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Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude!

Today, I have the urge to show the love... Even though I feel the love everyday of my life; it's better to get it out than to keep it all in.  When I think of everything I'm grateful for in my life, I easily get tears welling up in my eyes. For a girl raised by basically all boys, tears are not something that come easy for me.  You could give me a solid punch in the face and I would probably not even come close to shedding a single tear, (please don't though). =]  But when it comes to my amazing friends, my fabulous family, my husband, my dog, my life... My salty gratitude drops flow easily, with no fair warning. 

So a huge, giant, enormous MAHALO to all of you in my life that make each day so special!!! :-)


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
--William Arthur Ward
 
These gorgeous "wave"earring were given to me... Handmade by my gorgeous, extremely artistic, and multi-talented friend, Genelle.  I got them in the mail... and have worn them most days since.  They are more than earrings though, they are a constant reminder of the friendships I cherish, no matter how far away I may live, or how little my friends and I get to talk. 
Thank you GENELLE! :)


Seriously, Tommy and I could not have been more fortunate than to get stationed in Maui... with the added bonus of getting to meet a great group of friends here.  So grateful for all my favorite people who keep me laughing til' it hurts. :) This was on my b-day when I walked in and got pelted with balloons. =]

Family is a no brainer I guess... but I really have to say, I feel I've got one of the best in the whole wide world. :) I honestly don't even know who took this picture, because most the family is in it.  The bonus to my already great ohana? 90% of us love to cook.  Take the 25 of us that get together at Grandma's on holidays and you've got yourself a drool worthy smorgasboard!  (Not too mention all the comedians!)

And my guys of course!  Without these handsome dudes, most my life would be a major dud. =)


Tommy's birthday is this weekend and he has MANY surprises in store.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who loves dog-sitting? ME ME ME!!!

Meet Billy! We watched this beautiful poi boy while his parents were on Kauai, and I must say, I was sad to see him leave.  His Pops works with Lono's Dad at U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui.  We're all friends, so Lono and Billy have had the joy of runnin' rampid together at social gatherings. They are the perfect pair in size, weight, and playing style.  Lono had such great company, but I must admit I was "a little" freaked out by just how much they love each other.  They were always cuddling and kissing... and did other things I wont mention. ;) But so is the way of the dog I reckon!  (Boys!) =]

                                                                                     


About Billy:

He is approximately 2 1/2 years old, adopted from MHS a few months ago when Mark and Lorain got stationed in Maui. Billy is extremely loving all the time and I got use too, and fond of, the out of nowhere face plops he did with his adorable fat head in my lap when I wasn't looking.  His eyes tell a story... One no one really knows of his life before, but I only hoped to catch a little of it in a picture.  He is hyper and mellow, and extremely loyal.  He snores louder than any dog I know and he will eat whatever you put in front of him.  He doesn't chase the ball... he chases whoever is chasing the ball.  He is more into humans and animals than toys.  He is very obedient, and Mark and Lorain have given him such a beautiful life.  They will be giving him a beautiful (human) baby brother or sister next March, and I have no doubts, Billy will be the best big brother there is.  I LOVE BILLY, (and Lono boy does too!).




Handsome little devils, aren't they?




I caught them out on the lanai like this. YEP, they're smiling. =]





Lono running with his ball... Billy running because Lono's running. hehe.

WILL BLOG FOR COMMENTS!!! =]


XOXO,
QB

Thursday, November 11, 2010

From Cherry to Brew, Queen B's Coffee Roasting How To!

We live in a world where life is as easy as the money or plastic you carry in your wallet.  We don't think twice when it comes to our daily cup o' joe... But have you ever wondered where it comes from?  How it's made?  Or even if you can do it yourself right at home?  If you have been following my camping excursion, my last post concluded the trip with my bounty of fruits and coffee berries that I found and brought home.  During my hike in Kipahulu, I picked coffee for a good half hour and looked forward to bringing it home to roast.  For those of you who have never seen coffee on the plant, I took this picture to show its beauty.  The red "cherry" contains the bean with its soft outer shell.  The coffee is ready to pick when the berry reaches a deep red coloration like those seen here.  *CLICK on pictures to enlarge*

Step 1
 There are various methods used for roasting coffee, and they tend to vary greatly from country to country, and even household to household.  For home roasting, you can do the skillet method, (which produces a rather uneven roast), or you can purchase a home roaster, (which is great, but expensive), or you can roast it with a popcorn popper, (which is perfect for a cheap-skate like me, and very effective for an even roast). 

