The rain barrel

11 03 2018

Installing the rain barrel we won at yesterday’s silent auction, a benefit for the Mālama Honua Public Charter School, was a satisfying Sunday project.

The Papa Ekolu (3rd graders) had donated the barrel. We had talked about getting one “just because.” And there it was, completely decorated by the kids and with a parts kit with tools and do-it-yourself installation instructions. Score!

Pete tapped it into a gutter downspout right by the garden boxes.

Cheerful barrel with hardware kit

Hauling the barrel home

Bag of parts

Diverter connects from downspout to top of barrel. Rain water exits through the spigot at the bottom where we attach a garden hose. When the barrel is full, excess water flows past and comes out normally below.

Cautionary signage

I love it!

Pete admires his final installation

Mahalo nui to Mālama Honua Public Charter School!


Ready to receive

24 12 2017

Christmas Eve Day

Most of the presents are beside the small Christmas tree, although now as I survey the room I see that one of Santa’s elves still has some gift wrapping to do. I love the snowman.
This year we offered the studio early in December as the venue for a holiday party for some high school classmates. That was fun. Kaaawa is considered a “far” drive from anywhere else on Oahu. We started at 3 in the afternoon and folks could enjoy the scenery on the way to our place, as well as find their way in the daylight.

Mood set and home decorated, we mailed Hawaiian cards to friends and packages to family far away. Wreaths were a success again (see previous post).

My friend Kiana whose ministry is feeding houseless people (i.e., they don’t have kitchens or money for good food) planned a holiday meal for 200 and asked for help. Normally she does most of the food prep herself. I offered to bake some pies and managed eight of them. To donate those desserts was very satisfying to me. Can you understand?

Apple, pecan, pumpkin, and banana — photo by Lynette Cruz

Yesterday I baked a batch of “magic cookie bars” and divided it among our immediate neighbors. Later at a gathering Quinn, so cute, asked what they were because she didn’t get any; her brothers ate them all! I saved some that I’ll take to her today.

My hanai mom Ivalee, Pete and I enjoyed so very much the Windward Choral Society’s Christmas concert in Kailua this year. Choral Director Susan McCreary Duprey put together a fine program for her enthusiastic choir. What a lot of good energy.

I miss singing in a choir, small choirs, so my vocal coach suggested I join her church choir for Christmas Eve service. She needed a “reading alto.” Okay! That’s me, pick up singer. Tonight’s the night, 7 pm, in Kailua at Christ Church Uniting Disciples and Presbyterians.

Then, I will be ready to receive. A blessed, loving, and merry Christmas, everyone. ~ Rebekah 

Life along a river

25 11 2017

Our journey brings us to the Chesapeake Bay/Severn River/Herald Harbor neighborhood. A morning walk with Poe and his master Dave revealed weekend homes along the river for the affluent and streets named after trees. The crisp air and red-leafed maple trees are sure reminders that we are not in Hawaii. Take a look at these beautiful views.


Thanksgiving Day 2017

23 11 2017

Holiday bouquets for you! This year we are in Pennsylvania visiting our sister Penny and her family. We’ll return to Oahu next week. All of us from the studio wish you a warm Thanksgiving of love, health, and happiness. ~ Rebekah


Fascinating autumn

18 11 2017

Autumn on the continent is a novelty for me from Hawaii. On a walk around the block in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, this morning we detoured down a path to the creek. Some of nature’s colors remain before winter comes.

Now we are back home where Kelly is making cabbage soup and I am baking desserts for watching the Penn State vs. Nebraska game on TV. Family of seven will be congregating.


Honolulu angel

4 10 2017

Blessed is she who feeds the homeless and the hungry. “She” is an island woman named Kiana.

Every Wednesday around half past noon, more or less, a group of adults gather outside of the Library of Hawaii main branch near the gate to Iolani Palace for what might be their only square meal of the week. They wait quietly and politely for Kiana to faithfully arrive in her car with a delicious buffet lunch.

