About dave1y

Dave Oney was born mid last century in Middlebury, Vermont. He received his BS in Chemistry and worked as a polymer chemist in Massachusetts and New Jersey. He became a microscopist (someone who studies little bitty things using a microscope) and photomicrographer (someone who photographs little bitty things) before settling into a 35-year career in technical sales of scientific imaging equipment (the science of digitally recording itty bitty things, sending the image to a computer for analysis.) He designed and created a number of products contributing to this field. He is (was) proficient in several computer languages and is currently working on mastering English. After making a few more paradigm shift career changes Dave and his wife, Fran, retired and moved closer to their children and granddaughters and now live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

The Last Afternoon

Upon returning to Mike’s house after our final trip up the mountain we crossed the street to look at the ocean.

The waves looked larger up the coast, but it was still a pretty view. Sea turtles climb through the surf to lay eggs along this stretch of beach. You can watch them, from a distance, when it’s low tide, and dawn or dusk, none of which was occurring when we were there.

Then we retired back to Mike’s “crows nest” or upper deck to sit, relax and enjoy the view. Maui has been hot all summer, including during our stay, but we thought the breeze might mitigate the heat. Oh well, can’t win them all.

I was able to write most of the Lavender Farm post before the wind drove us back to Mike’s guest house next to the pool. Oh, the sacrifices we make!

Of course, “Last Afternoon’s” aren’t complete without a final Shave Ice. The line was typically long (about 30 minutes) but well worth the wait.

My flavors of choice today were vanilla, blueberry and red raspberry, rather than my favorite blue raspberry. If nothing else, I am a devotee of variety.

While I am not happy about having to leave Maui, I am excited to pick Rosie up at The Lucky Dog, her sleep away camp while I am gone. Hopefully, although sad to leave all her friends, she will be excited when she sees me!

Advertisements

It’s Another Day… Day Tripper, Yeah

Another day, our last full day, and we took another day trip, again up the mountain, Mt. Haleakalā, that is. Back to Kula again, but this time a little higher on the mountain. We went to visit the Ali`i Kula Lavender farm.

The farm was created, as the story goes, accidentally, by Ali’i Chang, a Master Horticulturalist and Agriculture Artist after he retired from Alii Gardens in 1976 in Nahiku near Hana, HI.

He was given a lavender plant and being the consummate gardener, duly planted it before leaving for an extended trip around the world. Upon returning the lavender did what it does and thrived in the Kula, HI environment. The rest, as they say, is history.

We opted for the 30 minute walking tour, rather than the longer cart tour. In hindsight, this was a great choice. Our guide, Sean, was knowledgeable, informative and fun. She gave each participant clippings of the various lavenders to inspect, feel and smell.

The views of the valley between the older volcanic West Maui Mountains (Mauna Kahalawai) and the newer Haleakalā confirm the nickname “The Valley Isle.”

The farm is dotted with antiques, old farm equipment, windmills and several Buddha statues in homage to Mr. Ali’i Chang’s Buddhist faith.

Also prominent throughout the farm are Jackson or “three-horned” Chameleons. We did’t see any until another visitor walked up to our group with one on his hand.

Knowing Grace loves lizards, Fran asked the young man is we could take some pictures, and he happily obliged.

The Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is a short ride up the mountain, which, had a large swath of the valley not been burned in a huge grass fire earlier this summer, would have been a very pretty ride. The views from the road are spectacular. An added benefit is the temperature was nearly 15 degrees cooler, which was a welcome respite from the summer heat of the valley.

Billy Goat Gruff

Our visit included hand feeding some young does alfalfa. They behave and actually look a bit like dogs, which helped the granddaughters as they love dogs. It turns our goats also like little girls dresses, but were gently discouraged to stick with the alfalfa.

Talk about a varied day! I went from million year old lava fields this morning to the Surfing Goat Dairy this afternoon. This dairy has about 141 goats including 2 bucks. The rest are does (pronounced with a long O rather than like duhz.)

We then toured the milking station where the process was explained in some detail. It was interesting how they rotate the breeding times to keep a certain number of does on a rotating schedule producing milk all year. Each does receives a two month vacation each year to relax and recharge her body.

On the way to the tasting gazebo our guide pointed out the pasteurization tanks where the milk is heated using the flash method to 165 degrees for fifteen minutes before cooling to below 50 deg. This kills the bad bacteria and keeps the harmless lactic acid bacteria viable. If the milk is not kept cool the lactic acid bacteria will multiply and sour the milk.