Step 1:  I remove the casings by putting the whole cherries in my Vitamix blender mixed with water at a high speed.  The red casing comes off first, which is soft and pulpy and very quick to remove.... Then there is the second hard shell around the bean, which takes a bit longer to "blend" off.  After words, I seperate the beans from the pulp, saving all of the pulp for step 2.


                                                                         Step 2:  I lay my beans out in the sunshine to dry.  Here in Maui, it doesn't take very long because the sun is usually always shining. :)  While the beans are sunbathing, I take my pulp over to our worm "composting" bin.  Our wiggly pets gobble it right up and then poo out lovely fertilizer into our soil, which is far better than that miracle grow chemical crapola we somehow justify using.... YUCK!  We also feed our worms all of our scraps from fruits, veggies, egg shells, and certain grains... As well as coffee grounds with their unbleached filters and even tea bags!

HOORAY for the Worm Composting Bin!
Step 3:  Once the beans have dried, they are ready to be roasted in the popcorn popper.  I double up two soup cans because those beans can really jump! Once they start roasting, I stir until the beans start popping up on their own.  I like my beans on the darker side, so I do the two "crack" method.  They let out an obvious crack about 5-7 minutes into roasting, and another a couple minutes later.  After that, I unplug the popcorn maker, knock off the soup cans with my stirring utensil (because it is SUPER hot), and then transfer the beans immediately into a deep pan or metal coliander and shake them around to cool them off to prevent them from over-roasting. 

Step 4:  The beans are done!  Now, I just grind them up in my Vitamix, (most people would likely use a real grinder).  Now it's off  into the coffee maker or french press it goes! 

I always roast outside... For one, it is a very high heat process.. And two, there is smoke.

It takes a bit of work and time, but it is SO worth it.  I take my steamy cup of deliciousness with a spot of soymilk and ENJOY the fruits of my labor! =] 


Beans Roasting

The finished product!

Ready to be brewed...

I saved a shell from each to show the differences.

Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment down below! =)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Camp Trip Day 4- The Grand Finale



Sunrise from our camp site
Being as during this entire camping experience, I slept better than I have in awhile... I woke up again a little late, with just enough time to throw in my contacts, jump out of the van, and snap this sunrise shot.  A beautiful sight over the ocean... One I enjoy every time I spend the night in Kipahulu.  After sunrise, we headed up to do our solo hike on the Pipiwai trail.  It's always wondrous how we manage to be the only hikers at that hour, but to my advantage, because the 2 mile hike up the trail was incredibly peaceful and the scenery was "fairy tale" intense. 

This hike is perhaps my favorite hike of all.  Every 1/2 mile is something different.  First you start in the guava forest, (which felt like I was walking through an air strike, there were guavas pelting down from their branches so frequently).  Next comes the incredible banyan tree, with its towering limbs and scattered roots.
Onwards you hit one of the BEST bamboo forests I've ever seen, with stalks that can be well over 6 inches in diameter.  It is hovering so thick over the trail, it can seem as though you are walking in near pitch dark.  We crossed two streams, me taking extreme care not to slip and harm my camera... Lono on the other hand, splashing and swimming and drinking merrily without a care in the world.  The final destination we reached is Waimoku Falls.  It is a breathtaking sight and it is also Maui's largest waterfall, towering 400 ft. high, and a real struggle to get all in one frame.  It was there we ate our breakfast and sat in awe for a good thirty minutes undisturbed.  I picked some awapuhi ginger and squeezed it into my grimy hair, (it smells amazing and is the soapy consistency of shampoo).  It is believed to be the key ingredient in Paul Mitchell's hair care line, he himself has a farm of it on the Big Island.  Lono and I headed back slowly to gather fruit from the secret places Tommy and I had found from our first diversion trip off the trail over a year ago.  I packed my alpaca sack with lillikoi, guava, and coffee beans.  So many people walk right by coffee plants, not ever knowing what it is due to its red berry disguise. 

