Friday, November 30, 2012

Shark Attack at Makena

Shark attacks? No, really. Seriously? Like out of Jaws? Eeeekkkk! I’m not going in the water. No way!

Yes, Maui does have sharks in the waters. All the islands do. Most of the sharks are harmless, even regular sharks that have particular haunts and predictable behaviors, like certain gray sharks that have hang out in certain caves. They don’t usually like to hang around people, but every now and then, there are erratic sharks who defy prediction. Like the occasional drunk driver or lone gunman shooter.

A few weeks ago, DH and I saw this sign at the entrance to Big Beach (Oneloa Beach) at Makena State Park. By the way, no one really says Makena State Park or Oneloa Beach, despite what is on maps or websites. It’s always Big Beach.

Shark sighting: 11/7/12.
That's what a beach "closed" sign looks like...
It's too hard to close the ocean.

DH couldn’t resist a few silly sharky poses and we heard various rumors and tidbits as we walked along. The lifeguard passing by, said the beach is closed and don’t go in the water. DH asked, what about just up to the knees? The lifeguard said that was not a good idea as he whizzed by on his beachmobile.

True or false:
A.   It was a shark from the Galapagos Islands.
B.   It chomped on a woman’s leg three weeks ago as she stood in shallow water.
C.   The shark took a fish off a spear during a spearfishing trip
D.  The lifeguards found a diver’s body off the point.

After talking with a few more people, this is what we think is the real story. It was a rogue shark from the Galapagos. Yes, it traveled all this way to Hawaii and got off course. It did take a fish from a spear fisherman’s spear a couple of times. The spear fisherman whacked the shark a couple of times on the nose and was going to kill it, but it got away. (Big cojones, this one).  Answers to the above: A and C are true (as far as I know). B is sort of true - there was a shark attack at Makena Landing, a mile or so up the road. The last one I think was made up to really scare people, but there was a shark attack on a Maui diver in the waters around Wailuku recently.  

Lifeguards making their rounds around the point
between Big Beach and Little Beach. 

We had a beautiful day at the beach. Sunny and calm water. The lifeguards went back and forth on jet skis warning people to get out of the water, accompanied by true and perhaps fictionalized accounts. We didn’t see any sharks. The lifeguards even jetskied to the other beach, Little Beach to warn the nudists to stay out of the water.  

I confess, I did go into the water quickly a couple of times just to cool off, when the lifeguards weren't looking. The lifeguards also made regular warning announcements on the loudspeakers.

What to do in case of a shark attack?
I've heard that one has to kick and punch and hit the shark in the nose, or the eyes, places that are sensitive. But that's really hard to do in the water, but do anything to make the shark realize you're not an easy victim. National Geographic offers these tips to defend oneself during a shark attack and also how to avoid a shark attack. The tip I do know is to avoid the water if one has an open cut or during one's period. 

It never hurts to have a healthy respect for the ocean. "Don't turn your back on the ocean," is a popular saying here. And avoid sharks, unless you're crazy. 

This is my last post for Nablopomo. Yay. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Banana Flowers

Banana flowers... each flower will become a banana, with any luck.
Notice the ant in the middle. These are ice cream banana flowers.  

My attempt at making banana flower salad.
First step, peeling the outer flower petals.

Warning: do not get banana sap on your clothes
The brown stains are impossible to get out.

Peeling to get to the soft white petals in the center. 

Cutting into the center. 

Surprisingly stringy sap even in the center of the banana flower

Do people really eat this stuff? I tried to, after soaking the cut up banana flowers in lemon water. It was still kind of stringy from the sap, and astringent. My mouth puckered up. I gave up on the actual recipe and added it to a regular salad. Another time, I sauteed the banana flowers to add to another dish.  I think Thai banana flowers are different from the common banana flower varieties we have on Maui. I wasn't crazy about it, but I've heard people rave about banana flower salad.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

End of the World Odometer

It’s the week after Thanksgiving, which means, uh-oh December is approaching… better get on it!  December brings hope and fear, worry about getting the right present, concern about having the “perfect” holiday, yet also wanting to be peaceful and spiritual and generous during this season. Plus it’s the end of the calendar year, with all that entails. It’s a contradictory time of year with red hot emotional buttons.

