Monday, October 31, 2011

Aussie Benedict's Maui Roasted Pumpkin Recipe + Halloween costume tips

Happy Halloween!

While escaping other events going on Maui this weekend, DH and I met Aussie Benedict of Kihei at his very uber-cool yard sale.  He had items like a large Aussie wine cooler bag, unusual hats and trinkets, and decorative plates. While decked out in a very sporting pirate costume, he recited lines from Coleridge's Kubla Khan, which was also available as a framed print.   Beside him were several piles of pumpkins.  DH could not resist trying various accents on Aussie Benedict, including an Aussie accent, a pidgin accent, and a French accent. 

After "talking story" (local lingo for chatting), Aussie wanted to share his cool pumpkin recipe. He was very proud of growing his own Maui pumpkins.




Side Note: It's amazing how many events and happenings take place on this island of about 140,000 residents (source: wikipedia), and maybe 20,000 -30,000 visitors/day. Maui is not a major metropolitan area at the level of Honolulu or Chicago or New York, but there is still plenty to do.

So far, a brief run down of events this past week:
Eckhart Tolle and Ram Dass held two public dialogues and Eckhart is hosting a retreat beginning November 1st.

The Maui Grandmothers, or more precisely, the Pacifica Indigenous Grandmothers Council of Maui held a Demystifying 2012 event this weekend.

Fourth Friday in Paia was packed with people, some in costume, including a friend of mine dressed in a GMO corn outfit.  Also, Paia was not to be excluded from the Occupy movement, and several Occupa'ia protestors walked around and held signs.

There was also a volunteer expo on Saturday for Hands on Maui, and probably tons of other events that I can't even keep up with.

I ended up not going to any of these events except for Fourth Friday, and am still working on altering a Halloween costume for DH.  

Tip: If you buy a Halloween costume, check the size. If you get someone's else's homemade Halloween costume, try it on first.

2nd tip: Test the Halloween costume at least a few days before Halloween, so you'll know if you need to futz with it.

3rd tip: If your Halloween costume needs to be resized, and it was put together with lots of glue from a hot glue gun, then it's possible to take the costume apart using a heat gun or blow dryer. Do this carefully, and avoid burning your fingers or overheating the costume (because it could melt).

Both Lahaina and Pa'ia town are holding public Halloween events. Lahaina is traditionally the larger event, with raunchier costumes. But we've been to the Pa'ia event and it's been a lot of fun and the right level of craziness for us.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Association of Maui Intentional Communities Upcoming Help Day 11/13/11

This is a classic book, a directory of intentional communities which used to be published every 4 years. Now, it's probably easier to go to their website, www.ic.org. 

Update: the Help Day has been postponed to Sunday, 11/13/11 due to the weather forecast.

The Association of Maui Intentional Communities is a fairly new group that just launched over the summer. While I have not actually been to any of their meetings, my husband did trek over to Maui Meadows for a Sunday discussion group and potluck in late August.  Meetings alternate between Huelo and Maui Meadows. According to my husband, many of the usual suspects, those folks interested in communities and sustainability, were at the meeting he attended.  He found it to be a bit heavy on the discussion side, but the AMIC is also starting up community "work" or "help" days once a month. This practice will allow for some physical labor so that people can interact in a different way than just by talking.

One of my husband's favorite stories concerns a community in the former East Germany, south of Berlin, called ZEGG. ZEGG is a famous intentional community that organizes a big summer camp each year, with hundreds of people from around the world for a period of several weeks. ZEGG is also the origination of the Forum workshops, now quite active on Maui. One summer at ZEGG, he was assigned to kitchen onion cutting duty with a German woman. They spent several hours peeling and cutting up onions.  Towards the end, he noticed a food processor and exclaimed to the woman he had been working with, that they could have saved hours by just using technology. She turns to him and says, "Ah, you... You just don't get it... We were not just cutting onions... We were getting to know each other."  So... work days and help days are a good way for people to get to know each other...

A postcard from the famous ZEGG community in Germany. www.zegg.de


I checked in with the AMIC organizer and have taken the AMIC email and copied and pasted some of the text below, with a few of my side notes, and practical tips.

On Sunday, November 6, the AMIC is organizing a day of helping at Onipa’a Sustainability Center in Huelo. The hosts, Home and Heaven Le’amohala, are well-known in Maui circles for their vegan activism, having organized Vegan Thanksgiving Celebrations and spoken at raw food gatherings about veganism.

The land is situated on 20+ acres of Maui country side near Twin Falls. It is being designed as a Sustainability Center—a place where members of the community can come and explore, learn, and share the nuances of a sustainable lifestyle. It's not complete as a center but boasts significant natural resources.. there is a yearlong stream or river, a waterfall, and natural swimming hole, ideal for pastoral communitarians.  P.S. I have never been there, but it sounds fun!

