Friday, March 30, 2012

Haiku Flower Festival - 2011 Highlights

Last year, I had a great time going to the Haiku Ho'olaulea or Haiku Flower Festival.  It's a fundraiser for Haiku Elementary and many of their extracurricular programs. It's from 9 am to 4 pm tomorrow at the Haiku Community Center. 

There are plenty of things for adults and for kids...



Kathy "Tita" Collins, local comedian.

Flower arranging contest with exotic flowers.

Selecting native plants for haku lei making with the
Native Hawaiian Plant Society. Or visit their Facebook page

Grandmother's Council of Maui, nonprofit booth

Vince Mina of Maui Farmer's Union, a really worthwhile
organization NOT just for farmers.

Some food booths last year. 
Highlights from last year including making haku leis from native plants with Maui's Native Hawaiian Plant Society, roaming the local produce and food booths, meeting a harpist from St. Petersburg, Russia, and checking out the bake sale and silent auction. There was plenty of live entertainment too, and it was a bit muddy. Ah well, that's Haiku. Let's hope for sun tomorrow. 

Harpist Tatiana of St. Petersburg, Russia, and her partner Stefan.

Star Trek Silent Auction items donated by The Perfect Fit. 


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chef Jana Talks About Mulberries - Maui Farmer's Union

A short post today...


At the Farmer's Union meeting last night, Maui Chef Jana McMahon shared one of her favorite fruits: mulberries.  She also shared a recipe for her special "secret" sauce featuring mulberries and truffle oil. Very decadent.  At the end of the talk, she said her sauce was so fabulous, that anyone who says they don't need it, probably really does...






If you can't access the video, go to Chef Jana's website to get the full recipe. She promised she would post it today. 


P.S. If you want to hook up with a local mulberry supplier, ask Chef Jana.. You can also ask me, since I know them too, and they don't do email. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Maui Farmer's Union - Na Wai Eha Water Controversy

At the 2/28/12 meeting of the Maui Farmer's Union, Isaac Moriwake of Earthjustice talked about water rights and the current controversy of public trust water in Hawaii: Na Wai Eha ("The Four Great Waters")








The talk went on for 25 minutes - it was worth watching, but to make this information a bit more accessible to people who may not have the 25 minutes to spare, here is a very rough (and incomplete) transcription of the talk including a few of my comments. The video has the visuals and will put the words below in a better context:



Issac Moriwake of Earthjustice on "Protecting the public trust doctrine and water law in Hawaii." 

Isaac is talking: 


Streams and water systems depend on mauka to makai (Hawaiian for mountain to ocean) flow, an ecosystem and cultural system based on the ahupua’a (pie shaped wedge of land from mountain top to shore), centered on the mauka to makai concept. Farmers planted taro in this system, a symbiotic wetland unit. They took water from the streams but always put it back. Wai means water, wai wai means well, kana wai literally means the law, wai is life…

Waiahole Ditch landmark case.

Historically, water was a public resource, even under the kings.

Water code in the 1980s:
Waiahole ditch was a national precedent on water resources in general, a landmark case for water as a public trust.

Oahu Sugar had closed. The big landowner wanted to keep the water for urban development and temporary agriculture. Small farmers took this to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Protected trust purposes:
Trust to safeguard resources
Keep the resource in its natural state – based on science, aesthetics, Hawaiian rights
The Court says we will not think of streams flowing as waste.
Take action to protect the environment.

Default in favor of trust – the burden of those taking resource for their private profit need to justify. It doesn’t mean you are banning water use for private purpose. Need to show need, lack of alternatives, prove you need to drain streams.

It doesn’t mean just to support the environment, or being against farms (transcriber's note: really big plantations). It is a traditional Hawaiian idea of kuleana, upholding rights and local agriculture. It’s the responsibility of corporations to justify themselves.

Pictures showing people together as a community, restoring old waterways.

Now in Maui. Na Wai Eha (The Four Great Waters): a legendary place.
This was once the largest continuous area of taro cultivation in ALL of Hawaii, even more than Hanalei. There are heiau (Hawaiian temples) all over the place. It was the birthplace of … a spiritual place. Waihee River is the largest river on Maui, one of the top 5 in the state. A diversion of Wailuku Water Co and HC & S and you can see the dry stream bed.

