Saturday, September 30, 2006

Four Corners

A miniature tour of the neighborhood, the intersection of the dead end street that I live on.

North and East were taken into the rising sun and a great deal of smoke in the air. Another major fire has been burning on the rugged sparsely populated SE slopes of Haleakala since last Saturday in the Kahikinui area or this could just be smoke from your basic sugarcane fire. The fields are burned prior to harvest. The sunsets have been extra nice this week.





This is the Hawaiian landscape on a middle class budget. There is a significant difference between this and the posh resort hotel landscapes that are the "image" of Hawaii. Many do try to emulate the resort look. Without the staff and budget basic suburbia tends to win out in the end.

As always you can click on an image to enlarge it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pig Problems

Monday September 25th 5:45 am the phone rang.

Hello Chris. Are you up yet?

It is a quarter to six in the morning. No I am not up.

I thought you got up early and I wanted to make sure I caught you before you left.

Yes, I am coming there today.

Good. I have an emergency. The pigs got in and tore up the whole yard. The place is a mess.

Oh Crap! I will be there today.

I was afraid of what I was going to find when I got there.

Some people like pigs and have them as pets. Some people collect pig figurines and keep them as mascots and good luck charms. They are written about in books and given roles in feature films. The charming side of pigs made a star of Arnold Ziffel, the pig on Green Acres.

The problem with pigs though is that, well they are pigs. In a garden they are like miniature backhoes. The damage they cause is unbelievable. Few plants stand a chance of remaining in the ground once the shoveling snout of a 250 pound pig commences to forage.

In one night, two adults and three small feral piglets rooted through half an acre of green grass and left a trail of destruction that surrounded the house. This is what pigs do in the wild. This is what pigs do in the mountain forests of Maui.

Small Polynesian pigs were brought here by the Hawaiians and the larger European pig followed with the first European explorers to reach the islands. This larger feral pig is what roams the steep secluded forests of the islands today. As housing expands into the more remote areas of Maui, pigs and people merge together again in new ways.

It had rained the night before and as I drove into the clouds it began to rain again. It was not a pretty sight as I pulled into the drive and surveyed the muddy scene.

A few years back we had our own local Bigfoot saga of sorts. A Big Cat was alleged to be roaming the upcountry area. It has never been captured or found and the story has faded away for now. Is there, was there one lonely predator big enough to go after the wild pigs and Axis Deer that roam freely on Maui?

I spent most of the day filling in the hog wallows. It was a cool misty day. All was quiet after the early morning pigcapades. The fresh rain and grey skies had stirred other hidden residents in the area. All day long I could hear the chirping of the Greenhouse frog in the tall grass of the pasture on the other side of the fence and in the garden beds that had this pig go round, praise be, been spared.

I hear one of the neighbors who was kind enough to help out this morning will be having a luau soon with some tasty Kalua Pig.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Political Animals

Photo Credit MHA

This little frog has caused large amounts of money to change hands. This little frog has been written up in the newspaper on a regular basis like some Hollywood star because of his dating escapades. This little frog has gotten some people in big trouble.

A tiny little toad just over an inch long from Puerto Rico, the Coqui Frog arrived in Hawaii maybe a decade or more ago and has caused a major uproar as its numbers have increased, while his much more wide spread and firmly established Puerto Rican immigrant cousin, the Greenhouse Frog has barely elicited a peep from the very same "environmentally concerned" crowd.

They are so similar in habitat needs, behavior and looks that it is hard to discern the difference between the two except for one thing. The Coqui Frog to its detriment is a loud mouth. The Greenhouse Frog sounds like a little baby chirpy bird and blends in so well with the sound of the crickets they have slipped in unnoticed and with seeming indifference to their arrival and establishment in the ecosystem.

Back in June when I was visiting family in Florida I had to sit outside to smoke. It was quite pleasant sitting outside in the dark cool air listening to the sounds of the creatures of the night. It took two nights before I realized the familiar sounds from my youth were amazingly loud, really loud. As I listened I began to wonder if one dominant sound in the chorus was some new species of tree frog. That is what it sounded like to me (actual sound I heard). Or was it the Cicadas I knew should be there?

I asked my Dad to come out and listen to this sound and tell me what it was. At first he didn't seem to hear it. How can you not hear that incredibly loud sound I asked. When I pointed out the rhythm he just said it was the Cicadas in a way that was like, why are you asking such a silly question? It's a bug, what's the big deal?

A much less piercing call on Maui was causing major upheavals. Don't let the audios above fool you. The Coqui one was purposely set to loud. Turn it down and listen to it again. You may have heard it on rain forest records meant to soothe people to sleep. In real life the Cicadas are much louder.

Having granted themselves exempt from the sign ordinance, come election time politicians plaster the landscape from the seashore to the top of Haleakala with their vibrantly colored name tags. A local nursery in Kihei has sprouted an abundant crop of colorful signs. I couldn't help but noticed that no particular preference in the Mayors race was evident in the signage placed there. Every mayoral candidate had a sign or two. Property owners do have a right of refusal and must consent to each sign placed. You do not have to place a sign for a candidate you do not want to be elected.

Upon closer inspection I noticed one of the five names in the mayors race was missing. Our former mayor was trying to get his job back and this nursery owner didn't seem to have any room for his sign. Another plant nursery two blocks down the road didn't have room for any signs from any candidate for any race.

Guess which nursery has a long running infestation of Coqui Frogs that extends back to the previous county administration when it first began trying to get a permit to open a retail merchandise shop to go with the plant sales.

There is a radio commercial that I hear quite often from MISC that says the Coqui Frog is a threat because it will eat native insects that the native birds rely on and it has no natural predators to keep its numbers in check. My initial response to this fear is what native insects and what native birds? Are there any natives left around the low elevations where the frogs have taken up residence? As for predators, maybe that are not natural but the list of non native introduced birds, reptiles and mammals that will eat Coqui frogs is quite extensive.

I am all for preserving native Hawaiian habitat and slowing the spread of noxious pests. Over the years I have watched numerous newly arrived insect and small animal species become established in my own garden and not a one of them has caused as much fuss and concern as the Coqui Frog has engendered. There are now herds of Axis Deer roaming freely around Maui and if I hadn't seen them myself and the damage they cause you wouldn't know from any county, state, or federal government office or any invasive species committee that they even existed.

What was behind this disproportionate focus on a tiny little loud mouthed frog?

"Concern has been expressed that the coqui's noise may reduce property values and/or saleability of properties as people try to vacate areas infested with frogs."

Realtors. The money meter was ticking. The quiet little frog that had long ago established itself in the same ecosystem eating the same bugs at the same house for sale as his loud mouthed cousin the Coqui was of no concern to the environmentally concerned Realtors Associations. All of a sudden MISC could afford repetitive radio commercials and the state and county were doling out dollars in large chunks.

There is some sort of saying about greasy wheels that squeak.

Can you spot the frog in the picture above?

Today is primary election day and I will go look at a long list of Frogs to see which ones I can kiss with my vote and hope with all my might that some of them may turn out to be capable of benevolent and princely deeds.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Cup of Coffee

Here it is, organic shade grown Maui coffee in my back yard. Have a cup while I work on a more lengthy post.

If only it came dried, defleshed and roasted right off the tree I might actually have a cup of home brew. Bananas are so much easier.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Living on Air and Water

Other than what may have blown in on the wind, there is not a grain, a crumble or a clod of soil in either of these two pots.

Anyone familiar with Bromeliads will not be surprised about that. A great number of them are epiphytic and cling to the branches of trees high in the canopy. They can grow equally well crawling along the surface of the ground where they are much easier for us to see.

What has surprised even me is the Aloe arborescens in the pot on the left. I used that pot and that Aloe in a display in June of 2005. I placed a bunch of rootless stem cuttings in the empty pot and when it was over I brought the pot of Aloe home and it has sat there ever since.

Not only are they all still alive, but they have doubled in size and have rooted so well that they are now bound together and stuck in the pot unless I forcefully remove them. They do get water, but talk about your well drained soil. It is air contained by clay and cement.

The mother plant is incredibly large but doesn't bloom very well for me. I think it prefers the cooler weather upcountry where it puts on a late spring show of dramatic red candelabras. The spot I think it chose for itself when I wasn't looking is right by a water spigot. It got big fast. I cut off its octopus sprouts on a regular basis to try and keep it in bounds which may inhibit its bloom, but it doesn't slow it down in any way and it just keeps getting bushier.

Two very different species of plants have adapted themselves to live and thrive on so little.

The cost of everything has been climbing for the last year. I don't want to work more hours and I hesitate to raise my rates. I have been looking for ways to cut back on spending. I had my cable television downgraded to basic cable. I was only watching TV an hour a day at the most. Why on earth was I paying $45 a month for that? The ABC 9-11 propaganda piece gave me an excuse to act on a decision I had already made.

Tonight I bought canned ground coffee. No more fresh whole bean Hawaiian coffee for me. That stuff gets very pricey once its bagged and labeled. I really should start harvesting the beans on the coffee plant.

When I stop and think about where my money goes it is hard to think of anything I can give up or that the law says I must have or must pay. There is one glaringly obvious ridiculous expense that I want to cut out. I would save a bucket of money, ten times what I will save on the cable bill, but I am addicted. %^$/\%$!*!$#$~$ )*&+*** Cigarettes.

I have a long way to go before I get to just clean air and water.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Intended Effect

Thunbergia grandiflora or Clock Vine as it is called here, why Clock Vine I have no clue, is a vigorous as in huge vine with long drooping racemes of white or lavender flowers.

Growing on a sturdy pergola the flowers can hang below the vine in an enchanting display that makes white icicle christmas lights look like the tacky plastic things they are.

This vine piles up on itself so thick and makes such a fine home for vermin that about every two years it gets cut back to the main trunks at the top of the posts. In no time it covers the pergola again. Off and on throughout the year it drops its three foot long clusters of flowers to create a unique sense of enclosure.

It is time to chop off its head. Today this one corner of the vine was looking as intended, enchanting. It was enough to momentarily pierce my tired irritation with jungle maintenance, to share a moment of beauty with my soul. Momentarily.