In the tasting gazebo our guide offered us several sample of goat cheese. Two of the methods that goat cheese is preserved are in olive oil or wax. We sampled cheese preserved in wax and it definitely had the usual goat cheese consistency and sharp/bitterness. The addition of a little olive oil smoothed the flavor. It was delicious. We also tried a number of other cheeses and cheese spreads which were almost like yogurt. Anyone who fancies goat cheese should visit this award winning dairy. Well worth the relatively short drive up the mountain.

Lava Cakes, or Lava Fields

A few miles south of Kihei, on Maui, are the Lava Fields – Kings Trail. This amazing place was formed by two volcanic eruptions that sent hot lava slowly oozing down each side of Haleakala and the West Maui mountains.

There are very few places on earth where you can see lava flows that occurred over a million years ago.

It is a protected area and the access road is purposely left rough and rugged to control speed. Also, there are numerous limited or no sight areas, again demanding cautious driving.

Dottering Oldsters

As we walked down toward the surf a nice young man, probably in his 40’s warned us the wet rocks were slippery. What a nice thing to say to two obviously dottering oldsters. I should have responded with a “Why, thank you sonny.” But at my advanced age I didn’t think of it until just now.

With all that it is not a place to miss.

Two First Luau’s

Mike is part of a large Hawaiian family headed by Kimokeo Kapahulehua, known to his family as “Uncle.” Google him, he is fascinating. Anyway, Mike, Kathy, Frances, Daniel and their daughters (my granddaughters) became hanai members of Kimokeo’s family when they were informally adopted by his family a couple of years ago during an extended stay in Kauai.

The luau was even better than we expected. We set up the tables and chairs starting at 7:30 AM, cleaned the pool and deck, carted in ice, food and drinks. We ran multiple errands all day and barely managed to squeeze in a good nap.

You probably know that a luau is a Hawaiian feast and celebration, usually held outdoors and includes live entertainment. The first known luau was thrown by King Kamehameha 200 years ago this year! There is another reason to celebrate. Let’s have another luau!!!

The food for the luau was prepared by Kimokeo’s family who live on various Hawaiian islands. In fact, several participants in the luau came from other islands to celebrate Vivian’s first birthday with us.

It is really understating what they did to say they “prepared” the food. Yes, they cut, cooked and wrappedb but they also caught the fish a couple of days before, shot the deer for venison three days before and created some amazing (to me delicacies) Hawaiian food. I spoke with Russell, one of Kimokeo sons and husband of “head chef” Sybil, to learn all about how the food was obtained. I also learned that “David” in Hawaiian is Kawika (the w is sounded like a v.) While Russell didn’t say it as I didn’t ask, I am willing to bet they raised the pork and grew the cucumbers.

Now, I am not a fussy eater, however, I am also not an adventuresome one. As I passed through the food line I explained as well as Vivians’, this was my first luau too, and needed an explanation of what each dish was. NO ONE batted an eye at my naïveté and were genuinely excited to be able to share this experience with me.

This is my plate of food prior to diving in. In full candor the plate was scraped clean when I finished and there is no sense in boring you with a photo of a cleaned, but dirty tray.

No recipes are available for any of the food, except macaroni salad, white rice and melon, but you can Google to find something close. If it tastes a little like heaven, you may have found one of Sybil’s recipes.

  • Cucumber Kimchi – cucumbers, salt, vinegar, garlic, ginger – fermented

  • Chicken Long Rice – bean thread noodles, chicken broth, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sugar

  • Pulled Pork – shredded pork, teriyaki, ginger, sugar, soy, onions, chicken broth,

  • ‘O’oi – a bonefish purée served raw

  • Squid Luau – a traditional Native Hawaiian cuisine food. It is made with squid (or octopus), taro (lu’au) leaves, coconut milk, garlic, water, and Hawaiian salt.

  • Laulau – taro leaves, salted butterfish, and either pork, beef, or chicken and steamed on the stove.

Aside from the amazing food, amazing that it was soooo good, and I ate everything (even more amazing,) the entertainment was phenomenal. A trio sang Hawaiian music, one ukulele, one guitar and two of the young men sang. (Sorry guy with the microphone whom I cropped out unintentionally.)

