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Monday, July 20, 2015

We Saved a Fawn But Ouch!

Sitting outside during dinner hearing a strange cry we think is some odd bird noise.  But after at least an hour, I went in and looked out the laundry room window and saw one of the twin fawns stuck inside the arena with his mom and sibling on the other side of the wire fence.  He was pacing, trying to find an opening and crying.  Then the doe and her fawn walked off leaving him.
 We had opened the gate last time we were here to allow for animals to get in, but never dreaming it would trap a young one since the opening is on the opposite side from where he was.  I took off running with our friends Randy and Alisa and we marched through the tall brush to move him towards the open gate.  It worked!  However...we were now all covered in stickers from the dried bushes.

     Normal response?  To brush them off, of course.  Apparently each sticker has a sharp little needle-like barbs that burrows into your skin so we ended up not only with these things stuck to our shoes, socks, pants, tops, but also a part of them in our hands.  A few even went through my top and into my bra.  It's now 24 hours later and my hands are finally back to normal and not hurting every time I touch something.
  I hope to get someone to eradicate those very soon...needless to say.

 This was just off the laces...rubber gloves worked!

 I'd like to say this story has a happy ending, but I'm still hoping the mother doe returns to fetch her youngster.  He bounded off into our hillside last night, literally jumping and leaping straight up as he ran, but his mother was in the opposite direction and they haven't yet reunited.  Sorry, Alisa...I'm watching him right now eating near the tree.   He just saw another female approaching and did his leaping run towards her, but when he got close, realized it wasn't Mom, so he's back on his own.   He isn't crying and doesn't seem afraid (or thirsty), so I assume he's okay for now.

Last night's dinner:

Mushroom, sausage, and mild chili

Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, pancetta, and lemon zest
Glad we found out how good pizza on the grill is since we don't have the wood stove here (yet).

    The night before we -- he -- roasted a turkey bought at the Diestel turkey ranch about 25 min. from here.  They had 7 lb frozen turkeys there, so we indulged and kept it in our freezer waiting for a group larger than the two of us.  It was quite good and now that Matthew's leaving for the week, I have leftover turkey, pizza, and whatever.  I won't starve...not that I was worried.  I did prove myself able to handle the kitchen for 5 weeks after his surgery.  
 I hope you didn't think I was going to say we had venison.....


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Deer Family

  I'm glad I have a new family to watch since my human one is spreading to all parts of the US.  Steven with fiance Elise has made his home in Hawaii and Jeff and family are moving to Michigan at the end of next month.  Today I woke to a family of deer--3 adults and 3 fawns-- in the backyard today.  I haven't been here in 5 weeks and I think they've moved in and I'm just a guest on the property.    You have to look closely at the photo because now that the grass has died, it's the same color as the deer.
  I'm so happy--this is what I wanted a year ago when I bought 4 1/2 acres in view of people, visible wildlife, and no fog.  Oh, and the ability to eat meals outside, though we're so used to sitting inside because it's so cool in El Granada, that we forgot to sit outside last night.  It might have still been too warm, however.  When we arrived around 3, it was about 97 here and over 100 a few miles away.
 Weather is a boring topic, but if you live on the SF coast, summer is gray and depressing.  Some people love it and I admit, I'm not loving hot weather like I did when I was younger, but I do prefer waking up to sun.
  I'm ready to work on art projects here.  I brought yarn for Saori weaving, beads for several jewelry ideas, and white silk scarves to dye.   I'll have 4-5 days of alone time to work on everything, so hope to show what I've done (good personal challenge to keep a pictorial on new things and blog about them).
 I finished my part of the art installation this past week, which was called yarn bombing, though wasn't actually bombing, which is guerilla art done in public places without permission.  I had originally hoped to do most outside the gallery with something inside, but this changed along the way, and I had to go with what the curator wanted.
  Several of us are being honored for the altruistic work we've done for the community and arts, and my part is about Colony of Coastside Artists which I started 5 + years ago.  Yarn bombing doesn't tie into it in any way, other than it's a collaborative effort and CoCA has brought together many artists sharing what they do.