Some of the projects will include moving the two smaller biomass piles and consolidating them with the big one. (My note: I don't know what they mean by biomass - could be anything from a compost pile to wood chips to really fresh horse manure. I suggest that volunteers wear appropriate clothes that they don't mind getting dirty. Oh, bring gloves!  Gloves are very helpful. ) One or two trucks will be used for this so schlepping will not be necessary. Cane grass cutting and eradication will also be part of the program. (My note: Cane grass cutting can be rough on the arms. Wear long sleeves if you want to avoid cuts.) Weeding in the garden and on the main lawn will be needed as well.

11:00 am   Gathering
11:15 am   Hold a blessing/community requests circle
3:45 pm    End projects/start project cleaning up; some start relaxing and celebrating
4:30 pm    Vegan potluck dinner. Networking and community discussions
5:30 pm    Clean up from dinner
6:00 pm    Official end of help day.
Evening     Near-Full Moon festivities; music and merryment around the campfire circle. Families with children will be joining us as well.

The AMIC email also glowingly mentions that there is a great swimming hole for both a quick mid-help refresher and end of day lounging. Also, there is no charge for AMIC Community Help Days.


Well, I'm glad there is no charge for help days.  Volunteers shouldn't be charged except in rare situations like oh, the Blue'Aina reef clean up days... since it's not hard work and very fun and you get to go out on a boat. 

Ok, most important, how do you reach the organizers or get more information? Please visit www.amic-online.org (launched 10/13/11), the new website... It's a private site, so you'll have to join the discussion group to actually see any information.

The organizers ask you to let them know if you are coming and your expected arrival time! Also, please let them know how late you think you might want to stay. They are also trying to arrange for carpooling.

Please bring vegan potluck dish with ingrediants’ label. Please bring your own plate/silverware.
(My note: Warning: Maui potlucks can be notorious for running out of food. If you get there late after lunch time, then make sure you have extra food or have eaten well. Also, my husband reported that someone brought Cheez-its, the ultimate nonvegan potluck snack, to the vegan AMIC potluck he attended in August. Well, there were obviously some nonvegans because the box disappeared pretty fast. BUT, the host of the November 6th "help" day as mentioned before, is a dedicated vegan... so best to leave your Cheez-its in the car or at home.)

Weather contingency plan: The email organizer will call the host around 10:00 the morning of the planned work day. If clear, proceed as planned with no additional messages are needed. If raining/threatening, then the email organizer will send a postponement message, to  convene one week later—and the same drill that day, though with no further fallback day. (My note: Yes, it really does rain in Huelo. Be prepared!  Bring a good rain jacket even if it seems sunny earlier in the day.)





 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hands on Maui - Promoting Easier Ways to Volunteer

Hands on Maui Volunteer Expo Flyer recently spotted at the Habitat For Humanity Restore

While visiting the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Wailuku, I saw this flyer on the wall inside the store. Wow! A Hands On Maui organization.  I actually knew what this organization was about, or had a pretty good idea.

Years ago, when I was fresh out of college, I worked for Philadelphia Cares, now called Greater Philadelphia Cares, a nonprofit organization that promoted innovative and easily ways to volunteer. Philadelphia Cares was part of the larger Hands On Network, a group of organizations across the country and the world, which promotes volunteer opportunities on a one-time or multiple basis, without the hassle of long-term time commitments or the necessity of intensive training. We published a monthly calendar of volunteer opportunities, some as short as 1 or 2 hours so that people could dive right in, after a one-time orientation and minimal paperwork, and volunteer at places as diverse as the Food Bank, homeless shelters, schools, reading clinics, libraries, senior centers, and hospitals.  We always provided supervision at each project, and it didn't require a lot of effort for the participating organizations. Volunteering without the hassle is a very beautiful concept.

For a while I thought about founding a similar nonprofit in Hawaii, but the work to create a nonprofit is tremendous and expensive, and truth be told, I didn't want it badly enough.

So, I'm really pleased to see that someone else wanted a Hands on Maui badly enough to create it.  The surprise is that Hands on Maui was created under the County government. I realize I'm just biased because I worked for a very charismatic executive director who left the business world, and the entire feeling of that Philadelphia workplace reflected the driving energy of a start-up business rather than a typical grant-funded nonprofit. The structure of the Hands On Maui website is also different, since the site doesn't showcase a monthly calendar of volunteer opportunities, but instead lists each participating organization.  So what?  Hands on Maui is young and still developing its own style.  I'm pleased to see my tax dollars going to something worthwhile.