There was also troop of hula dancers. I am sorry, there is probably a better, more appropriate, authentic name for them. They did both Hula (which tells a story or paints a picture) and Haka (warrior) dances. It takes years to master these intricate dances. This group was recently on tour throughout the world, but unfortunately had to skip Hong Kong due to the troubles there.

However, even though it was Vivian’s luau, Grace was able to corner the attention of the crowd, first, by trying to one-up the singers, her rousing amplified rendition of Happy Birthday for her little sister brought the house down.

And second, by mimicking the Hula dancers, who later said she will definitely be a dancer, as she picked up on even their most subtle dance moves, may have been the highlight of the entire luau.

As first luau’s go, I do not see how this one could possibly be bettered. Great people, great food, great entertainment, I would say a great time was had by all. Thank you, thank you Kimokeo and all your family!! And certainly, thank you Papa!!

Hawai’i

The name “Hawai’i” is possibly based on the native Hawaiian word for homeland (Owhyhee). I don’t know that to be true, it’s just what Wikipedia told me.

We are in Hawai’i for granddaughter Vivian’s first birthday celebration. In several Polynesian cultures the first birthday is considered a major milestone and is celebrated by a lū’au. At this time the family also recognizes the Grandparents, family, and friends from other islands, states, or countries, and God-parents.

Fran and I arrived in Maui just after noon on Wednesday, spent Thursday acclimating with some assistance from Ululani’s Shave Ice.

Note this is “Shave Ice” not shave-D ice. The ice is not crushed as with a snow cone, but rather shaved into fine crystals giving a much smoother texture. (Full disclosure: daily visits to Ulalani’s are mandatory in our family.)

Three Flavor Shave Ice (moments after sitting down)

Ululani’s is the premier Hawai’ian shave ice and deservingly so. The flavors are spot on. Yesterday I had a root beer float shave ice. I would almost swear it was from A&W.

Of course no day in Maui is really complete without a nice visit to the beach.

We always go to the same beach which, for emotional, nostalgic and loving reasons, is known to us only as “Grandma’s Beach.” And what visit to the beach would be complete without a quick relaxing nap? I just wish something could have been done to dim the overhead light a little. Oh well, necessity…

Ssssshhhhh!!

It’s good I had the couple of days of rest. The lū’au is today. Can’t wait!

Quiet Time

Air travel is a wonderful thing. First of all, it shrinks the world. We can fly from our home of 3 years, north of Sacramento, to Maui, HI quicker than we can fly back to our home of nearly 30 years north of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Secondly, aside from the occasional interruptions of meal and drink and drink and drink service, this 5 hour, 4 minute flight is the perfect “Me Time” to write, or in this case edit what I have written. We dropped Rosie off at her sleep away camp to play with her friends “Tiny Bones” and “Mookie” at A Lucky Dog, which is the perfect place for one of the worlds luckiest dogs. She used to complain and whine when we dropped her off, now she tail-wag prances away without a second look back at us.

It’s interesting, during a discussion with Daniel, I commented these days I prefer writing stories to reading those written by others. There are some exceptions for a few fantasy/science fiction anthologies I still hold dear and re-read every couple of years. When either reading or writing I like to lose myself in another time or place, not that there is anything wrong with when and where I currently am.

This “Me Time” is devoted to editing “Backstreets,” a collection of short stories, back stories really, of a number of my favorite songs by a number of my favorite composers and artists. The intent of these stories is to create the backstory that “might” have resulted in the song. One of the challenges is to do so without infringing on the copy-writes of the artists. Apparently, song titles are not subject to copy-write but lyrics are. Part of today’s flight is to find and replace lyrics with other text that is of my own creation.

There was a short editing break an hour into the flight. My traveling music is often The Doors. Currently listening to Legacy 2003. The stereo separation is amazing. The volume is loud.

Soup and salad before entree

After lunch and just over 2 hours into the flight the Doors ended. I started David Bowie’s Space Oddity (2x) which carried me most of the rest of the way.

Easy time at baggage claim and car rental we were on our way to Mike’s when we received a call to divert to Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice, which we did. Delicious. Then on the Mike’s to rest for a bit before dinner. Maybe a quick dip in the pool, if the granddaughters take their naps.

I made it more than half way through the current edit and am very pleased with how much I accomplished on our flight. Maybe there will be more “Me Time” early mornings this week, if no, there is always the return flight.