  I had great help--thank goodness because it took us 6 hours to sew those pieces onto that 9' column!  It started with 9" squares--some a little larger and some a little smaller--that were sewn together ahead of time in strips.  Because yarn stretches, we had to remove one on many of the strips, which were then used for the part connecting the pole to the wall at the top.  I had such awesome help on this project--eighteen local knitters from several groups helped knit the squares and some of them and one non-knitter came to my house to either knit or sew one afternoon.  The project started in March with me asking people to start knitting or crocheting squares without telling them where or what we were "bombing"...and they took a leap of faith and did it.
  I still want to do a real yarn bombing and maybe I have a head-start with all those strips of yarn squares.  The show is up for a we'll have lots of time to think about it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Last Days--Heading to Fog


 Our plan was to head to Steven’s early, leave the car down the road in the usual spot ( I did mention we can’t drive up to his house because the road is largely unpaved, rocky, with many divots, high grass in the center and muddy when wet, which is at least once a day, etc).  Oh, and steep.  
 So the plan was to walk up there with our load of stuff—laptop and other electronics we can’t use here, spare clothes if needed, and whatever else for the day/evening. 
  I had been invited to a woman’s home where she was originally going to teach Mary’s grandkids, daughter, and I how to make a portrait quilt, but she later realized she had another commitment, so we had to cancel.  I had mixed feelings—I wanted to see her house which displays many of her quilts, but learning another new craft worried me because when would I find time for yet another?  So since she couldn’t teach us, we were invited to come down and see her home before she had to leave.  What a treat!  Phyllis is well-versed in not only quilting, but in other arts as well.  She paints, makes beads and flowers with polymer clay, makes amazing dolls with materials, beads, and nylon stockings for heads. 

Her home is beautiful with close-by ocean views out every window.  She has turned what used to be someone’s living room into her studio with the living room in a small adjoining room.  
portrait quilts

This quilt is huge and in her kitchen over the doorway between it and the dining room.  It's phenomenal in all its details.  

This piece is worked with threads for details.

  I admired the clay flowers she made, so she whipped out the clay, handed out small pieces to everyone and said to make balls.  Then she showed us how to flatten one side while pinching the other, which everyone did several times.  Then we joined each piece as we did them and created flowers.  Matthew and I worked on one together, which ended up not exactly working out, especially when Phyllis handed me a pin finding to add by pressing into the back and I flattened the flower trying to add it.  As we were leaving, she handed me the rest of her package of clay and said to take it and play.  She's definitely my kind of of artist.  Knows about and encourages playing...
  She then grabbed 4-5 furry yarns, tied one end to a chair and tied the other end to an electric or battery-powered drill, and wound them all together to make a lei.  
 The hour + we spent there was well worth it…and now I’m sorry the class didn’t happen since it would have been a blast.  Mary’s grandson learned how to do the portrait quilt last year when he was 12 and the picture we saw is fabulous—it’s his twin Zoe and is a remarkable resemblance.  
  We went to a small nearby town that’s well known for Acaca Falls and had breakfast, then walked around looking at the local artists’ work in shops.  Steven called to say he was on his way home because his last client cancelled—good news for us not having to climb up that hill. 
 We had a quiet afternoon at his house and Matthew made pizza again rather than go out.  It’s really comfortable there and the breezes keep the heat down to a very manageable degree.  The cottage is at least 10 degrees hotter.  
 Today Steven joined us and we drove to Keeau to visit the other Matthew R. Clark.  He’s known as the younger, but goes by Matt, so it makes it easier.  Matt worked for Matthew years ago in the Bay Area before moving to Hawaii, getting married and having kids. He and Karen were at the wedding last week, and they invited us to see their 2 acres with the 30—year old fruit trees he’s been cultivating.  He has at least one variety of just about everything growing on the island.  We had a great tour around sampling fruit while Cyrus, the 3-year old picked flowers for me.  I had quite a bouquet before we left.

 Stopped for a late lunch on our way back, then said good-bye to Steven and sent him with whatever food we had left in the frig we won’t eat tomorrow.  I had to save one papaya for my last meal along with more of that avocado…though Steven got the bulk of it.  I should have taken a picture of it—they’re a different and huge variety here.  

  I think more adventuresome folks might like Mary’s cottage.  To me, it was camping with a permanently-pitched tent.  I never quite got used to the outdoor bathroom, which Steven explained is done because they don’t need permits for it.  The one early morning predawn trip I made out there without a flashlight found me running into the screen at the end of our bed, tripping over the chair, and finally turning on the light when I got near the outside door.   Second to last night I got smart and left the flashlight near the bed, so when I got up, I found my way without a problem.  It was 4:45 am and still dark, but I knew the sun was supposed to rise within the next 15-30 min.  What to do?  I NEVER am up to see the sunrise, and I do love sunsets….so I grabbed my robe, sandals, and camera/phone and headed outside.  Trouble the cat, of course, joined me and stood waiting with me.  It was too cloudy a day for much excitement, but I took pictures anyway; otherwise, no one would believe I was up that early.

