Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Here's a run down of progress in the garden. When I say "rogue" or "renegade" it means i didn't plant them. (you can always click the images to see the larger version):

Some renegade dwarf Zinnias growing amongst the mesclun. Salad is becoming a bit of a bore lately. I try to add different ingredients to keep it interesting... Pineapple chunks one night, dried cranberries and pecans another. Conn even threw some green olives in there one night.

Plant a radish, get a radish!

We have a few peppers growing on various pepper plants throughout the garden. The plants themselves take a very long time to grow, I planted most of them over a year ago. I'm sure I could get them to grow faster with some extra somethin' somethin'!

Another patch of mesclun that i seeded a bit too densely is growing slower than the other patch. Mixed in here are some rogue cosmos, a dill, and bok choi going to seed. (the bees particularly like the bright yellow flowers so i leave them)

Here's a carrot patch that's growing well next to a patch of celery on the right. The giant blue-green thing is kale. I left it to provide some shade and it's growing into a nice shrub! I thought i'd lost it to aphids a few times but it's a fighter. The blue-green plant in front and center of the carrots are a renegade dill.

Along a wire fence are some lima bean plants. The big parsley patches provide some much needed wind protection. At the top of the pic you'll notice a weave texture. One day after trimming the hibiscus hedge i had the idea to weave some of the green and pliable cuttings into the wire fence. it turned out to be too time consuming so i stopped with just the top rung. But I think even just that band across the top looks nice. It help straighten out the fence too.

This shows one of 3 corn patches. Some cilantro seedlings, strawberry, eggplant and lemon basil (lower right). The strawberries were harder to grow than expected. They get trashed easily by bugs and slugs. And the yield is very low. But I left a few of the plants around and underneath the eggplant. I transplanted two cosmos from different parts of the garden here in hopes that they'll provide some shade for the tender cilantro.

This is a view from the "entrance." The sticks on the right are a trellis for the beans if they ever start climbing. I weaved them into a thick metal grid at the base, and also stuck some royal ponciana pods at the bottom to help protect the newly transplanted seedlings.

A view to the left of the "entrance" shows the trellis where there was the great green caterpillar massacre of '09. Since then i have been very watchful over the ipe (gooseneck gourds) and beans that i am trying to grow there. In the first year, the ipe took off like gangbusters. Since then it's never had quite the vigorous growth. I'm hoping the caterpillars where to blame. Also in the pic, a large bunch of lemongrass and our rain barrel. In the raised bed in the center are 2 old yellow pear-shaped tomato plants, some fennel and new mesclun seedlings (the last of the seed pack)

Monday, March 23, 2009


...And by orange crush, I mean I am in love with this cake.
Orange-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Orange-Black Pepper Glaze

Once again I am trying new ways to use the fruit we have. For the past week it has been my plan to make an orange cheesecake, but I wanted something different. Pound cake sounded good so I set out to find and a recipe for orange one. I used this recipe for Orange-Chocolate Chunk Cake as a base, BUT of course I had to tinker with it. The recipe said to bake for 1 hour, but i found it took almost 2 hours at 350 to get it to cook all the way through. I think the finished cake might weigh 5lbs.

I used 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup sour cream since I did not have buttermilk and I used plain old Nestle Chocolate chips.

I also opted out of making/pouring the syrup over the cake as listed in the recipe and instead of doing a chocolate ganache I made a glaze icing.

The icing was 1 cup confectioners sugar 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1 large pinch of black pepper. YES, BLACK PEPPER. The zest and pepper were really ways of just making the glaze speckled, but the pepper adds a nice,yet subtle flavor.

Fresh out of the oven, cooling on a wire rack, with the first round of glazing.

Waiting for the 2nd layer of glaze to dry. After the first layer dries, take the drippings from the plate and whisk back together then pour over the top again.

Speckled with black pepper and orange zest.


Monday, March 16, 2009


This is not really a video for viewing, but rather for listening.
OH YEAH... and to make up for the spider post yesterday.

I captured this video early this morning right after I fed the birds. I decided to sit out on the lanai having coffee, checking e-mail and waking up this morning since it was so nice. It's been too cold to do that the past few months and now that spring is finally here we can enjoy a quiet moment in the morning before the work begins.

These are the sounds of the Northern Cardinal, Brazilian Red-Crested Cardinal, Japanese White-Eye, Gray Francolin, Ring-Neck Pheasant (in the distant background at 29secs in), Spotted Doves, Zebra Doves, Java Sparrows, Myna Birds, Assorted Finches and the loudest of them all... the Melodious Laughing Thrush.

Throw in the occasional rooster, green parrot, cow, horse and donkey and this is what makes living in the country so great. To us it's not noise. It's music. It's quiet and calming. We very much cherish these peaceful and quiet moments.