My scary experience for the day was the first hiker I came across on my way down.  He was rather close to the falls so I hoped to give him the joy in telling him that he had it all to himself.  The man old enough to be my Dad said to me, "Do you mean you?".  (*Shutters*)  I said, "No, the falls", and with one hand on my pocket knife and the other on my pepper spray, I made sure to walk past him as far away as I could.  Talk about creepy!  The rest of the hike was lovely, and I shared some of my fruit with a woman from Santa Barbara, California who was a real estate agent visiting Maui alone.  A very nice woman, but I felt awful when she took the lillikoi and tried to bite right into it's tough and bitter rhine. I stopped her in time to tell her to save it until she gets a knife and just eat the seeds on the inside. =]  For the rest of
the day, I was on a fun mission I had developed the night before.  I wanted to bring home Tommy a bunch of apple bananas, a taro kalo, and some coconuts, on top of my other fruit gatherings.  I knew it would impress him and he'd be delighted.  The apple bananas came easy enough, next came the coconuts at "Coconut Glen's" stand where I met the cutie pie doggy and his sister pictured down below.  A definite stop for divine vegan ice cream that will make your taste buds explode with delight.  I also met a very interesting man who has started, "Recycle Maui".  He showed me his incredible cigar box ukuleles. Both the bananas and coconuts I got for next to nothing, but made certain to throw in an "attitude of gratitude" tip.  The taro is seemingly impossible to get whole and not in the form of just leaf or mashed into poi. 
Awapuhi Ginger
In my search for it, I stopped in Kaenae and ended up hanging out with a HUGE local family that were having a cookout in remembrance of someone they had lost a year ago. They made endless phone calls on my behalf to their Uncle's and cousins,
trying to get me just a couple Kalo roots.  I tried to stop them, but their generosity was immense.  I left empty handed, but my heart was full and I made numerous nameless friends that I feel grateful for.  Back at Hanamanu Bay, I got reception and decided to do my check in call with Tommy.  He said our friends were having a get together... and after a brief conversation with him and our great friend Matt, it was determined I was to go home that night and be with the people I love so dear.  A quick shower, and then a great night of scrumptious food, music, and laughter.... This was indeed a camp trip I will never forget.  And so it goes, I think I've made an accidental tradition for myself.  Every year for my birthday in October, I can see no gift better than the gift of solitude and peace back in the heart of nature.  To, in fact, go into the "REAL" world, and leave this crazy, chaotic, concrete jungle for just a week.  It has made all the difference... 

Lono made friends at Coconut Glen's on the Hana Highway.

Cigar box ukulele's and  an upcoming project.

My fruit bounty I brought home with me.
The day after the camp trip ended, I took the day to unpack and roast the coffee I'd collected at home.  Next blog, I will show you my step by step process on how I do it.  Coming up still, I have some new pet shoots to share, as well as a BIG SURPRISE you are NOT going to want to miss!!!  Be sure to enter your email address into the box on the right to receive my blog posts via email.  I've been so busy that I didn't get a chance to blog about the MHS pet costume contest, but you can find the pictures of the cute contestants on my fan page on facebook.  Mahalo for reading! =]


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Three- "Hana Bound"

Doodlebear sleeping, (It got much worse than this).
Lono and I woke up and went right to work on making french press coffee and then headed out to find what new adventures were in store, as well as peace and serenity. We took the back way through Haiku to head slowly to the remote and lush horse town of Hana.  Lono must not have slept well the night before, as he gave me a good hard belly laugh when he slept with his head out the window.  I had to wonder if people thought he was even alive, as he was totally passed out. Our first stop was the often photographed from afar, but rarely visited Honomanu Bay.  All alone in the mornings sunshine, Lono played in the water while I enjoyed strolling along the ocean side with my thoughts and then later, my camera.  We shared a quick meal and carried on, already feeling like a billion bucks.                                                                    
Honomanu Bay
A stop we always make every trip to Hana is in Ka'enae.  There is a secret coconut spot which also offers ridiculous views of the rich coastline. I saw a playful dragonfly and Lono husked a coconut in less than a minute... His new record!  We cruised slow to Hana Bay for an incredible swim in the ocean with my mutt, who was a ham enough to draw a small crowd of children.  They loved giving Lono commands to fetch his ball in the water.  We stopped at Koki beach where the surf was up, and made our way slowly to our campsite for the night in Kipahulu by the 7 sacred pools.  I chose the corner spot, on the ocean, next to the trails. 
We fetched firewood on a mini hike, (Lono loves dragging trees and sticks), and made a pile by the grill pit for later.  I painted a bit and then chopped up a dinner of eggplant, potato, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary and basil from our garden, and made a hobo pack in aluminum foil.  Some "right out of college" guys showed up beside me later with their charcoal and lots of lighter fluid.  I seriously had an inner giggle when I saw them struggle to keep the coals lit.  They drunkenly stopped by my site later to tell me how dumb I made them feel by blowing on my sticks and getting my fire going faster than theirs. I told em', "Didn't mean to hurt your egos city boys!" After they inquired a little more about me and "What is a girl like me doin' alone out here?", I gave them the schpeel on my birthday gift to self, along with informing them about my protective dog who's trained in German, and of course, my husband. Never was I harsh... I was just making certain my "off limits bubble" was inflated.         

