Saturday, August 22, 2009

THE BIRDS ARE BACK IN TOWN


Last week we spotted the first Kolea (it's Hawaiian name) or Pacific Golden Plover of the season. They start showing up around mid-August and hang out here all winter and depart again around May. They spend the summer in Alaska which is a 2500 mile non-stop flight for theses little birds. The Kolea heads to Alaska for mating and returns to Hawai'i when their young have hatched and are ready to follow. Some Kolea continue another 2500 miles to Samoa and other South Pacific islands. Most adults arrive in Hawai'i in August, while juveniles arrive in October.

It is said that they return to the same spot every year and we hope that the Kolea that hang out in our yard all season are the same ones we have been seeing the last 2 1/2 years. They are not one bit afraid of me when I am on the lawnmower and actually follow me around waiting for bugs to be exposed in the cut grass, but are not as brave when I'm on foot. I always find that odd since I walk up slowly and quietly and the lawnmower is so loud and fast. How do they know the lawnmower = food? The myna birds also love it and today I even had a cattle egret which is really rare to have that close.

Standing about 9" tall, the Kolea forage in a peck-and-run method - running quickly in an upright position, pausing to peck, then running again. They rarely take flight unless at the end of the day to go nest for the night or if they are startled. I have determined that this is either they are soooooooo tired from the 2500 mile flight or they are already storing up energy for the trip back next May. We have up to 4 at a time, but they hang out in different parts of the yard and are rarely seen in pairs. In the evenings they pair up and fly off together making a sweet little squ
eaky chirp of a song.

It's so hard to get a good shot of them up close
(I keep telling myself this is why I need that telephoto lens) but here are a few shots from today after I mowed the lawn and 2 I found online to show just how cute they are up close.


There it is... right there... lower right corner.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'LL CRUMBLE FOR YA

The past few weeks we found ourselves up to our eyeballs in bananas and papayas. So I decided to make crumble. 4 of them actually and they didn't last long. I used a total of 12 papayas and about 40 bananas over 2 weeks. It's just as easy to make as any other crumble.

Chop the fruit and add 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour toss and let macerate.

Crumble for one 9"x9" crumble.
Soften 1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger powder

Pour fruit filling into pan and top with big crumbled chunks of topping.
Place on a cookie sheet because it will bubble over.
Bake 350 until bubbly and top is golden brown... about 35 to 45 minutes.
It's great with whipped cream or we just tried pouring some heavy cream right on top which is just as good.




Thursday, August 20, 2009

DOWN THE DRAIN

It's been a rather busy and HOT few days here at CFC headquarters. The last few days we could be found outside digging trenches for the sink and toilet drains as well as the gas line. No big deal right? Well that's what we thought too. HA! Digging here is always an adventure and this past week was no exception. The dirt here is very dense and heavy... almost clay like at times. It is also loaded with rocks. Or should I say boulders? Coming across a rock is like Christmas day for us. We love using them to landscape and we cherish them. But when we hit one, it's a shock to the old knees as the shovel abruptly stops. Then there is the occasional BOULDER that is just too big to dig out so we just need to either work around it or chisel it down. We usually work around it. John also found two full cinder blocks in his portion about 2 feet down.

In all, we dug a 24 foot long trench for the sink and toilet drains, then another two at angles measuring 12 feet long and 10 feet long. At the end is where the new drain ties in with the existing sewer line. We will also have the electrical share part of the trench that leads to the house. Oh did I mention that the entire trench had to slope until it met the existing one? Yes that's right, the further we dug the deeper we had to go. THEN... The stub out for the toilet drain had been covered in cement when the foundation was poured so I had to chisel the cement away which took about an hour. Tired yet? There's more.

We (I) also dug 15 foot long trench for the new gas line.

There is a stub out for a toilet drain hidden in there somewhere.

Yep. There it is. It took nearly an hour to chisel this out. Care had to be taken not to damage the pipe.


The 24 foot long trench.

Where ever there is an elbow in the pipes, we need to have a clean out. In this case we have 4 in the new drain whereas there are 2 in the existing drain. This is #1.

The 2nd clean out is sticking up there just by the door. That gray box on the wall is the on demand hot water heater.
The drain then angles down to the right and...

... meets up with clean out #3. The copper pipes are the intake to the pump and then the return back to the house. The gray pipe is the electrical from the electrical/water room to the house. Confused yet?
The 12 foot trench where it meets up to the 10 foot trench near the lanai.

We had 4 piles of dirt like this one. How can so much dirt come from such a narrow little trench?


And here is clean out #4 and where the new drain meets up with the existing drain. All this for a toilet and a sink!