Today (Saturday), October 29th, from 11 am to 1 pm, Hands on Maui is hosting a volunteer expo at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.  It's a good start for this new organization, and Maui can use the help!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Followup + Video - Maui Farmer's Union Meeting 10/25/11

When I wrote the last post, I didn't get a chance to upload all the videos from the recent Farmer's Union meeting, and was pretty distracted by the surprise presentation at the meeting. Just to reiterate, the Farmer's Union isn't just for farmers, but small scale gardeners as well and anyone interested in sustainability and local community.

NOTE: Anyone who was at the meeting who wants to add more details or corrections, please let me know.

A few highlights from the meeting in more detail:

Vincent Mina thanked Don King, the creator of the new Farmer's Union logo. Click here to see the video.

Chef Suki Bergeron presented a vegan squash soup, that included squash, sweet potatoes, and oats blended in for creaminess. Like other chefs, she emphasizes fresh local produce, using whole ingredients, geared to one's location, and one's genetic ancestry. The one part where she talked and I didn't film her, she mentioned that it's important to consider one's ancestors. She mentioned that Asians get more colon cancer than Northern Europeans on the same diet which includes meat, because of genetic differences in colon or intestinal length.  She also talked about balancing flavors or tastes. She said her squash soup, a good "earth" element food, is also naturally sweet. To see the video, click here.

Lehuahana Vander Velde gave her update on the website... Click here to see the site, and she would appreciate feedback, and more photos.  The name of the site may also change in the future.  When the site name gets finalized, I would like to add the site link to all the Farmer's Union videos.  

Ryan, Produce Manager at Mana Foods, gave his local produce report.

Highlights include:
  • Fresh apples from Olinda will be coming soon. These apples are only in 2nd year of production.
  • Local figs and pomegranates are more available
  • In the middle of persimmon season
  • Some Rapoza and Fairchild mangoes still available
  • Market gaps include: local organic onions (onions are often sprayed), celery, peppers, potatoes.
  • Hana Fresh has been supplying more tomatoes, like 1/3 of what Mana can use.
Ryan's presentation can be viewed here:




Harriet Witt did a very entertaining presentation to explain the significance of November 17th, as an astronomical date... and the reasoning behind the timing of the Hawaiian New Year or the Makahiki, which falls on the first new moon after November 17th.




Bill Greenleaf (I believe this is who it was) talked about food safety legislation, and this was a more technical presentation, so for me it was hard to follow.  I did film a portion of his talk, but it will take another day to get it uploaded. Check on youtube for it in a couple of days.

Lastly, I thought I had filmed this most excellent presentation by Greg Hopkins about compost using the tail end of my dying batteries, but alas, had not saved it properly to my computer. Ok, I am just going to blame this incident on my distracted state of mind after leaving the meeting that night and also the following day.

Here is what I remember from Greg's talk (which may not be that accurate) :

An inexpensive way to make passive compost is by getting 7 pallets, and using them as insulation. Greg did not go into detail with this. I wanted to know if he meant to put them on the ground and then lay the compost on top, or to circle the compost pile with the pallets, creating a fence.  This style of compost (weeds, leaves, grass) can take a while to break things down, and one doesn't have to be exact about ratios of different materials.

Greg mentioned worm composting but said it can be tricky to keep them moist and have them at the right temperature. (Yes, if you live at higher elevations, they require more care - but my worm compost bin in Haiku has been fine.)

The carbon to nitrogen ratio is very important.  Greg threw out some numbers like 25 to 1 or 75 to 1, meaning much more carbon to nitrogen, depending on the items in the compost.

Greg composts the waste from Whole Foods on Maui, including meat and animal products. Greg says meat composts very well, and though some compost books say not to do it, he said it's very doable. Greg may have said the tricky part has to do with breaking the meat down fully enough - referring to getting enough carbon in the pile.

Where do you get carbon?
Greg says wood chips are a good source, and to track down landscape trimmers who have to take their trucks "down the hill." He said they will often sell you the chips inexpensively, or on Friday afternoons when they want to be pau with work, sometimes you can get them for free.

You need a lot of wood chips. Greg, I think, mentioned making a pile 4 x 4 or bigger.

Yes, you can compost entire animals, like 1000 lb cows which had died and been trucked up to Greg's yard. Greg confessed that he used to live at Kula 200, a nice subdivision with plenty of doctors and lawyers, and in his backyard, he was composting big dead cows. Without any smell and his neighbors didn't know. P.S., you can also look at an earlier post of mine regarding composting animals.

If you compost correctly, using LOTS of carbon, then there will be no smell. If you have smell, it means you are not trapping all the nitrogen and need to add more carbon.  Greg mentions a video of his daughter peeling back the tarp on a compost pile, and underneath is a big dead cow and she sniffs the air and pronounces it "good smelling."

It's important to keep the compost pile moist. Greg uses a tarp, not to keep water out of the pile, but to keep moisture in the pile. Greg mentioned some compost thermometers - I don't recall the brands or types - to check for temperature.

