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...


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Polipoli State Park


On the slopes of Haleakala Crater at 6,2000 feet is the Polipoli State Park recreational area. Bordering the Kula Forest Reserve, the 10 acre park is a protected bird sanctuary. The Hawaiian word "polipoli" translates to "bosom."
The forest is a delight of exotic trees, cypress, sugi, ash, plum, cedar and pine. The redwoods are quite impressive. They tower over the other trees, with a seemingly strong root system. Many of the trees have toppled, leaving large exposed root balls. There is even a new sign posted that warns hikers of the danger of falling trees.

Two years ago there was a devastating forest fire on the slopes of Haleakala at the 6,000 foot level. Many trees were torched, and a lot of dead trees are still standing. A reforestation effort is under way. The koa tree, ( an acaia) a Hawaii native that is listed as endangered, is now being planted on the slopes. Large boars roam these forests and hill sides, and tend to root around the newly planted koa trees. Luckily, the koa trees are rather quick growing.

The park has several forested trails. One of my favorite trails winds through the redwoods and passes through an area of very, very tall flowering blue and purple hydrangeas. and, pink and red fuchsias. If it is a wet year, this particular area can be a riot of color. Two old picturesque 1930's CCC cabins are set along this trail. The trails are often shrouded in mist, making these hikes peaceful, with abundant greenery. The 5 mile hike around the park boundary is a great work out. On the exposed ridge of the boundary trail, the Big Island of Hawaii is visible on a clear day. Hiking prepared with layers, gortex, and maybe a fleece vest is recommended. It can get quite cold at this elevation.

Besides hiking, several trails are designated for mountain biking. I personally do not mountain bike, but the trails are acclaimed by those in the know.

From the B&B in Makawao, the drive is about 45 minutes long. The road, once it turns into dirt, can be challenging for small cars . The road does continue on to wrap around into some very rough 4x4 roads that lead up the side of the mountain.

Until next time, Happy Hiking, and Happy Holidays!

A hui ho,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our First Rains!! The Garden Sings.


Upcountry Maui is smiling today. Yesterday in Makawao we broke a long dry spell. It rained, it poured, it soaked the ground, and put a smile on many faces.

I had been bargaining with myself, the water gods, and the water department since last Feb when we had our last good rain. My vegie garden took a beating over the summer. One conclusion I came to, was although a spring planting brought a sense of renewal and promise, watching the garden wilt over the summer was painful. I have to look for a shadier spot for my summer food next year.

I know some visitors to the islands are only looking for sun. Take heart, even if we have some rain, it is still probably at least 72 degrees outside, and the waterfalls are glorious. No more trickles, they are downright roaring today. I may go out in search of a great photo, and will share it when I get one.

The other good news is, usually if you drive 15 minutes in either direction, the weather will change, one way or another. Even if you sit still, the trade wind showers will blow through in no time. This rain , that made sleeping so wonderful last night, looks to be more than a passing trade shower. This is marking a seasonal change, and we welcome it. I may have to re-think the crater hike I was planning for tomorrow. When the sun bursts through in a couple of days, everything will be sparkling, and the papayas and bananas will be fatter.

The white flowering bush off the lanai is just coming into it's glory. My daughter calls it "snow on the mountain." I love that name, it suits the plant well. It fills the air with a subtle fragrance, and it is one of our holiday treats.

Staying cozy, with Aloha,


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Princess Ka'iulani Festival

Aloha from upcountry Maui!

St. John's Episcopal church in beautiful Keokea recently hosted one of the sweetest festivals I have every attended.

The festival was in honor of Princess Victoria Kawekiu Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapapalapa Kaiulani, lovingly known to the Hawaiians as the "princess of the peacocks".

