Landscape week

This week has been taken up with yard work, we’ve had to be home even though we haven’t been doing the actual work. By Thursday four truck loads of red dirt had been dumped in our front yard and was being spread around all sides of the house. It also rained Thursday making tracks of red mud throughout the car port and driveway. Usually when it rains here in Koloa, it’s only a light rain and only lasts for a couple of minutes. This week though the rain was heavy, and it lasted a couple of hours both Thursday and Friday. There were four landscapers here, and they worked throughout the rain. And they were soaked.

This week has been the warmest since we arrived, each day has had a high of about 86, the humidity has been high and the trade winds, low….it takes very little effort to work up a good sweat.

We spontaneously decided that the inside of the house has too much yellow paint, so we have been painting. (Maybe we have too much time on our hands!). It started with the master bath, moved on the hallway and the guest bath, then to the dining room and finally on Wednesday, to the master bedroom. The colors now are much more restful. We still haven’t decided if we will paint any more rooms.

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Our friend, Kathy, had a visitor from the mainland so we went with them to a local golf course in Lihue, Pua Kea, and had lunch. We sat out on the lanai and enjoyed the view of the mountains. Her friend then went on to the airport. We’ve spent quite a bit of time with Kathy and Becky over the past two weeks, including going to the Wednesday farmer’s market cooking demonstrations and then to dinner at a resort on the south shore.

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Even in town, the views are awesome.

We got our first full month electric bill this week, surprise…..the electric company owes us $2.41. Is that off the grid (almost)? I guess the photovoltaic is paying off.

With Donna back this past Tuesday, seal duty is going to diminish. Friday, the Monk Seal Response team leaders treated us all to pizza to celebrate the end of pupping season and to thank us for our work. It was fun to see some of the other volunteers from other parts of the island. Rachel, the assistant director of the monk seal research team from Oahu spoke to us about research happening in the NW Hawaiian chain. It seems there is a huge shark predation problem (Galapados sharks) off of French Frigate shoals in which the sharks are attacking monk seal pups. Thus, the survival rate of pups up there is very low, unlike here on the main islands. The big news here on the lower islands is that we had a record number of pups born this season, 20. They don’t expect a huge population to build because here in the tropics, there isn’t the concentration of plankton and accompanying fish that is found off California. That fact accounts for the large number of seals there.

We met our seal mentor, Donna at the airport and had dinner with her to catch her up on the seal happenings, she was disappointed that no seals came to any of the south side beaches to welcome her home, but we welcome the help…we will not be responsible for all the sightings anymore.

At our usual trek to the Wednesday gourmet farmers market we got to sample a taro goat cheese perogie made by a local chef….yum, I got the recipe, however, you probably wouldn’t be able to find taro on the mainland, chef says you can use the traditional potato instead.

The cats are doing well, both are growing their hair back after the lion cuts we gave them when we arrived. Here is Comet lounging by his food dish. He’s anxiously awaiting his next meal.

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A couple of pictures from the celebration. The first shows Jamie (the head of our group…in green), Rachel, facing right (from Oahu), Donna (in the center) and me.

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The next picture is Royden, he is a local stalwart who comes to the beach to pick up recyclables and check for seals. We’ve gotten to know him very well, a good guy, third generation Japanese.

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The landscape project is proceeding in jumps and starts, typical island time, depending on the surf. (Explanation: when the surf is up, many workers call in sick so that they can use their surfboards to the greatest advantage).

One of the funniest things (to us) are the farmers markets here. They have a definite start time everyone lines up and waits for the start…..no fair shopping before….there is a guard. Suddenly (Melissa) announces the opening and everyone crowds in. Below is a shot of the waiting shoppers. (Some are under the shelter).

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Sunday I worked the Breadfruit festival that was held at the National Tropical Garden. The event was to illustrate how useful breadfruit is and to educate people on how to use it, as well as how sustainable it is as a food source for the world. I was serving lunch that consisted of chicken, breadfruit, egg plant, coconut curry (also a vegetation variety with sweet potato in place of the chicken), a cuke, mint, parsley, lettuce salad with chili lime dressing and sweet potato strings on top, poi, and breadfruit, pineapple, banana cake. The point was to show the versatility of breadfruit. When it’s green you can make flour from it, you can boil it like potatoes, or when it is ripe it is sweet and you can make desserts with it. I even got a chance to try it raw as a native Hawaiian was pounding it to make poi and handed me a little bit (it tasted like bread). What a surprise! The turnout was fantastic and I got a chance to try some great food for free. There were booths set up featuring uses of the breadfruit leaves pounded to make a fabric, Kauai coffee, Uke music, lectures on growing breadfruit trees, hawaiian culture, and lectures and demos by various chefs, including Sammy Choy.

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3 thoughts on “Landscape week

  1. My wife and I are happy to see a photo of Royden, thank you! My wife and I met him on Sept. 19th just after sunrise on Poipu Beach and had such a wonderful conversation with him. He made our last day on Kaua’i memorable by sharing a passion fruit and telling us the legend of Naupaka. Next time you see Royden please give him a warm hello from the couple he gave a passion fruit to and told us the Naupaka legend and talked about recycling to!

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