Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Fine Feathered Friend

Dear Elizabeth Orpington,
Thank you. You have been a dear, amusing, inspiring, and supportive friend, and I am happy that you lived such an interesting and full life.

Lady Betty Orpington, May 2008~July 2013. She rests in peace.

May 19, 2008

She was a little bird who led a big life.

"She is my muse and my amusement. And I find I can express my dreams and ideals through her. I can make believe that I am a farmer, a philanthropist, a patron of the arts, a cowgirl artist. And the more I live my life as though I am who and what I dream, the closer I come to really fulfilling those dreams. Lady Betty Orpington somehow puts me in touch with that space where imagination and reality meet. I may have a sink full of dirty dishes and a car that still needs a new transmission. Maybe I never actually graduated from college, or overcame my fear of higher math... but Betty can do it all, and she reminds me to keep moving forward, even putting the cart before the horse."

December 8, 2012

She was a happy chicken. She was a pretty hen. She made me happy, and I will miss her walk, her look-me-in-the eyes frankness. I'll miss pretending she was my co-conspirator.

May 29, 2009

Not only was she my muse and inspiration, but she was beloved by our family, friends, and really people all over the world. I am so glad I got to see her so affectionately painted, and admired.

September 17, 2009

She was slowing down, still lovely, still the matriarch of the flock, but definitely not as spry. Chickens don't live forever, but I am happy that she lived well, and that we were able and willing to give her what she needed... even when we had our doubts, or had moments of uncertainty. Our chickens are not a a passing fancy, a hipster's whim. My gratitude for having had her in my life extends to all the blessings I enjoy.

June 23, 2013
Thank you, Betty.

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thirty-three Dogs

Across the lane from our cottage home, an old cane field slopes up the mountain, and hidden in the tall grass are cows and their calves.  Yesterday we got to pet the biggest cow, and Maria had her first cow kiss... A full swipe of the bovine's tongue over Maria's outstretched hand!

As soon as we puttered into Kukuihaele, we decided to count dogs.  Dogs in the lane.  Dogs at the side of the road.  Dogs loping along, or shading themselves under shady places.  Poi dogs, with no distinct pedigree, but no lack of character.  

In three days the count is at thirty-three.  We saw one puppy in the Honoka'a market, only a little bigger than a malasada and even sweeter looking.  But our favorite pup has been the one from next door, who runs to meet us, and has some funny features in common with a kitty we are missing... All those polka-spots, and the kink at the tip of the tail!

Last night, Maria and pup were running and playing in the back yard.  The puppy mirroring Maria's pace, and turns and even the way she dropped onto the grass when she needed to catch her breath.  Their game lasted through dusk.  

We have snorkeled with tropical fish, and saw a macaw riding the top of a car in the Fourth of July parade.  We had sea turtles swim up to our feet.   We have stopped, more than a few times for chickens crossing roads!  And pheasant, and nene geese, and turkeys, too. 

We've seen lots of goats, and sheep.  And of course, cows.  I love the cows.  Their calls, from cane fields, from high up in the hidden valleys, across the lane, are one of those things I am certain to miss.  A lot.  

I've never had as much luck seeing, chatting, photographing, and simply hanging out with geckos as I have enjoyed on this trip.  One lives by the kitchen sink, and while I wash up, I watch the pretty fellow, or the horses in the neighbor's field, or Maria and Pup, or the ocean.  Dishes, with these view choices, are not really such a chore.  A gecko in the home is good luck... It's done wonders for us!

Store cats, neighbor cats, fickle, and shy cats, and affectionate, visiting cats... We've met them all.  Do you think our own cats will know?  Do Chango, Benjamin and Mister Foo miss us, as much as we miss them?   We wish our goats and chickens, bunnies and kitties were here, where cows are across the lane and Maui is an island we see from the kitchen door.  I think we would all feel happily at home here.  

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Malasada :: A True Confession

Malasada (insert Wiki link here, please).  
This is a Tex Drive-In, fresh mango malasada.  And I confess:  I ate it, and I liked it.  I also liked the second one, plain, which is traditional, that I ate, too.  