I think Greg mentioned composting in layers. This is pretty typical for compost... one layer of one item, then some carbon in the form of wood chips, etc.. then another layer...

Yes, you can also compost human poo. Greg cited a source on the net with 3 downloadable manuals to compost human poo. He also said his family filled up a large container (like garbage can) with poo. He said it makes great compost, but doesn't recommend it if someone in the family has chronic diseases.  I believe Greg even used the expression "shi--ing in a bucket" to emphasize that human waste is normally just wasted down the sewer system, but has value, and is not just sh--.

Where can you find Greg? He said he often posts in Craigslist in the farm and garden section with the title "Whole Food compost" not Whole Foods compost...I looked the other day and couldn't find him.

But... I did come across this video on youtube, and I think it might be him:





As mentioned earlier, if you have additions or corrections, please comment below or email me if you know me. Mahalo!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maui Farmer's Union Meeting 10/25/11 - A Few Notes

Pukalani, Maui - Vincent Mina and his wife Irene grow great sunflower sprouts which are sold all over the island. They are active champions of sustainability and I respect their opinions on food and local agriculture... They host the annual Body and Soil Conference and organize farm tours to Hana and beyond, speak at public gatherings like Upcountry Sustainability, South Maui Sustainability, the Small Business Resource Center, and the Maui Farmer's Union.  I have even faxed the County Council a recommendation letter asking the County to continue funding Vince's nonprofit work.  If Vincent Mina told me that putting some eye of newt on my vegetable crops at midnight on a blue moon would help them to grow better, I would look at him askance and then seriously consider his advice.

The first portion of the meeting turned out to be quite controversial. Out of respect for Vincent and Irene, I emailed them my response to check in with them before posting my entire thoughts... Their reply was that they appreciated what I had to say, and also to please not post anything regarding the first segment of the meeting, nor any of the video clips that I took...

... Harriet Witt did an engaging presentation on the Makahiki, Hawaiian New Year, using the solar system. Suki Bergeron talked about her cooking philosophy. Ryan shared some produce highlights, including an apple orchard in Olinda which will be producing many local apples soon, and has only been producing for two seasons. There was a very worthwhile presentation on compost, which did not get properly saved. But at least the Farmer's Union has it on video somewhere.

I will update this post with more video highlights and commentary.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pearl Butik (Boutique) in Paia





Coral hearts in distressed wooden frames.



  
Pearl was such an intriguing boutique, located on the outskirts of Paia, past the Paia Fire Station, that I just felt I had to write something about it. Also, I'm still recovering from last night's Farmer's Union Meeting in Pukalani.  Vincent Mina, who I really respect as a farmer, shared a radically interesting "surprise guest" and the meeting turned out to be a bit controversial.  Hmmm.... Plus, I haven't had a chance to upload any of the videos, much less even watch them and trim off bumpy beginnings or endings.

The Pearl business card actually spells boutique as "butik" and when I tried to find this store on google and Facebook a couple of months ago, came up with a lot of Pearl Butiks who live in various parts of the country. So, I could not find the Pearl Butik of Paia.  Update: I just heard back from the owner last night, and they do have a new site: http://www.pearlbutik.com/ and will be featured in November's issue of Coastal Living. Pretty cool!

This particular retail location has had a few different makeovers... it was a Swedish design store back in 2004. At some point, an architect and interior designer moved from Baldwin Avenue to this location.  Then it was empty for a long time until owner Malia stepped in and made it into this very lovingly decorated store. This is the kind of place where if I had the budget, I would decorate my Maui jungalow in this style. Sigh.  Pearl Butik also reminds me of the now defunct Rambutan, which used to be located in the old Paia Train Station.  I also got to tease Malia since she is also from Oahu, from the townie suburb of Hawaii Kai, often dubbed "Haole Kai" since many Caucasians or haoles live there.

Since I did not have that kind of budget, I treated myself to a small blue handmade glass cup and enjoyed looking around. Yes, there are other stores that are lovely too... all over Maui, and lovely home furnishings stores in the heart of Makawao and Paia. I just happen to like this store, and want to give it some attention since it's on the fringes of Paia far from foot traffic. It's not the easiest location for a store, and it felt like an oasis on the day that I stopped by.



Moroccan lanterns in Paia. Maybe Indigo carries them too. I think Haiku Style might have a couple too.



Love and Joy coral, on display with porcelain.




Exotic pillows, with ethnic designs.



Chandelier in the center of the store.



Center table display





Pearl Butik also offers several styles of natural fiber bed linens and table cloths, with designer names that I don't recognize, but someone wandering in from Wailea probably would.  Even though Pearl could be hoity-toity, all the coral hearts and words make it more Paia-esque, and there are plenty of items that don't require a Wailea bank account.

