Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Secret to Orchids"

Some time in early spring we met an orchid vendor at the Maku'u Market where we get our fresh fruits, vegetables and plants every Sunday morning.  He was selling orchids 10 for $10.00 which seemed like a good deal -- except NONE of them were in bloom!  And, we have been waiting and waiting for them to bloom.  A few weeks ago, he asked us if we wanted to know the "secret to orchids" and of course we said yes.  He want on to explain that the "secret to orchids was patience!"  So, we returned home and promptly forgot about them as the construction for Phil's wood shop and the second story ohana was in full swing.  This week....after looking in the other direction for weeks, we discovered that THREE of them have shoots that will soon produce blossoms...and we have no idea what they will be.  They should be in bloom for the arrival of our ohana/friend, Cheryl and they will look beautiful in the newly completed unit.

Bradajo (Brother Jo)

Over two years ago, on our first visit to the big island, we were delighted to attend an assemblage exhibit hosted by SKEA, a lovely small art association in south Kona, just a few blocks away from where we were staying with our friend Yani near Honaunau.

Out of all the exhibitors' assemblages Lunel was instantly and singularly drawn to the art of one man who signed his pieces "Jozuf."  As she was standing in front of one piece with a big grin on her face, she was surprised when the man who was standing beside her turned out to be the artist!  He asked what she liked about his art, and she shrugged and replied, "It makes me smile."  He grinned, gave her a hug, and said, "Then, you 'get it.'"

This month, two and a half years later, she was over on the Kona side again, this time to stop at the vacation rental where our Blue Lake friends from Humboldt were staying, and to visit Yani again.  When she walked into the house (where she had never been) the walls were covered with Jozuf's art!!

Also, on the coffee table were books of his poetry -- all in Hawaiian pidgin!

The home belongs to a lovely, energetic woman named Betsy who operated a kayak business for many years.  When Lunel sat down in her living room for a chat, it was like meeting an old friend.  Betsy informed us that Jozuf (whose literary name is Bradajo) was doing a reading of his poetry at Basically Books in Hilo on August 17th.  We invited both of them to supper and talk-story after the reading, when we found out that Jozuf and Lunel had the same birthday -- August 14th.  Phil and Jozuf had much in common including their passion for wood and both having taught sculpture for many years.  We're thrilled to meet such folks and plan on seeing more of them.

We invite you to visit Jozuf's website, and/or....

Visit this link to listen to samples from several of Jozuf's bemusing poems.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally!! The Guava Railing Goes Up

You may remember this picture of Phil from late May when we first decided (at our contractor's suggestion) that we add a balcony to the upstairs ohana.  Phil took on the laborious challenge of cutting young wild guava trees (which are a weed like dandelion in California) for the railing.  First he had to strip all the bark off, trimming off small branches.  Then the sticks had to dry before LOTS of sanding.  They were stained twice, then coated with an outside weatherproofing and stored under the house for almost three months.

This weekend, Phil cut them to size and began to attach them to the railing.  Pretty cute huh!  We think we will be putting artwork in the center square and are considering several options.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Clouds...From Both Sides Now

Bows and flows of angel hair and
icecream castles in the air...and feather canyons everywhere...

Whisps, curtains, cocoons, funnels, fractals, fountains, mist bows, cloud auroras,  and even DOUGHNUTS!

One of the most delightful things about our house are the CLOUDS of every shape and description from early morning to late evening. When it is too hot to work, it is fun to just lie on the ground and watch the clouds.  Watching clouds is something we normally associate with being kids -- but here we are DOING IT.

These are just a few images we have taken of the clouds we see almost every day.   And unlike the Kona side, these colors are not a by-product of VOG.  We are very blessed and grateful that so far we have experienced VOG only about 5-6 over 10 months.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back in the Yard Again

 So much of the ohana construction is complete, I have had fun returning to landscaping which has taken a back seat that last couple months as we stayed 2-3 days ahead of the contractors. Returning to the yard, it's really great to see very first bed I created, back in October 2012.  It is one bed that is visible from the ohana, on the south side of the property.

