January 29, 2009

What Grows in Hawaii?

Answer - anything you plant! When we went on our tour of the botanic gardens the guide told us that there are different categories of plants on the island - 1. indigenous (there before people settled the island) 2. canoe plants (those that were literally brought to the island by settlers in canoes) 3. everything brought there since. Common plants like philodendron grow to enormous sizes along the roadways as do many other common house plants. You even see cactus since one of the caretaker's wives planted cactus from her native Arizona many years ago, the birds ate the flowers, dropped the seeds all over the island, and now it's growing everywhere. I imagine that's why you have to fill out an official form on the plane before you land in Hawaii - they want to know what you brought with you that might take hold and grow!

Nearly every home had some sort of exotic fruit tree growing in their yard. They were loaded with fruit in the middle of January! I guess the seasons really blur there. We truly enjoyed seeing the farmer's market offerings - and eating some of the best oranges and grapefruit we'd ever had. Plus the bananas there are really different. They're small but have this tangy flavor on top of the banana flavor - fantastic.

Most days a different community holds a farmer's market but there are also lots of stands in people's yards and along the roadsides.

I had never heard of some of the fruits - like a fuzzy red fruit called rambutan. You can just about make them out in the back bin in this picture. They sell them still attached to the branch.

This lei was at the farmer's market too - made from cigar flowers and tea leaves. I can't imagine how much time it take to make something like this.

Most things growing there are really beautiful...

And then some things are just truly strange!!

As promised, here is the link to the rest of the photos if you're interested. Hawaii 09 Pics
There are captions at the bottom of most pictures and if you want to look at them in the slide show format, be sure you run your mouse over the first photo to change the speed from 3 seconds to something a little longer or you won't have time to read my ramblings!

Well, this is all you'll hear about Hawaii then.

January 27, 2009

Two Fools in Paradise

Yes, here we are with the Waimea Canyon behind us and the Waimea River just visible at the top of the photo. We were fools in love with everything about Kaui from start to finish! Some of our family and friends had begun to think we had just decided to stay since it's taken us so long to post pictures and blog, but we did finally come back to the frozen wonder of this Iowa winter! Our poor daughter and other family and friends in Iowa endured -20 temps while we were basking in the 70's and 80's. Good timing on our part!

We took over 200 photos, some of which I'll put in another post and some in a web album if you're interested. That link will be on the blog later. Below are some of the highlights and we can say with no reservation that we would recommend this trip to anyone - truly, truly a trip of beautiful memories, great adventures, great food, and so much fun. We are very thankful.

As always, you can click on any of the pictures to get them in full view.

Our hotel - our room is the 2nd from the left on the ground floor.

Sunrise from our patio. We ate breakfast and watched whales on our patio too!

The beach at our hotel, about 50 yards from our patio.

Our favorite falls - Wailea

Kaui is sometimes referred to as "Rooster Country" because there are wild roosters EVERYWHERE! They are so pretty and maybe because I'm from Iowa I couldn't stop taking pictures of them! This was the mother lode at the top of Waimea Canyon.

An amazing inlet viewed on our tour of the National Botanic Gardens - a highlight for us.

One of the gorgeous plants growing in the garden.

This is Lydgate Beach where we snorkeled and where we saw one of the many, many rainbows that appeared while we were there.

Our last night we enjoyed this Hawaiian dance and music performance by the members of a hula school for children in Kauai. Much better than any hokey Luau!

More to come regarding the gardens and the farmer's markets - after all this blog is supposed to be about gardens and eating!

Well, this is all then.

January 10, 2009

Thank You!

The birthday cards have been pouring in and I thank you so much for the sentiments, the giggles, and the sincere wishes! Last night was a joint birthday dinner for me and my Uncle J - Aunt P spoiled us well! We are celebrating with DD tonight since she'll be heading back to school tomorrow - a little early since we have another snow storm coming on Monday and this 50-year-old mom will sleep better on Sunday night knowing that she is already safely there and not facing a snowy drive when we are so far away. She picked out a yummy cheesecake for tonight and gave me a couple of wonderful Christmas books (one of my obsessions!), so the party has begun already and I say again that I am blessed with so much love. Thank you all and thank you for the prayers for safe travel and sunny beaches!

P.S. it will be bitterly cold while we're gone - sorry Iowa!

Well, this is all then.

January 5, 2009

50 is Fine

1st Birthday

In her Easter Bonnet with all the frills upon it!

This little girl is me and SHE is turning the big 50 next week! But I'm not feeling a bit weepy over it since on my first morning as a fifty-year-old I'll be waking up in Kauai!! Yes sirree, DH is taking me on my first ever visit to Hawaii as a grand, grand birthday gift.

Four generations - sorry about this one Mom, you look a little pooped!

But you look like a glowing Mommy here and there's the Glamour shot on the table too!

This is a little glimpse of my beginnings. I do have photos of my Dad with me as an infant, but I'll save those and others for a Father's Day blog. God has blessed me richly in these fifty years - first giving me loving, devoted parents, two terrific brothers and a dear sister, and now a husband and daughter that are my heart. I have an abundance of family and friends who love and support me endlessly, and most importantly a Savior who gives me life for always.

I normally have trouble even remembering my age, but I imagine it will be simple this year! I say humbly that I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far and where I am in my life, but Lord willing I'm not done yet - and now it's time to turn the page and see what's next.

Well, this is all then - and ALOHA!