Iao stream now known as Wailuku river. A grate goes across the stream. Cracks and seepage were cemented up. People in this region want to farm and want rights to water.

Again, who are we dealing with? Wailuku Sugar Plantation had 5000 acres and HC & S. They retained a bid system and reformed as a bid system as a water company selling water to the same land. The mustard color being farmed is under short term lease. Wailuku Water Company makes no bones about it. Only a 5th of the land was used (for agriculture). 30 million gallons of water available a day.

In comparison, the Ia'o aquifer can provide to Central Maui 20 million gallons a day. Maybe 17 in total.

Wailuku Water Company says they have 27.5 million gallons available to new customers and the rest is slated to HC&S. They are parking the water. Only a fraction of land is now cultivated w/ this water. Wailuku Sugar Plantation is no more. So the question is, where is the water? We learned we had to pry info from folks, their strategy is to maintain control. They lose more than 25% of the water they divert. Over irrigate by 20-50%. Some fields are getting more than 3x the water that the crop needs, it’s sandy soil so it sucks water up. They are avoiding using the historical source of water for fields: wells. Instead use the power they internally generate by burning the gas to sell to MECO for windfall profits. What if you had to pay for water and show all this wasted water to stockholders!?  This is what happens when water is cheap or free. A mindset when water is something you can just treat like your own ….

While the case was pending, the Wailuku Water company sent out water cannons in driest part of island, Maalaea, even in the middle of the day, literally shot 24/7 into the air over dry pasture slated for development. Even in the middle of day, in the heat of summer. While streams go dry, these water cannons go full blast. This is what happens when water is cheap or free. This is land banking, right? The same acreage HC&S claims they need or will go out of business, they have slated for development. Over 1000 acres are in this portion of plantation alone. It’s also about  water banking. They don’t care if they lose the water because at the same time they are planning the Waialae water treatment plant that will take 9 million gallons a day (the same water that they claim is essential to the plantation) so they can treat it and sell it to the public. So they are getting into the water business as well.

Who’s the Hui? Uncle John here and Rosemary.
Rosemary and Uncle Dewey in the valley want to get their water back. They are farmers trying to farm, continue their culture. In the words of former plantation worker now farmer and kuleana land owner Alfred Santiago. Tourists look at streams, but in the end of the day, it’s identity and what makes us feel more whole.

At stake, culture, clash of two paradigms.
Is water public trust or private property?

Are streams for future generations or water for sale? Is this agriculture (land development and housing)?

In April 2009, the hearing officer proposed to restore half of the water, A&B HC&S went on warpath, said they would close the plantation and lay off 800 people to the commission’s face, and the commission did an about face to restore even less water than the plantation had advocated. So an appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court is pending. It’s the Waiahole case all over again. Same [political] maneuvers as in the other case.

Why are we here again? Recent attacks by Hawaii Farm Bureau on the water law paradigm and framework, going on every year since the Waiahole decision. (Transcriber's note: The Hawaii Farm Bureau doesn’t really represent farmers, but commercial interests. Many small farmers have created their own organization to represent them: Hawaii Farmers Union United.) Hawaii Farm Bureau’s main attempt to make agriculture on important agriculture lands (means only HC &S) a protected public trust purpose, this sounds reasonable right?. Public trust is supposed to be rights and then kuleana (responsibility of the diverters), you understand this is directly contrary to the law.

The Waiahole case means that “public trust” is not understood to safeguard rights of private use for commercial gain.

It’s not to deprive agriculture of water but there must be kuleana, rights.

What Hawaii Farm Bureau and HC& S are saying:
“Ag needs water” Agreed.
We’re talking about responsible water use

What they really mean is: they want cheap and free water for private companies. It’s really corporate welfare.  It’s about cheap and free stream water for private companies. 
One plantation feels it’s under attack and wants to use the law for its own benefit

FYI, this is the kind of stuff we
We hear year after year, written into one of the farm bureau (not real farmers) drafts:
“The Supreme Court’s rulings have the effect of lowering self-sufficiency and sustainability goals by depriving agriculture of adequate water.” This is offensive to me.
No one is depriving any adequate water to farmers

It ain’t self sufficient or sustainable if you’re destroying streams while doing it!

