Sunday, July 29

Super Dock experience....

Today after church, hubby and I stopped by the local sporting goods store to watch the Eukanuba Super Dock Series...What a fun event. ENJOY!!

 Except for Jake...all the above dogs were just spectators...

 These two, well they were definitely amateurs....

 this was Ace...and Ace could FLY!!

 didn't catch this ones name...but he was a ham

Thursday, July 26

just another day on the farm...

Taking a brief break from the Hawaii shots to share our farm life with you. As I post this, I've got salsa simmering on the stove ready to be canned, we've just devoured a sweet cantaloupe fresh from the garden and I'm wondering what in the world I'm going to do with all these butternut squash. We have been blessed with a bountiful garden this summer despite the lack of moisture.
The corn and beans fields that surround us are burning up and dying...even the weeds are brown. It looks more like late August instead of late July. We did receive a half inch of rain last night, I was sad I didn't hear it over the hum of the air conditioner :(
The following collage shows some snippets of  life the past week. The blue birds have successfully fledged another brood, the sound of sprinklers is constant, my Gracie, the neighbor's runaway horses, a bit of color in a brown landscape, finally some clouds, yep, that's me, more color, my whirly gig, smart frog in the flower garden pomnd, gotta love my garden sunflower, even the birds are panting, the thunderhead clouds from last night, a butterfly, the parched ground and the ranch rover...yes, life is good!!

Now back to my salsa...

Monday, July 23

Gotta love a seal pup...

In my previous post I told you I observed a mom monk seal and her pup on my visit to Kalaupapa.
Despite all the physical suffering and hopelessness of those suffering from Hansen's Disease at Kalaupapa, the beaches have become a perfect nursery area for the critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. 
I sat in amazement watching the tender moments between this 400lb mom and her one week old pup. At the time of birth this young one weighed approximately 30lbs. and in 6 short weeks he will tip the scale somewhere between 150 -200 lbs. Jet black at birth, his fur will change to a beautiful silvery color at the time of his weaning.  During my visit I observed 4 swim sessions and 3 feedings. This little seal was very active and mom, well let's just say she was very patient and PROTECTIVE!!

my first view of mom and pup
Such a feisty little bugger....kicking up a flipper!!
he lost mom for a short bit...let out a holler for her
still looking for her
He found did you have a cheeto??
mom, I'd really like some lunch, please mom, please!!
Hey mom, who is this guy??

The seal to the left is known as a "crusier" just hanging out
in hopes of mating with mom.

pup taking a little snooze, while the cruiser continues to prowl in the area.

mom left the pup to deal with the cruiser...

pup wanted to insisted he stay on shore.

Now get up there little one!!! 

okay mom, I'll just play with my flipper

Mom, are you coming back, what about a snack??

Mom did return--pup found a "new toy" a piece of driftwood.

they are very inquisitive
sometimes too, as they get caught in beach debris causing injury or death
One of the reasons it is so important to keep the beaches clean.

When I left...a feeding session
notice the cruiser was still hanging around.

Linking to camera-critters

Saturday, July 21

Kalaupapa....part 1

If you are ever fortunate to visit the Hawaiian Islands I encourage you to take time to visit the island of Molokai and in particular the peninsula of Kalaupapa.  This small land mass is packed with an amazing history.  Most notably it's the place where those suffering from Hansen's Disease, aka- Leprosy were exiled to live out their remaining days.  At the present time there are approximately 120 people that inhabit the area, with the majority of people being National Park and Dept. of Health employees. There are 6-8 patients that still reside in the settlement. Once leprosy was cured years ago with sulfur drugs the patients were given the choice to leave Kalaupapa , but most stayed, as Kalaupapa was now their home.   Access to the peninsula is highly restricted. There are only two ways to the settlement--taking an organized tour via mule/hiking, or flying from Ho`olehua airport (known as topside) enjoying a 5-7 minute flight of some of the most beautiful scenery in one of the shortest scheduled flights available. Please note that you can only enter the settlement if you are on a tour or by  being sponsored by one of the residents or employees. 

I have been to the settlement a number of times, my most recent trip was to observe a momma seal and her 1 week old seal pup. Many thanks to my friend Julie for sponsoring me for the day. 

 I began my trek to the settlement at 8 a.m. hoping to "beat" the mule riders down to the bottom...and I did!!
The trail head begins at Pala`au Park and is rough, steep and often times slippery, a good pair of shoes is a must.
 A somewhat level area before reaching the actual entrance to the trail 

If you look closely between the two signs you will see the area that I am headed for to observe the seals, you can also see the tiny airstrip.

 Some areas have fence barricades  to prevent you from dropping off the edge.

 a small shrine  

 This tree is said to be one that Saint Damien would rest under 
during his many trips upand down  the pali.

 I am about half way down in this shot...hard to believe this  beautiful shot is a place that was once 
so full of physical suffering and pain. At one time there were nearly 8000 people living here.

