Friday, January 23, 2015

Smoke From Lava Flow Brush Fires

Here in Hawaii, life has a way of keeping you on your toes. While it is paradise most of the time, there are things that can make life here a bit challenging, and sometimes even exciting. We are in the midst of our dry season, and we have had very little rain, for the entire month of January. As a result of this, our water tank had been slowly losing its fullness of water, and while we aren't into strict rationing mode yet, we are watching it drop, and learning new ways to use less water.
All those early years of living in a log cabin, (without running water), an old bunkhouse, where the bathroom consisted of a row of coffee cans, (in the middle of the room, as chamber pots), and numerous park campsites, from family camping, to Pathfinder Jamboree's, who would have thought all of that would prepare me for life in Hawaii?! I smile now to think of it.

One thing I have learned is never take breathing for granted. The old volcano loves to belch nasties, and even more, it has a great hunger for anything in its path. Lately it has taken to causing brush fires, which result in plumes reminiscent of a-bomb clouds.

I took this picture while standing in the door of my shop, on the fifteenth of January.

I took this the very next day, on the sixteenth, where it had started another one.

I took this one just a few minutes ago, today, the twenty third. The poor fire department has to go fight these things, and it is not cool here today, by any means. We've seen and heard the helicopters flying over, with their buckets of water, and it reminds me of fires in the Gorge, in summer. Only there is no putting out a lava flow.

Most of the time the lava flow makes almost no impact on our lives here at all, but when it hits the brush, and the wind blows the wrong way, the result is very bad air. Then it is sit in the house, with the filter fans on, until the wind changes, or they get the brush fires out.

The next thing to know about Hawaii is that it has some very interesting insects. I have hunted the mighty cockroach, some three inches in length, without an ounce of trepidation. They stay mainly outside, and can sometimes be found, lying on their backs, kicking up their feet, in the cool shade of the lanai. I do not know if this is due to their eating the ant poison, or if this is just some normal routine of theirs. What I do know, is that they receive no mercy, and are swiftly and surely dispatched, if I can reach them at all.

We were visited the other night, by a creature of a different color, which I assisted in removing from this world, and was most happy to do so.

This is a giant centipede. This nasty fellow, all six or more inches of him, came to visit us in the evening, in the middle of the birthday party, I was throwing for Gregg, out on our front lanai. It moved very fast, and was very aggressive. One of our party goers, and friend, gave the thing a good several stomps, which  managed to slow it down a bit, and that was sufficient for me, to dispatch the nasty thing with a shovel, by cutting off its head. This did not render the beast harmless. It had to still be removed with great care, for its head can bite, a good five minutes after being severed, and is quite poisonous.
They can grow to 12 inches, and live to be 10 years old, so I was told, and at that size, it was no doubt hunting the cockroaches I mentioned before. They do like frogs and lizards, and will even take on snakes, tho there is no worry of snakes here. They are said to live in tree's and shrubs, which is one reason we do not have any plants up against the house. This is to keep these things outside, where they belong. Needless to say, it livened up the party for several minutes.

One thing about Hawaii, it is never dull, for you never know, what may happen next?! Aloha

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yard & Garden

We have been very busy of late, trying to settle into our new place. I have done a great deal of work in the yard, trying to improve the landscape, since the hurricane took away most of our ohia tree's. It has been hot work, but very rewarding, and certainly is an improvement, from our once barren landscape.
Yesterday with the help of our friends, Ricky and Wesley, we were able to put in this bed, for my red palms, tea's, and gardenia bush. It was really nice to get them in, as they were suffering in their plastic pots, and I really needed to get them in the ground. It is dry season here, and there has been no rain for almost three weeks, so I am sure they will be much happier now, in their cinder-soil garden bed.

