Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Let's Make Our Own Flu Vaccine?

Well, excuse the heck out of me for a short (maybe not) rant about the flu that Swine don't spread, but that is definitely making a bundle for the drug industry.  In a struggling economy, I guess that would be the ticket to wealth and a happier life.  Buy into pharmaceutical stocks.

Talk the government into fining individuals for not getting a shot or inhaling a dangerous vaccine.  Insist all school children be vaccinated.  Push media hype on the big epidemic that doesn't exist.  I did have a case of "Swine Flu" myself, and guess what?  It was the mildest "flu" I've ever had.  I really cannot believe some of the invidious things people will do to make a buck.  It's hard to know where to start.  Maybe with the mercury content beyond safe levels, aluminum and other toxins?  Or, with the fact that more people died from polio after mass vaccinations?? Meanwhile, folks,on the bright side, there are inexpensive natural remedies, such as Vitamin D, which is an excellent preventative.

 The, is a good place to start, by asking some questions we should all be considering.  If you have elderly parents, children in school, are a health care provider, etc. etc., or just someone who believes what mainstream news sources, like the recent 60 Minutes infomercial, are pushing.  More information here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Music Man Opening

Photos courtesy of Daniel Nathaniel III
This is what you might call a Grandma's prerogative, brag post.  Kealani, as Amaryllis, here in The Music Man, currently playing in Hilo's historic Palace Theater.  Yes, she sings, dances, acts and plays the piano.  What a kid!  Hey, I'm allowed remember?

The entire cast, orchestra, and crew did a really outstanding job last night at their opening.  One criteria being Bob, who actually stayed awake the whole time.  See The Tribune-Herald for additional photos and a more detailed write-up.

If you happen to be in town, don't miss this wonderful show.  If you're out of state, isn't it about time you came to Hawaii for a visit?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ode to Abiu

This is not a recipe.  This is to thank God for his.  For all the recipes of creation he has come up with; so many, simply unbeatable fruits in this world of ours, which really need nothing further from us.  These Abiu, for instance. I can't think of any better way to eat them, than to just eat them. You'd have a hard time improving on anything so good.

Simply cut the fruit in half, then spoon out the creamy, instant vanilla custard.  I have found that most of the visitors, friends, repair guys, etc., coming by, have never heard of Abiu..  They're not too well known, I guess you could say.  A South of the Border phenomenon. At least Wikipedia has heard of them.

Some years the fruit flies get them and we have to tie little net bags around the fruit.  This year, as I've mentioned, even though I did bag some, the unbagged ones don't seem to be bothered.  My theory is that since there are so many little strawberry guavas fruiting right now, they're keeping all the fruit flies too busy to go looking under leaves for this fruit.
But who really knows the mind? of a fruit fly?  The other day they were buzzing all around my Thai Basil.  Maybe they're developing a taste for Thai food. I also like the way abiu don't all ripen at once.  You have a sort of pantry effect here. 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Incarnations of Beach Glass

Before moving to the Big Island, we lived for a number of years on the North Shore of Oahu, in a beachfront rental. I would occasionally pick up and save bits of beach glass, shells and sea scoured Kukui nuts (which, unfortunately got left behind in the move). The glass and shells came with me, and recently I was able to use some in a tile, shell and glass mosaic when our pool was built.

You can see a few pieces here and there.
What brought this to mind was a nail file, of all things, made of beach glass. But so beautiful, it reminded me of a dragonfly with its iridescent coloring. A form of fusion glass, layers fired one at a time over each other, by artist Katharine Easton. I would include a link for her, but have been unable to find one. Her company is Beachglass Hawaii and the files as well as some jewelry are available at various galleries on the island. One of those things you can't justify getting for yourself, but still have to buy for a special gift. For some strange reason, I would purchase earrings for myself, but it seems that a fancy nail file is just over the line one step.

From what I've read, the sandblasted file will last forever.

Another creative use of beach glass by local artist, Karin Sayre, known for her mosaic mirror pieces. This one in my study features a hula girl.

These represent a new spin for what was debris, waste material dumped into the ocean. Good when something positive can be made of it. Maybe a righteous purpose (more probably money-making) will also be found for the giant skein of floating plastic, located somewhere in the Pacific between Hawaii and California. Called the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", according to some reports it's about twice the size of Texas. I read somewhere that it might be possible to convert it to diesel fuel. You go guys!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Waipio Wedding

The road was straight downhill from here. And, I do mean down. Four-wheel drive is required and absolutely necessary. The grandkids and I were all screaming at Bob to "Slow Down", as he's laughing. This is the way to Waipio Valley, scene of that wedding I mentioned a few weeks ago. I said I'd post a photo, but decided to do a post of photos instead. It was just so lovely.

In fact it was so nice, even these wild horses came.

Parents, this is the way to have your kids marry. No expensive hotel space to rent, catered meals, or troop of musicians for hire, absolutely no costs whatever. Well, hardly. Planned potluck food. Outdoors in a beautiful setting. I love it. Not the road getting there particularly, but once arrived, it was terrific.

Old friends, some good food, Prosecco and Tangerine Wine (made by yours truly) swimming, kayaking in Waipio river which empties into the sea here, surfing even. None of which athletic things I did. I sat and ate and talked and enjoyed the view though.

The Family of the Bride, were visiting from Canada. There was actually a wedding as well. We convinced him to put a shirt on first.

Their friends played some enchanting music,

and Bob joined in on pipe and harmonica.