Malia pointed out that the handmade bedding is sourced to support small, independent artisans. While some of it is imported, it doesn't take advantage of sweat shop labor, unlike many big chain stores of the world.  So don't feel guilty about splurging.

Monday, October 24, 2011

David Bruce Leonard - Wild Edibles at Upcountry Sustainability 10/20/11

Hali’imaile, MauiUpcountry Sustainability sponsored a talk by David Bruce Leonard on wild edible plants at the Hali’imaile Community Center last Thursday, 10/20/11. Despite some confusion (for me at least) as to where the center was located… there were good signs, and it was indeed on Makomako Street on the maka’i side of Hali’imaile Road. It was easy to find because there were tons of cars on the street and in the parking lot.  The auditorium was packed with 40 + people.


David opened the talk with a gathering circle to bless the meeting. Despite the blessing, or maybe because of the blessing, there was one technical difficulty with connecting the computer to the projector, and the computer folk in the audience were able to get it working after 15 minutes or so.

In the meantime, David talked about the wisdom of the body in relation to gathering plants and in our relationship with the earth.  Although I’ve taken a few classes with David, this is the first time I had heard him talk so extensively about the importance of body awareness in general, and in his approach to gathering plants.  He did call his intro a “bait and switch” since he had been planning to start the talk a little differently, but there had been some computer issues.





Once the computer was connected, and the slide show was working, David launched into a quick overview of the various plants, in alphabetical order.  There will be some more video clips available from the talk once I finish uploading them. 

Also, there are two other blog posts on David Bruce Leonard from last week: http://www.mauijungalow.com/2011/10/herb-walk-with-david-bruce-leonard-iao.html http://www.mauijungalow.com/2011/10/medicine-at-your-feet-hawaiian-healing.html


In the meantime, I found a series of clips of David posted by Hawaiian Sanctuary on youtube.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cooking with Garden Blessings of Bountiful Carrot Harvest

Year round growing in Hawaii means year round harvest. When the garden blesses me with a bountiful harvest of yummy carrots, I get cooking. Here are three of my favorite carrot recipes.



Carrot Nut Bread
This recipe makes the most delicious, sweet, moist carrot bread! The house will smell delightful for hours!
Ingredients

2 cups grated carrots (I like to put 3 cups)
3 cups all purpose flour (I like to use half wheat and half white)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar (I prefer turbinado)
1 cup vegetable oil (I prefer oliver oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (I use soy milk)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (great with cashews too!)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two medium loaf pans by greasing and dusting with flour or lining with parchment paper.

1. Grate and measure the carrots and set aside.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Whip the eggs together in a medium bowl. Stir the sugar in and then add the oil, extract, and milk.

4. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture along with the carrots and nuts. Mix with a spatula until combined.

5. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaves test done when a toothpick is inserted in the middle of the loaves. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on wire racks.

Carrot Soup Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Steam carrots until tender.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine cooked carrots and 3/4 cup broth. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, parsley, basil, and ground red pepper. Add half-and-half cream all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in carrot mixture and remaining broth. Season with salt and black pepper. Thin with milk or water if needed.

Carrot Salad Recipes

There are many ways to make carrot salad. One of my favorites is to simply whip up a batch of homemade french dressing and mix it into grated carrots and raisins. Store bought dressing works fine too if you want to whip up a quick salad.


Another quick and easy recipe is to add enough mayonnaise to grated carrots to coat them well and then sprinkle in cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and raisins. I don't really follow a recipe, but if I had to guess at the amounts, this would be my approximation:


2 cups grated carrots (use the food processor to grate them)

2 - 3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Pinch of black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup raisins


Enjoy until next time!

L Maui Gardener


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beautiful sunset view from Hali'imaile

The road towards the Haliimaile Community Garden goes past houses and warehouses, then meanders through sugar cane fields, and overlooks Kahului, West Maui, and Kahakuloa. Kahakuloa is this big bumpy rock on the far tip of the island, with many Hawaiian stories of chieftains who jump into the ocean from the rock to test their courage.

Sometimes quail, not chickens, cross the road. Quail are the birds with a q-tip shape on their head. Towards sunset, there are pu'eo sometimes, Hawaiian owls - although I see those more rarely.  Lots of people use this area too: people with dogs, joggers, and the occasional walkers for an evening stroll.

The video clip below shows one particularly nice sunset view overlooking the rest of the island. It's very windy that day and the cane grass and sugar cane are bending in the wind. The cane grass is a tenacious weed that resembles sugar cane. The sugar cane mill can be seen churning smoke towards the left side of the video. It's also a nice clear day - not obscured by vog (volcanic fog).