But, just to the right of the fully planted bed, was a hillside that had nothing done yet.  So the last couple days were spent weeding out, cleaning out old schrubs and dead wood, and building yet another beautiful lava wall for the front.  It's pretty rocky, so it will take just the right plantings to accentuated the natural ferns.

Today we took delivery of our second HUGE pile of red cinder.  We spread this much ALREADY over 1/2 acre, evening out the ground while digging the big chunks of lava. As we have renovated the yard, we have formed small cairns around the yard which get used for flower beds and more walls.The red cinder will be used to create additional parking for guests, and several other yard projects.

Piles of lava sit around the property justwaiting to be used.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Path of the Full Moon

 Last night was a beautiful clear full moon, so we ambled out the front door, down the steps and headed to the back of the property where we have our 10,000 gallon water tank and our little orchard.

However, on the way, Phil caught his toe on a piece of lava and nearly lost his balance and fell.  This is one of the day-to-day hazards we face here.  It is really easy to trip -- and you do NOT want to fall on lava.

So today, while Phil worked on filling holes in the wood trim in the ohana, Lunel's worked on digging out treacherous chunks of lava - and filling those holes with  red cinder so we would have a better path to not only observe the night sky in the dark, but to get to our back yard.

Farther back you can almost make out a sand chair, a couple of citrus trees and one of the banana trees.  The big tall trees are ohia, and they border our property on all four sides.

We have just finished using all of the enormous load of red cinder that was delivered to us at the beginning of the year, and this week we are taking delivery of another full truck load so we can continue with our projects -- including clearing a space for a greenhouse. (more about that later -- with pictures of course.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Plants and MORE Plants

These are the new plants for the birthday girl who is now officially a 65-year-old with a Hawaii driver's license and a Medicare card.

Some of you plant people may want to know what they all are...and some of them we do know.   The orange in the back left is a parrot heliconia, the pink one we don't know, but the purple to it's right is a Persian Shield (no, I not going to type out the latin, sorry.)  On the far right is a Fire Copper Leaf tree.

Back to the left is a Gold Finger Schefflera, which like other plants here grow HUGE.  We've seem them as tall as a two story house, and the blooms look like exploding red firecrackers.  To the right are two variegated plants called Caricature Plants -- one is chocolate and pink, the other is green and pink, and they grow big too.  The yellow wrinkled leaves belong to the Witch Doctor coleus.   In the front we have asparagus and squash.

This was the first week in many that Lunel got to spend many pleasant hours in the garden again since the ohana works is nearing an end.  However, none of the new ones will go in right away as they need to acclimate a little to our elevation and weather patterns.  One of the interesting things about the big island is that you can drive 5 miles in any direction and have different weather, so we allow the plants time to adjust before putting them in the ground.  This is especially true for the asparagus.  The second photo below shows all plants that are now acclimated and waiting for their perfect spot.

TEASER:  We have begun work on the greenhouse and are drawing up plans for a gazebo too.

What....No Pictures of the Ohana??

A couple people have asked why we have not included new photos of the ohana.  Well, it is so close to done, that it would be hard to see much difference on a day to day basis. The finish work is time consuming and doesn't have quite the drama as the first few weeks of work.  It is 95% done, however!  We pick up the beautiful counter tops tomorrow and expect them to be installed before Cheryl comes in just a couple weeks.  This week the moulding, trim, wainscoting will be completed.  Today, we finished painting the screen door, and Phil completed some window trim on the outside and painted the new stairwell (that is a buffer space between the ohana and our art studio and house.)  Our current plan is to wait until it is really ALL DONE, and has the furniture in place and THEN take pictures to show.   

Friday, August 16, 2013


This ti plant was a very small cutting our neighbor gave us back in October last year.  Learning that ti can grow in any medium, including "just lava" we decided to test that by sticking a bunch of stalks into the "ground" (red cinder lava) before we returned from our month long "house honeymoon" in October 2012.  Now this (and other cuttings) are over 3 feet tall.

Although there IS a strong connection between Puna and Humboldt County for their respective "local grows," look carefully at this picture of Phil's latest starts and you will see that these are Humbolddt County redwood trees!!