A peaceful night by the fire, some guitar, some great food, and being by the salty rhythmic ocean with my furry monkey at my feet... Life doesn't get much better than that...

Kaenae (Click to enlarge any picture, but especially this one!)

Looking down on our camp spot from the trail.  Can you see the van?
Lono Mono posing like a ham.
Happy Horse in Hana =]

Comments are cherished, (click on "Post a Comment" below)! And don't forget to check out the website: http://www.queenbphotography.com/

XOXO- Danielle (Queen B.)  =]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Barktoberfest!

While I take a mini-break about my camping adventures, I'd like to get back to the important stuff.... PETS!  Even though there were no actual pets at this years Maui Humane Society fundraiser, "Barktoberfest"... It was obvious that they were the stars of the night, and in everyones thoughts and hearts.  I made so many wonderful new friends and met so many fellow pet fanatics; from volunteers, to staff, to MHS supporters, my smile was from ear to ear when I left.  The food was great, the drinks were great (Maui Brewing Co.), the music was great, the atmosphere was great, and of course the people there supporting the wonderful cause were amazing.  My mid-October resolution is to find more volunteer time to give to MHS... After all, they gave me the best gift anyone could ever give me... my best little buddy, Lono Mono Marsh!  =]  A big giant "MAHALO" toMHS staff, supporters, and volunteers for all that you do!

And while I didn't really get a chance to take many pictures as I was busy selling tickets and "obsessively" selling flowers, I did manage to snap a few.... CLICK on each picture to enlarge. :)

Wonderful Volunteers!

More volunteers and staff of MHS, Dr. Kim and her lovely daughter.

How cool is this?  The only pet there was made completely of fresh flowers!

My obsession was selling every last one of these beautiful bouquets made for the event by Bella Bloom.  The "vase" was a dog bowl... How creative is that? Thanks Bella Bloom!

One of the nights performers were the "Haiku Hillbilly's" (Awesome!). Also there were the Cool Cats (who ROCKED out), and an oompa (SP?) band!

Keiki Corner!
This really was a wonderful night... If you didn't make it this year, make sure to mark your calender next year!  And speaking of calenders... The MHS calenders will be coming out soon... Woo hoo! 

If you would like to make a donation to MHS, you can do so by clicking on the pug on my contact page here: www.queenbphotography.com/contact

Have a wonderful Sunday!  XOXO- Danielle (Queen B.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day Two- "When Nature Calls"

I thought I would've slept miserably with no Tommy and in the bitter cold, (you mainlanders would laugh or scowl, as "bitter cold" to me was at least in the 50's). I fell asleep easily though and when I woke, it was pitch black and chilly.  I immediately thought, "Oh no, here we go... I'm waking up at midnight just so I can toss and turn for hours trying to fall back asleep."  I had a sense of relief when I realized I was in the fetal position completely submerged under the sleeping bag, and then disappointment set in when I uncovered and realized that I had actually overslept past sunrise, (which is why most people go to Haleakala in the first place).  Lono and I started our morning driving to the top anyway, and once we got there, we had it all too ourselves as all the tourists had vanished.  The crater, which could hold all of Manhattan, never seizes to take my breath away, whether streaming with fluorescent colors or glowing in the sunlight.
The crater a bit past sunrise.

On the way back down, I stopped back at the campground to make some coffee with my two burner and french press, a definite camping necessity for a Carroll.  Then we were ready to head into the woods, and the days choice was easy... Maui's own redwood forest.  Most don't even know that a redwood forest exists outside of Northern California, let alone in Maui, but I am somewhat grateful for its secrecy and moderately difficult road that leads to it's incredible trails.  When I got there, there were surprisingly numerous children and parents scurrying about... Likely on a boyscout adventure.