This December is especially fraught with meaning, since December 21, 2012 is approaching, which many claim is the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar. Kind of like the Y2K end of the world hubbub 12 years ago.

In honor of the end of the world, which may or may not happen this December… I played with Photoshop.  I couldn’t think of anything else to connect with MauiShopGirl’s photo theme, “Aftermath of Thanksgiving.” I've already talked about turkeys, and leftovers, and all of that. 

Will this car stop working because the odometer reads 2012?
Nah, it’s just a photo. The gecko looking at the odometer is a fun add-on because we have lots of geckos here, and sometimes they get in the car.
We even had an anole lizard try to drive the truck!

I prefer to believe that the world will keep on ticking past December 21, 2012… just like this car will keep driving past 2012 miles. I’m hopeful.  

This is my favorite cartoon by Bizarro,
which pokes fun of "end of the world" Mayan calendar theory.
Posted by permission from Dan Piraro

So I'm still making goals and planning to live life in 2013. Just yesterday, I worked on a new header, using this great tutorial on making a header without photoshop.  I also found another header tutorial using and may play with that too. 

Version 1 of the wasn't wide enough.
Version 2 is the header now. 

But if the end of the world happens, let it be the end of a small-minded, short-term profit-making, “my religion is better than your religion,” "success at all costs" world. I would celebrate the end of a world in which we think that what we do, good or bad, has no effect on anyone else’s life. I would be happy to see the end of a world in which short-term profit is more important than people’s lives, and their children’s lives, and the environment. The end of a world in which religion is used to justify killing, hatred, and oppression is ok by me too. I'd applaud the end of a world in which "the ends justify the means," but rather how we do things, our process of doing them... the "means"...are just as the results we want to achieve. That would be an end of the world worth celebrating. Okay, time to get off my soapbox. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Graffiti Owls at Ho'okipa

The latest mural at the Ho'okipa bluff (between Ho'okipa and Ha'iku on the Hana Highway)... owls and hmmm... not sure what's going on the left hand side. Drove by today and didn't notice any changes.
Never know who's going to paint what next!

It's kind of similar to this mural redo back in June 2012, but has a different signature. 

For some history of the pillbox, read here.

Previous mural design: memorial for the deceased Garner Ivey, 1928- 2012.  There was another great pillbox mural in blue,
but it was repainted in just a few days. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Exotic Dragon Fruit

Hawaii has so many unusual fruits, fruits that don’t appear on the mainland in any regular supermarket. These fruits don’t even show up in normal Maui supermarkets. To find them, one has to trek to a local farmers market or to Mana Foods, which often has a selection of strange and unusual tropical fruit.  It’s an adventure for one’s sweet tooth and inner foodie.

Reddish and green tinged dragon fruit at a stall at the
Queen Ka'ahumanu Farmers Market.  
This is dragon fruit or pitaya. It looks like a dragon spawned it, with leafy “scales” or “spikes” like the ones on a dragon’s ridge. It’s not the same as dragon eye fruit, which resembles a dragon’s eyes. Someone with a lot of imagination named these fruits.

Dragon fruit is popular with people of Chinese or South Asian ancestry. I found this out after visiting a farmers market in Vancouver, Canada. I didn’t eat the fruit at the time, and tried to take it across the border. Turns out that dragon fruit is one of the few fruits not allowed to make the US-Canada border crossing, and my luscious looking fruit was confiscated.

Inside a dragon fruit, with its black seeds.

Dragon fruit is also a fruit I never knew about on Oahu, but learned after living on Maui. It’s also pricey, at $6/lb, with tender white flesh and small seeds. The taste is mildly sweet and watery. I haven’t become a huge fan of it, which means: 1) I’ve never eaten a really fantastic dragon fruit or 2) Dragon fruit is an acquired taste. I suspect it’s #1.  When a piece of fresh fruit isn’t incredibly good, then it hasn’t been grown in the right conditions. I know that now after eating some incredible dragon eye fruit.

The other intriguing things about dragon fruit is that it grows well on Maui (some farmers are growing it as a "cash crop"), it’s a cactus, and it’s related to one of my favorite flowers, the night blooming cereus which blooms along Maliko GulchHo'okipa, Pa'ia, and other spots on Maui. Like cereus, dragon fruit probably has exquisite flowers. I've seen dragon fruit growing in Haiku, Hali'imaile and in Kula. The Sacred Garden of Maliko has baby dragon fruit plants for sale from time to time.