Click on the picture to enlarge it for the full effect.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Exotic Blossom Parade

What might interest the folks who visit here regularly? Hmmm?

I know. I have tons of those tropical flowers that are used to promote Hawaii as a tourist destination growing like weeds in my garden. Through relentless promotion these exotic tropical flowers have come to mean Hawaii. Very few are native to these islands. Hibiscus is one native exception. I never really grew them because they were too mundane. Now they are besieged by so many pests the struggle to keep them alive has become a burden.

Most of these "Hawaiian" flowers are immigrants from other tropical lands. Like all the different cultures that have blended here to make this place unique, the tropical flora was absorbed into the mix.

These aren't the slick promotional shots of gorgeous flowers you may be used to. This is the real deal in their native habitat. This is also me being too lazy to set up that perfect shot and doing the best I can with the camera I have. You might also note that too much computer time can hinder a manicured look in the garden.

A five minute stroll through the garden this morning to give you a small sample of the Jungly Abundance.

You may click on any image for an expanded view.

Your standard Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae.

Your standard Red Ginger, Alpinia purpurata. Left to their own devices they continue to grow far past a florists standards and make plantlets on the flowers whose sheer weight brings them into contact with the ground.

Torch Ginger, Etlingera elatior as it winds down from its peak summer blooming time. These flowers are a favorite perch for the many lizards who patrol the grounds.

The highly fragrant yellow Butterfly Ginger, Hedychium flavum with Pentas and Agapanthus at its feet.

Blue Ginger, Dichorisandra thyrsiflora which is really a shrubby Wandering Jew.

A Heliconia that I am unsure of the species on. It looks to have some parentage with H. caribaea.

Heliconia collinsiana, the hanging varieties really take exotic to a new level.

This monster is a cultivar of the common Red Ginger called Tahitian Ginger. When they are happy plants in the tropics are much much bigger in real life than how they appear in catalogues and tourist brochures. Objects will be larger in their natural habitat.

The Story That Unleased a Writer? and The Reaction it Caused in The Garden

There was a very spicy gardening forum not too long ago that had a major reputation, good and bad, where I cut my teeth as a complete novice learning how the communities that form online operate. I was also learning a lot about computers at the same time. One of the things I learned was to save things when they seemed to be in danger of disappearing.

I didn't know I was in a tough room until a food fight with a different forum unleashed a lot of long held judgmental opinions. No wonder I had felt so stimulated.

Before there was this blog a spark started things going. One particular forum member's behavior inspired a parody. Most, including the subject of the story were having fun until the plug was pulled.

You can learn an awful lot about people in blogs and forums.

The House Across the Street

Posted by illicium9 (My Page) on Tue, Sep 27, 05 at 22:17

Thwap, Thwap, Creeeak, Thwap, Thwap Creeeak, Thwap, Creeeak.
The sound is as persistent as the wind. The house across the street is unavoidable. It is talking all the time in one way or another. It is centered in the view outside my living room windows. I don’t want to look at it but somehow you can’t help but look and ask yourself a million questions.

I just moved here and have spent a lot of time and money researching, designing and installing my new garden. I did not want your standard foundation planting. I wanted to use my front yard, not just look at it. A little outside the box, people have called the plants that I find interesting, Dr. Seuss plants. Still, I wanted it to look good from the street, work with the house and to have nice views from inside. I neglected to take in to account The Presence of the house across the street. Thwap.

It would be very easy to just buy curtains and close the living room windows but then I’d be stuck with a blank screen, no picture to look at. Perhaps I need to rethink my landscape design to screen The House from my view. That persistent noise would continue though never letting me forget it was there. Creeeeeak.

Looking at it you can tell it may have been a fine house in its day. It is clear now that it has not been cared for in years. The foundation plantings are drying and thinning and starting to reveal it is perched way too high above the ground, a problem that had been hidden away for awhile. One of the windows has a big crack but all the glass is still there. It is the screen door tattered and loose that is wagging its tongue at my new garden like some bitter ageing queen of a lesser principality, perched on her throne and twisting her shiny pink necklace of trim, twittering away through thin pursed lips telling me that is not how a garden should be. Some times a mighty wind will blow the door open and then it will slam shut again with a loud hollow boom. Boom!

For some time I had believed that some one still lived there because a fancy new car was always parked in the drive. I had never seen it move or anyone come or go but the car stayed clean so I thought of way too many scenarios to explain This Scene from my living room window.

Thwap, Thwap, Creeeeeeak! Thwap. Yesterday the wind was blowing strong and that screen door was wagging its tongue again. Then came that loud hollow boom and I’d had enough, I went across the street, up the long drive through the half brown and unmowed lawn to confront the owner. By the time I got there the wind had opened the door again and I could see inside. The house was empty. Nobody was there. I found out later the car belonged to a neighbor who works night shifts and the house now belongs to the kids of the owner and they live far away. All I really got of that excursion was a million more questions.

I put so much energy into creating my own inner garden and I like it the way it is but This House is getting on my nerves. It would take a really large tree to hide it completely because of the lay of the land and where the tree would need to go is right in my full sun perennial garden.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I could do?