The first time I had a malasada I had to overcome the name.  It is Portuguese, but I read it in Spanish, and always hear "badly roasted."   Not too tempted to eat anything "badly roasted."  But in Hawaii, at Tex Drive-In, they are legend, and the pressure to surrender sways the appetite, so fifteen years ago I tried one.  And I thought:  eh.  

It was a cold donut.  A bit heavy, bland.  I respect everyone's right to deep fried confection heaven, but it wasn't my idea of caloric bliss.  And since then I've politely declined, saving my appetite for a Scandinavian shave ice, li hing mui, please (insert link to Alii Drive location, here).  

Well, yesterday morning, ravenous and all out of groceries, we found ourselves at Tex Drive-In, where the malasadas were being freshly made, and Geoff was, again, defending their virtues, because he knows what it means to have them fresh. 

Fine.  I surrendered, pride and conviction, and asked him to get me one... just one, fresh mango, mahalo.  He probably noticed me scrunch up my nose a bit, roll my eyes.  But, now I have to confess:  I liked it well enough to be building a ravenous craving for just one more as I write this post.  

A fresh malasada is... Well, let us not over glorify it...a fresh malasada is a delicate, fluffy, donughty pillow of local flavor.  It's pretty darn tasty. It's a warm puff of sweet carboliciousness.  It's... it's a twelve minute drive into town... longer if there are chickens crossing the road!  Oh my. 

It would be a favor to the guys to bring home a hot box before they go up to the top of Mauna Kea today (insert link to Wiki about highest two hour assent from sea level, here, please).  They are about to experience sub-freezing temperatures and a forty percent drop in oxygen... A filling, fresh malasada may be the key to their survival!!

The Bunnies At Home

lapaki (la-pa-kee)

Our two bunnies certainly have made themselves at home. It was fun to imagine how they might like living in the open air barn with chickens and goats. Now we know they are romping and relaxing, digging and delighting in their new home. It sure is nice.

I don't know if there is anything we can bring them from our vacation in Hawaii, but we'll have plenty of aloha to shower on our lapaki when we return.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Further and Farther Away... Honoka'a

We moved. We said our fond aloha to Kona, to turtle beach, to Keahou Store, and Scandinavian Shave Ice, and swimming, swimming, swimming.  Wonderful rain showers marked our departure, and on our way north we, of course, stopped by the Ellison Onizuka Space Museum.  

Now we are in Honoka'a. Back to the wet side, and those coqui frogs, to Old Hawaii and sugar cane fields. So remote is the plantation cottage we're staying in, we have no phone reception.  I love this, actually.  A block away there was an outdoor wedding and reception, and we dozed off to slack key and falsetto, and wedding reverie.  

Out the kitchen door, an old screen with just the right squeak when it shuts, we see horses grazing, turkeys wandering, cardinals guarding their nest, and Maui, across a blue Pacific.  I watched these wonders last night while making dinner... Vegetable curry and rice.  

I was praying for a soft bed.  Well, not actually praying, but deeply hoping.  We woke up in a perfectly delightful waterbed.  Big enough for Maria to join in the novelty of subtle waves in her dreams.  And we woke up to the sound of cows.  Cows mooing on hillsides, from cane covered slopes.  Oh sweet moo cow, how I love thee!

Out the front gate and mauka, away from the ocean, I see the mama and her calf.  Nothing makes this Tacupeto-summers girl more at home and blissed than hearing the deep, comforting moo of contented cows.  

I started two loaves of Dutch Oven bread.  They're rising.  I made salsa with the local tomatoes we picked up at the Keahou Store, and guacamole from their gorgeous avocados.  Cooking?  On vacation?  Yes, happily.  Makes me feel right at home.  A tennis partner gave Geoff bags full of his own farm produce, too, and that added nicely to dinner, the salsa, and guacamole.  The jewel in the crown was the little pineapple... It was the sweetest, most refreshing treat!

A new day ahead, and no plans. What could be nicer...

Happy anniversary, Geoff.  I'd still follow you anywhere.