This was going to be my original post for the "Take a Picture: Red" photo challenge hosted by MauiShopGirl, but I ended up sharing little red Hawaiian chili peppers instead. This is day #26 of National Blog Posting Month, aka nablopomo.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hawksbill Turtle Watch at Makena

Updated just now: The Hawksbill baby turtles did hatch and the next was excavated on Friday, 11/23/12. The last Hawksbill turtles have hatched on Maui.

The Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project is watching a turtle nest at Makena State Park, Big Beach. The baby turtles have hatched or will hatch any day now, so volunteers are camped out 24/7. This nest is the fifth one laid by a female Hawksbill turtle who returns to Maui every two years, I believe. I was lucky to watch a nest get excavated last month, and hope to blog about that soon.

Pictured below is the last Hawksbill nest on Maui for this season, ending November 2012. 

Hawksbill nest being watched by Dr. Leisure. The nest is located near the northern most life guard stand, not far from the walking path. This photo was taken on Thanksgiving, 11/22/12.

It may still be possible to see these baby turtles hatch in the next day or two if they haven’t already!  Usually the baby turtles hatch at night, when it’s cooler and head for the water.  To volunteer with this or other opportunities, visit Preserve Hawaii. Their twitter feed is more current

Hawksbill turtles are NOT the same as the green sea turtle that we commonly see in Maui waters. Hawksbill turtles, true to their name, have a curved beak like a hawk's bill.  

Here's more information about Hawksbill turtles by Dr. Leisure. The video is nine minutes long, and gets more informative in the fourth minute.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Teeny Red Hawaiian Chili Peppers

It’s kind of fun (and kind of mean) to invite someone to take a bite out of a little red Hawaiian chili pepper. Even if the victim claims to like hot things, the hot zing from this teeny innocuous pepper usually makes the victim’s head turn red with vents of steam coming out of the ears. Ok, I exaggerate, but these darn little things are hot!  Locals and long-time residents like to make hot fire pepper water with these little chili peppers, and brag about whose sauce is hotter.

By the way, this blog post is a response to MauiShopGirl's "Red" picture challenge. Check out other red-themed posts there

Little red Hawaiian chili peppers
growing on a very tall pepper bush outside my front door. 

These peppers grow easily on Maui, often without being planted. Birds eat the peppers and poop the pepper seeds all over the island, which is why some

Friday, November 23, 2012

Avocado Cream Pie

Haiku style avocados, round and cannonball shaped.
Some people call them cannonballs.
When you have too many avocados… and can’t give them away or eat them fast enough, this is a great recipe to take to a potluck, which is what I brought to a Thanksgiving gathering on the beach yesterday. It was a hit. This recipe was given to me by a friend who loved making these pies. 

Not the most elegant presentation of avocado cream pie,
but it's yummy. 

Avocado Cream Pie is easy to make and is healthier than a lot of other desserts. If you want to avoid sugar, use a natural sweetener like honey or agave syrup or the other sweeteners they sell at Mana Foods. 

If you want to make it gluten free, make a crust using crushed, toasted walnuts or macadamia nuts and coconut oil. 

Avocado Cream Pie

2 medium to large avos (these are bigger than the Hass type commonly sold in supermarkets) At least 2 cups of avocado pulp. 

1 tsp of lemon or lime juice

3/4 cup to 1 cup of powdered cane sugar (make it as sweet you'd like)
2 Tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 ready made pie crust - can be crushed graham crackers or crushed nuts w/ coconut oil or a regular pie crust

4 oz of cream cheese (1/2 a package)
whipped cream (optional)

In a food processor, blend avocado pulp, cream cheese, sugar, 
vanilla extract, lemon juice, and coconut oil until very smooth. I have tried making this in a blender or with a hand mixer, and the texture is not smooth enough. The coconut oil helps the pie solidify better. If you don't have coconut oil, do not substitute with another oil. Avoid using regular sugar, or you will have a grainy texture. Scoop the avocado "cream" into the pie shell. Top with whipped cream or anything you'd like.

Avocado cream pie with whipped cream on top.

I also posted this recipe to Cooking HawaiianStyle, although for some strange reason, it won't upload the picture. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tales from Sandy, Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for, among other things, that Hawaii wasn’t hit by a tsunami. A friend in New Jersey survived Sandy and had no power for two weeks. Her cell phone wasn’t working at all during that time, and many cell phone towers were damaged. I got a chance to catch up with her and we had a long phone call.

As the story spilled out of her, I wondered how well Hawaii would fare in a similar situation. Yet I know people who managed for months without power after Hurricane Iniki pounded the island of Kauai. I remember some people saying it was a rough time and they were glad it was over. But another woman said it was a beautiful time, when everyone was helping each other. So there are different ways to respond to a crisis – “surviving it” as an ordeal or giving and receiving help.

As my friend told her story, both themes emerged.

The bad parts:
So much looting in the neighborhood where she lived. Alarm systems didn’t work. Someone stole 27 imacs from a school. They were lucky and had a generator which they had bought after the last bad storm (no power for a week), but it required leaving one window open, so someone always had to be at the house. No hot water, so no hot showers. 

Day after the storm, almost all the stores were closed since there was no power. Home Depot was closed, but Lowe’s, running on a generator, was the only store open in the county. All the extension cords were gone immediately. The parking lot was full. Anyone who came out with a generator – it was like winning a lottery. Later, the stores would open and the shelves were emptied out. Stores were sold out of gas cans.

Crossing intersections was like going through the Wild West. Cars would be at each corner and no system for who to go first– She would inch out slowly and be ready to slam on the brakes. There were so many intersections to cross to get to a gas station. The scariest crossing was over railroads. No way to know if the train was coming, so needed to go look and then floor the gas. Night driving – it was pitch black with no lights. (Remember the sun goes down a lot earlier over there, like 4 pm).

Gas stations – people brought guns with them, because there were fights over who was first. Long lines. Drove 80 miles round trip the first day looking for gas. Lines were miles long. Kept driving further thinking the lines would be shorter. Waited four hours for gas, and then the station ran out.  Came home without gas. Next day, waited one hour for gas. Luckily, rationing started – based on license plate numbers.

Day before the storm, tried to mail letters, but the postal box was saran wrapped so tightly no one could get to it. Bars were down on the cashier’s window. After the storm, some post offices were condemned. Other post offices opened, and had large bins of mail for people from other towns.

Buildings that were condemned had red X’s on the door. The whole side of the strip along the ocean was condemned and flattened.

The good parts:
They received flyers on the door with information of where to do the laundry, where to get cash from a mobile ATM. Volunteers copied flyers and distributed them.

FEMA people passed out MRE’s. Many out of state crews worked on power lines. Though they were paid, they had miserable conditions, living in tents, eating cold MRE’s, with bitterly cold nights. She’s very grateful for all the emergency workers. There was a crew from Canada and several states. With federal help, California had the funds to airlift 45 utility trucks.  Different states sent out trucks and workers with their specialty offerings. Alabama sent up a barbeque food truck to deliver barbeque meals to everyone in a town nearby, 30 miles away which was 2 hours of driving time.

Friends helped chain saw damaged trees in her yard, even though they had their own damage to take care of. Volunteers would arrive to help out, then go to other towns. They bought a contamination suit for volunteers to go up to an area contaminated by raw sewage.  Another friend gave her a gas can of gas and did not want any money. Gas was like gold. It ran the generators, which took 7 gallons of gas/day (if I heard correctly).  Also, his house was damaged so severely, he didn’t try to salvage anything and instead volunteered at other sites.

I’ve been to New Jersey and “down the shore” many times. I have a feeling I'm going to return back to this post and edit it again, but just wanted to share how lucky we are, really, and how we take things for granted, things as basic as hot water and electricity. Happy Thanksgiving. Let's count our blessings. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Half Baked Turkey Thoughts: Locally Sourced Thanksgiving?

Maui doesn't have any turkey farms, at least none that I know of, so it's not possible to have a truly locally sourced Thanksgiving meal. We do have some pig farms, like the Ahupua'a Pig Farm in Haiku. But the pork is not commercially available. It's not on store shelves. You have to buy a whole pig, arrange to get it taken to a slaughterhouse, of which there are some on Maui, and then have a place to store the meat. Nor is local chicken available on store shelves, although some people raise broilers, chickens for meat, as opposed to layers, which are hens who lay eggs. Venison, while plentiful, is still not on store shelves, despite Lokahi Sylva's efforts to make it more available.