A small portion of the trench for the gas line. This was a 3 hour dig on the HOTTEST day of the year and no shade in sight.

Stay tuned for an update on the stairs and railing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MUST USE BY:


Ok... so it is with SOME (more) SHAME that we report... John and I have made another trip to McDonald's.

You might remember when we posted about the VERY SPECIAL tropical variety pies that they offer here at the Hawai'i McDonald's. Depending on the time of year they have Banana, Mango, Haupia (coconut) + Taro.

Right now they have haupia, which is a coconut pudding. It was good, but we still like the taro the best. The haupia had a few odd gelatinous chunks of coconut in it and had a similar consistency and aroma of suntan lotion. It might also have something to do with the fact that haupia is traditionally served cold rather than hot. Not bad, but not our favorite. Next up is mango.


As I was finishing mine, I noticed the "MUST USE BY" date then I checked my receipt. Looks like we gobbled it up just in time. What would they have done with it otherwise? Tossed it out or simply put it in another package with a later time? Would they really throw it out? Hmmmmm.

Friday, August 14, 2009

TIKI TOME

Since we are interested in all things tiki here at CFC, when our neighbor/author asked me to design a cover for his new book, even though I was swamped, I couldn't refuse! Drawing from various examples of retro Hawaiiana, I created a cover image that captures the overall feeling of the story. It's the life and times of Tiwaka's, a Hawaiian tiki bar with a resident talking parrot that will dish it out for a chocolate treat. It is, in the author's word's "a light beach read" and in my opinion conjures a fanciful world somewhere between "Casablanca" and "Gilligan's Island"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT

It's been almost 2 weeks since we got all of the primer on and began applying the Green Grove color. It's looking great and when Gavin the plumber pulled in the other day we got the exact reaction we were looking for - "It's a great color. It just blends right in to the background". We still have a good amount left to do because it's been raining quite a bit lately. The other thing holding us up is that we still have a few windows we need to caulk around and that cannot be done while it's wet either. Little by little we manage to get bits done, but I cant wait to finish then move onto re-painting the house.

Here is Max all suited up... smart boy... braving the high winds on that balance beam. He started by painting in the primed corners with a brush, then applied 3 coats of the green.

The top section pretty much complete, but you can see all the trim on the bottom windows still needs 3 coats of white. I normally do not mind cutting in the trim with brush, but it's a bit of a challenge when you have the rough surface of the siding next to the smooth of the trim. Just when you think the line is straight, you hit a bump in the siding and it all goes south. Either that or a wind gust and one color gets on the other.

A detail of the trim and the siding after cutting in the white. This is one of the better sections.

We were not sure we wanted the top piece of trim white as we were afraid it might make the hole thing look a bit boxy. Here I am holding up a piece of white trim so we can gauge what it would look like. We then brought this picture in to photoshop and made all the trim white so we could decide.
As you can see, we went with the top trim being white and we are really happy we did. It just finishes it off. We were not sure about the middle band either, and have also decided to paint that white. For now anyway.

We also got all the gutters put on Friday, just in time for Tropical Storm Felicia. The lower one will feed into a rain barrel for watering plants or scrubbing the lanai.

While I was on the top lanaithe otherday, I noticed something on the board we had used to paint the roof vents. Upon closer inspection I noticed that either Todd or Matt to the liberty to bring a smile to our day.

We are OF COURSE saving it!
SMILE! Pass it on.

Friday, August 07, 2009

GOING GREEN...

Back in May we went on a mission to find the perfect paint colors, roofing and laminate counters for the new structure. What we wanted was something that pretty much would disappear from view and not look too obnoxious from the lawn. We wanted the color you get when you look out into the yard and squint...the color all the greens make when blurred together. We walked around the yard at all hours of the day, looking at the swatches in bright light, shadow, cloudy skies, sunrise, dusk. You name it.
Our first attempt was PERFECT. Or so we thought. We bought a quart of each color and painted an old piece of siding to get the effect. What were we thinking? The top color was way too bright and the bottom color was way too ... gross. So back to the drawing board with much deeper and neutral colors.

Did we get it right the 2nd round? Almost. The top color, Green Grove was perfect, but the bottom color, Burnt Bark was a bit too dark. We replaced the Burnt Bark with Loam (that small swatch hanging under the white rail on the right)and finally got it right. The bottom color is darker so that when rain hits the ground and splashes mud onto the house it will help hide it. We also wanted to add the white trim piece all around the house just to give it a bit more character. All of the new doors will be painted Persimmon Berry to match the front door.


Stay tuned for an update on the actual painting process.