Tally Ho

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: mich_in_zonal_denial (My Page) on Tue, Sep 27, 05 at 22:29
We have an oppressive little hovel like this on our street.
One of the new neighbors to our hood suggested that "Jewish lightning" may someday be the fate of Hillbilly Jethroes' little shanty town.
praise Judah.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: SayPoint 6b CT (My Page) on Tue, Sep 27, 05 at 22:29
Got a picture? I'd like to see this house. Creeak.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Eric_OH 6a (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 0:10
In perfectly legal fashion you could contact the faraway owners and ask for permission to install hook and eye hardware on the door of the Addams family home that might cost $1.49, prevent door swinging and banging and give you a bit of peace of mind. Or you could forget to contact the owners and just go over some dark night and install the hook and eye without permission, but that would be wrong. And some hideous Stephen King nightmare creature might bound out of the foundation plantings and wrap its tentacles around you.
It is up to you.
Or you could move to Worthington, Ohio, which is in the process of passing laws which will more or less turn the entire city into a neighborhood association. For instance, they want to ban seasonal lighting displays on your property more than a month before the event or over 2 months after the holiday passes, as well as preventing you from parking a vehicle containing a business logo more than a foot across, within sight of your overly observant neighbors. The Creak Home would undoubtedly fall under some Worthington ordinance or other. Your home and garden might also be bannable, however. Better stay where you are.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: SayPoint 6b CT (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 8:28
A less invasive fix for the flapping door might be a makeshift doorstop in the form of a large rock or brick set against it on the porch to hold it shut. More easily removed, no holes in the door or frame.
My mother lives around the corner from me in a neighborhood of mostly converted summer cottages. There is one eyesore almost directly across that spoils it for everyone, with spare tires, lumber, kids' plastic toys, rusty camper trailer, dead lawn mower, etc. all in the very small front yard. What isn't covered with stuff is used for overflow parking for the multigenerational household, so there is no lawn, just beaten-down earth. She'd trade you for the creaking door.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: INKognito (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 8:31
Before tackling any landscape problem it is necessary to ascertain exactly what the problem is. For instance, are you sure that it is the door making all that noise or could it be a shutter, often the cause of concern when considering landscape changes. It is also important to document issues such as these and if you want help from this forum you will need to take and post lots of pictures, I understand that Kodak sell a nice model suitable for this purpose. As for the sound, you need to pinpoint this by a process of Illimanation.
You will find the members of this forum always willing to help a newcomer, I noticed you only just joined us, so welcome.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Eric_OH 6a (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 9:18
I believe that the suggestion about teaching by example (using photos) was directed at Socratean-style lecturers, not the casual poster asking for assistance. ;)

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: OutsidePlaying 7/No. Ala (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 10:02
If the owners (or is it kids of a deceased owner?) live far away, can you find an address of record and send a letter to them documenting the problems? If you have a letter to them signed by all the neighbors, it might have more impact. They are probably unaware of the problems and may not even care, but at least you've done something toward documenting and addressing the problem.
We live in the Alabama country (REALLY country)...I give directions to my house by telling people to go 2 miles and turn left at the junkyard. Needless to say, our little upper-middle class hood is always on our Hill Billy Bob's case about something. All thru our fine legal and county government system. The latest breakthrough is through ADEM (AL Department of Environmental Management) who is citing & fining Billy Bob for dumping of all manner of waste (petroleum products, batteries, etc from wrecked cars). We'd be so happy for a creaking door and a few over-grown and dead shrubs.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: KarinL BC Z8 (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 11:56
Did someone say The Addams family? Perhaps this is Laag's house - or was it INK's?
And a photo would be great, also of your inner garden while you're at it. You know, we just had a thread on this forum about cameras - a very clever fellow from Hawaii posted a link for us. Say, you're also from a warm climate, aren't you? What a coincidence. And I notice you posted in what is likely a western time zone, and gosh your name reminds me... say, you wouldn't happen to be related, would you...Ilima?

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: mich_in_zonal_denial (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 12:35
We need to treat you to a trip out west.
Zone 9a is still way not Hawaiian zone 10 to 11.
We still have undeniable zone envy here in zone 9.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: KarinL BC Z8 (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 12:39
I AM on the west coast Michelle, you'll have to bring me just due south. But it's still warm, and I think my guess is too.

RE: Addams Family House
• Posted by: KarinL BC Z8 (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 12:41
(and Ink's guess)... I should have added, to give credit where credit is due.

what did South Park say ? Blame it on Canada

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: mich_in_zonal_denial (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 12:56
my bad KarinL
well at least the air fare will be cheaper !