Nothing like a half baked turkey for Thanksgiving!

This is the second year we've obtained a free range turkey from Mana Foods. It's not organic, but it's not fed sewage sludge or mystery meat. I do notice a difference in texture in the meat, compared to a Butterball turkey. The free range turkey is not as tender, and I account this for 1- either my cooking technique  or 2 - the fact that Butterball injects its turkey with a special solution of brine and flavorful things that make it taste really darn good. Maybe I don't want to know what they inject in the turkey.

DH loves turkey, so not only does he want to have turkey on Thanksgiving, he wants to have turkey before Thanksgiving, after Thanksgiving, and basically all month long. I end up roasting a turkey well before Thanksgiving so he can get in the mood and then last night, we went to the Maui Farmers Union locavore potluck meeting which also had turkey. Then we have a late Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I try to stuff him with as much free range turkey so that he won't eat as much of the conventional stuff on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure the plan's working, but he likes it.

How to make this free range turkey more flavorful?
That's what has me scratching my head. Last year, I stuffed it with the same recipe I have been using for the last few years, a Martha Stewart recipe, which is fabulous for a Butterball turkey, but didn't have much effect on the free range turkey. I'd include a link, but can't find it online.

I talked with a Southern gal last Thanksgiving and she said in the south, they always inject their turkey with butter. Okay, that's what I did this year.  Went to Del's Farm Supply in Kahului, bought a veterinary needle, and melted some butter, and injected about 1.5 oz in eight or nine places in the bird. I didn't bother to do any research, which hindsight being 20/20, would have been helpful. As I write this, I found a site that talks about injecting turkeys with flavorful marinades. The author says to do several small injections rather than a few big ones, like 40 instead of 4. Another site says to inject the turkey 12 hours before cooking. That might have been helpful. And it didn't use butter in the injection liquid. It's also difficult to suck liquid into the needle without getting air... I had to use a lot of pressure to do this, and still got air.

Yup, a veterinary needle from Del's, which can be used
to inject marinade, or butter, into a turkey.

What happened?
I used the ceramic stone ware from a very large crockpot to cook the turkey in. This is called a crockpot liner. I had heard on a cooking show that it's possible to cook in a crockpot liner and they are oven safe, but I wasn't sure if all brands are oven safe, or if it's only up to certain temperatures. So I cooked at a lower temperature, 350˚ instead of starting out at 450˚ for the first hour, since I didn't want to crack the ceramic lining. It was the only pan I had that was big and deep enough for a turkey. I injected the turkey with butter and stuffed it with half a lemon, cut up onion, lemongrass, etc. to infuse the inside with flavor. While the turkey wasn't local, at least everything inside of it was.

Mixture of local items to stuff into the turkey, to add flavor: basil, onions, lemon, lemongrass, Hawaiian chili peppers, big leaf oregano. Loosely based on Martha Stewart's Herb Roasted Turkey.

I didn't allow enough cooking time for the turkey for dinner and I was so stubborn, I just wanted to cook the turkey anyhow.  So, I committed the faux pas of cutting into the turkey before it had quite finished cooking - the thermometer wasn't at 175
˚ in the thickest part of the thigh not hitting the bone - and it was still better than last year's attempt, and still chewier than a Butterball turkey. I had done the other normal turkey things - taking out the giblets and neck, rinsing the turkey, letting it come to room temperature, tying back the wings, using foil to not burn the top of the turkey, adding liquid to the pan... but the turkey didn't have time to sit in its moisture for a half hour after cooking, and I still think that's important. Where I cut into the turkey also got dried out, but I just soaked it in the liquid in the pan.

Turkey being cooked in a crockpot,
finally reached the magic temp of 180˚.

Anyhow, I'm already tired of turkey. I still believe in the free range turkey idea... and next year will try brining the turkey and also injecting it... What the heck? If I keep practicing on DH, I'll at least have my turkey roasting skills current. Honestly, the first turkey I ever roasted was the best... it was a conventional Butterball, but I'd rather eat a non-factory farm turkey.