He's convinced that we will be the first family in Puna to have their own redwood forest.  And, based on recent documentation from HSU and research on redwood trees, (from Many Hands Gallery, of course)  they do seem to be doing very well despite the climate shifts to warmer temperatures.

Aloha Redwoods!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Lunel

"What would you like to do for your birthday?"  And, with no hesitancy she said, let's go to the mermaid pool, so off we went.  Just a hop over to Lava Tree State Park, then down past Noni Farms to the "red road" - which it used to be when it was all covered with red cinder.  There's no sign, but if you know the way, it is a short hike down the hill to the ocean.

The view is spectacular and we wish all our great friends from Humboldt County could see this for themselves.  

Following the sort-of path (wearing good shoes) and at our age preferably with a walking stick, pick you way carefully to the mermaid pool where you may find you are alone in a natural lava pool with fresh ocean waves crashing over into crystal clear water.

After a refreshing dip, float and lounge, it is time to snack on some tuna sandwiches, white pineapple from our own yard, and a short ride home.

Here we are finishing our lunch before we head back home.

Tonight, we are headed down to Kalapana in just a few minutes for a dinner at Uncle Roberts where we hope to meet Dan and Steve, some new friends we met on the hike down.  They have been together for 27 year -- just like us, and they just finished completing their new house.

We also met another guy named Bill who mentioned he too was headed down to Uncle Roberts.  Hopefully we will met up, share some awesome music and food.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Who'dda thunk a visit to the DMV could be so fun?!?  Drive a couple miles, wait behind two people, get my picture taken, take the written test and POOF - I have a new (temp) license AND registered to vote!

(NOTE: the photo of my drivers' license has been removed.)  11/21/2019

And this picture IS worth 1000 words.  "Happy Birthday to ME"

 Last night I went out in the back yard (at 1130, midnight and 2am) to observe the Perseid meteor shower that happens every year at this time.  Even though clouds occasionally moved by, there were many opportunities to see them flashing through the atmosphere.  (Brought to us by comet, "Swift Tuttle."

Lucy in the Sky with DIAMONDS

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Grrrrrr Grrrr Woof Woof Hoooooooowwwwwwl

I smelled her....I SMELLED HER!  As soon as my mom got back from her visit to Honaunau.  What did they think??  That I wouldn't know, that I wouldn't suspect? I waited for over eight year EIGHT YEARS to be the only dog.  I was Dexter Dinkums Wigglesworth III for a long woofing time and I have enjoyed being No. #1 - a whole lot.

For many years there were two names up HIGH on the refrigerator -- two possible corgi puppy names.  The name that has been there the longest is "Tasha Tegwyn."  The Tasha part is for Tasha Tudor, the illustrator and author of Corgiville Faire and many others; and Tegwyn means beautiful or fair. The other name was "Delwyn Pawl" which means small pretty boy. 

And, will you look at that!!! She has a TAIL.  OK she IS cute.  Mom said, cute as she was, they couldn't afford the asking price.  I have mixed feelings, but having someone else around might be fun -- and I could be the boss. (to be continued.)              DEXTER

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Lovey Dovey"

In addition to the more obvious colorful song birds we enjoy on our woodsy one acre, we also have three kinds of doves, this pair being the largest.  These larger ones are called Laced Necked or Chinese Doves and were introduced from Asia in the 1800's.   The smaller variety tend to stay toward the front of the property which is more forest like.

These doves get their name from the black and white spotted "collar" around their necks. They also have a sort of rosy breast.  Both in the morning and at evening, you will find all the doves down on the ground getting lots of bugs.  This mated pair seems to favor a branch in the large Ohia tree toward the back of the property.

This same tree, however, is shared with the Myna birds who have taken the last several weeks building their nest just outside the kitchen window in the ohana.  In Eureka, one of our annual treats was watching the swallows build their nest; waiting for the auspicious 'first flight' of the fledglings was always a favorite back yard event.  It will be fun to see when the chicks first start poking their heads out.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Red Front Door

Here's an artistically altered picture of our new RED front door on OUR house!  Before we left Eureka, we bought a beautiful red bell from Many Hands Gallery...with the symbol "water" on it.  We have loved it so much, we decided to accent the front of our own house with a new door -- of the same color.

