Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hunger and Patience

You can see I am getting a lot of use and enjoyment from my new camera's macro focus.

The Butterfly Bump and Grind was successful and the next generation of Monarchs that soar through my garden are munching away on a Calotropis procera. These Milkweeds have the most bizarre seed pods.

Divided into two hemispheres with a lumpy surface, it looks a lot like a human brain. When you open them up they are mostly hollow inside. The seeds are held tightly on a central stem that occupies a mere fraction of the large cavity. I would like to suggest a new common name for this poisonous shrub, Brain Bush, or Bush's Brain if you like.

Meanwhile just three feet away and above the boldly striped caterpillar's head a big Banana Spider, Argiope aurantia waits patiently for another meal to arrive.

A view of the underside of the beast reveals his larder may already be full in the fine web he has sewn among the stems of the exotic tropical Torch Ginger. There is no rush it seems to go hunting for a new meal.

A certain couple who shall remain nameless are chomping at the bit for the next transformation in my life.

There is a hunger for new birth and transformation that the offer of an incredible gift promises me. A fine web and full larder built over many years in a habitat that has fed me well can be a bit sticky. A lot of house cleaning needs to be done before all those legs amd arms are set free.

Patience and Hunger

Nice Sky

Just Because.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

House and Garden

Our house was fine when the Java Sparrows where living in here, better than in the attic. When the rats moved in I foreclosed on the house.

What's Up Yours?

Red shrimp White shrimp plant.

That Ant can't move a Century plant. They will walk all over it however.

Hooray it is 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Busy Skies

Over the course of an hour the Hawaiian sky put on a busy display of weather and a very local phenomena.

There was a a pretty good Hawaiian Snow shower this morning. Big fat flakes where flying right into my eyes in the gusty wind when I took this shot. The back end of the snow shower sits above the regular kine clouds in the lower background.

Then some misty rains came in on the blustery wind.

A piece of a rainbow rose from the deep blue sea.

The rain got bigger and the rainbow grew thicker.

It reached completely across the sky to form the real deal.

After a brief misty shower blue skies returned.

It was not enough rain to stop The Hissing of Tropical Lawns around all the fancy houses on the hill.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Misty Grey Skies and Working Sugarmills

Same Christmas Day 2006 Noon
Kahului Maui Hawaii

On the other side of Maui there were low grey clouds and a misty rain that tried to follow me home.

Painted Skies and Old Pineapple Canneries

Diana Dorenzo

Christmas Morning 2006
Kihei Maui Hawaii

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Things in my Yard

Irrigation drops on Kalanchoe

and Whiskers on Orthosiphon stamineus

Silver white fern fronds that merge with Rosemary sprigs

These are a few of the things in my yard

I just smelled a shrub named Murraya

And suddenly my nose
will never be the same
All the beautiful smells of the world
in Murraya

Wait no wrong side of the yard
but still I don't feel so bad.

Now get that out of your head if you can.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday Fruit Tree

Or Procrastination as an Art Form 2

To create some semblance of a holiday vacation I won't be working for the next three days. That means I start doing all the things I neglect most of the time like dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting and the like in between long bouts of sitting on my okole in front of this screen.

Tis the season for picking oranges and I thought I would make some fresh squeezed organic orange juice for my Sunday morning get together. After picking and washing the fruit one of those tangential thoughts I am prone to came to fruition.

Like a Tibetan Monk Sand Painting my little Holiday Fruit Tree will be ephemeral.

By tomorrow it will be sweet juice.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Moths Attack

It has been so cold here.

How cold is it?

So cold that the moths all got stuck to the wall last night while circling the sensor light.

So cold I close the window over my bed when I go to sleep at night. We are talking a low of 67 degrees. A weak front is approaching and it may get even colder in the next few days. We are talking sock weather.

This was just a trippy thing to see first thing in the morning. They were pressed totally flat and completely motionless against the wall.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

As The Stones Stack

UPDATED with a better current shot. Lighting is everything. And a view from way way up above.

Pausing to pile on more rocks acquired from further bed preparation while being peppered with questions, the consensus of many observers was revealed. They like this thing.

People are saying this is really cool and interesting. Everybody asks me what it is, he says.

Do they say they like it before or after you tell them what it is?

I just tell them it is a pile of rocks.

This is not just a pile of rocks. This is an Organized Pile of Useless Rocks. OPUR for short?