Friday, October 21, 2011

Lowering the Cost of Shipping to Hawaii

Living on Maui is expensive enough without the added hassles of getting things shipped here. Some companies offer free shipping deals, but when you read the fine print, the offer only applies to the 48 contiguous states. Shoots! (Local lingo for "that sucks.") That cuts out Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico... Some companies don't even offer shipping to Hawaii except with UPS or FedEx. That also sucks - because then the shipping by UPS or FedEx is only by air... not by boat... and the cost is pretty exorbitant. The easiest way is just to avoid companies which only ship by FedEx or UPS. But sometimes that's not possible. 

So, here are two solutions to check out next time you have to order something on the mainland and the company wants to send it by UPS or FedEx.  Both services are similar in that they have a ground address located somewhere in the mainland US, on the West Coast. You have your item sent to that West Coast address, and then the shipping company will send it to your Hawaii address.

1. http://shiptohawaii.com/  This outfit is based on Oahu. You need to become a member first, for a fee of $20 or more depending on your needs, and then your item will be mailed to your Maui address. UNLESS you are arranging for something by ocean freight, in which case you will need to get it arranged to come to Maui.  This service offers transport of large items, not just itty bitty packages.

2. Go to the Postal Shop in Haiku or Makawao. Owner Greg Aguera has a new shipping service that will send your item directly to your Maui address. You do NOT have to live in Haiku or Makawao. You can live anywhere on Maui. You have to sign up first, before sending anything to the forwarding center on the mainland. Make sure to call 808-572-3088 to sign up first. You will be billed for the postage from the West Coast to your address plus a service fee of roughly $5-9. This service is great if you can get free shipping to the West Coast. There is no membership fee. I asked Greg for a website, but um... I couldn't find it on the flyer, so I am scanning and including the flyer below. Oh, just talked with Greg: there is a website but not on the flyer: http://www.hawaiiforwarding.com/

This service is NOT for huge ocean freight containers... since the items are mailed by US Postal Service from the West Coast.







 We just ordered a part for something that broke... Things like appliances can break down quicker here than in other places.  I call it the physics of "Maui entropy." The company only shipped by UPS... They said they had a really good rate with UPS and said the cost would be about $30... NO, it was more like $50.  The shipping with the Postal Shop mail forwarding service would probably not have saved us any money in that we would have still had to pay postage + their service charge on top of UPS ground shipping to Oregon. But if there's free shipping to the West Coast, then this is a great option for next time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Herb Walk with David Bruce Leonard, Iao Valley February 2009

These are notes from an herb walk with David Bruce Leonard, of www.MedicineAtYourFeet.com, in Iao Valley in February 2009.  We were originally planning to do a hike at "Tabletops," but the day was overcast and the conditions did not feel safe. 

This time, the group was composed of 8-10 people and we did the prayer circle before starting.  We walked along the road and hiked up a dry stream bed. The most interesting non-herbal thing we saw was a picture in a frame mounted high on a tree trunk. The picture was an old photograph, maybe from World War II.

These are just a few of the very MANY plants that we saw along the way, complete with mispellings and question marks. But, if I get corrected spellings, I will update them later.

Haole Koa
Young leaf tips are edible.  The young green pods are edible, can be boiled to make it taste ok.  Don’t eat too much, causes cows to lose fur.


Haole koa - this picture shows mature seed pods, which are not edible. Still yet, the young seed pods may not taste that good, so I'm not encouraging anyone to eat them. But the young pods are considered edible. Don't confuse this tree with kiawe! 

Pepeiao
A shaggy, slimy limpish tree fungus growing off a fallen branch.  We took several pictures.  David said this is the only slimy shaggy fungus like it, hard to confuse with something else. (Side note: I know people who remember gathering this as children and their families prepared it as food.)


Pepeiao - a fungus

Along road:
Spanish Needle
Yellow flowers, sometimes w/ whitish sections.
The Spanish needle is the one with yellow flowers -
to the lower left of the picture.
David pulled up the roots.  It’s liver protective and anti-inflammatory.  


Oxalis
Oxalis is from the Greek, for “sour.” It has a sour taste.

Oxalis with pretty lavendar flowers. The oxalis leaves are like clover, but much larger. See the clover growing under the oxalis.
 
We saw a small oxalis, with small leaves and runners.  It looked very similar to clover.  The other oxalis, oxalis martiana, had large leaves and purplish pink flowers.  The larger oxalis does not have runners. Oxalis is a blood cleanser and a sedative.   Called Ihipehu in Hawaiian.

Youngia Japonica
A daisy-like plant, antibiotic properties.


I think this is Youngia Japonica.

Lau'ae Fern
The younger leaves do not have sori (singular: sorus), the spore like spots on the leaf.  The leaves without sori can be gathered, thrown in a pot, and made into a tonic for internal use.  The leaves with sori are used topically for broken bones/sprains.  Hawaiians mashed them with sea salt and urine.  David uses vodka, it’s more acceptable.

