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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Adventure 30: Rainbows, Flowers, Frogs, Wilson...


I don't even know what to say...

My absence is the result of a tireless 20 month old who loves to sing, color, and have an insanely advanced vocabulary coming out of her mouth at volume ten at all times.  Reise has had a strain of poxs, (molluscum contagiousum..sp?), for what feels like forever, so we've been keeping her away from people, (kids mainly).  It's made life interesting, but the beach we go to is always practically vacant and she asks for "beach" EVERY SINGLE DAY, so I believe she's still incredibly happy.  She also counts to 10, knows half of her ABC's, and can sing a number of songs semi-coherently at the top of her lungs.  I'm done bragging... maybe.

So, my gardens are not only lovely with plants, I have this deep intention to make them a sanctuary for Reise to enjoy.  In doing so, each garden has a "theme".  One garden has all sea creatures and ocean themed items scattered throughout.  One garden has my own painted rocks with strawberries, lady bugs, and a koi pond painted rock, (remember them from this blog?).  Another garden has my thrift store steal of two terra-cotta statue replicas of the Xian Chinese Warriors for $2, (which I bought before I researched them and then they later became obsessed... I never wished to go to China before, but now it may be in my top 15, all because of these statues I found in a dark corner at my favorite sketchy thrift store).  I even found a decapitated miniature beach ball with a friend at a beach on the West side... We were picking up trash anyways, but I up-cycled the beach ball into a well known face with a little red acrylic paint and my hand print.  Wilson lives covered in chayote squash leaves with bees buzzing all around.  Apparently he's not allergic.

My garden feels like treasure... a little treasure hunt I'm building for Reise, but also treasure for me.  Each piece has a story that I can't wait to share with her.  The whole whimsicality of it all keeps me buzzing with ideas to make it even more magical as she grows.  One of my recent projects that I just couldn't get out of my head was a tic-tac-toe log.  I saw one with bees and lady-bugs, but I wanted to up it a notch to my liking, (especially as I already have so many painted and real bees and lady bugs around already).  I searched tirelessly for logs lying alongside roadsides to no avail, until I found this log in a forrest, (one that I'm not sure if it's legal that I took it from, but those are all minor details).  Lono was, (happily), the key to tearing the bark off, (which I used for mulch), and then I painted it as I pleased.  Here's what I came up with:


The "extra" frog rock fell into that hole in the log on the
bottom left.  My tongs don't fit in there, so I guess that's
where he will live until I feel like lifting this heavy
a$$ thing AGAIN and shaking it upside down.





He looks way cooler now... surrounded by chayote vines
and planted on his garden post.

They are currently guarding the taro, chilies, and
lots of herbs.  I'm so obsessed with the Xian story!

And while I've wanted to photograph my gardens in all their blooming beauty, the weather has been, well... rainbow season.  Rainy, cold, sunny.  One minute I'm craving a hot chocolate, the next I'm outside in a tank top.  Either way, the lighting and the constant "drizzle" hasn't made for perfect picture taking weather for my gardens...  However, the rainbows have been magnificent all over the island and so here are some rainbow pictures I took at the beach the other day:

There's been a lot of winter rainbows... I was just lucky enough
to have brought my camera with me to the beach this day.

"I'm walking on sunshine... Oh OH OH... and don't it feel good!"

Just a little quote I wrote a very long time ago and finally decided to put on my Pinterest page:

Something I wrote some time ago and decided to put on top of
one of my photos from the top of Haleakala at sunrise.  I love how
the sun ended up accidentally lining up perfectly with the O.

The "R" Painting I did, (courtesy of a friend's find):

An "R" treasure find from our sweet friend, Safron, who
picked it up from a thrift store and knew I would paint it.
It was all a red gloss paint when she gave it to me...  so I
repainted it to be an underwater beach theme.
"R" is obviously for "Reise", and so it hangs above her bed.



And if we're not friends on Facebook, here's some pictures of my darling sweet baby girl 
and some of our latest adventures:

I just don't know how much longer I can stand it...

Beach Baby Tai Chi. 