 and through the screen as I came in...
So as I said earlier, camping indoors.  Here's what joined us in the bathroom last night: 
He's a stick insect that's about 4" long.  He just hung out near the shower head all night.  We did become quite adept at our evening game of flashing the light in the bathroom to find coqui (should be called croaky) frogs, then Matthew would gently lift them off and send them over the wall.  It didn't matter...the'd come back louder and stronger all night.   Supposedly they got their name by their sound which sounds like "coqui"...but I think it sounded like "catch me."  
We tried.
Heading home.  Stopped at Ken's House of Pancakes near the airport for the last heart-stopping meal of our trip.   And first class travel....nice.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hawaii Off Line


 Pizza was a success, even without the Italian flour.  They ran back down the hill to our cottage where someone had left regular flour and Matthew used that.  It wasn’t much of a “lesson” since Steven didn’t seem interested in working alongside Matthew in the kitchen.  But he did learn a couple of things even from across the room.  And he’s never used a pizza peel (still hasn’t) but saw how it’s handy to have, especially getting it on and off the grill.  
 I made a salad with the napa cabbage we bought which was much like cole slaw.  No pictures of anything….wish I’d taken one of the 2 pizzas—salami and olives with cheddar and pesto, eggplant, and mushrooms.   Matthew really is good at pizza...and many other foods.
 No, not losing any weight on this trip either.
 Yesterday was frustrating and boring most of the day.  I’m not particularly good about sitting around for long periods of time with a book.  Well, I might be okay if I also had some way to connect to the rest of the world too.  
 Mary says she has a 2-gig a month Internet plan, so she leaves it off most of the time.  She had it on for an hour for us 2 nights ago and again yesterday, but since I do not understand how anything other than unlimited data works, I inadvertently updated my laptop because my photos weren’t automatically syncing from my phone and I thought that would help.  So when she came out to say we’d used 800MB in an hour and she now thinks she might not make it through the rest of the month on what’s left, I had no idea how that had happened….and then realized it had to be what I’d done.  I didn’t fess up because I felt uncomfortable and wasn’t sure that’s what caused it till I asked Matthew, but she pretty much said she hoped we didn’t need to use it again while we’re here.  This made me feel guilty and pissed all at the same time.
So here’s the thing….I would never have booked us here if she hadn’t said she had wi-fi and Internet on the listing!  I had other options, but chose this one and that was one of the things I look for.  Steven has speed and unlimited data for $100 a month just up the hill, so it is possible to have here.  
To make matters worse, my phone has one bar here and often says “can’t access the network” so I get nothing.  And it runs down fast because of trying to connect and roaming constantly.  I can’t believe I’m the only one this bothers and no one wrote about it in the reviews.  
 Last night, Mary picked up her twin 13-year old grandchildren and daughter at the airport.  They’ll be here the rest of our stay and beyond, so this means even less privacy than we already have.  Matthew says I shouldn’t worry about something ahead of time…really?  He’s been married to me 16 years and hasn’t figured this out yet?  
 We both agreed that since Steven works mornings and yesterday we didn’t get up to his house until 3:00, we’d go to the Botanical Gardens and the vanilla plantation tour this morning.  Unfortunately, when I called, all the vanilla tours were booked.  We went to the Botanical Gardens and spent a couple of hours there.  It's a beautiful place with many wild orchids and other flowers, plus huge trees, ferns, etc. 

 By the way, I’m writing off-line, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


  At the farmer’s market in Hilo yesterday, we met quite a few artists who sell there twice weekly.  I have a different sense about local artists since becoming one myself.  I don’t usually buy jewelry since I make my own, but couldn’t resist a couple of pairs of studs (earrings, not men) now that my hair is short.  I almost bought sea-glass from one woman, but decided if I want sea-glass I need to see my friend Annette and get some California coastal glass.  
  I really liked the miniature painter’s work too.  Hmm…she’s not miniature, but her work is.   She paints pictures with two bristles of a brush for pendants in necklaces and bracelets.  She also had necklaces and bracelets strung with Venetian beads that are size 26.  I use size 6 or 8 and have some 11s which to me are very small….and she’s using something that’s more than half that size.  They were so delicate.  Younger and better eyesight…  Her website is  

Thurs. 7 am.  
Anyone who knows me, knows I go to bed after midnight and get up around 8.  Not so in Hawaii….bed by 10:30 or 11 and up around 6:30 or 7.  And I eat breakfast at 8 instead of 10.  That works better here and when I get home, where it’s 3 hours ahead, my schedule will resume back to normal more easily.  
  This morning I tried to watch the sunrise at 5, but it was cloudy and I opted back to bed for 2 hours instead.  I woke to Matthew holding up our pressed coffee pot to show me our visitor.