Lau'ae Fern with spots (sori)

Gotu Kola
We saw some of these growing all the roadside.  Good for cancer, etc.

Gotu kola - yes, they sell the tea at Mana Health Foods.

Calicula (sp?)
Roots have a sassafras/root beer smell.  Small plant that David pulled up. The smell is associated w/ plants that may be connected w/ liver toxicity, or causing liver toxicity.  An acupuncturist named Lily Sue on Oahu uses these plants for patients who need liver healing.   A related plant is “uwanja” (sp?) meaning “source of wisdom” can be used to give a person a long-term vision of life, a greater perspective on their life.


Polygala paniculata. Root beer scent in the roots.

There are many more plants that we talked about... but it takes time to upload the pictures - oh,  and also to find where the pictures are locate in my files - which are about 90% organized : )  If I can stop taking pictures, I will have time to organize them!

David is doing a free medicine plant talk tonight at the Haliimaile Community Center from 7 pm. There was some confusion as to the location, since the Facebook page mentions Makomako Street in Haliimaile, as being "mauka" or mountainside of Haliimaile Road, but I just looked on Google Maps and it was makai or oceanside.  I go through Haliimaile all the time to go to the Haliimaile Community Garden and the Upcountry Fine Art supply store, so I feel I should know where the community center is! 

Update: The organizers did put up signs and Makomako Street was makai of Haliimaile Road. It was easy to find, and there was a great turn-out. I'll be posting some notes from David's talk and video clips as soon as I get a chance.




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Medicine At Your Feet - Hawaiian Healing Plants with David Bruce Leonard


David Bruce Leonard looking at an Emilia plant in the grass -
it has a reddish tufty flower.


Weeds have value. That’s one of the things David Bruce Leonard teaches.  What’s so interesting is some of the same medicinal weeds are prevalent all over the planet, close to areas of human habitation.  The same weed growing in my backyard is the same plant in India, thousands of miles away.

I first met David Leonard through classes he offered at Eve Hogan’s Sacred Garden of Maliko. The students consisted of Margo Gal, an ayurvedic therapist, Aubrey Bamdad whose Qori Inti company makes Amazonian herbal products, an herbal practitioner in Kula, and a staffer from the Dragon’s Den herb shop in Makawao, a couple of other herbal students, plus myself. Ayurveda is an ancient healing tradition that comes from India.

There was so much information in class that it was almost overwhelming – my chicken scratch notes contained Hawaiian plant names, Indian/Ayurvedic plant names, botanical descriptions, references to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Latin plant names, and properties of different plants, cultural uses from more than one culture, and many misspellings and question marks where I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with what David was saying.  After taking a couple more classes, luckily since David does repeat information, my notes slowly became more logical and readable. Some plants became almost familiar: Bidens or Spanish Needle, with both introduced and native species versions; Emilia, a wispy thistle like plant with a reddish or pinkish flower tuft; Soncchus which looks like a more slender version of dandelion. There are also some plant look alikes, so it's good to make sure you have really identified it.


Fuzzy picture of Emilia - with the reddish tuft on the left side, and Bidens, Spanish needle, with yellow flowers and pointy leaves on the right side.  This is not a good picture to use to identify these plants.




Crassocephalum looks similar to Emilia and may not be a helpful plant.
  

Having Aubrey and Margo in my class raised the bar. Aubrey had studied plants extensively and would ask specific, almost technical questions about plant properties. I felt like a beginning math student listening to a question about trigonometry.  Margo’s face would light up when she recognized a plant from her studies in India, and then she would share some ayurvedic uses as well.

Bumi amalaki - in the very center with rounded compound leaves
Margo Gal says she uses this plant to get energy moving, and it's good for kapha doshas (Body types with more earth energy). This picture is not clear enough to identify this plant.

Nothing in class prepared me for my first plant walk with David and Aubrey. It was just the three of us.  We met at the Haiku Cannery parking lot shortly after 11 am.  In David’s trunk was a large snorkeling bag stuffed with tabis, Japanese style reefwalking shoes.  David looked at my sneakers, shook his head, and instructed me to find a pair of tabis to fit my feet.  David prefers tabis which have special grippy felt bottoms that are better for going up and down dry and wet stream beds. Since most students don’t have tabis, David has amassed quite a collection of them, but encouraged us to get a pair at Longs Drug Store if we continue doing more herb walks.

Japanese Tabis (pronounced tah-bees), reefwalking shoes with a felt bottom. David recommends the felt sole not the other kind of sole. Make sure to check before buying.  Longs Drugs usually carries them. 