I will say, it was a bit smoky, and I had to wear a mask on my face, in order to work. This is a view of the smoke coming up from the lava flow, 8 miles from our house. As you can see, it looks like a house on fire in the distance. Most of the time however, the wind drifts it away from us, and it generally only plumes like this, when it has run into a bunch of brush or tree's, and of course someones house. Tho no one is in danger of that at present. If you listen to the news media however, you would think we were all panicking, which is simply not the case. They love telling about every little tremor we get here too, which you could feel more shake from a passing semi-truck. It is all hoopla, to make people think it is very dangerous here, when it is no worse, than anywhere else on planet earth. The News Media, fear mongers all!

I will close with this picture of a cloud I took, looking towards Mono Kea. We get some great clouds here, and this one looked so much like a pig, I couldn't help photo shopping in an eye for him. It reminded me of the old saying, "When Pigs Fly!" Well this one certainly did. It flew right over the mountains to Kona.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ohio State May Have Blown The Ducks Away, But Ducks Are Resilient

A Sad Day For The Ducks

Today is a sad day for the Ducks, and their fans, but also a good day to say, way to go Ohio, for playing so hard, and giving us a good game to watch. It is always amazing to me, so see such energy and drive, as these young men display, all for the sake of a trophy, that will be kept by their school, in a locked glass case. I believe both of these teams deserve respect, for their efforts, and tho I have seen in the news, denigrating comments being made, by both sides fans, I think it more fitting, to always be a good sport. Losing is never really losing, if you learn from it, pick yourself up, and strive on, which I am sure the Ducks will continue to do, in the future. I for one, wish the Ducks, all the luck in the world, and Ohio, all the joy of their achievement. As I said before, way to go Ohio!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Greggs Garage Project

We have been under construction, on our property, since practically the day we arrived in Hawaii, back in March of 2014. I do believe, we are finally seeing the light, at the end of this particular tunnel, so I thought I would share a few pictures, before I have to go, and get ready for the big Ducks game today. Go Ducks!

As you can see, Gregg is directing the work, and our good friend Ricky Torres, in orange, is really getting it done, with the assistance of Wesley, one of our carpenters. They are pre-painting the eaves, before the roof goes on, which is always a smart thing to do, if you can do it. Tho all of our vehicles had to be washed, because of the over-spray. Note to self. When spraying paint, out of doors, cover all vehicles with covers, first. It even got our friends black pickup, and he was parked a good 75 feet away. Never underestimate the power of a slight breeze, and paint drift.

Later, Gregg decided he would take a hand at painting himself, I mean, painting the interior of the garage.

Here is a closer view, of our intrepid painter. I told him, at this point, he had better invest in a paint mask, as he looked like he had been snorting the stuff.

Andrew came out, to see what I was laughing so hard about. I don't know which was getting more paint?! Gregg, or the building. No, that is not paint on the ground, that is left over cement, from the concrete floor pour. Our cement hauler, got a bit overzealous, and brought us a lot more than we needed. It will eventually be covered in gravel, and filled up, by the cement approach to the door, and attached lanai slab.

Here is a view of Greggs garage, from a slight distance, so you can see the neighbors garage attachment too. As soon as Gregg started his garage project, our neighbor Mark, decided he would do one too. While Gregg hired guys, who did everything up to the latest codes. Mark had his done by some guys, carrying a hammer, who called themselves carpenters. I don't think I have seen more shoddy construction, in my life. I watched these guys, pour four inch stem walls, a bag of cement at a time, while they chatted and smoked, and took there jolly good time, pouring each one into the forms. Which they then, did not so much as tap to settle. The j-bolts went every which way, and they didn't even try to make the top of the stem wall even. It was so bad, I couldn't stand to watch it.We've built better hen houses...sigh! Mark is going to side it, half way up the walls, and leave the rest open. I wonder if he realizes, he has now created a 40 foot umbrella?! We shall see, which one withstands, the next hurricane.

Here is our place, with Greggs garage, still needing exterior paint, on the right of the house, and my shop, on the left foreground, which was built not long after we arrived. We are beginning to look, like a bit of a compound.

It will be nice to have this faze completed, so that he can finally move his garage things, out of the dining room.

Next project, my complete kitchen remodel.