Hawaii Farm Bureau (Boo! Not real farmers)
“We want equal rank, balance.”
Isaac’s retort:  It’s not balance, if you’re taking it all! It’s not about equal rank, it’s about putting thumbs on scale for special interests and to avoid kuleana (responsibility).

Ok, Hawaii Farm Bureau is saying: It’s big farmers helping little farmers too.  (We buy fertilizer in bulk.)  [Audience of real farmers is scoffing.]

The one that frosts me. “Enviros are against ag.”
Isaac asks: Where were you with legislature on supporting all our bills?
It’s about tax owners and land owners not ag.  Show me a single development on ag land that the Farm Bureau has come out against. On the contrary. A lot of high profile ones on prime ag land on Oahu, the farm bureau is saying we endorse this property.

Re: Commission appointments, this is the most politicized I’ve ever seen.
If you question this, I have 4 letters: A&B VP. The girl is involved w/ this too, HFB sits on nominating board.
The government lobbyist for A&B was sitting on this commission for 8 years.
They sit on nominating committee that takes the short list for commissioners.
[Hawaii] Supreme Court has been strong, upholding the law, but we have to solve this issue too.

There is another appointment coming up to the commission on the same old lines, the in-club, the plantation supporters.
Another different appointment, Jonathan Starr, that is thankfully going beyond the same old same old.

What can you do?
Find out what’s going on.
Hold the Farm Bureau accountable. I know this has been going on for many years and the farmers are frustrated with this. The union is one manifestation of this. (Transcriber's note: referring to how the Farmer's Union developed in response to the Farm Bureau not really representing true farmers.)

The Farm Bureau says they speak for farmers, but it’s a handful of individuals running amok for years and the legislature is lazy, so they assume, these two people say this, so all farmers need this. They are taking your name in vain. Gotta do something about this. 


Speak out to the legislature as farmers.

“Big farmers help out little farmers.” I heard a lot of scoffing in the audience about this No one knows wiser. I gotta plug Glenn Martinez, your prez, he showed up in person and gave inspiring testimony. He just got it. I wish I had a record of that. I feel the heavens opened up. This is a potential game changer of farmers calling this as BS.

Like Charlie, Waiahole taro farmer, takes a day off from his farm. He says, I don’t need this tax credit for land owners. You wanna help farmers? Give me health insurance.

Let’s stop the farmer catering to big land owners.

It’s bigger than catering to land
Let’s go beyond our colonial unsustainable narrow colonial view of agriculture.

Uncle John is giving a word. I realize it’s difficult for you, the legislature is far away. You don’t get paid for this as lobbyists.

Microphone turns over to Uncle John:
One thing to mention at the river walk down to Wailuku, HC & S came out w/ t-shirts after that.  “Share the water.”  I had to laugh. These t-shirts say share the water, just like as kids, we’re playing marbles. You come w/ 10 marbles, I have one, and I’m supposed to share my one marble with you? It doesn’t quite make sense. 


Note: HC & S stands for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company. A & B stands for Alexander & Baldwin.


For more information, or to get involved, www.earthjustice.com, www.mauifarmersunionunited.weebly.com, www.hawaiifarmersunionunited.org


Another related post is about contaminated well water on Maui, since it's connected to the plantations. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Maui Farmer's Union Meeting 2/28/12 - Cooking with Taro

Chef Susan Teton and Penny Levin talked about taro at last month's Maui Farmer's Union meeting on 2/28/12.


The video is below, and for those who can't access youtube (I did find out that some people cannot access youtube), I have included a rough transcription. 






Chef Susan Teton is speaking:

Penny picked 11 varieties of taro, steamed it, and peeled it. The best time to peel taro is when it’s still warm, not cold

Taro is an amazing local, cultural food.

Taro that I grew a while ago - I don't know the variety!
It may be bun-lun or one that's white inside
(and has dark leaves with purple veins). 


Susan still speaking: We made taro egg salad with Molokai sweet potatoes, celery, Maui onion - all local except for the vegenaise.