We climbed into Aubrey’s car.  Where are we going?  “Oh, somewhere towards Hana,” David says vaguely. Aubrey would drive and David would let her know when to stop. When will we get back? "Oh, probably around 1 pm or so…" None of us has to be back at any particular time, so we can take our time. Aubrey is now driving on Hana Highway from Haiku, discussing a particular treatment with David for one of Aubrey’s patients that involves maybe gathering mamaki leaves or making a tea with the fuzzy flower heads from sleeping grass… The conversation is becoming technical and going over my head. 

Aubrey continues to drive further and further.  We are definitely past Huelo now and stretching the edges of my comfort zone. I am being kidnapped by two mad herbalist shaman witch doctor healers and we may end up doing a vision quest journey for days!   My cell phone doesn’t get a signal this far out.  I am having a flashback from the book Mutant Message Down Under - the story of an American woman who ends up trekking across the Australian wilderness with aborigines who contrive to burn all her western clothing and personal items… (Yes, the library should carry this book).


Somewhere in the vicinity of 20 miles out from Haiku, or maybe further since I’m not keeping track of mile markers, David asks Aubrey to stop by a particular one-lane bridge. We have already passed a few one-lane bridges. I feel a tremendous sense of relief. I wasn’t prepared to go all the way to Hana, or even halfway.  I’m also too “chicken” (as we say in Hawaii) to say anything about it since we’ve already started. Aubrey parks the car and we clamber out. As we stretch our legs, David starts pointing out where the bamboo has crowded more into the valley, further than it did last time he was here. He starts pointing to some scraggly plants growing by the car, and I start scribbling notes and trying to get my camera out in time. Ah too late, we are climbing up a dirt trail from the roadside following along a stream bed.

David is listening intently and looking around.  At some point farther from the road, we stop and gather together as a circle of three, and he says a Hawaiian prayer out loud asking for permission to be there and to gather plants.

Several times we stop as David points out plants – maidenhair fern of the introduced variety based on the number of spots under the leaves, a species of ageratum, the young leaf buds of guava branches are useful in tea for is it diarrhea?, and more Latin names that I’m not keeping up with. At one point, David asks us all to stop and listen and watch. We stand looking around. He guides us to look at a leaf spinning in the wind. It is the only thing moving. We watch it in silence. David emphasizes the importance of observing during a plant walk, reminding us to watch the wind, the plants, the movements of things. This observation can keep plant gatherers safe.

We eventually work our way to the bottom of a waterfall, and David demonstrates a flowing qi gong movement with a long name that I also don’t remember. I think it has to do with moving the energy from the kidneys or the liver, so that it circulates and is not stagnant. David insists on jumping in the waterfall pool while Aubrey and I talk.


Aubrey by the waterfall - using my old camera,
so it's not the best picture of her.

We continue walking and looking at plants, and then at some point, David pauses and says the energy has shifted and it may be time for us to leave. It is an already overcast day, and it seems like the sky is even darker and cloudier.  So we gather in a circle again and David asks the spirits to guide us on our way out and keep us safe.  We make it back to the car without incident. Aubrey offers some seed snacks and I am munching on them furiously along with some dried fruit.

By the time we make it back to Haiku, it’s at least 3 pm. I am ravenous and eat my way through the kitchen, with a handful of unreadable notes and my head still spinning from the walk. It felt like I had crossed a couple of time zones, and passed a boundary from some mystery place back to civilization.  My sense of time felt all out of whack. But it was exhilarating to have been on the walk and to experience coming back from the walk.

I took a few more classes with David, attended another walk or two, and also arranged for a plant walk at the Hali'imaile Community Garden open to the public.  A few months ago I got in touch with David again and found out that he has moved to the Big Island. Then last week, Upcountry Sustainability announced that he is doing a talk and series of classes on Maui again.

The talk is going to be held at Hali'imaile Community Center, on Makomako St. in Hali`imaile (correction 10/20: it is "makai" or oceanside of Hali`imaile Rd even though the event page says it's mauka or mountainside - we just looked at google maps again), this Thursday 10/20/11 (tomorrow) from 7 pm to 8 pm (but it may run longer).  Melanie said there will also be signs - it's going to be in a green gymnasium. The upcoming class this weekend is a worthwhile opportunity to learn some plant lore and get to know the wild things in one’s backyard or the special uses of every day plants like ti leaf plants or bananas. There’s also a book that David wrote, volume I of Medicinal Plants of the Hawaiian Kingdom – I’ve looked at it a few times, but it has such a tremendous wealth of information that I wasn’t ready to partake of it fully.  It is a helpful guide for the plant walks and class.  I also highly recommend the plant walks, even though the initial experience can be a bit otherworldly.  Time definitely moves differently on a plant walk. If you need to be back by a certain time, make sure to let David know.

Last note: the pictures included are meant to supplement this post, but are not that great for identifying these plants. Please beware of identifying plants incorrectly. Some of them look alike, and not all of them are beneficial, or we may not know of their beneficial uses.