: ~ )

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 13:22
Nice Halloween story, illicium9. Please post more stories.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 13:53
It is always very windy here too. My noise problems are the neigbors parrots. They are nice to look at but they screeech incessantly. They have ducks. Quack. Quack. Then there is my neighbor the sculptor who carves driftwood logs with a chainsaw. His work is amazingly beautiful. The crazy old women two doors down has an ever expanding feral cat colony going. Cat fights are common.
Then directly below me right in my ocean view is one of those hideous plastic car houses side by side with a Sears storage shed and the man's "collectables" spilling out onto the drive.
Poor illicium9, I understand. It takes time but I have gotten used to and learned to live with a lot annoyances because the good outweighs the bad in my neighborhood. Thwap.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Nushka_IA 4b IA (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 16:23
All this makes me feel much better about my neighborhood bagpiper.
If no one lives there, who's to object to a few unauthorized, quick and dirty repairs? I bet you might get the other neighbors to help. And, even better, what about guerilla planting on The House's property? I know, it's work, but so are the legal routes, like getting your city to condemn it.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: JillP 5/6 OH (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 16:50
Does your town have a housing code, a building code, nuisance code? Go to city hall and find out. Complain. Get the city to send a letter to the people citing all the code violations and that they have so long to do something or face what ever consequences the city has. That said, when we first bought our house, there was a vacant lot next door. The out of town kids who inherited did not mow it. Letters from the city did nothing. So the dh would mow it, sometimes another neighbor would.
Are they behind in property taxes? Stop off at the county courthouse and find out. Might be able to buy it for a song. Or do what a neighborhood in my town did. Had the horrible junky loud party neighbor. They pooled resources and bought him out, fixed up the house and sold it.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: JuniorBalloon Z8a WA (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 17:36
(Spoken in a deep, throaty Slingblade kinda voice) "Burn it down, um hm."
Just kidding. I am a bit surprised that you have lived there a while, spent a goodly amount of money and this house is only now begining to impinge on your world.
A vegetative screen could certainly be planted, but it would take a long time to grow in and it would take a lot of space. Espeically one big enough to block out the view of an entire house. How much space do you have?


RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: kmickleson z9 CA (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 17:39
Our very own LD scamp, ilima!

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: KarinL BC Z8 (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 05 at 22:51
C'mon, Ilima, time to 'fess up. It was a good practical joke, if you like practical jokes, but it has drawn in good people who are not the target and is wasting their time and good will.
For those who are not "in" on the joke, the reference thread is the one titled "Anchors aweigh." Ilima won the humour quotient in that one, but I give INK the win in this thread. The "shutter" comment is hard to beat and I will remember it for a long time.

RE: The House Across the Street Spooky
• Posted by: illicium9 9a (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 0:14
My, there are more suggestions now then those I read this morning. Thank you all for your responses. It is good to know I am not alone and others have similar problems.
I am a life saving nurse and have been trained and have some experience as a first responder to disaster situations but my current schedule is a 4day, 10am to 8pm shift. Yesterday when I posted was my day off but I like to keep the same schedule which may explain the Time Warp some people saw.

I have followed some of your suggestions and went to the city records office before work to see about contacting the children. I was not told whether the owner was deceased or not. I ask for the records by the address and the form I was shown had the name blacked out and the line for the mailing address was empty. The form had the history of sales and the previous owner name was also blacked out and with no address. When I held it to the light I could just make out acj7000 on the previous owner line since the blackout had faded a bit. How odd! When I asked about this I simply could not get a straight answer. It was like spinning in circles. Bureaucrats!
I did take some pictures this morning. Funny you should mention a Kodak camera that is exactly the kind I have. I went out on the street to get some good shots and I saw this sign somewhat obscured by weeds at the bottom of the drive that said "Exit Forward Only". What is that supposed to mean?

Now things get just plain weird. The pictures I took all looked like smoke with a flash of light in them. I checked the camera. It was fine. I decided to go try again. Fortunately one of my neighbor’s dogs was out so I took her with me. She is the sweetest Border Collie but a real escape artist so they named her Illude.
Illude and I went up the drive to get a close shot of that screen door. It was just kind of chirping tonight. Tweet, Kwee, Tweet, Kwee. The same thing happened. The pictures were just smoke and a flash of light. The House will not show up on film. It feels like This Is An Alternate Universe.

I am such a dilima. Again my efforts have only led to more questions. I have read some of the other threads now and have seen some of the photo imaging stuff. Do you think if I made a Photo Shop image as close to the real thing as I could make it and posted it that it might help?

This question may make you think I am nuts but nature does some amazing things. I am not having much luck getting anywhere with The House so I am back to the screening it idea. I have heard of fabrics used in bathing suits that allow the sun light through so there is no tan line. Does such a tree exist that I could plant in my full sun perennial garden? Or maybe a bio-luminescent tree that gives off light has that been invented yet? Patent something like that and you’d be rich. I’d sure want one.

Ilima are you there? It seems you and I are the last ones here.

Tally Ho and Away I Go

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Frankie_in_zone_7 (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 0:22
I feel like I've caught a virus. Not good; no fun for me. Hope subsequent threads can remain "uninfected".

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: GingerBlue z6 MO (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 8:05
This makes my head hurt.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: punamytsike 9b FL (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 8:45
Nothing to hurt, it is confirmed that illicium9 and ilima come from the same source. Of course I cannot be 100% certain that it is the same person but the computer access is the same - If next time you do not want to be that easily detected, couple of pointers. Use different access providers for each user name, make sure you remember witch one you used for witch user name and do not mix up. If you do not have more than one access provider, then only the original message lacks the string that tells where the poster comes from, so if illicium9 would have not posted reply, It would have been impossible for me to confirmed the issue.
For those who do not know how to do it, just click on view page source and you will see what I am talking about.
Fun thread anyway...

