We have been having very strange weather this year, at least in Kaloko Mauka. This is generally our dry winter season, but we have had rains almost every day. Kona is usually a bit dry looking, but this year it is lush and green. From what we hear, windward side is sunnier than usual. The old adage that March roars in like a lion and leaves like a lamb may no longer be the norm.
The origin(s) of volcanic ash deposits on the Island of Hawaii have been an enigma, especially those found on and between Kilauea and Mauna Loa. We know that ash is from explosive eruptions, but the question has been from which volcano?
Next week Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, which is a day before Ash Wednesday. It is a celebration of food, lots of it, before the Lenten season. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and po boy sandwiches, crawfish, shrimp and grits, Creole crab cakes, shrimp and chicken etouffee, dirty rice, and red beans and rice are some of the items on the menu for that day.
When it comes to strange animals and plants, Australia is in the lead for its share of the unusual to unique. This ancient mini continent has mammals that lay eggs to the marsupials that carry their premature babies in pouches. Recent fires put many in the animal kingdom at risk and the plant kingdom as well. Some Australian ecosystems will be altered for centuries and some may never recover.
Portulaca sclerocarpa (also known as Ihi makole) is a critically endangered small succulent plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae). It only occurs on the Island of Hawaii and on a small islet off the coast of Lanai. It can be found in various sites in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, including the Puhimau thermal area.
With Valentines Day this coming Friday, we tend to think of romantic love, but love is much more than romance. It is a state of being we define as aloha.
I can go to Japan at least twice a year and always find something interesting and new each time. So when my son Reid asked my sister, Myra, her husband James and I to go with him to Tokyo, we all said, Yes, of course! There are the wonderful breakfasts at the hotel that we always look forward to. The ceramic trays with nine compartments can be easily filled with the many different dishes. There are a lot of pickled vegetables, tofu in broth, and of course, natto, fermented soy beans, a great probiotic. Once the compartments are filled, there was also white or brown rice, and miso soup to fill up your tray.
Mark your calendar for next Saturday (Feb. 8) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. to check out the People Plant Road Show at the Old Kona Airport. Twelve local nurseries are cooperating to share their plants and expertise. Peter and Kay Demello specialize in airplants and succulents. Chitose and Tsuyoshi Tsumura will have a unique collection of rare anthurium available, Phoenicia and Bob Zeller along with Sean Spellicy and Iris Viacrusis will be there to answer all your plant questions as well. Quindembo nursery will bring their best bamboos, so dont miss this fun event. Speaking of bamboos they can be especially good for the wet and windy areas of North Kohala and Waimea. They add a tropical Asia look and do well in Kona where rainfall and irrigation are adequate. Susan Ruskin and Peter Berg are responsible for introducing more than 100 species of elite bamboos from all over the world. They specialize in the clumping types that tend not to spread like some of the running types. Some species are small and fit well into mini gardens. Others may reach 80 feet in height and can make quite a statement in larger gardens. Many bamboos have edible shoots and are valuable for construction or crafts. Many species are also ideal as windbreaks.
When I was 7 years old, I won my countys earthquake safety poster contest. I remember going to a special award luncheon with the mayor, who complimented my work and gave me an Earthquake in a Can toy. Little did I know how much that event would influence my life.
It is time to think about planting your spring vegetable garden. You might even want to take the organic approach. Since our soils have lost so many nutrients with the heavy rains, lets look at the best sources to consider. Where animal manures are available they are probably the best sources of nutrients for the organic gardener.
As many residents of the Island of Hawaii can attest, volcanic gases can stink literally. But for those of us at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory who are lucky enough to study those gases, our jobs are actually pretty amazing.
This Saturday is Lunar New Year, the beginning of the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. Food is very symbolic, with each dish having some hope for either longevity, good luck, or fortune.