Time is a blur... but one of my dearest and greatest friends, Genelle, came
to visit for a night and a day a few months ago and we had such a blast.
Reise obviously loves spending time with her Auntie Genelle!

I love this so much that my heart hurts.

Just incase you needed a lesson on "How to chill like A BOSS".
;)

The pumpkin patch at Kula Country Farms this year was
so wonderful for children.  A perfect photo-op all around!

She LOVES music and will play any instrument given the chance.



Me and my little pumpkin.  :)

Because of her pox, we spent early Halloween hiking and then
letting her look through the screen door while we handed out
candy to trick-or-treaters as she screamed, "TRICK OR!"  When
a scream masked kid came to the door, she yelled, "BOO!" at him,
(she associated his long, white face to a ghosts... HA!).


A girl and her dog.

The kiddos on another hike.

A picture my friend Kevin took of me showing Reise
a hermit crab at the beach on a day we met with Kevin
and his beautiful girlfriend, Laura.

Jun, Reise, and I found "where the red fern grows" hiking
around Haleakala.  
On said hike with la familia.  Pardon the no make-up on my behalf.

Mermaid blowing bubbles.



My sweet angel "Cheers-ing" me on my birthday with
her beverage of choice and me with mine.  :)

 And just a few more shots that warm my heart of "everyday life".  A girl and her guys, 
(my amazing husband, her amazing father, and one amazing dog).







Yes, she "lounged" herself in all of these photos.  No staging
required when it comes to this girl and her dog.


I always love hearing from you.

XOXO and Aloha,
Danielle



Monday, July 7, 2014

Adventure 29: Welcome to My Gardens, I'm Getting Crafty, and Our Hazardous Home!


Jun and I recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, (it's been an AMAZING two years)!  And with seeing how much joy my gardens bring to me, he got me a gardenia plant as well as a seed savers bank... Talk about knowing his wife well!  It's always a rule of mine, no cut flowers for me to watch die... If you get me flowers or any plants, let them be in dirt and let them live out their life giving me food or beautiful flowers to smell.  I also have a habit of giving seeds to friends on special occasions.  

My favorite is this one:  


The seeds are all non-GMO, and they mail seed packets every month for a year, so it's like a gift that you give to someone, (or to yourself), year round!  I think it is the most appreciated gift I've ever given.



Now juggling a toddler and trying to get things accomplished don't always go hand in hand.  I manage to keep a clean house, get my marketing work done for the veterinary clinics, and cook "real" meals.  When Jun is off work, we try to make it family time and spend the majority of our time at the beach, park, or hiking... or napping.  On days when he works, we rotate every other day so that we each get a little "me" time to de-stress.  He goes to the gym to work-out and the next day I get to work in my gardens.

When we moved into this house, we gained full responsibility of the yard.  The tenants before us let the yard go completely and were evicted because of it.  When I say they let the yard "go completely", it may still be an understatement.  The grass was so high and in the area that appeared to have once been gardens were weeds so tall and thick that I found gobs of garbage hidden in them, (including shovel heads, pick axes, wires, screws, screwdrivers... you name it!). 

I took the following pictures of the front yard area after I'd already done a days worth of work weeding and trimming, and these still don't show the entire area:


BEFORE:





This is a small view of the side wall where below you will see I
now have sunflowers, lemongrass, eggplants, kabocha
squash, zucchinis, pipinola and cucumbers growing.


So after hours of sweat, a little blood and some definite enjoyment, I've moved out loads of gravel, dug out an insane amount of weeds and lava rock, planted gardens that never even existed, and now we've got food flourishing all around us.  We also have a HUGE backyard, (not pictured), that I plan on putting in a corn and bean patch soon.  Not only is gardening good for the mind and soul, it's also good for the soil and the belly!