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: OutsidePlaying 7/No. Ala (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 10:00
But a great Halloween story. I can use some of this for a scary story for our grandkids on our hayride. Thanks illicium, or ilima, or whoever you are.
Did anyone else google "illicium" here are a few interesting extracts:
"The U. S. P. describes star-anise of commerce as follows, giving also the distinctive differences between it and the poisonous fruit of Illicium anisatum..."
And maybe the best one:
"ENGLISH : Basxxxrd star anise, Japanese sacred anise tree, Japanese star anise, Poison bay, Wild star anise..." (Can't use the REAL B word here)
Are you sure you want to give INK the win?

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: KarinL BC Z8 (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 11:22
I'm scoring them in part based on the extent to which they've met the standards of their own previous performances. Ilima did so much with three words and a link in the earlier thread that on humour density alone he fell short of his own mark here. Density being one of my favourite measures, though, INK got in so many good hits in one short message that I do lean in that direction. I welcome the input of other judges, however!
And Punamytsike, may I say how much I like your property? The first time you posted a picture of your house I was struck dumb with astonishment, having - in my Victorian/rainforest environment - never seen such a thing before, and not knowing how to react. But on looking again at your page (not that I could get your computer ID off it...) with more pictures of the house and surrounding grounds, I have to say it is absolutely magnificent, and a real cohesive picture, however foreign to my eyes it may be.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: punamytsike 9b FL (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 12:15
Thank you Karin for your nice compliment. Now if you want to see some more porjects and how they came about, I included link with more pages...
As for who is the winner, I think it is close to tie and we need some more to get a clear one ;)
Here is a link that might be useful: Punamytsike's projects

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 12:51
Ah, illicium9, as a life saving nurse, perhaps you can use your skills to resuscitate this forum?? Or should you bother to save such a lowly pursuit of discussion? I am in awe of your skills, but I still need help with my foundation obfuscation.
In any case, do tell us more Halloween stories. Were you able to make out anything in the smoke and light on the pixels? Maybe a noose or a butcher knife? Perhaps the shape of a leaf on a flag to give you a clue as to the identity of the, uh, former occupant?
As to a bioluminescent tree, well, Target sells trees in November that light up all over their tips and shimmer from gold to red and all through the rainbow and back again. They do make a shadow, though. But a row of maybe ten of these would at least distract you from the house across the street.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: KarinL BC Z8 (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 12:56
Punamy, the stained concrete floors are impressive - very impressive - but the ceilings nailed it for you: you win, hands down - you've simply reset the rules of the contest and the competition has dropped out of sight. Speaking for myself, I am going to leave the computer for the day and go out in my garden and eat worms.... It's raining too, but that's all I deserve for my piddly little home improvement efforts...
Ceilings. I mean how can you compete with someone who thinks of doing CEILINGS!!!
:-) Fabulous.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Brent_In_NoVA z7/6 VA (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 13:37
I am still trying to figure out how INK nailed it so fast (though I have to admit that I don't get the shutter comment...maybe I am just a tad on the slow side).
punamytsike: I notice that all that hard work has given your DH quite a nice build...errr...not that I was looking...that was just what one of the forum gals told me!
- Brent

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: OutsidePlaying 7/No. Ala (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 13:49
Brent! I'm surprised....shutter...Kodak....get it? It's ALMOST Friday, LOL!

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: kellilou3 z6 TN (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 14:40
Dang, Pnamytsike! When you do something, you do it right! Your house is amazing.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: INKognito (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 15:52
How did I nail it so fast?
Every time I go to the throne and peep through the worn curtains there is this woman across the street staring, sometimes I think she can see through walls so I pull my pants up a bit quick. Having perfected an off putting facade to my house it is unnerving to have someone prying, she may even be taking photographs. It seems that the woman is a nurse, probably of the same ilk as that one Jack Nicholson was so fond of.
How did I know it was Illima? Probably the grass skirt, it is way too cold up here for that.
One flew East one flew West and one flew over the cuckoos nest.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 17:00
I apologize to anyone whose head hurts, feels infected or was offended unintentionally. To me it feels a bit like a hangover after a binge and I do not drink. It may have been fun doing it but when you wake up in the morning you have to deal with any damage you may have caused.
I am also glad that some of you did enjoy the parody.
I did not want the source of the poison pen to be too difficult to determine and several people ascertained that immediately without the use of web page numbers.
It is a bit irritating when someone hides behind a name and does not reveal their true self and feels free to jump out and attack at any time then retreat into anonymity only to return later all sweetness and light isn’t it?
What I have done, create multiple personalities is a bannable offense and we could both disappear into the ether at any moment. It is time for illicium9 to bid you farewell
Say Goodnight illicium9
Goodnight and Aloha ilima
Aloha illicium9


RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: INKognito (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 18:15
"It is a bit irritating when someone hides behind a name and does not reveal their true self and feels free to jump out and attack at any time then retreat into anonymity only to return later all sweetness and light isn't it?"
Is this a justifiable stance, I wonder. I have been contributing to this forum since before I was acj7000 and at a time when I was naive enough to put my e.mail and my name as my sign in. Being outspoken has resulted in more than my fair share of visits to Disney and the constant snapping at my heels from the likes of Eric. I have been banned and needed to change my name to return and to avoid strange people from sending me unkind messages at home.
I do not participate here to teach people how to design or landscape, I have some knowledge and experience and I use that to encourage interested participants to find the way for themselves and some find this intimidating.
I am not aware of attacking anyone beyond the context of who and what. However, it would be nice if someone who knows me would back me up otherwise I may well be as "The Nurse" suggests.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: kmickleson z9 CA (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 18:56
All I want is to know what on earth it means to run with the fox and hounds! I can't decide whether to feel honored, dismissed, or stupid.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: INKognito (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 19:33
It means that instead of making up your own mind you go with what seems to be winning at the moment.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: kmickleson z9 CA (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 19:45
Rather than get into whether I agree with your assessment or not, or what made you think that, what I'll say right now is how much I appreciate your clear, straightforward response to a question.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 20:09
Just so you know the proper Hawaiian attire is the malo and the proper position title is Kahuna anaana.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Eric_OH 6a (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 20:33
So, do I bring my papayas in tonight (40F forecast) or wait until the weekend and the big banana and citrus roundup?
"I am not aware of attacking anyone beyond the context of who and what."
I suppose we should be grateful that where and when are exempt. :)
Eric (who has been posting since '96, without having to fear the dread consequences of having my name and e-mail publicly exposed).

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: INKognito (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 22:10
You see what I mean and how difficult it is for me to reveal myself when this wanker jumps on every word I say.

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: mich_in_zonal_denial (My Page) on Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 23:04
Speaking of wankers....
I'd like to see you reveal yourself Ink.
: ~ Q
... oh my !!

RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: Brent_In_NoVA z7/6 VA (My Page)
No, not annoyed at all. Funny, when I was fairly new to this forum there was a thread where somebody mentioned plopping kidney shaped beds in the middle of a lawn. I posted a follow up mentioning that my wife might get suspicious if I started creating beds shaped like breasts. I was worried that posting something like that would be too risqué for the forum...I have learned a little since then!

BTW, I vote that Ink NOT expose himself to this forum!!

- Brent


RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: mich_in_zonal_denial (My Page)
Miss ZD
oh puhhhhlease sharon,
how much more childish can you get ?
If the mere mention of sex repulses you then you might want to cover your eyes next time you wander out into your garden, what with all those sexual organs in all.
Hairy Pistols, Protruding Anthers and Bursting Ovaries , Oh my . Sexcapades in the garden .

This smacks of the Victorian era when Orchids were banned from the homes of ladies because the conserative puritans were so uptight about the sexualness of the flowers.
I suppose not too much has changed in some conservative circles though, considering that some from the religious right want to clothes those buck naked disgusting nude statues that Rodin and the likes have sculpted.

Now back to the garden where the Amorpho phallus bulbs are to be planted under the Clitoria vine.

RE: The House Across the Street
Well, if it's bawdiness that one wants to had best stay away from the 'Conversations' page over on the rose forum.

Me? I've been accused, on more than one occasion, of 'channeling' the Wyff of Bath.



RE: The House Across the Street
Sharon, I don't WANT to count. It's not important to me. I like it here...that's why I'm here. I don't really care how many sexual reference are made in this or any other forum. I don't focus on sex enough to really notice it.

And just curious...what, exactly, is wrong with humor that includes sex?

Reminds me of a craft forum I used to visit. They were of the belief that all nude art is pornography. I guess for some reason some people always will think nudity equals sex and sex is always dirty. How sad.


RE: The House Across the Street
True story: My Amorphophallus konjac has been lush, vibrant and green (which is not easy) ever since June.

What staying power!


RE: The House Across the Street
• Posted by: mich_in_zonal_denial (My Page)
What are you feeding that thing with Eric , Viagra ?

I suppose we should be happy that it is green and not blue.

Congratulations on a horticultural endeavor well done


RE: The House Across the Street
Mich, you crack me up. Much needed, I assure you.


RE: The House Across the Street
I am glad that someone mentioned all the wild and crazy procreation that goes on in our gardens right under and sometimes in our very noses.

Some of my adult formative years were spent in places some would consider unsavory, so the mention of 'IT' has to be a pretty good bawdy joke before I will even take notice.

Our resident Madame, MZD was toying with the idea for the sign on her truck:
The Doyenne of Dirt and Design .

Could I be so bold as to suggest a slight alteration?
The Doyenne of Down and Dirty Design.

We could call her the Da De De for short.


RE: The House Across the Street
Sunday was a WILD day at the Garden Center. Customers were feeling their oats--staff was goofy--butterfly copulation EVERYWHERE--particularly on the cone flowers--(something about their sturdy surface perhaps?) All I know is that at one point I looked at my colleague in her late 20's and sang 'Bow-chicka-bow-bow.' (Accepted immitation of porn sound track.) Hillarity ensued.