He let him out and rinsed before making coffee.
Had a great dinner with Steven last night—Matthew and Steven grilled ribs, sweet onion slices, and corn.  Salad was sliced tomatoes and cucumbers we also bought at the farmer’s market.  Steven told us to avoid buying lettuce there because rat lungworm disease is a real problem here carried by worms that get on the lettuce.  He said buying it at the grocery store that comes from the mainland is the best bet, so we opted for non-lettuce salads.
Before dinner, we walked around the property to see all the fruit-bearing trees.  He’s planted a few of his own already and since he’s only been here since March, it’s pretty impressive to see how fast they’ve taken off.  Quite different from El Granada, where we plant something and if the gophers don’t eat it, it grows at a snail’s pace.  Some of Steven’s are already flowering so he’ll have fruit before the trees are even close to maturing.  
  I had a funny sort of deja vu yesterday when we walked around the property. Steven was barefoot and I recognized his feet…they look just like my sister’s did.  Poor Marianne—they’re about the same size too!  But the shape of the feet and toes were very familiar.  Needless to say, she hated her feet ever since she was young.  They were too big and would grow so fast, her toes would poke through not long after getting new ones.
 Their dogs have calmed down after our initial visit. I wore the torn pants just in case they wanted to greet me the same, but they stayed down and only hassle me when I pick up the cat.  Sibling rivalry.  
After dinner, Steven took a flashlight outside to the upper grassy area looking for the poisonous cane toads.  He found 3 of them, so while Matthew held the light, he took a shovel and flew them over the ridge.  He doesn’t like to kill them—blood and noise—but doesn’t want them up where the dogs go out to pee.  They wouldn’t kill larger, full-grown dogs, but these are puppies.  We did see one as we were driving back to the cottage, and Matthew did his best to run him over.  He disappeared before we could get him.  
 After we returned to the cottage last night, I took a flashlight outside and found another noisy coqui frog in our ‘bathroom.’  Matthew came out and after a few attempts, grabbed it and removed him from there…just tossed him over the wall so he’d stop making noise right there.  Then we only had another dozen to contend with for the night.  

 I mentioned Mary has the cat and two dogs, which I thought would be a bonus since we always miss our cats when we travel and enjoy being around animals.  Trouble loves to be held and petted.  This morning, he joined us having coffee outside the cottage and insisted on being held and petted by Matthew, and once he was done, he came over and jumped uninvited onto my lap (which was fine).  He didn’t last long since his needle-sharp claws were kneading my leg and I was only wearing a thin kimono.  She obviously loves attention and is very sweet.  

We bought Steven and Elise a house-warming gift that arrived at the post office on Monday.  It’s now Thurs, and even though I had done a great job of timing everything arriving when we did, what I didn’t realize is his post office is only open from 8-11 during the week and he can’t get there if he has clients in Hilo until 11 or 12.  Hopefully he will get it today so we can plan something that goes along with it while we’re here.  And Elise left last night, so she won’t get to be part of what we want to do…  Best laid plans….
I hope I can get a picture of the PO in Ninole…it’s a tiny little white house on the road.  So the boxes arrived, Steven picked them up today and one missing item...crucial to the whole thing.  We sent them special Italian pizza flour...and it's not there.  So the stone, peel, and kitchen scale aren't much help without the flour.  Matthew and Steven ran back down the hill to our cottage and we'll try it with regular flour.  Damn..

  The best part of our cottage is the location in regards to Steven’s house.  We are off a long road and down aways on a bumpy, unpaved road.  Steven and Elise are another half mile straight up that road where we make a turn and park at the end.  Steven has to pick us up from there because our little rental won’t make it.  We’d need a jeep with clearance and 4-wheel drive to get up get up the steep, unpaved, bumpy, and sometimes muddy road that leads to his house.  He has to chauffeur us up, which works.  We were going to try to trade in our rental for a jeep, but they weren’t sure they’d have one available, so we all agreed this worked fine.  Today we just hung out until Steven was off work and driving by, then we joined him at the corner, but it was pretty boring at the cottage.    
 It was hot today and humid...we finally took our plastic chairs over to the shade where it gets more breeze than our front porch.  Here's some of what surrounds us on the property:

 It's better and cooler...and more comfortable up the hill.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sustainable Living