Where's Lono? =]

Lono and I, equipped with water, snacks, TP, camera, pepper spray, and a pocket knife, headed into the towering forest.  Immediately, I felt burdenless and free... with no fear of the miles ahead.  For Lono, a single stick is the equivalent to drugs for a crackhead, and so I let him get his "fix" as the nutcase he is... galloping and chasing and chewing and shaking all the branches he could find.  We did the 5 mile loop trail and the experience was outrageously amazing.  From being in a thick cloud cover, to the young, yet large redwoods, to the flowered meadows and fields of ferns, I was invigorated. There were numerous pig tracks but very few signs of human life.  In fact we did not see a single person the entire time, (which felt strange but wonderful), and when the hike ended back at the PoliPoli campground, my hair stood on end and I got a shiver at the sight.  Just my van and one other car remained in the earlier crowded parking lot.  Apparently the boy-scouts were packing up when we got there, not setting up.  The cars door was open as if someone were watching me so I was quick to snap a picture, (just in case).  I leashed Lono up and slowly made my way towards the van.  Potentially worse then a lurker was the bashed up and mangled car someone had taken the liberty of destroying.  Why the van was untouched, I'll never know.  Maybe because of the security alarm?  My heart beating out of my chest, we loaded up and drove away.  There was a grungy guy in a pickup at the top of the hill... I didn't even make eye contact, I just kept on keeping on. 

License plate GPE425. Poor innocent little car...
A few mini-hikes and the mandatory relaxation for the rest of the day, we stayed at high elevations and caught sunset before calling it quits. This sunset was special because we watched it IN the clouds, (which was a first for me).  If you've never seen a sunset in a cloud, I highly recommend it.  It's a whole different world. It is like entering into a world of color... Like the most radical and psychedelic tinted sunglasses you could ever own with a giant dose of haze and mystery thrown in.  An amazing end to our wonderful adventure and with the next day to look forward too, we fell right to sleep. 


After all, that's what life should be about, right?  While we mope about work and money and petty shenanigans, we should really be looking forward to the next day, and being grateful for all we have.

Here are some more pictures from our hike and sunset:

My attempt to get Lono facing the camera on a self timer. Hahaha!
Even if this is part of a restoration project, (which I'm not sure of), my inner tree hugger still weeps at the numbers.

Monks, (one of his many nicknames), chillin' in the beautiful meadow. 

Had to do it... A throne fit for a Queen.... B. ;-)

Sunset IN the clouds. It "felt" so surreal.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Camp Trip- Day Numero Uno "A Walk in the Clouds"

I've been asked over and over again about my camp trip, and I know for a fact that one blog will not do unless I bombard you with pictures and stories.  So here we go... Day by day... Lono & I's life on the road and our journeys into the woods....

Tommy and I made an agreement before I left that I had to spend my nights in the van since he was not with me and I could lock the doors. At first, I felt a little bummed because I really wanted to be a full blown hobo, but it turned out for the best and allowed us to see MANY places, since we were camping on wheels. 

We hiked well over 5 miles everyday, and spent the rest of our time in nature, thinking, writing, painting, and meeting other adventures.  Day 1 we went up up and away.... into the clouds, past the clouds, and to the top of Haleakala.  A friend warned me that dogs weren't allowed on trails... but we bent some rules... AND then got kicked off the trail by a ranger... I just don't get why dogs aren't allowed?  I mean, people poo too, right? ;)

Enough about poo and silly pet rules... Our short lived hike was through a glorious eucalyptus grove.  The coolness, the smells, the sounds, and my best little buddy by my side... I knew then that this trip was exactly what I needed in my life.  With no computer and my cell phone kept off, (except for my promised morning and evening "check ins" with Tommy), I felt awakened to the "real world".  Afterwards, we caught the sunset above the clouds and spent the night at Hosmer's Grove campground in Haleakala National Park, (Note: They no longer allow any fires of any sort in the camping area). 

Here are some of our day one pictures... Click to enlarge.

P.S. If you haven't liked Queen B. Photography on Facebook yet, what are you waiting for? ;)

Here's the border of crossing into the clouds.  You can even see the ocean!

This moo cow was chillin' in his cool and cloudy meadow.

Heaven?
A gift from Tommy and a sincere weakness of mine that makes most people go "ECK!"
Panda All Natural Black Licorice

Crazy cool eucalyptus trees in the clouds.

Watching the sunset, just me and the boy, at our awesome little lookout we found.
Lono being an excellent guard dog. =]

 *If you were here, let me know, by leaving a comment down below! :-) Have a wonderful Hump Day!*
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