The sign that greets you, reminding you that you will have to return to the top...
and that means 26 switchbacks, 1664 ft in elevation and 3 miles.

Look at the middle of the photo, you will see a tiny zigzag line, this is the trail.
 The black sand beach that sits at the bottom of the trail--
`Awahua Beach, at one time this area was full of sharks!!

 the road to town...

 The lighthouse at Kalaupapa

 This is `Iliopi`i Beach, where I spent 5 hours observing mom and pup

Late in the day...behind me are 1000's of graves of those
 that died from Hansen's Disease.

I consider myself to be in fairly good shape,
 but I gotta tell ya this trek beat my butt this time.
 I was so happy to be at the top I was indeed
 grateful that I survived the Kalaupapa Trail. 

Next time I'll tell you more about this little one!!

Friday, July 20

One Word...

because of the tragedy in Colorado, I am postponing my Kalaupapa Post for a day...
I think the world needs this right now.

Thursday, July 19

A little sun, sand,salt and a few seals...

I have been knee deep in garden produce, grateful to have plenty to freeze and can for later this winter, It's difficult to think of winter when it's over a 100 degrees. Anyhow, I had a  few spare minutes to gather some vacation photos to share with you--maybe even cool you off a bit!!

First order of business once on Molokai was a trip to La`au Point with my dear friend and seal pal, Diane. The hike to La`au Point is a little over 8 miles--8 miles of pure beauty and solitude. As I walked along I just breathed deeply, the sea was sparkling blue, the sand had a golden hue and the air was just fresh and clean.
 In the above photos you will see turkeys, yes turkeys!! Who would ever think there would be turkeys in Hawaii, but there are LOTS of them!! After approximately 1.25 miles we encountered our first seal(RI13). My friend Diane is pictured here documenting the seals location and identifying the animal for a report for NOAA.  The poor eel in the middle picture met an ugly demise, as it was probably caught on a fisherman's line.

Large adult seal and a weaner!!
 Our next seal encounter was a large adult male known as RM38 and a seal pup born this year, now referred to as a weaner.  If you look closely the the photo on the upper left you will see the difference in the seals size. RM38 probably weighs close to 400 lbs and the weaner RL03 is roughly 100 lbs. RM38 is known for being somewhat of a bully, so we watched and observed this pair for quite some time.

More seals at La`au Point...
Normally we would observe seals just snoozing and resting on the beach.  This day was full of action as these two seals were in a "fighting" mode. Actually one was just sleeping on the beach when the second seal approached (looking for a female) and an all out battle ensued.
  They wrestled for a few minutes and then both swam off. 
In the upper left photo can you find the 3rd seal in the shot?? Looks a lot like a rock!!
The shot of the seal in the upper left is of RH42 (Scar Face) can you see why??

It was finally time to stop for lunch...but not until we investigated a newly dug turtle nest...actually 5 nests were dug...4 would be "false" nests and the final nest will probably contain 80-120 turtle eggs that will hatch approximately Sept.1. The turtle experts can tell the hole with the eggs by the direction that sand was displaced by the female once she left the hole. AMAZING!! Diane, not only is she a "seal lady" but she also helping with the turtle monitoring as well, so she gave me all the turtle scoop!! The upper right photo shows a stick in the middle of the hole, this is presumed the nest with the eggs. Time will tell the story.

Once on our way back to the car we stopped to enjoy the view and collect a bit of sea salt. The sea water is captured in this tide pools, water evaporates and leaves the wonderful sea salt to be harvested by Diane and me....can't beat it, we use it all the time!! Salt is abundant in the summer time.

When we lived on Molokai I did this hike at least twice a week. I knew every rock and nearly every seal along the way. I miss it, the air, the sea, the sand and the seals...but mostly I missed spending time with my friend.

til tomorrow, when I share my seal experience at Kalaupapa...Aloha

Monday, July 16

Somewhere over the Rainbow...

I had planned a post of my adventure with the Hawaiian Monk Seals today, however, late this afternoon I received word via a blog post that my blogging friend KB had lost her beloved Special K to cancer. My heart sank and I went and hugged my girlz. I do know the feeling of losing your best furfriend and the pain is unbelievable. My heart goes out to KB, the Runner and K's little bro R...may they find  peace in this difficult time.
Please visit Special K

Saturday, July 14

ready, set, smell......

I think I am finally over my jet lag and getting back into a routine.  The garden and watering trees has occupied my time since our return home. I am sharing this shot to engage your senses....can't ya just smell these beautiful plumerias???

Tuesday, July 10

Sharing a Molokai sunset...

Just returned from a 10 day trip to the island of Molokai, notice I didn't say vacation...We were there to help our friends prepare for their daughter's high school graduation luau party. Let me tell ya, those folks know how to throw a party. I will share more about that experience in the days to come.

Last night  I caught a little Molokai sunset just for you...
  I let it settle gently in my hand...
surrounded it with a golden ring...
 and added a little it's yours!!

a hui hou..........(until next time)