The princess was a strikingly beautiful woman of mixed blood. Her father was a Scotsman, Archibald Cleghorn, and her mother, Miriam Likelike, a Hawaiian girl from a chiefly family. Princess Ka'iulani was next in line to take the throne when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and imprisoned after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

This quaint festival honored her mixed heritage, with my favorite, the Isle of Maui Pipe Band. The band plays music from many Celtic nations, in celebration of bagpipe playing in Hawaii since the 1800's. Sitting on the emerald grass listening to the great looking folks in kilts playing soulful bag pipe music made for a perfect afternoon.

The icing on the cake was the Princess Ka'iulani Fashion show. A historical review of magnificent gowns worn by the first ladies of the Hawaiian monarchy, graced the stage with a breathtaking backdrop on the slopes of Haleakala. The gowns were replicated after a year and a half of studying the archives of the Bishop Museum.

After a day of hula performances, Hawaiian music, harps and fiddles, lots of smiles, old friends, and great food, I was a happy camper. This little gem of a festival was nostalgic of "the good ol' days," and I look forward to it again next year.

Until next time, a hui ho...


Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall in Makawao

Aloha...........It's Fall in upcountry....our trees don't turn red, but check out the sky! This is the sunset from the back lanai of the bed and breakfast last night. These bright colors are not caused by vog. The tradewinds have been blowing and keeping our air fresh and clean. The ice crystals in the clouds made this spectacular sunset. The weather man said it was coming, and he sure called it.

Summer is always a wonderful time in the islands, love those long summer nights. However, it is now giving way to chilly mornings, and house lights on at 6:30 pm. We are still in a drought in upcountry Maui. I have my fingers crossed that the Oct. rains don't wait until March this year. Today I planted my greens in the hopes that the rains start falling soon.

This really is a great time of year to visit Hawaii. There is lots of parking, the beaches are quiet, no reservations needed for dinner, and the air is so crisp. The first humpback whales have been spotted. We all get excited when we hear that news. Soon, I will be out in my kayak paddling around with the gentle giants. I love this time of year!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Holoholo o Wahine / Women's walkabout


I am really excited to finally set the date for the upcoming woman's walkabout. I get e-mails once a month asking me when it will be. April 25th to May 1st 2009 is Holoholo o Wahine week. Check out the information on the B&B web site.

My focus with the bed and breakfast is now opening up a bit. I would like to create more intimate events and small gatherings. I enjoy spending time with my wonderful guests at breakfast daily. People always bring their life stories to the table. I have learned through all these years of meeting new people at the b&b, not to make snap judgments. If I am not open, I may miss something special. So, I gladly look forward to getting to know a few women who are coming to explore the heart of Maui.

Many hours I have spent hiking the beautiful trails of Maui with old friends . One thing that I have always loved during my time of living in these gorgeous islands, is the opportunity to share Hawaii with folks who may have never been in the ocean, or hiked to waterfalls. Joy is contagious, and I just love catching it!

I also have really enjoyed exploring my creative side with family, and friends. I love to watercolor, have taken classes and workshops, and think it would be great to share artistic time with new friends. The quality of light and natural beauty of Hawaii is always inspiring.

In my younger days, I used to make leis for everything, parties, birthdays, dinners, arrivals, and, departures. It seems I had more time back then. The pace of life was a little slower. My daughter and I would gather flowers and sit down on the lanai and string leis. She has now taken lei making to another level. She makes all the leis for her and my granddaughter's hula performances. Her leis are breathtaking, and, I always look forward to my birthday because I get to wear one for the day. It will be fun to gather our materials and make leis with the women coming to holoholo. I look forward to slowing down enough to string leis and "talk story" with new friends .

The picture I am posting this week is a shot of the stunning jade vine flower. This is the only flower I have seen drenched in this amazing color! The jade vine flower usually blooms around March, just in time for my birthday lei!!

If you feel ready to connect with other women on their life's journey on a magical island, please consider coming to beautiful Maui for Holoholo o Wahine, a woman's walkabout.

A hui ho, until next time........


