Big Island Giving Thanks

Aloha,

Ahhh, home from my own personal Thanksgiving, a week early. My grandson, Aukai, just turned 9 years old, and we had a great weekend celebration. This is my Thanksgiving, and on this particular weekend, I have alot to give thanks for.

Aukai turned 9 with several classmates in attendance. We had a water slide castle set up with "No More Tears" shampoo making it extra fun, a giant bubble bath and water slide. The boys got pretty wild and had a grand time.

Kona on the Big Island often has to contend with vog, which is volcanic smog from the active volcano down south. This weekend was clear, and that alone is reason to celebrate. Check out the nearly full moon rising over Hualalai at the end of my first day. This happens to be one of my favorite views, a super special sight since it is often covered in clouds by the afternoon.

In the morning we went for an early hike up this beautiful mountain that towers above the coastal town of Kailua Kona. The native forest of ohia lehua and koa trees are always so comforting . Each old twisted silver tree trunk supoorting deep red blossoms always leaves me smiling and reaching for my camera. We hiked to the peak where we could see my home island of Maui just across the Alenuehaha Channel.

The weekend was not complete without our customary beach day. The weather was absolutely perfect, clear, light breeze and beautiful little waves. Main bonus, for some reason the weatherman reported no swell, and the beach was quiet without competition for the waves. Yipee! I was even enticed to go out.

I used to charge the waves quite a bit in my younger years. Now I have a bit of an inner ear issue due to a surfing mishap many years ago that keeps me from anything but mellow waves. The first fifteen minutes in the water were spent helping out a certain 9 year old who had a wipe out and lost his boogie board and his brand new surf trunks as well. Classic.

Family, freinds and nature at it's finest, I have much to be grateful for. Each and every day and night I give thanks for my sweet life. ....life is good.

With great wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday week spent with loved ones, I send Aloha out far and wide, and an invitation to come visit Maui and give thanks as well!

Mahalo for everything wonderful!

Cherie

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou


Aloha and Happy New Year! or as we say in Hawaii "Hau'oli Makahiki Hou"!

2010 came in with the usual bang. My little dog shivered and hid for two days. Some folks really like the fireworks, however, the smoke is an unpleasant by-product of the brilliant displays. This year was a little quieter, some major blasts, but not as many as previous years. Every year after New Years is finished, the fire department makes it's plea to completely ban fireworks in Hawaii. I doubt that would ever happen, as people like to make a lot of noise in Hawaii at the end of the year.


I had a beautiful holo-holo trip on the Big Island over the holidays with my family, and am posting a few pictures from our adventures. We visited the breath taking Waipio Valley, the north shore beaches, and our customary mountain foraging for the wreathes we usually make.

Each island has it's own unique qualities, and because I raised my children mostly on the Big Island there is always a sweetness and great memories to my visits.


Maui has had plenty of holiday magic as well. The fantastic Maui Film Festival has two nights left. It's always a treat to see the films at the Castle Theater on the big screen. I had my usual guests, Jack and Mickey from Kansas, over Christmas. This is their 9th year visiting Maui and staying with me. I look forward to seeing them every year, and I am so lucky to have so many wonderful repeat guests. As I've said before, my guests are no ka oi (da best)!

Because it has been such a mild winter so far, I've been able to enjoy ocean adventures quite often lately. One of my favorite things to do is to swim at Baldwin Beach on the north shore.


It's a fun work out and quite beautiful to gaze at the Iao Valley while out paddling around.

This coming week, I am hoping to take my kayak out for a cruise and a whale viewing. I really look forward to this every year. It is an amazing experience to see the Humpbacks breaching and listening to them blow and slap. I hope I am able to get some good pictures.

It's time to say Aloha for now...and may this coming year be filled with joy and love for all.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

Cherie

Big Island fun & Koa

Family Easter
Aloha,

I had the sweetest Easter weekend with my family. After rainbow colored eggs, chocolate and jellie beans, we headed to the beach. It was a super clear day for Kona with beautiful blue skies, low tide and small surf. Layer after layer of a busy life melts away when I spend the day at the beach. The sun bakes, and the ocean soothes.

We also hiked a beautiful trail on the mountainside of Hualalai...The grand ohia lehua were in full bloom with their deep scarlet flowers. Many small flowering Acacia Koa trees that were planted along the trail are now growing taller. Before long they will change the whole experience of this hike.Young Koa Tree

The Koa tree can spread a large canopy which will shade the trail. The Koa tree is endemic to Hawaii and considered endangered. Koa trees are a vital part of the Hawaii ecosystem. Many areas in the islands are now being replanted with Koa.

I am posting a shot of a small tree along the trail that shows the leaves changing as the tree starts maturing. The grain of the wood is spectacular and is very expensive to purchase board feet. Heirloom quality furniture is created from Koa. I will post more photos in the future of some of the beautiful Koa furniture made in Hawaii.Hawaiian Fern

It's starting to feel like spring in the islands...it's a great time to be here and experience all the beauty of nature, Hawaii style.

A hui hou,
Cherie

Ohi'a Lehua

Ohia Lehua - Metrosideros polymorpha
Aloha from sunny upcountry!

My favorite tree in Hawaii is the Ohi'a Lehua. It captivates me for many reasons besides it's beauty and strength.

The Ohi'a is extremely adaptable. It is the first woody plant to establish itself after a lava flow. It has a remarkable range of growth forms, from 1 ' tall to 100 feet tall. I was told that when it was first studied, it was believed to be a few different varieties of trees because of the varied forms it takes.

The beautiful blossom provides staple food for the rare Hawaiian Honeycreeper. The photos I am posting are the two trees at Hale Ho'okipa. The yellow blossomed tree is rare. I was gifted this tree many years ago, and am fortunate that it is growing so well. The honey bees love the blossoms, and organic lehua honey is divine! It is the best honey I have ever tasted.
Ohia Lehua - Metrosideros polymorpha - yellow flower

The tree has an important legend in Hawaiian folklore. Many hulas and chants tell of this love story.

Ohi'a was a young warrior who fell in love with the beautiful Lehua. This was a tragic love as Madame Pele also fell for the warrior, Ohi'a. Pele was angry when he shunned her, and she turned him into a tree with gray leaves and twisted branches. Lehua begged Pele to return him to his human form. She then pleaded with the gods to do the same, "no can". Instead the gods turned the young woman in the beautiful blossoms of the Ohi'a tree called Lehua blossoms so they could be together forever. The legend says that Pele will cause the rain to fall if the blossoms are picked.

The Ohi'a Lehua is the official tree of the Big Island.

So, here's to the honey bees and love stories. Happy Valentine!!

Aloha,
Cherie