Here is a detail of the Melodious Laughing Thrush. They hang out on the Ti in front of the shed window and sing to them selves from time to time. Dig her make-up.

I don't have any really great close-up shots because the birds are gone before I can get close enough. I need a great zoom or telephoto lens, so if anyone has a suggestion for a lens that will fit my Canon Rebel XTi that would be great.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Since John's post about the garden and Cane Spider drew so much attention, we thought we would share a few of these images of one we found dead on our lanai last week. We did not kill it although it could have died as a result of the exterminator. WHAT? The exterminator is a must... otherwise we would have centipedes... to which I have spared you images of thus far. YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW! As you can see, this one is 1 1/2" wide with it's legs all curled under... and would be about 4 1/2" wide if totally stretched out. I never realized just how alien-like they are until looking at the zoomed in images. Since the spider does not have a web the egg case is carried by the mother in her mouth for up to a month, during which time she will not eat and constantly guards the precious bundle of children. I have witnessed this many times as I turn over the piles of mulch and one comes jumping out...ALWAYS MAKING ME GO PALE! We learned not to kill them as they do eat lots of other bugs. I even saw one stalking a wasp one day. Sometimes at night we see them crawl across the window on the lanai and they always seen MUCH MUCH larger than they are... which is too big to begin with. Now who's coming for a visit?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Here are a few shots of Kekoa's visit yesterday. He comes by the "NUT HOUSE" (no comments), eats, sleeps and dashes off after 30 minutes to 2 hours. Well, not before he has had his mac nuts. Once he gobbles them up, he makes his way around the back of the house, along the side under the snow bushes then hot foots it across the driveway, and along one last stretch of fence before disappearing into the neighbors yard. That's it until the next day.

As you can see, it was an amazingly beautiful day yesterday. I mean look at the colors! Some days we just don't believe it's all real.

He's right in front of the orange hibiscus.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Can it really be that we arrived to our new home here in Maui exactly 2 years ago today?
Mahalo to all of you who keep checking in on our adventures. Stay tuned for a pretty hefty renovation here at CFC headquarters.
Conn and John

Monday, March 09, 2009


This morning as John and I sat here having coffee and starting our day... we felt the entire house shake and my monitor began moving. I looked overhead to check the ceiling, because I thought it might be "moving". There was a slight rumbling sound. I quickly looked out the window, to see if the wind was blowing. The plants were still. We both just looked at each other... wondering if it really was happening. The center is about 141 miles from our neck of the woods.
It was all very exciting.

By the way... all is fine. Nothing damaged.

Earthquake Details

Location20.113°N, 155.175°W
Depth19 km (11.8 miles)
  • 16 km (10 miles) NNE (24°) from Laupahoehoe, HI
  • 22 km (14 miles) ENE (69°) from Paauilo, HI
  • 28 km (17 miles) NNW (347°) from Honomu, HI
  • 46 km (29 miles) NNW (348°) from Hilo, HI
  • 306 km (190 miles) ESE (115°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 0.9 km (0.6 miles); depth +/- 5.1 km (3.2 miles)
ParametersNph=068, Dmin=30 km, Rmss=0.12 sec, Gp=248°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=1
Event IDhv00033291

Sunday, March 08, 2009


For the "thumbprint" cookies I used homemade guava, star fruit and liliko'i jams.
Banana would be great...but I did not have any open.

I just can't help myself. I need to be making some sort of dessert all the time. I've kinda had my fill with the fruit inspired cheesecakes, muffins and such so I thought I would try some peanut butter cookies. But I could not just make one kind...OH NO... that would be too simple. So I made some "thumbprint" cookies to later add some...yes, you guessed it... fruit jam. See, there is no getting away from using fruit.

As with anything I make, rather than making a single batch, I made a double... which yielded 90 cookies. You can freeze these and pull a few out each day. I call it portion control.

I'm not going to attach a recipe here. Find one you like. I used the one from BETTY CROCKER'S COOKY BOOK which is perfect. I am going to try to make my own modified version now that I have the basic recipe. And just wait.. I already have in mind what I am going to do... and cannot wait until these are gone so I can tryit out. I may loose sleep over it! EAT FASTER JOHN!

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.
Add dry to wet when all wet has been creamed well. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1 1/2' balls. Place no more than 8 on a cookie sheet. Press with a fork, or as I did with a potato masher. Making sure to keep the utensil floured after each pressing. Keep dough in fridge between batches.

Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes for a chewy cookie... which is how I like them. John prefers them on the crisper side so I baked his half at 12-13 minutes. The cookies will spread out to about 3" across.

For the "thumbprint" version... I didn't use my thumb. I used a melon baller to make the indent. Make sure to keep the utensil well floured.