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hawaiian Nene Goose, Haleakala National Park


I wanted to share a great photo of the endangered Hawaiian Nene goose that I recently took on a hike in the Haleakala National Park. I spotted these geese at the bottom of the switch back trail in the late morning. It was a wonderful site, and this is what keeps me getting up early and putting my hiking boots on.

The Nene goose was re-introduced on Maui in the early 1960's. Prior to this reintroduction, Maui did not have any nene left. In the mid 1900's there were less than 30 Nene in Hawaii. Before the arrival of Capt. Cook, there were an estimated 25,000 Nene in the islands. Now, there are approximately 2,000 Nene in the state of Hawaii. Hopefully the population will continue to grow.

The Nene goose is the Hawaii state bird. It is classified by the State and Federal governments as an endangered species. In 1907, a hunting ban was passed. Nene are non migratory, and the only goose endemic to Hawaii. The habitat for the Nene is the dry grass areas, and dry-land forests of the island. The goose consumes berries for it's water intake. The Nene's nest is on the ground, and the eggs and gooslings are being threatened by the mongoose. The clutch size is between 2-5 eggs. It's egg laying season is Oct. to Feb. The Nene has the longest nesting season of any wild goose.The male and female birds are nearly identical, with the male being larger in size. They normally grow to 5 1/2 lbs.

In the Haleakala National Park, sometimes Nene can be seen in the upper parking lot area around 8,000 feet. The birds are almost too tame. If you are lucky enough to see one, please do not get too close, nor feed them, or give them water.

Pi'iholo Ranch, a wonderful place to experience upcountry horse back riding, provides a Nene habitat for birds that were raised by the Maui Bird Conservation Center. To learn more about Piiholo Ranch, visit The DLNR has chosen a few areas in the state to re-introduce and monitor the Nene population.

OK, until next time, a hui ho, and Aloha!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

E komo mai

E komo mai.......Come in, come in.

Welcome to a new Maui sharing spot. Here I hope to share my mana'o, my thoughts, with you. Mana'o is a Hawaiian word that I like a lot. It means "to think, to wish."

On Maui we have a very special listener supported radio station called Mana'o Radio. You can find it locally at 91.5, it is also on the web at The music is very eclectic as the d.j.'s are all volunteer.. Many of the folks at this radio station are musicians as well. If you want to get tuned into local events, listen to a great Maui station.

If you are a visitor to Hawaii, or a new resident, the Hawaiian language can be a bit tricky. Something that may help you correctly pronounce a daunting Hawaiian word, is apply basic phonetics. This will get you closer to sounding like you've been here before.

The Hawaiian language allows for one to take a moment and really look, listen and feel. There are many ways to describe the rain of Hawaii. It can be gentle, or strong, come from the mountain, or the sea. This is the in depth approach I hope to have as I share my mana'o , my stories and experiences of living in Hawaii Nei with you. I was not born in Hawaii, and the first 20 years that I lived here, I was in awe of the beautiful place I called home. I am close to completing the next 20 years of living here now. During this time, I have begun to scratch the surface of what it means to be "of Hawaii" . I am a part of the latest waves of immigrants fortunate enough to land on these shores.

I've begun to see deeper into the stunning, breathtaking beauty of Hawaii. The soles of my feet are now stained red from the clay soil of Maui. I eat and serve fresh fruit from my garden every day.I feel blessed, and, I am grateful. In Hawaii, we live closely aligned with nature . We spend a lot of time outside. For me, this is a more complete way to experience life. When we have Kona weather, it means our weather comes from the south. People can get a little edgy when the weather is Kona. Big, wild storms could be on the way, or, there is not a breath of air moving. The trade winds keep our Maui air clean and fresh. Without the trades, the "Vog", volcanic particles in the air from Madame Pele on the Big Island, end up blanketing most of the islands. This week we have had Kona weather, hopefully it will bring some much needed rain for the garden.

In this journal, I plan to serve up a fresh little slice of paradise to keep you coming back for more.

A hui ho, until later.