How high can this thing go, he asks? I am thinking maybe of having a load of rock delivered to finish it if we have to.

I guess they really like it. I don't think we will need more rocks delivered.

I did not level the ground before I started stone stacking. Is that why the first attempts at pyramids crumbled?

To my eye it has a tilt that may need to be corrected by adding some fill dirt around the base on the left hand side. We'll see how I feel as it comes closer to the end of the rocks. I will make the top level to the eye.

I am not philosophically adverse to a Leaning Organized Pile of Useless Rocks or LOPUR for short.

It sits at the end of what will be a two car long gravel parking space for the Ohana unit. It sits at the entry to the stairs from hell that lead to the heavenly pool. It is a major focal point that separates two functions in the landscape.

From the two decks of the main house 25 and 35 feet above, it has begun to take on a presence.

They like it. I think they really like it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wild Things

Hidden away in some of the most remote jungles of Wailea, Hawaii is a rare gigantic form of a plant that puts on a spectacular seasonsal mating display. Usually they are held captive as potted houseplants for their flagrant display. Most succumb and wither away after a short spell under the vagaries of human captivity.

Rarely a few manage to survive with more humane treatment. Not many will repeat the flagrant display that first caused their capture after being so beaten down. Often they are lacking the proper wild clues for reproduction. Fewer still manage to survive and escape back into the wild.

I went on the hunt for one of these rare gigantic wild specimens in its full seasonal courting attire.

Down long winding roads and behind several locked gates in a highly secure location, a couple of these returnees to the wild had found a protected spot tucked in among some larger plants.

Approaching cautiously from the side and at a distance I was able to capture this image of the rare gigantic form in a wild setting in full display.

It was just past high noon. The warm day and large amounts of energy spent on attracting the attention of pollinators had lulled this giant into a peaceful lethargy. I was able to sneak quietly in for a closer shot.

Treking through the jungle and capturing this elusive rarity on a digital camera was far easier than getting the message it wanted to share with the world to appear in the same image. Deciphering the message code took some work.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Not a Cloud in the Sky

On the way home late this afternoon. The next left is my neighborhood. Haleakala is completely exposed. This hill is just shy of 10,000 feet in elevation.

This arrow points to the way off.

A bit later that evening, my slice of the sky opted for a simple blended color spectrum.

Butterfly Bump and Grind

The middle of December on a clear sunny cool morning and there was somethin' floppin' around on my driveway. An amorous couple of copulating Monarch Butterflies had crashed to the ground. They kept busy while I went inside and got the camera.

One had a constricting hold on the others wing and seemed to be in control of the situation. The dominant one opened and closed its wings several times while I hovered over them. When I was satisfied and stepped back, they lifted straight into the air. One Butterfly was flying, one was hanging still beneath with closed wings.

I have always wondered when did the Monarchs get here? What stops them from migrating to the Oyamel fir forests in central Mexico when the days get short and cool? Or once the job is done do they sail out in to the Pacific Ocean headed south east. Is there a trail of orange and black wings floating on the waves that points to Mexico?

We have several species of Milkweed for the catepillars to eat. One, Gomphocarpus physocarpus is allowed to self seed in my garden and there are plenty of flowers for the adults to fuel up on. They glide through my garden on a daily basis and add a sense of grace that does not come from me. They own it and are kind enough to share it with me.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Back to the Sky

The setting sun has moved further south and no longer lands in the ocean where I can see it from my piece of the ocean and sky.

If only the neighbors below me would chop down their Plumeria Tree I could see a bit more of the deep blue sea. Not! I would rather have the tree screening their house and cottage from me.

There is still a camera full of sky directly above me.

And there is a different new sky each day
if I pause for a brief moment
to just look
to just be


What a difference mowing the lawn makes.

I sometimes lament having to bring my nursery to my house and burying my garden with it. Beginning behind the Philippine Poinsettia and around the corner of the deck where the bulk of my yard lies are thousands of potted plants. The effect it creates, while lush is not quite the same as a broad oval lawn surrounded by deep beds overflowing with flowering plants.

The two narrower portions of the yard were kept as is for their wide grass paths. The large bed below the deck had always been a stock bed of perennials lined in rows and that stayed the same.

My lawn is always the last one to get mowed. When it gets shaggy after being ignored for two or three weeks it begins to blend in with the beds and the whole place looks like an overgrown collection of plants that has run amok.