Off to the salt mine--600 six inch Pansies to unload today.


RE: The House Across the Street
I have been puzzling about what Sharon wrote and then Ginger's explanation started to explain things and I realized that Sharon might be trying to protect Brent?
Anyway, I have yet see anything that is too racy or not appropriate :)


RE: The House Across the Street
'a dirty, stinky, hairy and sometimes scary man's man'

Yeah, Brent, I'm wondering about that, too. I'm of the female persuasion, and this does not sound like something most of the women I know would look for on a resume.

Nothing personal, ilima. :o)


RE: The House Across the Street
I don't mind hairy, and sometimes certain musky odors might be enticing but I have to agree with SayPoint that dirty will no do it and scary is not that interesting either ;)


RE: The House Across the Street
I Clean Up Real Nice!


RE: The House Across the Street
glad to hear it ilima. I've heard the same thing said about myself, as my usual condition straight from the garden chores is none too tidy either.


RE: The House Across the Street
It may have gotten Rasputin what he wanted, but does Ilima want what Rasputin got?

The key indicator is not whether moms are drawn to you, but how moms and dads react when you are drawn to their daughters, or they to you.


RE: The House Across the Street
Fear not Ilima, for I have no mother and father could give a sh*t at this age in my life.


RE: The House Across the Street
I'm wondering if Ilima belongs to a man both hairy and scarey?

The six inch pansies were...unimpressive. LOTS of cleaning and dead-heading. At least they aren't as unwieldy as the mums.



Some Comments were Deleted
Then the Entire Thread was Removed.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fire Sale

The south west side of the West Maui Mountains is on fire AGAIN. Every year, sometimes twice the MacGregor Point area of the island goes up in smoke. This is on the leeward or dry side and by the end of summer these pastures are dry as a bone. You can see what the burning vegetation is like in the foreground of the picture below, minus the Kiawe trees because they are not fire tolerant and burned up long ago. It is a surprise that after all these fires there is anything at all left to burn.

Our new windmills are right in the line of fire. I certainly hope in the millions of dollars of planning and environmental impact studies someone mentioned to them that this part of Maui burns up on a regular basis. The windmills have only been spinning for a few weeks now. I wonder if they can shut them off so as not to further fan the flames.

The only road to Lahaina and the Kaanapali area is a two lane twisting highway that goes around this point. It is called the pali because that means cliff. When anything goes wrong along this stretch of road it is closed down and West Maui is stranded. On a good day at the wrong time this former forty five minute drive has turned into a two hour crawl. Last month there were two separate accidents that closed the highway. The road was closed again today. When the crawl becomes a stop the results are not pretty.

At 8:30 am this morning when I first saw this it had already burned a good chunk of the mountainside and was half way up to the top and headed around the point. The fire I now see on my side at 6:30 pm is burning backwards into the prevailing winds. The front of the fire is no longer in view. The beautiful glow you see is the sunset for the most part. Just thought I would mention that since I have been known to embellish things.

For the twenty years I have lived here folks who live in West Maui have been asking for another road. They do not like it when they are cut off from the rest of Maui. The population has doubled. There are more wrecks, more fires and more closures. The highway remains the same and the howls for action from the state have become constant.

I have been reading that the housing bubble may be about to burst. I have a feeling some veins in West Maui may be about to burst. The chance to live in paradise may get more affordable in the near future.

Once the sun has set, a fire on these mountains takes on a new face. This is exactly what lava flowing down from a volcano looks like. It is mesmerizing. It is beautiful and thousands of stranded people stand transfixed. That is a picture I wish I was able to take well enough to show you.

Update 9-3

My camera couldn't take this picture so I borrowed one from the Maui News. You can just make out the windmill towers along the ridgeline.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cessation of Hostilities

The "Crazy Garden Lady" next door to one of the properties I maintain handed me this exquisite Passiflora blossom today. She has been looking for seeds or cuttings of Pua-Keni Keni, Fagraea berteriana and has been picking my brain for locations of known plants to pilfer parts from.

It is wonderful that she is speaking to me again after about three years of hostilties. I was caught up in the dispute between her and my client over his Royal Poinciana tree. She wanted it beheaded to get more sun in her garden and he loved it as a tree and was spending thousands of dollars to properly limb it up and shape the tree back to health from years of abuse. It was truly sad to see two avid gardeners, almost junkie like in their passions fighting with each other over a tree.

She told me the name of this Passion Flower is Crimson Beauty if I was listening right. It is a hybrid with four parents and was named as a memorial to 9-11. She mentioned that part of the flower looked like tears. A lazy internet search did not find her flower, but very likely one of its parents Crimson Tears.

I can not help myself as I work along the long stretch of newly defined property line and constantly peer into her garden to see what is growing in there. She was forced back to her side of the line from substantial encroachment during the dispute. The jungle knows no boundaries like that and keeps wanting to cross back over the line. I look for interesting and coveted plants that may just need to be excavated to keep the boundary clear.

With the end of hostilities though, the generous sharing that gardeners are known for is likely to produce better results than strict monitoring of the property line. Maybe there is a lesson for the world at large in here some where.

I just remembered where many more Pua-Keni Keni are.