Unfortunately, I must have been too busy eating to get any pictures of the food. Fresh caught grilled fish, bbq'd beef, wonderful salads, two delicious cakes (none of your commercial wedding cake here) and other stuff, which I'm forgetting at this remove in time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Leaf of Life

This is not it
Today I discovered some information about two more of the "weeds" in my garden. One I think I can leave in the weed category and not have any angst about ripping it out. Pictured above, it is known variously as Wild Tobacco, and Woolly Nightshade, officially as Solanum mauritianum.

It is poisonous, and handling the plants can apparently cause irritation and nausea. I didn't notice any, but after I read that, I immediately washed my hands.

On the other side of the spectrum of good and evil, there is the "Leaf of Life", (Kalanchoe pinnata) also known as air plant, miracle leaf, goethe and the katakataka plant.

This little baby, which heretofore I'd pretty much barely tolerated, has all sorts of wonderful, healthful applications. Also, though admittedly rather decorative, it has the ability to propagate itself from each and every dropped leaf. But now I'll be looking at my air plants differently. To give you an idea of the extent of its use, from an interesting site on Tropical herbs.


Kalanchoe is somewhat of a panacea to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon; they employ it for many different purposes. The Creoles use the lightly roasted leaves for cancer and inflammations, and a leaf infusion is a popular remedy for fevers. The Palikur mix the leaf juice with coconut oil or andiroba oil and then rub it on the forehead for migraines and headaches. To the Siona indigenous peoples, kalanchoe is known as 'boil medicine' and they heat the leaves and apply them topically to boils and skin ulcers. Along the Rio Pastaza in Ecuador, natives use a leaf infusion for broken bones and internal bruises. In Peru, indigenous tribes mix the leaf with aguardiente (sugar cane rum) and apply the mixture to the temples for headaches; they soak the leaves and stems overnight in cold water and then drink it for heartburn, urethritis, and fevers. The root is also prepared as an infusion and used for epilepsy. Other tribes in the Amazon squeeze the juice from fresh leaves and mix it with mother's milk for earaches.

Throughout South America kalanchoe has had a long history of use. It is commonly called the 'miracle leaf' and 'life leaf' for its remarkable healing properties. In Brazil the plant is considered a sedative, wound-healer, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and cough suppressant. It is used for all sorts of respiratory conditions-from asthma and coughs to bronchitis. It is also employed for kidney stones, gastric ulcers, skin disorders and edema of the legs. Externally a leaf infusion or the leaf juice is used for headaches, toothaches, earaches, eye infections, wounds, ulcers, boils, burns and insect bites. In Peru the plant is employed for the same uses. In Mexico and Nicaragua kalanchoe is used for similar purposes and also to promote menstruation and assist in childbirth.

God has given us such an amazing world. So much to learn, absorb, use. I've started a collection of pages with pictures and information on what is growing around here. We have a veritable pharmacy right at hand.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Garbage In Garbage Out

My granddaughter offered me the choice of one of her TicTacs or a stick of gum. Neither one was at all tempting. Usually the only time I'll have some gum is if my ears are popping on an airplane. Sodas don't tempt me either. All that sugar (or sugar substitute) and misc. ingredients are very off-putting for some reason.

I found this article, leapfrogging from Organically cooked, as we habitually do on the web, and thought it worth posting the main points here too, as it reinforces what I've been mulling over, and talking about for some time. You may think it freaky that I'd eat some mushrooms growing wild outdoors, but shopping in your local supermarket can prove more dangerous to your health.

From the article reviewing Michael Pollan's lecture: 7 Rules for Eating
Choose Food Over Food-Like Substances,
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 23, 2009 -- Food author Michael Pollan in a lecture given last week to an overflow crowd of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) scientists.

As part of an effort to bring new ideas to the national debate on food issues, the CDC invited Pollan -- a harsh critic of U.S. food policies -- to address CDC researchers and to meet with leaders of the federal agency.

"The French paradox is that they have better heart health than we do despite being a cheese-eating, wine-swilling, fois-gras-gobbling people," Pollan said. "The American paradox is we are a people who worry unreasonably about dietary health yet have the worst diet in the world."

In various parts of the world, Pollan noted, necessity has forced human beings to adapt to all kinds of diets.

"The Masai subsist on cattle blood and meat and milk and little else. Native Americans subsist on beans and maize. And the Inuit in Greenland subsist on whale blubber and a little bit of lichen," he said. "The irony is, the one diet we have invented for ourselves -- the Western diet -- is the one that makes us sick."

Snowballing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in the U.S. can be traced to our unhealthy diet. So how do we change?

7 Words & 7 Rules for Eating

Pollan says everything he's learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Probably the first two words are most important. "Eat food" means to eat real food -- vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat -- and to avoid what Pollan calls "edible food-like substances."

Here's how:

  1. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
  2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
  3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
  4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
  5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
  6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
  7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
He's even done a Manifesto. Altogether, I found his ideas helpful, also echoing what Michael Ruhlman has to say about the food industry and our cooking/ eating habits, joined by some other well-known chefs, food writers in this debate.

There is a spiritual parallel here. What the world serves up as true and right, depending on the cultural norms of the time and place, the politically correct thing to believe, ain't necessarily so. We are blessed to have our Creator's Word on the subject of truth, the Operating Manual as it were, for life. Just as we want to get our water filtered and pure, before we drink it down, there's for sure a lot of garbage that needs sorting out of what goes into our belief systems.

Another good parallel is the time issue. We don't have time to shake a few ingredients together in a bottle for our own salad dressing, but we can find the time to comment endlessly on blogs, or... We don't have time to spend meditating on Scripture and in prayer but... what are our priorities supposed to be anyway?