a cool glass of water

Laid out for all eyes

Under an unsympathetic

Sun’s daily march overhead

Brown, red, dirt and rock

Sprinkled with gray grass

And worn trees is a

Manmade landscape

Cleaned by goats

Here is clarity

Limited only by

Your attention span

Living things were erased

Only deep gulches

And dry streams remember

Left for dead? Hardly

Its inhabitants are hidden

Specialists focused on living

Pure survival

You must wander into

That heat tracked by thirst

Until your mind begs for shade

Only then, will you learn

To taste a cool glass of


gj huli huli chicken

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GJ Huli Huli Chicken is the best on the island. Gil and Jonalyn Tabafunda have been at this location for over eight years. Gil sets up in the parking lot of Blue Dragon on Friday mornings and stay until 4-5 pm or when their food runs out.  Menu: Rotisserie chicken, pork and beef ribs. Plate lunch with rice and macaroni salad runs $7.95, half a chicken will set you back $6.50.

tel: 808 885 1210

makeahua gulch hike

Yes in my back yard, definitely: canyons, gulches, dry streams, dry water falls within half a mile where I typed. My Sunday foray into the Hawaii desert yielded more surprises like 60 to 100 foot drop from the lips of dormant water falls in the dry Makeahua gulch and it tributaries. My hike started from my place at Kawaihae village. I left with my paints to find a place to sit, look at things and wet paper with colors.  I climbed gradually following a 4wd dirt road into the morning sun. A light breeze instead of the frequent  howling trade winds made for a cooler walk and better condition for painting.  I connected first with the makai branches of the gulch. There the bottom of this bone-dry stream is mainly dirt and smooth blue basalts. Top layers of reddish lava rock and basalt rimmed the stream, rises and fall with the contour.Where water cut through hills, dark brown cliffs formed.

Volkswagen Bug-sized basalt boulders blue gray, smooth and cool to my touch rolled to their position eons ago.  This stream too moved landscape and cut through the ages, the water that careened down its canyon walls propelled rocks and carve deep pools, yet now all is quiet, empty.  Water left behind reminders in clumps of grass caught in branches chest to head high in places as I retraced it upstream. Last week I picked my way up this same stream for another half mile.  I climbed out the sides and walk further up hill to discover the 80 foot tall Kemole Falls. Today I will just paint then explore the down hill part of the gulch.

Adjacent and almost parallel to this stream is a much bigger gulch, more like a canyon, with 100-200 foot plus high side walls.  Its walls and floor are red in contrast to its blueish neighbor.  The red gulch geology is different, its walls are steep and more eroded, crumbly. Its floor is covered with rocks and dry grass, both red and blue held kiawe trees, some are quite old.  I did not expect to see the magnitude of this gulch minutes from where i live. I was blown away.  My preference is the blue basalt stream, it is visually more inviting to explore and to linger under the shade or on its rocks. The blue stream had many protected campsites  to overnight, perfect for starry cloudless Kawaihae nights.

My painting on the other hand was disappointing.

wiliwili tree survey waimea 2009.04.11


Lalamilo Farm, Kamuela, Hawaii. Two volunteers , Laura Anderson and Francesca Goldberg, and I did a brief survey of the wiliwili trees mauka of Lalamino Farms. Our objective is to collect seeds, located the trees using Iphone Google Maps, and note their conditions. We use a simple designation to note their health: H1, H2, H3 and H4 where H4 is the healthiest. H1 tree is still alive but have little or no leaves, 0<1%, yellow or diseased, with no seeds. H2 is healthier than H1 with more leaves, 1%-30%, yellowing and diseased, with some healthy and damaged seeds. H3 is healthier than h2 with more leaves, 30%-70%, green leaves some yellowing and diseased with more healthy and diseased seeds. H4 is the healthiest and full of leaves some minor yellowing and diseased, 70%<100%, deep green leaves with abundance of bright orange red seeds though some are diseased. Our designation is simple but I feel that this is a good starting point for monitoring their health.

We locate trees in group even if there is only one plant. Group 1 and Group 2 have the healthiest trees of four. One tree each in both of these groups gets our H4 designation for being healthiest. Most seeds were collected from the H4 tree of Group 2.

wiliwili tree pests


Bruchid beetles (Specularis impressithorax) emerged from wiliwili seeds collected in September 2008. These seeds were stored in a glass jar for six months. the beetles lay dormant inside the seed and eat their way out through little hatches. One seed was infested with six beetles. Finding them emerged after a six months hibernation was a surprise. I  selected only seeds that were free from any penetrations, some were just pin pricks, but apparently these parasites were already inside. This bit of news is disturbing for all the seeds that were collected in the effort to save the wiliwili trees unless precautions were made to kill the beetles prior to storing them in one location.  After two hours in the freezer, these beetles came back to life as soon as they were exposed to room temperature.     According to the link http://www.hear.org/species/erythrina_sandwicensis/pdfs/wiliwiliseedform.pdf using water to test whether a seed float to determine that it is infected, is not fool proof. I discovered a seed that has tell tale signs of infection, a circular bump similar to a pimple on its skin where a beetle will exit. This seed sank to the bottom like other supposedly clean seeds, but when cut open, I found a dead beetle below the bump. Freezing the seed and everything else with it may kill the beetle but not its eggs. I supposed I will have to find out by experiment.