 I’m writing from the next place, though maybe not the last place we’re staying near Hilo.   I have used VRBO  many times before and in many other countries, but this is the first time I have been disappointed and very unsure if I’ll stay where I am.  I knew it was “off the grid” but the accommodations are more rustic than I’d imagined AND there seems to be no wi-fi or Internet connection at all, though the listing says there is.  I also could see in the photos the shower was outdoors and mostly enclosed, but it said shower, not bathroom…and the toilet is out there too.  I used it tonight to the serenade of the coqui frogs.  At least I hope that’s what they are…

 We arrived and were given a tour of the inside studio apartment, then the outside plants and fruit trees, most of which weren't bearing anything right now.  The grounds are lovely and on the other side of a fence are her several sheep and the cow.  Chickens and rabbits live here as well…oh, and let’s not forget the barking dog who won’t come near us and the friendly dog who won’t leave us alone, but because he has a cone on his neck, bumps into everything, including us.  The cat named Trouble loves people, but cannot be allowed inside, so he stands outside the door and meows and meows.  Doors must be left open at night to allow some air in since there is not air-con here.  The dilemma…sleep under the mosquito netting and be really hot all night, which means no sleep, or not use it and get crawled on and bitten.  
 We got to see Steven and Elise’s home and property after checking in here.  They have a cute, small home WITH WI-FI and an indoor bathroom…such luxury!  Their view is amazing —- 180 degrees of ocean view.  We’ll see more of the 11 acres tomorrow or later this week.
  We were greeted by their two puppies, one who was so excited about company, he jumped up and scratched Matthew causing his arm to bleed, the proceeded to jump on me and rip my pants.  The only good news is I’d just noticed the olives we’d brought from the hotel had leaked in the bag and apparently had dripped onto my pants when I unloaded them from the car without my noticing until we were heading to Steven’s, so they were already deemed ruined.
 Tomorrow I have to buy bug spray.  Luckily, I brought ear plugs.  Loud frogs…meowing cat…I  wonder if there’s a rooster nearby.  I’ll find out at dawn.  
living room area

 bed and dining room table

out the front door

Day 2 here:  We slept about as well as we have on the trip, waking up periodically.  Surprisingly, I didn't get any bites and we slept without the netting.  It's too hot for that, though it did cool down a bit at night.  It's very loud--crickets, frogs, refrigerator....  It is weird getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and sitting there with the frogs yapping at you.  At least the cat was gone.
 I felt better in the morning after coffee and a shower outdoors.  It's a good shower, though there are messages in several places reminding us to take 2-minute showers and conserve water.  We're at least used to conserving due to the drought, though 2 minutes is pretty brief.  
 I had little to no reception here and Mary was gone, so I emailed her and hoped it went through to ask about Internet, then we eventually took off for a grocery store, which is a good 20-25 min. away.  It was a cute town, and we ended up having lunch there--sharing fish and chips.  Hawaiian meals are known more for size than taste, so we have to remember to share.  I was still stuffed.  Then we heard from Steven ( we couldn't connect earlier due to no connection) and they wanted to eat early dinner in Hilo because they have to get their puppies in before it gets dark.  Poisonous frogs....
 We wanted to take them out because Elise is flying to the Mainland tomorrow after work and returns the day we leave for a female family get-together with several generations.  I'm glad we got to spend two nights with her...the more I get to know her, the more I like her.  Their wedding will be June, 2016!  
 I did hear from Mary before we left for dinner that most people do not need wi-fi because they have smart phones that are still usable even though we only get one bar there.  I told her we need to get online for work, plus Steven and I got cut off twice that day, so my phone isn't working well there.  The battery needs charging about 2-3 times a day because it's so busy trying to find a signal.    She agreed to run her wi-fi for an hour that night after we return...says she's on a limited plan.  Steven and Elise were able to see the cottage and liked it, though agree it's too close to the main house.  She's within feet of us, so there's very little privacy.  We could hear her talking to the dogs the first night.
 Dinner was great--ate at a place they hadn't yet tried called Hilo Bay Club.  Happy happy...started with a coconut mojito!  The other is Elise's sangria.  
We got online after we returned, but I couldn't get any of my pictures from my camera onto my laptop, so couldn't do my blog.  I do think we'll stay the week at the cottage, but if we didn't have Steven's house to go to during the day where we could connect and also have some privacy and cooler temperatures, we would re-evaluate.  
 We spent today in Hilo at the farmer's market.  On Wed, the craftspeople are also there, so we spent quite a lot of time there.  I bought a couple of pairs of earrings and a piece of fused glass for the house.  We found a great artist who designs shirts--bought one for Matthew and one for Steven.  Great designs.  We also bought food for dinner with Steven...fresh vegetables and ribs.  
Now at Steven's and about to walk around to see the rest of the property, including the waterfall.