Update 11/24: The free range turkey was really 'ono (delicious) a couple of days later. Even I was chowing down some breast meat. It was tender and had good flavor. So I don't feel too badly about how it turned out, but I think I'll try injecting it 12 hours prior to cooking next time.

Are there other items on Maui that could be locally sourced for Thanksgiving?

1. Sausage for stuffing - if you got your own pig and made your own sausage, you could do that. Or if you know someone who makes sausage. I only know one person, and he won't sell it... You could buy Portuguese sausage in the store, but the pork I believe is from the mainland. I do know someone who makes and sells venison sausage.
2. Bread - forget local wheat producers here. Get your flour from the mainland.
3. Sweet potatoes. Yes! Plentiful in stores and farmer's markets. The ones in the chain grocery stores may be from the mainland.
Some local sweet potatoes, not the purple Okinawan variety.
This unknown variety is not that sweet, so it's more potato-ey.

4. Potatoes - that's tough. Maybe Kula Farmer's Market has local potatoes. Chef Susan Teton says to substitute taro for potatoes. 
5. Green beans for green bean casserole - those are locally grown
6. Cranberries - forget it... no one grows cranberries here. I suppose one could try using poha berries to make a cranberry sauce, but they wouldn't look the right color - but.. by adding purple panini, (prickly pear) it would definitely turn a rich burgundy color. That's an idea - making purple prickly pear mock "cranberry" sauce.
7. Pumpkin - yes, there are local Hawaiian pumpkins here and kabocha squashes, and all variety of squashes that are grown locally.
8. Pecans - no, but they would grow in Kula.
9. Apples - I haven't seen them locally, but have heard there is a local apple farm in Olinda.
10. Onions - yes, Maui sweet onions are plentiful.
11. Brussels sprouts - haven't seen them grown locally or commercially but they could grow in Kula. Cabbage does grow well on Maui, so does zucchini - but in higher elevations.
12. Mushrooms - Oyster mushrooms are grown on Maui.
13. Eggs - yes, plenty of local eggs are available.
14. Green peppers can be found on Maui. Red peppers are usually imported.
15. Celery - Susan at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Farmers Market says her celery is from Kula, that her family leases farm land and grows it there. Other farm stalls say that the celery is local and comes from Oahu, but I am very skeptical that it's grown on Oahu. Oahu doesn't have good conditions for growing celery - it's not as elevated as parts of Maui. I think it gets sent to Oahu from the mainland and is distributed to the other islands.
16. A lot of farmers markets on Maui have local items, but you have to ask, and sometimes the vendors don't really know. They will say the item is local since it's shipped from Oahu, but it doesn't mean it was grown on Oahu.

You may also like to find out how to make a raw cranberry sauce or more local farm ideas on cooking turkey, using Thanksgiving leftovers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alone Together - Roar of Technology

Wanted to share this fascinating podcast from NPR, by a sociologist who studies technology and human interaction. Sherry Turkle of MIT. She's been studying computers and people since the late 70s. As I write this, I realize it's a bit off subject for me, but it was so darn interesting....  She wrote a book called Alone Together, which I haven't read, but will add to my reading list. Here's some background on the program, and a link to the podcast

The opposite of "the roar of the internet:" a peaceful flower arrangement at the Temple of Peace in Haiku. 
Key points for more questions:
1. Competing with "the roar of the internet."
2. Sacred space, how to have places in one's daily life that we fully give attention to.
3. Often parents are less attentive than children (parents who are texting in the parking lot waiting to pick up child after school - children cannot catch the eye of their parent - she says in  her research, this is a terrible moment for the child - ok, yes, it's not like child abuse but it happens over and over...and affects how the child sees the world)
4. Technology goes 24/7 but people don't. How to set boundaries for survival.
5. Email is reactive. No editorial pause. Can react immediately - how this affects interaction.
6. Stress from Facebook or "keeping up with the Facebook Joneses" often for teens.
7. Declaring email bankruptcy!
8. Young children not valuing that an animal/creature is alive, because their robot toy is more "alive and interesting."  Is this animal/creature "alive enough?"
9. What is the value of solitude?
10. Being in nature without having the ipod stuck to the ear. What is this person not experiencing?

