Sunday, August 31, 2008


We realized it's been a few weeks since we have done a Kekoa update so here it is.
He usually shows up early mornings and now waits for us to get up instead of pecking at the door. The not so little guy has shown up off and on over the last few weeks and still demands his mac nuts by tapping on the door once he realizes we are awake. He spends several hours a day sleeping on the lanai then heads off to feast in the yard. Around 5:30 he heads off up the hill where he sits a few moments before taking flight into the thick underbrush for the night. I am still waiting to capture that flight on film... I sit and wait for it to happen and the minute I blink he takes off.

Last week he completely disappeared for 4 days. He just feels comfortable here on the lanai as this is where he was raised. I am glad to see him becoming more independent though.

Here is at about half his full size. I would say he is about 12" tall and 18" long and the colors are intensifying everyday. The transformation is amazing. He still loves fanning out and sunning himself in the afternoons.

He has also started puffing up the red areas on his face at various times of the day... I'm still trying to research this behavior. It's pretty amazing... as you can see here, his jowls as I call them hang down and the space between his eyes closes up. It's almost like he has put on a mask.

Above before and after puffing up.

Monday, August 25, 2008


On a recent visit to the Kahanu Gardens outside of Hana, I was given a handy guide to all of their specimens of indigenous and Polynesian-introduced flora. One entry that I found especially interesting was the description of the Polynesian-introduced Breadfruit or 'Ulu tree.

A view of our 'Ulu tree with developing fruit and moon in the background.

We have an 'Ulu in our yard and have actually cooked the ripe, white fruit which has a sweet potato-like taste and texture. I especially liked it diced and roasted in the oven. But this tree's offerings go beyond just the fruit, which, by the way, isn't a single fruit but actually a collection of many smaller fruits pressing together into a multiple fruit. And that's only from the female flowers. The male counterpart is a separate flower that grows on the same tree.

A close up of the fruit. You can see the seams where all the many smaller fruits fuse together.

I have seen these male flowers littering the ground under the tree but always thought they were just undeveloped fruits. They drop when they are whitish yellow and then dry out to a very dark brown. One may think "what a waste" isn't there something that can be done with these? Leave it to the Hawaiian's to figure out that if you LIGHT them, they turn into mosquito punks!

Male flowers on the ground underneath the tree. Dried (dark brown) and somewhat fresh (pale yellow)

So the minute I read that I had to go try it out for myself and voila! They burn just like incense, and with the most wonderful, pine-cone-cabin smell to boot! They have to be super dry though, which can be difficult to achieve in our neck of the woods. Other uses for this tree include glue from the sticky sap, poi pounding bowls from the wood, and a fine sandpaper from the rough leaves.

A bunch of the dried male flowers.

The dried male flowers burn like incense and the smoke is said to keep mosquitoes away.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Lilikoi, Chocolate, Guava taking up the majority of the box with Plain and Cinnamon up front.

Today we went on a hike in Waihe'e, had lunch at A Saigon Cafe rounded out by a stop at Dad's Donut Shop in Wailuku. It's been open since January and we have just had the time... well make that we finally remembered to stop by. Are we glad we did. It is a cute little walk up bakery that makes one mean donut. It's simple... make one type of donut and top it with a few select toppings. All donuts are good old-fashioned cake style and are perfectly cooked using no trans fats. Plain donuts are 50 cents and glazed or sugared are 75 cents. Bargain! The toppings on hand today were chocolate, plain glaze, lilikoi glaze, guava glaze, cinnamon or powdered sugar. We went for ALL the glazes and snatched up a dozen for $9. The service was beyond friendly and top notch. Our delightful server took great care and pride placing each and every donut in a muffin liner then in the box. Oh yeah... they get sugar coated when you buy them so the sugar stays nice and crunchy. The presentation is in my mind perfect. Simple. Oh yeah they taste great too. Ok.. I have some eating to do. Bye.

The shop is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to noon on Sundays.

You can read an article here on the history of Dad's Donut Shop.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Stretch it out!

A few days ago, John and Gabi laid out their towels to do a bit of pilates in the back yard. They turned their backs for one second and Kekoa moved in and stole a towel for himself. As you can see he is still hanging around. He shows up every morning for coffee and nuts... well we have the coffee, he has the nuts. He pops in and out all day and holds court on the lanai until finally shuffling off to bed somewhere in the yard.

He likes to spread his wings to sun himself before dozing off.
These were shot last week, so add about another inch in height and 2 inches to the tail length.


Friday morning we headed down to the western end of Baldwin Beach for a little fun in the sun and some quite time with only a handful of other beach goers. Although it can get quite windy here and you can get sandblasted at times, it's a good north shore beach to visit because of the "kiddie pool" that is created from a long reef wall. It provides a good place do a few laps without the choppy water, especially when the tide goes out.

While there we spotted a Hawaiian Monk Seal swimming just beyond the wall. John and I have seen monk seals many times o Kaua'i, but this was our as well as Gabi and Larry's first sighting on Maui. It was hanging around the entire 2 hours we were there.

We read that if you see a monk seal you should call or e-mail to report the sighting so that researchers can keep track of seal numbers. Dialing....

On Maui: Hawaii Wildlife Fund

On Kauai: Kauai Monk Seal

Gabi and Larry on the wall becoming one with nature.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Holy Heiau!

I thought it fitting to post about our wonderful trip to Hana today with my intrepid friends Gabrielle and Larry. They had never made the trip before so it was great to see their reaction. Gabrielle ran out of adjectives to describe the beauty. Larry silently snapped photos. We set out early and made a few stops on the way. The most spectacular was the Kahanu Garden on 'Ula'ino Road. Conn and I had been to this garden on our first trip to Maui in 2001.

We found it in fantastic shape this time around. The garden is extremely well kept with a meandering self-guided walking tour that takes you by specimens of native and polynesian-introduced trees and plants. The most spectacular was the Pi'ilanihale Heiau. The heiau is believed to be the largest in all of Hawai'i. A lava ridge was faced with a retaining wall, filled with stones, and topped with a 450' x 320' platform. We didn't venture out further east to Oheo gulch in Kipahulu because we had spent so much time at the garden and exploring around Hana itself. Just as well though since as Gabrielle said, "I've seen way to much beauty for one day. My brain can't take anymore!"

This pic is trying to show the scale but it's not doing it justice. This thing is enormous. Think small Aztec temple. It gave us all "chicken skin" when we approached it.

Milo tree flower at the Garden.

On the windy road to Hana.

Koki beach.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Today we stopped back by the Ali'i Kula Lavender Maui with Gabi and Larry on our way back down from Haleakala. Since the photo's were such a hit last time I wrote about AKL, I took more today. The textures and colors on all of these are other worldly and boggle my mind. Let's hear it for flowers!

Various protea

Protea seed pods

Protea leaves






I think this is a form of 'Ilima...? Most I have seen and read about are yellow.
If anyone knows for sure, please let me know.