We made venison stew  - getting the bones from Lokahi Sylva, we boiled the bones for 36 hours, added the meat, added the taro the morning of the meeting (meeting was at 6:30 pm)  – cooked it for 2-3 hours. The taro gets a gravy-like soft consistency. We added Maui onion, chayote squash, local carrots, etc.

Susan: When I made the broth, it’s important to cook it as long as you can and add some salt. I use fresh local herbs, thyme, oregano, basil, celery, onions, rosemary. The broth was fantastic, you'll agree. I think the herbs had a lot to do with the broth.

Penny: Mostly in the store, you’ll get 1 variety of taro,  bun-long, which has a white tuber with purple flecks.

In our dishes, we used all Hawaiian varieties; they have different colors, consistencies, tastes.

Ask for different varieties in the store, to encourage stores to carry them.

There are still 50 + Hawaiian varieties out there still.

Some of them you’ll have to work w/ when hot, as they are very hard, solid taros, others are really light like the Lehua variety, and others when they are cool. They make all kinds of great dishes.

Susan: I like to make cooking with taro simple. I get my taro, steam and cook it, wait till it cools down a bit, peel it, and put it in the fridge.

It lasts for a few days, then it’s really simple. Refrigerated taro keeps really well.

I cut some taro into cubes and put it in the fridge for 3-4 days. It worked really well for a salad we made at a retreat..

Keep it simple. Step one: cook the taro, peel, and put in the fridge. Next step: add the cooked taro to recipes. It's good in a stir-fry. 

If you’re curious, come to the next meeting. You can ask Penny what varieties she used in those dishes last month. (Meeting is tomorrow: 6:30 pm at the Pukalani Community Center, above the pool, bring a potluck dish to share, open to the public, free).

By the way, Maui Farmer’s Union is NOT the same as the Maui Farm Bureau, which has a dubious reputation among true farmers. 




Sunday, March 25, 2012

Art of Trash Exhibit 2012 Coming up - Call For Entries


(Note: This post has been copied and pasted from an email I just received today, but the pics are mine!)


Artist Deybra Faire posing in her work, Shelter from the Storm.
Opening Night, Art of Trash 2011. 



The Art of Trash 2012, presented by the Community Work Day Program and SharingAloha, will receive work from artists on Saturday, April 14th at Maui Mall from 9:30am to 3pm.  Entry fee is $10 per piece.

The annual exhibit showcases everyday objects that have been transformed and given new life.  Artists throughout Maui County continue to change the way the community defines reuse by finding creative ways of keeping recyclable items out of our landfill. 

“Maui’s Art of Trash has always had a playful energy and an underlying awareness of just how serious a matter reuse and recycling can be,” said Ira Ono - founder, juror and creator of the exhibit.

John Wilson's clever recycled sculptures. Art of Trash 2011. 
 
“This is a show of limitless possibilities, unconventional materials and challenging construction techniques,” said Wilma Nakamura, coordinator of the exhibition.

If you are an artist who creates artwork from recycled materials, be sure to enter this juried show.  Please note that driftwood pieces, water feature pieces and works that include food will NOT be accepted.

Entry forms are available at all public libraries and online at www.sharingalohamaui.org/projects-art-of-trash.  


For more information regarding the Art of Trash, please call Wilma Nakamura at 573-3911.

The opening of the exhibition and the Maui Trashion Trash Art Fashion Show will be on Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 6pm at Maui Mall.  Opening night is FREE and open to the public.  Trash fashion attire is encouraged.

Visit the Art of Trash on Facebook at www.facebook.com/artoftrash.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Maui Farmer's Union - Benefits of Raw Sugar Cane



At last month's talk at the Maui Farmer's Union on 2/28/12, Ryan Earehart of Mana Foods talks about the value of raw sugar cane.  







Ryan differentiates between raw sugar cane (healthy, nutritious) versus highly processed white sugar.  