Being with the night blooming cereus is an experience
 that I think requires full attention, especially with their erratic blooming cycles. This cereus is blooming near Maliko Gulch.
One thing I have always valued is the quiet moments. Haiku is very, very peaceful, especially in the early mornings before the rest of the world charges into the day. (Ok, disclaimer, there are sometimes noisy roosters!) If I lived in Kihei, I would try to go to the beach in the morning before the rest of the world arrived, or find a more secluded spot.  I've never understood how people can go to a beautiful beach and play their stereo full blast.  I think they are missing out on the healing from listening to the waves and the wind. In The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman, Bear Heart talks about being in solitude and nature to practice observation, which he contends is a survival skill and also a skill that is very useful to size up any situation that arises. It's a fascinating book. David Bruce Leonard also teaches skills of "being in the body," peripheral perception, and observation at Earth Medicine Institute, based on Maui. 

I know I am prone to the phenomena that Sherry Turkle talks about. Ironically, doing this November Blog Posting Month, feels like I'm adding to the 24/7 buzz of the internet.  I know people who came to Maui to escape "the roar of technology" or "the roar of the internet" and then end up fully immersed back in technology! LOL. If they read this, they know who they are. The key is finding our balance in being a technology user, not used by technology. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ordering from Hashimoto Persimmon Farm

We're still in persimmon season until early December, so I'm hoping to take a trek to the Hashimoto Persimmon Farm soon.

Ordering persimmons is a local tradition among 2nd and 3rd generation Mauians. Persimmons like to grow up along the cool slopes of Haleakala in Kula. 

To order in advance, call Hashimoto Persimmon Farm at 808-878-1461. Hours are 9-4 pm M-Sat, Sunday 9-3 pm.

Not sure which variety of persimmon this is. 
Persimmons are usually sold in:

8 lb cases
Grade A $22
Grade B $18

5 lb cases
Grade A $15
Grade B $12

The difference in Grades A and B is based on size and appearance, but the taste is the same. These persimmons look a lot nicer than the ones in the grocery stores. You could also just stop by the farm, but they may not have what you want when you get there. 
Persimmons are propped up with wood frames. 

According to Jackie of Hashimoto Persimmon Farms, the differences in the three varieties are:

  • Hachiya persimmons are astringent – have to be treated in dry ice to get rid of astringency.
  • Maru persimmons are yellow and green with brown specks. They are sweet and crunchy.
  • Towards the end of October, they sometimes have Fuyu persimmons which are ripe when soft.  Fuyu are not always available.

I did some research last year on persimmon varieties as well. Most of the information corresponds with what Jackie said. 

FYI, I've also seen poinsettias starting to bloom all over Makawao and Hali'imaile. 

P.S. Maui Farmers Union is meeting at the Haiku Community Center at 6 pm. OR 5:30 pm if you want to participate in the pumpkin pie recipe contest. There are excellent speakers on a range of topics and the locavore potluck is excellent. It is free if you bring a potluck dish, regardless of whether you're a member or not. 

A visit to a Quintessential Jungalow

Haiku is filled with nooks and crannies.  If people want to hide out on Maui but don’t want to live too far from Costco - like Hana or Nahiku, they often end up in Haiku or Huelo. The area is punctuated with hidden driveways, meandering roads, rickety gates, deep gulches, and secret estates.  

Side view of a Haiku jungalow over a gulch.

Some people hunker down in Haiku and unplug from the world of internet, shopping, and a social life. They rarely go into town (Kahului).  One can actually be a hidden hermit. Haiku is just not like suburban Kihei or Pukalani, fancy Wailea or Kapalua. Things in Haiku are not linear, and often the construction is not very left-brained either.

DH and I got a chance to visit the jungalow (jungle bungalow) where he used to live. Watch the one minute video above. The people living there said it was ok to take pics, etc., just as long as we didn’t show their clothes hanging on the line or the side of the deck with the kids’ toys. No problem.  

The property also had a main house, with extremely funky architecture, in an Alice in Wonderland kind of way. 

Jungalow style Main House -
notice plants growing up the outside wall of the house. 

