Thursday, September 30, 2010


We've been having a terrible drought here. But tonight just before sunset we got a shower! My thirsty plants on the lanai, in the garden and the rainforest are so grateful. Ahhhh....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Forks for Felines

I admit I love critters of all sorts. Until they start biting me or messing up my food. And I have always adored the animals in my care, which happen to be kitties at the moment. However, my two cats, Kiko and Cosby, seemed to be overjoyed at the expanded garden. They concluded that it is actually a kitty outhouse, though I adamantly beg to differ. Hence the fork in the road. Or, I should say, in the garden.

I had some plastic forks to reuse, and it looks like they will make my point that my garden is not to be used as a litter box. I don't know if this is 100 percent effective yet. I don't think the kalij pheasants will mind them at all, unfortunately, but who knows, maybe they'll find the forks a bother and go into the neighbor's yard where it's easier to dine without them. I presume no one will interpret my crop of forks as an invitation to snack on my veggies, which are starting to look quite healthy and on their way to harvest. (By the way, that is lemon balm in the photo, not catnip. I'm not that mean. Usually.)

So, here's a Rethink and Reuse Tip: Instead of using throwaway plastic utensils, try carrying your own with you for when you dine out. Using your own special eating utensils can actually enhance your dining pleasure. Seriously. People will also either think you're a looney or will be envious. Or want to show off their own set. I have a wooden spoon and some chopsticks in a handy little case I keep in my purse or backpack. My coworker has a handsomely carved wooden spoon with a beaded handle from Africa that she's carried for 20 years. But on the odd occasion when I end up with a plastic fork in my possession, I'm saving it for the garden. No butts about it. So far.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seedling Fairy Strikes Again

Yay! The seedling fairy left me some presents on the stairs! Poof! Like magic, I'm reappearing in my garden again.

My horticulturalist/educator friend loves to propagate, and I am the lucky recipient of her joy. This time it's nutrient-rich greens: mizuna, Swiss Chard, tatsoi, bok choy. Some for the garden, some for containers.

Seedlings make such simple, thoughtful gifts. My fairy seedmother is on a mission to make sure people in her community have plants that are acclimated to our growing area and free of the pests that could be introduced from buying plants areas outside of Volcano.

Back in the sixties, my Hawaiian seedling fairy was a homesteader in a remote area of Canada. There she grew food to feed a community of Vietnam war conscientious objectors. What she couldn't grow, she bought in town with what little money they all pooled together. Armed with an impressive Chinese cleaver and the resolve to stretch ingredients to fill everyone up, she whipped up comforting meals which no doubt would have made her hanai Chinese mom proud. It was a hard life, she remembers, but the memories are priceless.

Today I tracked down the seedling fairy at the farmers market and gave her some Seminole pumpkin seeds, which do better in a warmer, lower elevation. She has a garden at an elementary school down in Hilo where she teaches. Hopefully I'll get to visit it sometime around Halloween and see some more magic, maybe even see the Great Seminole Pumpkin arise this year.