A few highlights from the video above (especially if you can't access youtube):

  • Sugar cane has sucrose (rather than glucrose), which is better for diabetes patients, and it tends to keep blood sugar level. Raw sugar cane is low on the glycemic level.
  • There are many varieties of sugar cane - different flavors, different levels of sweetness, different growing preferences, different colors.
  • Sugar cane is an excellent windbreak and keeps the banana leaves from shredding in the Maui wind.
  • Sugar cane is easy to grow, hardy, and pest-resistant.
  • Sugar cane is highly nutritious and can pull about 50+ minerals from the soil (if they are present). Sugar cane is high in calcium and phosphorus, bone-building minerals. 
  • The sugar cane juice is good mixed with coconut water, and is very hydrating and refreshing on hot days.
  • The bagasse (leftover cane fiber from pressing) is good for mulch and compost.






Friday, March 23, 2012

Paia Mantokuji Mission's Spring Bazaar



Children's taiko drum performance at the Paia Mantokuji Mission March 18th.
The taiko drums are bigger than the children.


I don't have a burning reason to go to the spring bazaar hosted by the Paia Mantokuji Mission, (like I really need more stuff?) but I like to go to their bazaars, which are, if memory serves right, held in the spring and fall around the equinox.  It's a community event and I get to run into people I know. This past spring bazaar was held on March 18th.  The Paia Mission also hosts a kick-butt Bon Dance, although maybe that's not the most judicious choice of words, in July.   It is a pretty cool event. Although I'm not a member, maybe they'll let me buy a lantern to honor my mom's passing earlier this year. 


The spring bazaar starts at 7 am and winds up by 10:30 am. The food goes quickly, and often, so does the produce, which usually includes locally grown head cabbage, daikon radish, romaine and green leaf lettuce, and Napa cabbage. I remember one time I bought a large bag of ginger, maybe 2 lbs, and turned around and DH had also bought a large bag of ginger. Oops. I spent the next week making an insane amount of candied ginger, using agave nectar instead of sugar. 

The bazaar is a great place to try some lesser known Japanese foods and some local favorites, like boiled peanuts (just like in Georgia or Florida) and Portuguese sweet bread.  There's a rummage sale (of course), plant sale, and crafts sale, all with an island touch. 



Ok, chow fun and pickled mango are not Japanese, but the other items are.  
The nishime and ohagi ran out but there was still shiso rice at 10:30 am. 


Shiso rice, using shiso (perilla) leaves, mushrooms, and green peas.
Perilla leaves are also used in Korean food. 



Takuan, Japanese pickled daikon radish, an intensely bright yellow-orange color.  I've heard that when takuan is being made, everyone in the neighborhood  can smell it.  I don't know if this is true. 

Not a Japanese item: Ho'olawa Sweet Bread, which is of Portuguese descent. Next to this are manju, although hard to see - like little round pastries usually stuffed with sweet lima beans or azuki beans. 


Handmade items at the bazaar - cozies, rugs, dish scrubbers -
the stuff that a Japanese grandma would make. 
The rummage sale - there may be some interesting Japanese items.  Clothing is very inexpensive, like 50 cents apiece. Volunteers wearing over-the-head aprons help fold clothes and keep the place neat. 


Please don't drink me!

I'm just a baby gecko. Please don't drink me!


Seriously,  baby geckos are everywhere in a Maui Jungalow  - this gecko was in my glass the other day. I was about to pour a drink into the glass and luckily looked down in time.  I watched the baby gecko scramble around the walls of the cup. Then an aha moment. Maybe the gecko fell in and couldn't get out since the sides are so steep. This is the gecko version of "I've fallen and I can't get up! (out!)"  Sure enough, I turned the glass sideways and out scurried the baby gecko. 


But, sadly another gecko or perhaps the same one fell into the soup pot while I was making dinner. It wasn't even hot, just warm. Floating on the surface, the gecko had a couple of spasms and then passed out.  I think the gecko died. I did not take a photo, but scooped up the baby gecko, and took it to the lanai (the deck outside) in case he/she recovers. Okay, I'm mixing grammar - is a gecko an "it," a "him" or a "her"?  Mostly geckos to me are like little four footed people. But they fall into everything! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Death Store of Haiku

Grand Opening of the Death Store in Haiku, a storefront for Doorway Into Light, a nonprofit providing resources for death and dying.  Ram Dass is speaking deep in the depths of the store, but it's so crowded, there is standing room only.




Death - not a subject for idle conversation.  Although we may see death portrayed in movies and cartoons, it's a topic that makes most people a little uneasy. 