Also, it is the same beautiful cinnabar color that we are also using in the ohana, which also has a red front door.  This week (#13 of construction) it will be 95% done!

All that to say, we are actually ready to receive visitors!  The 720 sq foot apartment has a beautiful tub (also painted cinnabar), a quiet bedroom, spacious kitchen and huge living area and sunset-facing balcony. 

Keep us in mind as you think about your upcoming vacation plans.


Here is another photo (unaltered) of our very first crop of pineapples from our orchard.  These are "white pineapples" and are typically very sweet with white insides.  Slurp slurp!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Woof Woof" from Me, Dexter!

I am really liking this ohana-thing for several reason, but mostly because it has an extra kitchen which means more FOOD for me!

While the contractors, Rob and Jordan, have their lunch I go out the front door (all by myself) over to the door to the upstairs ohana, and scoot right up the stairs.  Once I have foraged there, I head back down the landing (between the ohana and the house) and push open the screen door to get back inside the house via the art studio.  This assures that I maximize my possibilities for food. (Of course, visitors will also be able (expected) to share with me too.)

I also like the ohana because it makes me feel really TALL because I can look out over the whole yard and watch those myna birds who have a nest right by MY balcony.  Also, I really appreciate how nicely the new bamboo floor matches my favorite outfit too.

Note:  While I offered to pose for the above picture, I did NOT realize that mom ALSO took a picture of my butt too - well, it is a cute butt, anyway.   Dexter Dinkums Wigglesworth III

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"In the Pod"

The ohana is all painted now, but there are some significant things to get done this week.  But, since I can't really do electrical switches or finish the plumbing, or lay is down around the south end and up to Ho'okena and Honaunau for a few days, to see ALL my friends.  My friend Yani is celebrating a LEO birthday, so we will head to the beach to swim with our dolphin friends.  This is how it looks under the water, swimming "in the pod."  And another shot of them dancing above the water.  See ya in a few days.  LUNEL

Our next door neighbor, Sam, just got a great article in the local paper about his unusual Nepenthe plants from Borneo.  

If you are interested in really interesting plants, click on the link to the article:

Or, you can go to Sam's website:

Picasso Phil!

Great painters!

The finishing touches for the beautiful walls with the cinnabar door peaking out.

It is SO close to being finished.  There is MORE wall space for art in the ohana than there is in our house!

Someone is going to have lots of fun loading up walls with wonderful art!

I wonder who??

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ahhhh August Sunset

This is NOT Photoshopped!  This was our sunset last night looking west down our driveway.

Today (Saturday) and tomorrow we are going to be painting the ohana - pretty colors too.

Then, Monday, Lunel heads off to spend some time on the "other side" in Honaunau with our friend Yani.  Of course she will get some West Side swimming in AND visit some folks there who have corgi puppies.

"Oh NO! said Dexter" but maybe if he has someone to boss around, it won't be so bad???

Friday, August 2, 2013


Mango Road, Warm Ponds
We just finished our 12th week of construction on the really cute ohana, and are really seeing the end of the project, probably 95% done by Lunel's birthday on the 14th -- and this year she turns 65!!

Yesterday and today we did a primer coat of paint on all the dry wall surfaces in the entire apartment!  Phil was also busy painting trim for finishing up the windows inside AND painting our new front door.  (Watch for a picture of the new door soon.)

Lunel did most of the wall sanding and painting today, and then also went around and scraped up dried dry wall mud and vacuumed all the floors so next week the bamboo flooring can go in.

So by 4pm today the "reward" was a drive to the ocean!  And, it really is just a short one too.  In just 10 minutes we are at the ocean, and could swim right there, or we can drive 4 more minutes down to the warm ponds that are heated by steam vents below the surface.

To get their, we just make one right turn at the end of our block, and another left turn that takes us down "Mango Pohoiki Road" -- and this time of year YES, there are mangoes laying on the ground on either side for anyone to pick up and have a juicy treat on the way!