Mowing the lawn momentarily reminds me that indeed there is still a garden here. At least on two sides of the house.

The lawn has crept about a foot into the beds and I am no longer cutting it back hard to keep it at bay. The rows of perennials will all be dug up, potted and sold. The wide path will become a bigger lawn.

It is fortunate that the grass is Centipede, Eremochloa ophiuroides. It forms a dense turf that out competes weeds and stays relatively short so I can have the luxury of not mowing it for weeks at a time without it getting outrageously tall.

First I edge the lawn. Anything that gets stirred up from the beds then gets ground up with a mulching gas powered, smoke belching mower. I get to wear ear plugs and meditate. I go over it until everything is finely ground and is no longer visible on the lawn. If it has been a while since the last haircut it can take a few passes over each row.

I have never once in fifteen years fertilized this grass or sprayed it with an herbicide or pesticide.

When it is mowed and looking pretty this is the kind of pure sod lawn that people struggle so hard to have. I just picked the right kind of grass for my area.

Maybe it really does take a lawn to have a proper garden.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Similar Structures

I am still playing with the close-up feature on my new camera. Peering intently into the inner workings of the intimate lives of plants, some common structures are revealed.

An unknown to me large Bromeliad. But these are the parts that are used to define species.

African Iris, Dietes bicolor.

Ti Leaf, Cordyline terminalis is a very regular December bloomer

I can't really explain the dramatic color difference. Same clump of Portea petropolitana, same day, same time, different stalk six inches away.

They remind me of those websites as graphs toy.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Super Fly

The new species of Whitefly that arrived a few years ago and went into plague proportions island wide still hangs on at plague levels in some locations. The increasing number of travelers, immigrants from the mainland and the goods they need that are shipped in to the state of Hawaii have also increased the rate at which hitch hiking critters arrive. Many of these insect species do find this place paradise.

This Super Fly is particularly fond of Plumeria. I was beheading a tree that is not allowed to be tree today and this is the underside of a leaf from that poor tree.

The perimeter of the house is regularly doused with preventative pesticides and poison granules are strewn about by a pest control service. Hopefully this will kill all the ants, roaches, centipedes, scorpions, termites and any other bug deemed bad when it non-discriminately kills everything else. This is the result. In the absence of a balanced predator/prey relationship the sucking bugs thrive.

The tops of the lower leaves get covered in Honeydew or bug excrement and a black mildew grows in this sticky poo. The sap of Plumeria is also a sticky white latex and the whole concoction is just disgusting to trim.

Five blocks away in an organic garden were the bugs are welcomed and the birds sing from dawn to dusk and the lizards bounce through the shrubberies with an audible plop the Plumeria leaves look a lot different. A touch of rust and a couple of scale are all that have managed to mar these leaves that were produced last May. The rust and the scale on Plumeria trees were here twenty years ago when I first arrived and the trees still thrived.

Plumeria was a desired small to medium sized tree for the garden. It brought shade and fragrance and bloomed all season long.

After the Whitefly and the Papaya Mealybug plagues, Plumeria trees in bad locations started getting chopped down in the fancy neighborhoods were bugs were not allowed. No amount of additional poison seemed to help the problem quickly enough. No amount of coaxing, that to stop spreading poison was the solution would be heard. The Honeydew falling from their canopies landed on expensive cars and that just would not do. They had to go. Those that remain may slowly suffer the same fate.

The ex-husband of a dear friend, the youngest son of wonderful parents and good clients, the father of a fine young man and brother to two brothers passed away yesterday. He was a good and honorable man. This is a loss of the worst kind for his parents and his son.

Some bug got into his system and he was no longer strong enough to fight it off. I don't know the particulars of what took him. I know the general undiscussed realities. He had the same disease I do. I listened to the coaxing and stopped ingesting a poison that was slowly killing me. Keep coaxing me Lord.

Nobody knows why some of us get lucky and so many have to die to soon. He was loved. He will be missed by many. He was a good man. Rest in Peace my friend.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I need a nap.

This Ti Leaf is very alluring and soothing to my eye. It has so much white in the leaf it is very slow to grow for a Ti. I had to hide it from view to be able to get one big enough to propagate. In the nursery they will sell before they even have real chance to root and grow out. I was lucky to save this one for myself. Where ever it came from is now a mystery to me.

Perhaps its original location will return to me in a dream.