Enter Doorway Into Light, an innovative nonprofit providing resources for compassionate dying, grieving, and memorial services. Doorway Into Light has staged several events through the years, including movie screenings, discussion groups, and silent auction fundraisers, to make death not such a taboo subject. The Death Store is perhaps the first store in the world to showcase items and services helpful for funerals and the dying.  






The Grand Opening of the Death Store was so packed, that DH and I stopped by the following Saturday because we wanted to see what was inside. We found lots of coffins, decorated funeral urns, and a lending library of books on death and grieving. Bodhi, the director of Doorway Into Light, sat by the entrance behind a table with fundraising mugs for sale. He mentioned that the organization did the first sea burial in Hawaii in 50 years, which entailed hiring a boat and captain, taking the boat at least three miles from land, and releasing the weighted body in a wooden box into the water. It gives me tingles and goose bumps just thinking about it. 


Coffins are available to purchase at The Death Store. The store is only open right now on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm at the Pauwela Cannery in Haiku. 


Just fyi, sometimes the above picture of handmade coffins does not always show up on this blog, perhaps because of the content.  If the pic does not load up correctly,  please click here:  handmade Maui coffins. I just tested the link. 
Resources like sample power of attorneys, Five Wishes (a useful document), medical power s of attorney, information on funerals, grieving, and caretaking. 
The Death Mobile, a hearse owned by the nonprofit Doorway Into Light. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lumeria Maui, the mini Lemuria



Group yoga at Lumeria Maui promoted by Lululemon in Paia. 
Lumeria Maui is like the swanky new yoga kid on the block, the one who wears fair trade designer yoga clothes made in rural villages using sustainably-resourced natural fibers. The lithe yoga kid with the work-out butt who gracefully slides into each yoga pose without any wobbling or hesitation, extending all limbs to the fullest while exuding an aura of meditative lotus-eyed, chakra-thumping bliss: down dog, upward dog, upside down dog, hot dog (Bikram style yoga) and dog gone wild. I made up most of those poses. My signature asana would be "Doggone it... I just kinked something."  Lumeria is like the new yoga babe (or yoga studmuffin) that makes the rest of us a bit green-eyed, or starry-eyed. 


In short, Lumeria Maui is NOT a redneck yoga studio or retreat center. It has obviously researched the Maui seeker's market and tailored itself as a classy, stylin' joint, and will likely have many devotees to its classes, lodging, meditations, and workshops.  Lululemon organized a free public yoga class that was well-attended on Sunday afternoon. Some yoginis were ready to move - or levitate - permanently to Lumeria afterwards. But we all got evicted quite promptly at 7 pm. Maui time is not Lumeria time. 





The owner mentioned that the renovation took two and a half years, and there was an incredible amount of dry rot. One would never guess what a mess it was before, especially since there are no before and after pictures on display in the lobby.  The lobby or main sitting room was awash in glowing light from huge Moroccan style lanterns and mammoth geode crystals promising alternative realities. It was not country cozy, but upscale-suave sophisticated, like a spirit seeker's art gallery. The art is worth seeing, including the chakra version of Christ painting.  I forgot to ask how Lumeria got its name - it sounds luminous, and it's also a word-play on Lemuria, that Pacific continental counterpart to Atlantis, and where the Hawaiian islands are now located. Kauai folks always claim that their island was the tip of Lemuria. 





In the cafe, there was a line up for the Lumeria glow cleanse, a specialty warm broth served in a hot water dispenser. The broth was quite yummy and savory, like a liquid slice of artisan baked pizza. One can sign up for a regular fix of their signature broth. 








Glow on, go on, check it out. There are many classes, meditations and workshops being offered at Lemuria, I mean oops, Lumeria Maui.  Anne Gachuhi is even offering home gardening (aka plant yoga) classes there on Mondays! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Even Joseph Kony is Known on Maui

(Updated 3/23/12)  




Just took this picture today.  This structure near Hookipa Beach frequently gets a new paint job each month, or even twice a month. It's visible from Hana Highway.  I missed the paint job last week, but stopped this morning and to my surprise, saw a mural about Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who is now news central.  Saw the Invisible Children's video a few days ago too, maybe the same time the muralist did.  Some may argue that the video is too simplistic or is pure emotional manipulation, but it's made Joseph Kony a household name.