Nothing looks level, and if the builders didn’t know what to do, they put in an extra stairway. There used to be public events at this main house, art showings and food tastings, but the County shut that down. I think they wanted the house to have a restaurant permit. The pool at the main house was full of plants and weeds. I wanted to get closer but DH was concerned that I might stumble upon a pot patch, so I didn’t.

Surf shack... Yes, there's a reason it's called that. 

The jungalow where DH used to live was tucked on the side of the gulch. Other jungalows and surf shacks peer out above the ridge, or behind trees.  This is classic Haiku – intriguing and quirky. Do people really live out here? Yes, they do. Shhhh... don't tell anyone. 

Way up above, a jungalow on the hillside.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kaunoa - an Amazing Community Resource

Kaunoa Senior Center – This sign is a landmark on the Hana Highway between Paia and Kahului, and is helpful for directions: "If you see Kaunoa, you've gone too far." Or "Turn left at the Kaunoa sign." Or "It's the street after Kaunoa." 

The famous Kaunoa Senior Center sign on the makai side of
Hana Highway, in Spreckelsville.
always thought Kaunoa was senior housing. No! No one lives there. It’s an activity center, a resource, primarily for seniors ages "55 and better," run by the County of Maui. Kaunoa also provides Meals on Wheels, transportation services, senior volunteer opportunities, and a dining program. But it also serves the greater community, because certain events can be held there for the general public. A couple of years ago, GMO Free Maui hosted a Saturday food education and GMO information event with workshops, lectures, and a seed exchange, and this was open to everyone for free. A & B Foundation recently gave Kaunoa a $20,000 grant. Ironically, A & B owns HC&S which leases sugar cane land to Monsanto, king of GMOs. 

The Kaunoa parking lot. Not crowded today, but some days it's full. 
The schedule at Kaunoa is pretty amazing. I'd like to take some of these classes, but I'm not "55 or better." But here's a tip: in certain circumstances, Kaunoa will allow non-seniors to attend events or lectures. For example, a Medicare Basics lecture offered by Mark Faildo was scheduled in a big enough room that non-seniors could attend by paying an additional fee, and then by being on a waiting list. Slots go to seniors first, and then to those on the waiting list. The Kaunoa office staff confirmed me a day before the event. I was the only non-senior. 

Also, Kaunoa classes are very affordable for seniors. It doesn't take a lot of money to have a good time or have a social life with Kaunoa's extensive schedule. 

The oh-so-awesome Kaunoa Calendar.
There are field trips, historical lectures, outings to restaurants, cooking classes, arts and crafts groups, parties, volunteer opportunities, alternative and traditional health workshops, and musical events. I never thought I'd look forward to getting older, but Kaunoa would make it more fun. Kaunoa also has a branch on the West Side, so if you live in Lahaina, you don't have to trek out to Spreckelsville. 

Doesn't this sound fun? A wiliwili grove tour offered by Kaunoa... Wiliwili are a special native Hawaiian tree that almost got wiped out from an invasive insect. There used to be wiliwili trees all along Mokulele Highway.

Also, if you have a skill or topic that you'd like to teach, you can give a workshop at Kaunoa. You could also teach at the outreach department for UH-Maui (formerly the Maui Community College), and they offer good classes too. At Kaunoa, you can reach out to the senior population, who may want what you have to offer. 

Another fun Kaunoa outing... working in a taro patch in Ia'o Valley. 

Does Kaunoa have a website? Yes and no. The County of Maui has an information page on Kaunoa, but it doesn't give you a schedule. Seniors seem to like paper, so calendars are mailed out every month. DH gets a paper copy and I'm usually more interested in the classes than he is. 

Nui's Farm Tour in Kula.
This is also a good farmer's market/farm stand.

To reach Kaunoa Senior Center in Spreckelsville, call 808-270-7308, Mon-Fri except holidays, 7:45 am - 4:30 pm. Address: 401 Alakapa Place, Sprecklesville (technically Pa'ia).  Ah, so that's the name of the street Kaunoa is on... But it's much easier to see the Kaunoa sign than the small Alakapa street sign.  I'm still going to use Kaunoa as a landmark.  Now if we can just get some of those classes at Kaunoa offered elsewhere! 

Psst! St. Joseph's in Makawao is having a fair today (11/17/12), so is Kula Elementary with their Harvest Festival. Maui Film Festival is having is FirstLight film event starting tomorrow.