feeling of all the wood being driftwood.

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This old bell does its share in sending my mind toward the ocean.

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A piece of the wood rests on the windowsill to gather sun.

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I love this scenario of wood, stone, and the Japanese lantern combined.

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I have named this sculpture “yin-yang” because of the juxtaposition of rough and smooth rocks.

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Even a bowl of crushed glass and pebbles becomes a work of art.

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This is obviously not the rough lava rock so common in our yards. What a graceful shape it has.

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Tucked into the undergrowth is a peaceful Buddha.

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There were many other pictures I took, but I didn’t have room for them in the post. If you want to see more photos, including the ones from last week’s post, click on the arrow for a slideshow.
Click here

    to see a full sized slide show.

    A hui ho!

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