Friday, May 29, 2009


Have a look at this post and the one from yesterday. It's pretty remarkable how much the feathers have come in on the wings in one day. Cuter and cuter by the second.

New Window Link

Thursday, May 28, 2009


One of the baby cardinals has started to open it's eyes. All are doing well and they are all sprouting feathers. I'm just worried that tiny little nest is going to get too crowded soon and it looks like it's starting to lean to one side. Keeping a close eye on that.


This past week we got the roof taken off and all of the siding taken down. This week we are in the process of taking down all of the framing. It is our goal to have the whole thing down by Monday, which is exactly where we thought we would be at this point in the game. It's been a pretty easy process. The weather has been dry which always helps, but it's also been so HOT that we put off working on it. More pics soon.

The future view from this room. This wall will be all glass. 1 Giant picture window, a 6'foot tall jalousie and a glass door to the right.


Monday, May 25, 2009


The third and final Northern Cardinal egg hatched today... exactly 12 days from when the mother laid it. I am happy to report that all 3 birds are doing well and the 2 from yesterday are becoming active. I managed to get a quick shot and this short vid while mom was away. I like to get in and out of there as quickly as possible... but the thought of a short vid was too hard to resist.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Look who's in Maui Weekly! Our short stint planting "Orchards for Animals" made the local paper. Conn's image of Penny the baby goat is featured on the front page and in one of the photos that accompany the article, you can spot us in the background.


John and I went on a late afternoon hike today (pics soon) and I realized I forgot to check on the nest today. So when we got back, I stuck the camera up in the tree to have a peek inside. Yes... they've hatched... well 2 of 3 have. They look so fragile without feathers.

Because the camera really distorts the scale, I stood as high as I could on my tip toes and looked in. There they were... softly breathing and fast asleep... and no bigger than 3/4 of an inch. Look at how giant their eye sockets are. Maybe #3 will hatch tomorrow. CUTE!

OK... They look a bit scary...but in a cute way. Right?
I'm a sucker for a baby bird.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I was up bright and early today and started baking these Triple Citrus Buttermilk Pound Cakes at 7:30 AM before it got too hot. It's the same recipe I used for the Orange Version a few months ago, but this time I used lemon, lime and orange zest. I made a double batch and added chocolate chips to the second half. I was curious about what the batter weighed, so I pulled out the scale... IT WAS 5lbs. I got one large loaf, 4 mini loaves and 4 mini bundt loaves. We were invited to a party last minute so we took some of the mini's. I'm so glad I made extra, but that meant I needed to give them a little personality. I glazed them with Triple Citrus Icing, placed them on a banana leaf mats and garnished them with a thin banana stalk tied with a banana leaf knot. The large loaf was decorated with young lemon branches and rested on a banana leaf mat. It takes very little effort to dress them up, but makes for a pretty dramatic presentation. Be creative... use what you can find... orchids, lemongrass, citrus peel curls or leaves. As long as they are not poisonous of course. Have I mentioned we love dessert? I think it's time for another slice now.

Friday, May 22, 2009


We know it's been awhile since we mentioned Kekoa, but we have no news to tell. He's been heard at Leilani Farm Sanctuary, but not seen. So I guess that's good news.

We have seen his mom and dad almost every day since Kekoa went to live elsewhere and it's been great fun. Big Mama is almost never out from her nest under some Norfolk Pines, so it's pretty exciting to see her out and about. Big Daddy is out carousing daily making all sorts of noise. Big Mama , being very skiddish always makes a run for it when she spots us. Big Daddy on the other, who used to runoff is now getting comfortable with our prescence. We only watch them from afar and do not have any plans on inviting into the house.

I camped out for about 20 minutes to get these shots. They are the first and only shots I have ever gotten of the female.

Big Mama is very much the Plain Jane so as to not draw attention to herself and her young.
She's quite large... almost as big as the male, without the long tail. She is always walking in front of Big Daddy. He protects her fom a distance.

A few minutes after Big mama walked past, Big Daddy made his way across the back yard after hanging out in the garden. Notice a broken tail feather.


Ok... so it is with SOME SHAME that we report... John and I have made secret trips to McDonald's... BUT WE HAVE A GOOD EXCUSE.

You know the apple pies they sell back there on the mainland? Well here in Hawai'i they make VERY SPECIAL tropical varieties. Depending on the time of year they have Banana, Mango, Haupia (coconut) + Taro.

The first one we tried was back in March. We were a bit skeptical, but were pleasantly surprised.
It was banana... not just a strange gelatinous pudding type filling... but real chunks of banana. Last week we tried the TARO, which is a purple root vegetable that POI is made from here in Hawai'i. The taro was even BETTER than the banana. We intend on on trying every version... so stay tuned.

Banana Pie

Taro Pie

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Wednesday John and I, with the help of our electrician moved the solar panels from the roof of the shed to the yard so that we can start tearing down the shed. It was an all day affair on one of the hottest days of the year so far. We scheduled Friday as the day to relocate the batteries, invertor and re-wire the whole system in it's temporary home on the lanai along with the water pump, pressure tank and filtration system. All is back up and running now and we are ready to start taking down the walls. We are hoping for one more good day of rain before we take the roof off because once we take that away we will not have a way to catch water... that is until I make a temporary roof over one of the three tanks. But rain does not look to be in our future over the next few days.

The panels on the existing shed.

The pier blocks and wood supports that will hold the panels in the front yard.

One 10 panel array down... one to go.

Here comes the second array of 10.

Pitch perfect. They actual get more sun down here later in the day than on the roof... the palm tree was beginning to cast a shadow on the s lower panels. That should be taken care of when we put them on the new 2nd story office.

The charge control, inverter and solar boost in it's old spot in the shed.

The 12 batteries that power the house. These babies each weigh about 100 pounds. Those yellow rope handles came in quite handy.

The power cables were run through pvc pipe. We had to place several feet under ground where it spanned the driveway.

Everything in it's temporary home. Once the batteries were in place John covered them with hinged doors to help keep them clean and dry.

More updates soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


John was out behind the garden on Tuesday and noticed a small nest in the MILO TREE that we planted from seed about a year and a half ago. Later that afternoon he took me out to show me. We casually looked in at it, but did not see anything. I went back later that evening to have a look and stuck the camera in the branches for a quick shot. That's when I noticed the 2 small eggs. I knew it had to be 1 of about 5 types of birds so I googled them all and found out that they are NORTHERN CARDINAL eggs. Wednesday morning I went back out for a look and saw the mom sitting low in the nest. She took off as soon as she saw me, so I took the opportunity for another shot. Now there are 3 small eggs. We will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they stay safe. John has already told me that I cannot have a baby cardinal as a pet. HMPF!

The nest is just to the right of the yellow leaf.

Each eggs is about the size of a malted Easter egg and spotted like one too. Notice how the outside of the nest is rather rough, but the inside is very delicate.

We are are also in the process of removing all the trim from the shed and have come across dozens and dozens of gecko eggs in the grooves of the siding. They are what I believe to be HOUSE GECKO eggs. I also found a few much smaller eggs that are more oval in shape that I think are green anole eggs.

They are all glued down or on the walls with an almost super-glue like substance. I have had to pry a few loose in order to move them to a new location but have lost a few in the process. I have read that you need to keep them in the same position they were glued in so that that don't drown in the egg. I've done what I could to save and safely move them to a new spot. Gecko's are GREAT for keeping bugs at bay.

Here are a few pics of a resident House Gecko that hangs out nightly on our living room window feasting on bugs drawn to the living room lights. Don't you wish you had the ability to walk on walls and glass?

This is a GREEN ANOLE and 3 of the eggs I found the other day when I was moving a potted plant. I relocated them under a small pile of rocks and now they look as though they have hatched. These are not nearly as round as the house gecko eggs and are not glued into place.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Next up in our preparations for the new office construction... relocation of the propane tank. That's it tucked behind the buckets of plant cutting on the left. It's current location is right against the shed, but with the new design, the tank cannot be within something like 5 feet from a window or door... which we will have a lot of. The gas company has already come out and approved the new location which will be across from the office and against the water tanks.

John took on the task of actually finding and digging up the gas line. He thought he found it when he saw the yellow pipe. That was until he discovered after digging for an entire day that the pipe had been cut 1 foot from the tank. It was a dead line. The black tube is the newer and actual line... which is at least 12" below the old line.I took on the task of thinning out the red ginger. I removed about an 8 foot x 6 foot patch so that we could push the propane tank back as far as possible. The red part of the ginger actually grows leaves between each petal as it grows older and the weight forces it to the ground. That's all the smaller low hanging bits in the first photo. Once it hits the ground, it starts to take root and... BAM... just like that you have a new plant which explains why it was so dense. The second photo is with about half of it cleared out. We had so many plants leftover we gave them all away to our friends and neighbors. I'm actually glad we thinned it out as they were always hanging in the walkway.Here, John making sure the trench for the gas line is heading in the right direction.

The new gas line will follow the contour of the landscaping, which will make it easy to find should we need to.

The pipe and regulator in place awaiting the the brand new tank that we are hoping will be delivered early next week. The old tank is starting to rust a bit... so a new one is in order.
In the meantime we have a 5 gallon tank hooked up. The new tank will rest where the 2 2x4's are sitting. Just behind it we transplanted 7 of the ti plants that were behind the shed. They grow more upright and will not interfere or hang over the tank. It will help keep the tank drier and allow easier access to clean it. So many details to think about.