Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka!!!

Merry Christmas!!

I'm posting a photo of the Kona coast of the Big Island for all to enjoy.

This beach scene is one of my favorite spots in the entire world...a beach worth walking to on the the Big Island of Hawaii. This place is one to dream about. The sand is white powdered sugar, the water is a beautiful shade of turquoise, and the sun bakes.

A slice of paradise is where I spent my Christmas Eve. I hiked across the lava fields with my grand kids to reach this oasis. We swam and played in the sand, had a picnic, and really enjoyed our adventure.

Wherever you are in the world, may you have a blessed holiday.

Sending warm Alohas. May this holiday season bring families together to celebrate the joy of Love and a life worth living!!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Foraging on the slopes of Hualalai

Aloha and Happy Holidays!

My family loves to work with our hands, and the holidays really put us in the mood. My daughter and I went foraging up the slopes of Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii recently.

We brought our clippers and containers, and found spots where we could trim to make our holiday wreaths. It may look like scrub to the untrained eye, but to us, it's a gold mine of scrappy native shrubs who will benefit form a little haircut.

We found ohelo berries, several varieties of lichen, dried branches, Christmas berries, and grasses. I also clipped palm berries and hydrangeas from her yard to give my wreathes some more vibrant color.

She had the blanks, and I had purchased florist pins to make the job much easier. We wrapped the blanks with ti leaf and raffia first to give the base a finished look. Then we spread out all the goods on the picnic table and got busy. It was so much fun. The kids jumped in and found that they liked gold glitter as well. Everybody's personalities came out in their wreaths. My daughter's were so beautiful, and perfect, all the berries and similar plants were grouped together. Mine were a bit on the wild side, with a lot of co-mingling going on.

It was a blast, a great way to spend time together. After all, that is what the holidays are about.

Ask my kids what their most memorable Christmas was, and they all will say, "It was the year we painted rocks for each other."

From my heart to yours, warm wishes filled with love, aloha and family during the holiday season.!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SnowBird Special

Haleakala Sunrise Picture
Aloha from Beautiful Upcountry,

Check out this morning's sunrise over Haleakala. On my way across the yard to make breakfast this morning, I did a double take on the sky, and turned back around to grab my camera. There was a Kona storm brewing, and the sunrise was spectacular. The quality of light in Hawaii is every artists dream. The natural beauty of upcountry is truly inspirational.

This past week I have had three sets of guests from Alaska. I shivered when I listened to their stories of extreme weather. Yikes, I am definitely a fair weather bird at this point in life. They oohhed and aahhed over my breakfasts all week. I served fresh banana, the sweetest you've ever tried, and the season's first Cherimoyas, and of course, loads of lilikoi, passion fruit. All this luscious bounty is from my garden.

My guests mentioned that Alaska Airlines is now offering more flights to Maui. In celebration of this, I am offering a discount to all snowbirds who book their accommodations before Christmas Day. Tell me how cold it is where you live, and I will give you an 8% discount off the price of your room before tax...that will certainly get you some great fish lunches at my favorite, Paia Fish Market. These folks prepare a perfect mahi-mahi plate. Take it from me, an old Kona fisherperson(!?) who prepared fish dishes for my family 7 days a week. "Ono", as we say (delicious).

So, hang up your winter coats, dig out your rubber slippers, and book a flight to Maui!

A hui ho, see you soon!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hawaiian Paniolo Maui Team Roping Championship

Aloha y'all,

Last week I had guests from Australia who were here for the US Team Roping Championship. Darby McMartin placed third in the section 8 team roping event. Check out his beautiful new buckle, a cowboy's pride. Interestingly enough, they told me that wearing these beautiful buckles is not that well accepted in Australia.

The event took place at Piiholo Ranch. The McMartins were the only participants from Australia. This was a qualifying event for the big bucks "Shoot Out" in Oklahoma next year.

I am not a cowgirl, nor have I ever been into horses. I enjoy a great horseback ride, but have to admit, that the closest I have been to the rodeo is the wonderful 4th of July parade. I really enjoy seeing the horses and riders all decked out in their beautiful leis and finest clothes. The horses are so well groomed, and the colorful riders show obvious pride. It is an awesome site.

This week I learned about the roping event from the McMartins. I was told that roping cattle is how they catch the cattle to inoculate them, treat them for different ailments or to "pull a calf." So, it is important to be able to do it well.

Besides the mainland cowboys, many local paniolos also participated in the event. Darby roped with two local partners, one from Kauai, and another paniolo from the Big Island.

The Hawaiian Paniolo has a colorful past, and still stands out while working or playing hard today. Many of the paniolo traditions , such as rope making, horse training, shoeing, feather lei making, lauhala weaving, and saddle making continue on.

In 1793, 5 longhorn cattle were gifted to King Kamehameha by Captain Vancouver. The king placed a "kapu" (keep out, hands off, etc.) so the Hawaiians left the cattle alone to flourish.

By 1819, the cattle population had exploded. Kamehameha III sent a high chief to California, which was still part of Mexico at that time, to invite Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) to come to Hawaii.

Paniola came from the word Espanola for the Mexican cowboys who came and taught the Hawaiians how to ride horses and rope the "pipi" (cattle)....this word later evolved to paniolo.

The paniolos carry a deep love and respect for their beloved Hawaii. Hawaiian cowboys also have a rich history of hard work on the rugged slopes and open plains of our islands.

In the last couple of years, some wonderful pictorial stories and photo journals have been published on the Hawaiian Paniolo.

Makawao is the place to be during rodeo time, so make your plans for next year's 4 of July celebration.

A hui ho, until the next time...