AFTER:

This was when I finally got out all the weeds, trash, and gravel,
(or kitty litter for the feral cats as I like to call it), and planted a few starts.
This is a recent picture, but you may have to blow it up to
really see.  This garden has quite the mix!  Fennel, green onions,
 garlic, hot peppers, rosemary, white radishes, basil, taro, marigolds, roses
and beyond, (this is only showing half of the front gardens).
Taro, hot peppers, fennel, and the Koi fish
rock I painted, (see below for more on that).
When you go to the other side of the front garden, you'll
find plenty of other yummy foods.  I have marked most of
the plants with wine corks that I wrote on with permanent
marker and then inserted a skewer into the base.  And so
now planting more food and more variety is a great
excuse to have to drink more wine! ;)

Lavender, sage, more sunflowers, lemon balm,
and missing in the photo of this garden are
more marigolds, oregano, more spicy hot
pepper plants, parsley, cilantro and thyme. 
Along the side wall you'll find eggplant, squashes,
sunflowers, lemongrass, cucumbers, and beyond the
gate is a tomato garden I recently put in from seed!  I
went into the jungle with Reise and chopped down
bamboo and made trellises for the squashes to grow
up.  In the process, I learned a lot about knot tying
to securely join bamboo together, (which was fun!).



And this one is "just because".  ;)
My marigold flower girl garden helper! 
Jun LOVES the kabocha squash best, (I'm certain of it!).
He looks at how it's grown everyday, and it's growing so fast!
This bamboo trellis has completely disappeared with four
kabocha plants taking it over.  I can't wait to eat these!
Working up to the front porch, I decided to plant strawberries
in (3) hanging baskets.  So far it's worked out great and
 these are definitely Reise's favorite.  Every time we walk
outside she points and says, "Straw-bur".  Needless to say,
she is the one who gets to pick and eat ALL of them. :)
If you were to look straight down from the strawberries,
you would see a 8' x 2' garden I planted along the deck with
loads of lettuce, dill, and aloe.  Arugula is my favorite!

As for crafts, well, when Reise colors, so do I.  She uses crayons and I use paint.  These are the coffee can planters I made.  My original plan was to do something like this along the lanai:  



But Jun thought it was just a bit too tacky, so I painted cute sayings on them and they are now on our step up to the front porch.




And these are some rocks I found at the beach that I made into garden art.  The gardens are turning into something of a fairytale land for a child.  My sweet friend Safron gave me colorful wooden sea creatures that were part of a kids ring toss that I've also added to the gardens.  OH, and we picked up a pin-wheel for Reise for $1 at the store the other day.  She loves to watch it spin!






I hope to also make some potato people soon.  :)


Our move here has been quite the journey.  Our first day in the house proved to us that the previous tenants were a complete hazard.  I can't believe the house didn't catch on fire, (not an exaggeration)!  They had burned a hole in the lanai using a charcoal grill on it, then when we started inspecting the place for ourselves, we couldn't believe the mess they'd left, (beyond a dirty kitchen).  The dryer vent had a screen shoved up it, (intentionally), and was backing up all the lint and debris, (which come to find out, the dryer before ours was broken... DUH!  The darn thing got too hot!).  The outlets in the two back bedrooms weren't working, so, (thanks to my Dad I know a thing or two about this sort of stuff), I went into the breaker box to find the fuse would spark, but not go to the on position, (TALK ABOUT DANGEROUS!).  I then looked around the outlets and found my culprit when I spotted a black mark around the plate cover.  It was this guy:

Some ding-dong put this huge screw where a teeny-tiny
screw is supposed to go to hold the plate cover on.  It
was poking through the wires.  This was in Reise's room
so I'm happy to have found it right away.

There were also metal b-b's all over Reise's carpet that we had to comb through to keep one from ending up in her mouth.  I've re-hung cabinet doors, fixed hose mounts, Jun and I have re-sealed plumbing and even installed a new kitchen faucet.  The first week I felt like "Tim the Tool-man Taylor", with a drill or a screwdriver always in hand.  Now that the repairs are done, the house really is a beautiful, (and safe), 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom home.  The only other complaint I have here is some of our neighbors, but that's a whole other novel.

Next blog I promise to tell you some really great and fun things about living here, (with pictures too of course), but I'm afraid I've written too much already.


Aloha and Happy Gardening,  :)
Danielle

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