Tropical Gardening: Leaping lizards, there’s a new kid in town

Hawaii’s garden recently became home to a new Anole. The one we have seen for years is called the American Chameleon because of its ability to change colors. The new guy is the Bahamian Anole that is dark brown with diamond markings on the back and a bright red dewlap of the male. There are others as well like the Cuban Anole on Oahu. We also have iguanas, at least eight species of gecko, skinks and at least two species of true Chameleon. We have one species of snake called the Island Blind Snake. However, none are native to Hawaii. In fact there are no native land lizards, snakes, frogs, toads or turtles. Some came as hitchhikers, stowaways and in the days when there were few laws, in the pet trade. Now it is illegal to bring in most of these types of animals. Most aforementioned are harmless or even beneficial, but can be a nuisance depending on ones attitude toward the environment. Local folks often think of geckos in the home are good luck, and almost everyone has a warm spot in their heart for the Geico Gecko!

Let’s Talk Food: Indian Keema Curry

Want something different and yet quite simple to make? Keema is a popular Indian dish. In India, it is a stew prepared as a curry with minced lamb, goat, or mutton meat, green peas, potatoes, ginger, chili, onions, ghee, garlic and garam masala spices. Keema matar, translated, means “peas and minced meat” and was created by the royal cooks of Mughal India. It was served at special occasions and events like weddings and other celebrations and in Mughal families, it is part of their weekly meal.

Tropical Gardening: The origin of Father’s Day

Father’s Day has been celebrated for over 100 years in the United States. It was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane Washington at the local YMCA in 1910. Her father, William Jackson Smart was a Civil War veteran who raised his six children as a single parent. In Catholic countries of Europe it has been celebrated as St. Joseph’s Day since the Middle Ages.

Let’s Talk Food: Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

Got leftover rice in the refrigerator? Kimchi bokkeumbap is a great way to make a meal in one. Just top with a sunny-side up egg and you have a complete meal! The starch molecules in the stale rice have crystallized or retrograded, so the grains are hard and dry, which make for perfect fried rice.

Tropical Gardening: What would Hawaii be without coconut palms?

When the first Polynesians arrived in these Islands, there were very few plants available as a food supply. Fortunately, they brought a great variety with them that we refer to as canoe plants. These included, banana, sugar cane, breadfruit, mountain apple taro, coconut and scores of others. They also brought pigs, jungle fowl and rats that changed our forests forever. At first, Hawaiians had to survive on food from the sea, seabirds, flightless birds like the Nene and others that soon became extinct. Once they established their gardens, life likely became much easier.

Tropical Gardening: Dangerous diseases and pests pose potential hazards to travelers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, folks worldwide, and Hawaii as well, have fantasized about travel to all kinds of exotic places. It is forecast that the travel industry will soon be booming. However, some caution should be considered. Hawaii is a great choice for most mainlanders, but what about residents of Hawaii that have dreams of Machu Pichu, Tahiti or Southeast Asia?

Let’s Talk Food: Chicken lettuce wraps

With the warmer evenings, lettuce wraps could be a great, refreshing meal, or even served as an appetizer. For me, that would certainly be enough for a meal, especially in the evening as I do not want to go to bed full.