Here, on Likelike street, is the quiet and peaceful stage of Feed the Street. People come, they eat, they go.

She opens the trunk and unloads a tablecloth first, then an attractive spread of a home cooked lunch, including soup. The meal is free to anyone in need.

Kiana arrives. Next to the bicycle racks she sets down tablecloths to receive a car trunk load of prepared casseroles and other dishes.

Amidst the unfortunate circumstances in our country today, this kind and humble compassionate gesture begins earlier in the week with donations of raw produce from farmers and others who have a surplus or who just are more fortunate and want to give.

I have known Kiana to travel by city bus to far places on the island to pick up ingredients. She prepares the food by herself because her small studio kitchen has no room for a sous chef. I think it gives her great joy to express her creativity in this way.

Each week she publicly extends her gratitude for her “Feed the Street” project on a Facebook group called “Too Much Balances Not Enough,” listing the donors and their contributions. That is where I first learned about this activity.

Today I wanted to see a part of Kiana’s world. I put together some small zip top bags of feminine hygiene products, that I learned are very appreciated in addition to food, and went down to Likelike street. Like clockwork, people slowly began to congregate–about 12 when I first arrived and building to 24 or 30 when I left.

Hungry folks wait politely for lunch. They have much respect for Kiana who provides the food for free. Iolani Palace and downtown Honolulu are in the background.

Later Kiana said, in all 70 showed up today. She reported the women liked my small contribution that also contained items like toothbrushes, travel soaps and hand lotion, and that the men were disappointed that there weren’t any condoms.

I know there are those who are wary of homeless people, and that to befriend them would be out of their comfort zone. They don’t feel safe. Indeed, reaching out can be a problem, and Feed the Street has experienced harassment. (Having a sheriff or a cop in the vicinity might be a good idea!)

It’s not so hard to reach out with kindness to make a stranger’s hard circumstances a little better, I found out. You can bet the homeless don’t always feel safe themselves, but you could tell they trust Kiana.

Kiana is a cheerful, woman warrior. Thank you, Kiana. I love you, angel.

Today’s spread is all vegan except for one dish that contains pork. Kiana told me she likes to prepare 14 different menu items.

Everything is nutritious and tastes as good as it looks.


Harvesting for Makahiki

28 09 2017

The urge to harvest food from the home garden tells me the Hawaiian Makahiki season soon will be upon us. When Makahiki starts, in early November this year, all feuding and all work in the fields end. The harvest is over, we remain friends, and it’s time to call on others and play—for four months!

Today I pulled out 7-1/2 pounds of ‘uala, or sweet potatoes, of various shapes and sizes from the semi-circular patch out front. At the same time I plucked and saved the edible tender sweet potato leaf shoots. I rinsed and dried the greens and reserved them for sandwiches and salads.

‘Uala (Sweet potato)

Adjacent to the ti leaf and panax hedge, the semi-circular bed of sweet potatoes is 85% harvested.

I pluck and use only the growing tip of the vine. Any other part of the vine is too tough and not as tasty, in my opinion.

I rinsed greens carefully under running water for some tasty crunch in a cheese sandwich.

I also gathered kou tree blossoms that fell from above to make a saffron- or ochre-colored dye bath.

Tubular flowers from a kou tree

What now? I prepared candied sweet potatoes and an uala leaf and tofu salad for dinner, and I reserved the kou flowers for later when I can organize a day of fabric dyeing and decorating with my artsy friends.

I roasted sweet potato chunks in the oven and baked them a second time with butter, a little salt, brown sugar, and rum to make them taste like Thanksgiving candied yams!

For this tofu salad, blanching the leaves and a vinaigrette dressing has darken the leaf color.

How about a Makahiki party soon to enjoy the bounty? There are lots more sweet potatoes!

“Lono i ka Makahiki!”


%d bloggers like this: