Hawaiian Winter, Toughing it out

It’s the season of Ku . Lono has had his time and now is fading away for the year. (Lono Arrives) As he leaves with just a few more months of winter left I look at all of the dark clouds and mango trees being blown in the winds. I mourn as the blossoms fall to the ground. It means there may not be a big crop this year.

As I drive Nico to school in the early morning, the clouds cover the sky and the sun just barely breaks through. Our winter, the time of Lono, barely seemed to be a winter at all. And though Lono no longer presides over the season, it seems that he has left some cold reminders as Ku ushers in what will soon be our summer. But not to quickly as, hopefully, we will have some rain to help with the very dry winter.

Now it may not seem like a winter to those of you who do not live in Hawaii. It is to us who are used to the temperatures that normally  hang in the high eighties with humidity that can get to be  brow wiping higher . As I sit here in my tee-shirt and jeans my feet are cold. I’m wearing a sweater and drinking a very hot cup of coffee trying to warm up. My feet are cold because I don’t have slippers.

Here in Hawaii you don’t wear shoes in the house. It is part of the Hawaiian custom. My slippers were, well, getting too slippery so they went the way of the trash can.

Our winter has become my favorite time of the year though. The colors become more intense in the sky and rainbows are in abundance. And the snow! well actually it’s the shower trees. The winter winds blow the flowers from the tree looking to me like tufts of snow. But of course you don’t need a snow plow, salt to keep the roads ice-free or mounds of clothes when the thermometer drops to the single digits. You just have to stop and smell the flowers.

I had to pull over and take out my trusty camera to capture the beauty of this winter day.

Yellow Shower Tree

The flowers, like snow, lay on the ground

During the evening I drove over to the other side of the island. I took the the H-3 Highway. If you ever get to Hawaii, you must, I can’t emphasis this enough, take a drive through the H3. The mountains cut like diamonds from the volcano’s that once erupted on this island are covered with green that often looks like velvet. Palms, rubber trees, mangoes and every form of ground coverseems to spring up as you drive from one side of the island to the other.

As I pulled over to the scenic point that was at the end of the highway it was with much disappointment. It was still winter after all and the hoped for sunset was nowhere to be photographed. But, after all, this is a blog about Hawaiian Winter. No sun straining through the clouds, just gray mass shrouding the mountains and darkening the sea.

So as this boat sails off into the clouds I wish you hot chocolate and snugly blankets. Unless you live in Hawaii and if you do then maybe I will see you at the beach tomorrow! Hey somebody has to live here.

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Out Of The Museum And Into The Light

PART TWO OF THE WAIPAHU PLANTATION VILLAGE
As we leave the Plantation Museum I’m walking quickly to catch up. I’m excited, were on our way to the houses. As we walk down the ramp our guide points out all of the flags flying in front. Each represents a nation who had citizens immigrate to the islands to work on the sugar plantation. Seeing them flapping in the breeze representing all who had come made it tangible. I’d only thought of the Japanese and the Filipino as plantation workers before. Now I realized the extent to which the Sugar Planters had reached out and subjugated people with hopes and dreams, to a life of harsh and oftentimes inhumane conditions.
Flags From China, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Philippines and  Hawaii Amongst Others
I could see the homes just past the flags.  I started to head in that direction when I noticed that the guide was going in the opposite direction. He was now talking about the Bodhi Tree which was a direct descendent  of the tree that Buddha had sat under.
Bodhi Tree
As he went on about the garden I once again began to take photos as  I was very familiar with the plants that he was telling everyone about. I noticed all of the tangerines filling out one of the trees. Snap, another photo.
Then I noticed a huge Mango tree and it was packed with blossoms unlike I had ever seen in Hawaii. I thought maybe they had fed it something special. When I asked him about it he apathetically answered that the tree just gave fruit like that every year. He continued on about something to which at this time I was not listening to as I was so mesmerized by the Mango tree.
Mango in Bloom
Again the clock was ticking. I was beginning to think we would not be going to look at the houses. Now it was an hour into the tour. As I turned from the mango tree to walk over to the guide, he was now explaining about some Korean totem poles that were called Jang seungs that were objects of Korean natural religions.
 So now I had heard about the Japanese religion, and now the Korean religion. The thought ran through my mind that maybe they don’t go to the plantation houses but just have them there for you to ponder and contemplate.
I had just over an hour left before I had to leave and I was not sure when we would head over to the other side.
Jang Seun Or Devil Post Served As Border Markers For Private Land Or Village Guardians To Ward Off Evil
Hawaiian sugar Cane. Though Sweet It Caused Much Sorrow
At last our guide said to us that we would now enter a time tunnel that would take us into the past. He marched towards a galvanized tunnel that went under the entrance road and we finely came out on the other side and I still had a little over an hour left.
To be continued: Part three, Wait I want to take a photo!

Pray for Mangos or How to bake a great Mango Bread

Madeline Awong’s Mango Bread Recipe

Whistling from the kitchen a tuneless song, my mother in law would happily cook and bake. I remember the Portuguese soup with lots of kale, baking with large chunks of fruit inside her upside down pineapple cake and brown mango bread with large pieces of orange mango to contrast.

In her memory I would like to share this recipe for Mango Bread. I believe the secret to its greatness was the fact that she never diced the mangoes but crushed them so that with each bite you would get a wonderful taste of the fruit.

Mango Bread

2 C flour sifted

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup sugar

Mix and form a well in center

add

3 well beaten eggs

3/4 Cup oil

2 Cup Mangos mashed

1 tsp vanilla

Nuts and raisins are optional

Mix and pour into greased pan and Bake at 325 for 1 hour