Repainted Kony public mural just East of Ho'okipa.
Quite likely a completely different mural artist.


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I saw this second paint job a couple of days after the first Kony paint job. Initially, I thought the mural artist was pro-Kony with the words "Jerkoff" clearly outlined. Now, I think the artist was trying to convey the idea that Kony should "Jerk Off."  The artist added a happy face on the Africa continent. 

Amanda of Gluten Free Maui mentioned that the murals here are done by different artists - whoever is daring enough to do a paint job can climb over the fence.  By the way, Maui, like the rest of Hawaii, expressly forbids billboards because it disrupts the scenic landscape. This was a major piece of legislation pushed through by The Outdoor Circle back in the 1920s. 

So... this quaint pillbox is like a billboard, but in a far more artistic way, and I believe it enhances the landscape and the local flavor of Maui. If there were lots of painted pillboxes all along the highway, that would be one thing, but having only one makes it worth photographing. 

Baby Gecko on a Rice Paddle



Baby geckos are everywhere in a Maui jungalow, hiding underneath papers, crawling along rugs, jumping out from flowers or knickknacks, pretending to be gecko sculptures when the cat is nearby.  They pop up in very odd places, at unexpected moments, and so I try to be careful not to step on them or put something on top of them. They are only slightly bigger than pennies, and cute as Japanese cartoon characters. Not just Hello Kitty, but Hello Gecko!  What the heck are you doing there? 


Would anyone like an extra serving of um, gecko, or sticky rice?
By the way, rice is a very common food in Hawaii. The popular rice is white, but I like to sneak in brown rice for dinner whenever I can. Most people cook with a rice cooker, which keeps the rice warm too. It's sticky rice, not the enriched long-grain kind that most people eat on the mainland (continental America). Locals pejoratively call the enriched non-sticky rice, Uncle Ben's rice.  


A baby gecko checking out the rice paddle.

 


Let's get the gecko out of the kitchen. It's time to clean up!


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Where Fighting Chickens Live


Fighting chicken houses made from plastic barrels.




Yes, cock fighting exists on Maui. I'm not privy to where the chickens fight or when the fights take place,  or even who to ask, but that's okay with me. It's okay that some things are not well-publicized. Cock fighting is a Filipino cultural curiosity, to those of us who are not Filipino.  With all the ethnic groups that live on Maui, there are bound to be some cultural practices that others of us just don't relate to. 


So I don't know anything about cock fighting, but I do know where some of those fighting chickens live, because the houses are individually built for each chicken, or maybe each rooster. No kidding, I don't know whether they fight the roosters or the hens, but my bet would be on the roosters.  


Chicken houses occasionally dot the Maui landscape, and since they are not that common and a bit strange, I find them kind of interesting. 


Outside Makawao, teepees for fighting chickens.
They are not there year-round.
Numerous individual wire houses for fighting chickens.

For more on Filipino culture from an outsider's point of view, read about balut on Maui

Friday, March 16, 2012

Papaya, Lilikoi and Starfruit Breakfast

Papayas are easily available throughout Hawaii.
The best selection is at a farmer's market, or you can grow them yourself.

Sometimes papayas are not always as ripe or tasty as they should be, even the ones at the farmer's market. In case you get a papaya that doesn't taste as sweet as it could, one easy fix is to get a lilikoi or passion fruit and scoop some of the lilikoi pulp over the papaya. It adds a lot of sweetness and zing to the papaya.  By the way, any papayas that are labeled "rainbow papayas" are genetically modified. They are commonly available at both farmer's markets and grocery stores. 



Lilikoi or passionfruit, cut in half. It looks kind of awful, but the pulp is sweet and tart. Scoop it out and swallow the orange pulp with the seeds.  No need to chew the seeds.
The greener the lilikoi, the more tart it will be, so pucker up. 


It doesn't look pretty, but the flavor of lilikoi pulp over a papaya is wonderful. 


Lilikoi pulp is also great over starfruit.
If you don't like dealing with lilikoi seeds, you can squeeze the pulp and pour the juice over your fruit instead. 

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