GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living


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Food Stuffs All Over the Yard

I’m a neglectful blogger and perhaps an even more neglectful gardener. This is my biggest selling point for planting permaculture style plants: no fuss required. I go out every few weeks and harvest food. That’s my gardening method. Because I’ve planted (or allowed to grow on their own) things like papaya, chard, chaya, banana, citrus, mamaki, kale, popolo berry, mint, oregano, mountain apple, asparagus and a few other things that can withstand some munching from bugs and still make food. Even more “annual” style plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and beans, when mixed in with this bunch of other wildness needs very little care. Plant a seed or plant. Wait. Harvest food. That’s it.

I just wanted to share some photos of the food in the yard this morning. Not everything is “food” yet; the mountain apple tree has been eaten pretty badly, but there’s new growth, so it will bloom again. And our orange tree has tiny little green fruits for the first time. It’s like welcoming new friends 😀

Our first bananas! Originally from a keiki I got from a friend in our permaculture course

Our first bananas! Originally from a keiki I got from a friend in our permaculture course

Some of our many papayas!

Some of our many papayas!

Chaya on overload. Gonna have to eat some soon!

Chaya on overload. Gonna have to eat some soon!

One of our basils- got used in Thai curry last week

One of our basils- got used in Thai curry last week

The biggest daikon ever. :-)

The biggest daikon ever. 🙂

Baby strawberries! I have let these get a bit overgrown with "weeds" and now they are happy because slugs aren't eating them anymore

Baby strawberries! I have let these get a bit overgrown with “weeds” and now they are happy because slugs aren’t eating them anymore

From one tiny huli, this kalo is big now

From one tiny huli, this kalo is big now

Hiding among the "weeds"

Hiding among the “weeds”

Mamaki tea anyone?

Mamaki tea anyone?

Nasturtiums that keep blooming

Nasturtiums that keep blooming

TONS of mint

TONS of mint

Aloe for all the kids injuries

Aloe for all the kids injuries

New growth on the mountain apple tree after a season of getting eaten by something

New growth on the mountain apple tree after a season of getting eaten by something

New friends! Our citrus tree is finally fruiting

New friends! Our citrus tree is finally fruiting

Papaya! Eating this daily now, frozen in smoothies

Papaya! Eating this daily now, frozen in smoothies

Chard still producing after 2 years

Chard still producing after 2 years

Lemongrass needs cut back again...time for tea!

Lemongrass needs cut back again…time for tea!

Rosemary!

Rosemary!

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Little People that Care

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There’s a whole lot of internet chatter on parenting. Most of it I don’t read. Sometimes an article will pop up in my inbox or newsfeed that has added some more fuel to so-called mommy wars. I don’t participate. I do like to take part in writing and activities that encourage, support, spread love and generally help humanity. Because my husband and I want to raise kids that care. And kids are watching how we grown ups are interacting with each other. Beyond all other traits, this one matters most to me.

How do you raise kids that give a shit? (About the world, and not just themselves?)

I don’t know if I have the formula or not, but our little people care about stuff. They have interests beyond what can be found on a screen. When my little guy wanted to save all the little worms we found in our cucumbers last year, I knew we were doing something right. Now he is an experienced butterfly farmer! He participates in all aspects of our little hatchery.  He helps get the caterpillars and saves the butterflies with wet wings so the geckos won’t eat them. After he is finished examining the dried up chrysalis, he smashes them, because he is 5 after all.

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He grows things. Six weeks ago we mixed a bunch of flower seeds together in a cup and he sprinkled them in a spot of his choice in the garden.

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This is how it looks today!

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Six weeks ago this was a bare patch. My son threw some old seeds from the fridge out here 😀

 

Today we spent more than 3 hours just piddling around outside with bugs. We discovered a praying mantis in one garden and a new species of butterfly that is now frequenting our yard (Chinese Swallowtail.) It was really fun.

IMG_1117Now we have a very mobile 1 year old that is crawling circles around her mama! I let go of the worry of injury and mud and let her go in the garden today. She crawled, scooped, touched and covered herself in mud. And was so content, so happy and after 2 hours was so TIRED that she actually napped! 🙂

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So get outside, friends. Even if it’s cold, windy or rainy wherever in this beautiful world you happen to be. Spending time outside with the kiddos fosters a sense of love and wonder for them and a whole heap of love and appreciation for me. We all win this one. ❤

 

 


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Crazy Caterpillar Lady

 

 

 

That’s me. Out in the yard or the carport every morning talking to my little critters. 😀

There’s been so much caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly activity in the lately! We rescued 20+ caterpillars from the crown flower and they are now all either in chrysalis form or have already hatched. Many of them leave the little mesh hamper I put them, as the one below, braving the terrain across the yard to go hang by another one, who has already made a chrysalis on the aloe plant.

 

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Happy Butterflies

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Two butterflies hatched this morning while I was drinking my coffee. It is always amazing to watch, no matter how many times we have seen this now. But my baby was equally as fascinated, so we took the jar outside and watched them dry their wings and then eventually fly away. But one sat on my hand for the longest time, flapping and gaining her strength before circling the yard and going off.

Just a few moments after these two had gone, I checked the crownflower plant for new caterpillars and found two good sized ones, which have now been placed in our new “Ritz for Caterpillars” IKEA hamper. 😀 This new way of rescuing them, rather than jars, lets us get more at a time and also to get them smaller.  In jars, you must keep putting fresh leaves in each day, which can get rather full and stinky. In the mesh hamper, I get a large branch, stuck it in a jar of water for freshness and this will probably last the entire time they are growing.

It’s such an odd hobby this has become for me, but it’s really amazing and reminds me of the miracles of our Universe. ❤

Little chubby baby hands and butterflies make awesome photos :-)

Little chubby baby hands and butterflies make awesome photos 🙂

this beautiful creature let me photograph it for several minutes while the wings dried before flying away....

this beautiful creature let me photograph it for several minutes while the wings dried before flying away….

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I couldn’t believe how long it sat on my hand, just looking at me 😀

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Hey, nice eyes…

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Just having a chat 🙂

 

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In the moments just before a butterfly breaks out of the chrysalis, it’s translucency allows us to see the orange and black pattern on the wings while still inside.

 

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IKEA mesh pop up hamper gets a new life as The Ritz for Caterpillars 🙂

 

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Two of the three chrysalis in this jar hatched this morning, while I was feeding the baby and drinking coffee at the table. 🙂

 

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In a search to honor her mother, a daughter finds meaning in grief

My writing was published on a local health blog today. ❤

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Blogger Carmen Golay was a mess after losing her mother to lung cancer. In reflecting on her mourning, she asked: How can I turn this grief into something that will make me a better person?

Carmen Blogger Carmen Golay (right) poses with her mother and infant. Golay wanted to find a way to turn the grief over losing her mother into something positive. Photo courtesy: Karissa Holcombe

I was annoyed at myself. I felt like all I talked about all the time was grief, and answering peoples’ “how are you?” questions with their sad eyes. To my therapist: “I just don’t want to say any more about it, you know? It’s not like grief is an uplifting topic for dinner conversation.”

He responded, “Why can’t grief be uplifting?”

I sat silent. Because grief is grief, I thought to myself. It’s sad. It’s final. It’s miserable. Everyone hates it. People die and we cry and we miss…

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