Before the cookies cool, take the melon baller and and lightly press the centers down in a circular motion. As the cookies bake, the centers tend to rise back up. Doing this will allow for more jam in the center.

Cool on wire rack. Fill the "thumbprint" cookies with your favorite jam.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I recently had the pleasure doing some print work for the new Red Hot Records release called Dark Was The Night. The Red Hot Organization started in the late 80s to fight AIDS through pop culture. Actually, one of Red Hot's founders, John Carlin, is also the president of my old stomping ground Funny Garbage.

I first heard of Red Hot with their debut compilation Red Hot + Blue in 1990. At the time of the release, I was not only taken with the new spins on old Cole Porter standards by the likes of Annie Lennox and kd lang, but also with the packaging, designed by Helene Silverman and Frank Gargiulo. It actually served as inspiration during my art school days. 15 years later, when Red Hot wanted to re-issue the Red Hot + Blue package to include a dvd of all the videos, I was asked re-design it. Being that the original design was so strong and well-loved, I just took the type and graphic elements and laid them out in the same way but kept it really simple. It was immensely rewarding to be able to work on that project.

Which brings me to Dark Was The Night. I had worked with the records producers, brothers Bryce and Aaron Dessner at Funny Garbage and both are really nice guys and deserve all accolades bestowed on them and their music. The music on this 2-cd compilation is generally old American folk in feeling so the packaging takes it's cues from that genre and was exquisitely illustrated and designed by Ryan Feerer. The record's executive producer John Carlin had the idea to use plates from John Milton's Paradise Lost as illustrated by Gustave Dore because they convey the same dark and moody vibe as the music. I designed the interior of the booklet based on Ryan's cover illustration and the distressed style he and creative director Andy Pratt had established.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


At the begninng of February with the new moon I replanted the garden for the summer season. With the soil for the garden in place through a mixture of store-bought compost (made in Hawaii), our own kitchen-waste compost, and a pale or two of horse manure (donated by our neighbors) I planted corn, fennel, 3 kinds of tomatos, carrots, celery, gourds (ipe), pole beans, lima beans, spinach, mesculn, peppers, and cilantro. Then on the full moon, I planted beets and radishes. Here's how things are shaping up:

The carrots are doing very well. I made sure the soil was nice and loose. And also to water it everyday. Even if we had rain the night before, I still have to water. The soil isn't very water-retentive and also, the wind here whisks away a lot of the moisture. Mulch is always a good thing but expensive/imported. This season, I found some straw in the gulch that was originally a big patch of molasses grass the I let grow and was pruning into a bush. I got over that tedious task soon enough and took the hedge shears to the roots. It sat in the gulch for about 6 months drying out like a big tumbleweed. I'd turn it over every so often so a). it wouldn't re-root. and b). so it wouldn't get mildewy. It never occurred to me to use it as mulch until just recently and it worked out perfectly. Heavy enough to withstand the wind but light enough to decompose in a reasonable amount of time. And it makes the garden look nicer. I never thought i'd get so excited over straw!

Here is a big batch of swiss chard that is left over from the summer and a renegade Beefsteak tomato plant. Both going strong! The green trellises are for the beans once they get going. I had a big problem with some pest that devoured the first batch of sprouts. So that green soda bottle is actually a cloche that I placed on every bean planted. So far, of the 12 I planted a week ago, 5 have sprouted. So far so good. In a related note, while investigating the stunted growth of the gourds, I discovered an enormous amount of cabbage loper caterpillers making there home in a nearby patches of parsley. I spent 2 hours one day just shaking the parsley and smashing catepillers. I took out about 2/3 of the whole parsley patch as extra precaution. Then squirted it with an organic pesticide.

Some corn and onions.

More corn that I recently had to stake because the wind was making them all lean and stressing the roots.

This is a surinam cherry that is growing on a tiny bush in the gulch. They aren't normally this big. It was gigantic and delicious!

I'll have more garden news, including a pic of the biggest pepper we've ever grown.
-Signed the garden geek.

Monday, March 02, 2009


One of the many projects I have been working on is an identity and website for eastern Long Island location scouting service Locate This. I started off creating a logo based on conversations with the client. I wanted to get a sense of her style so I had her send me examples of logos that she liked and explain why she liked them. From various resources I pin-pointed her style and came up with logo options I thought would work. We finally settled on a map-marker shape for it's clean and modern look. The colors were chosen based on a two factors; the client really likes the color green and also the blue/green combo echoes the sky/landscape relationship.

Then I designed and launched a placeholder page so she can start establishing her brand on the web. Also, armed with a subscription to Typepad, I selected a template that I thought would work and then customized it with graphics, colors, and fonts to create a blog so she could immediately start uploading and publicizing her locations. Work on the website has begun and it will feature a content management system that will make it easy for my client to add new locations into the database.

Locate This blog

Locate This placeholder