Hiking: Kuaokala Trail

At the trailhead

Another wet and windy hike in the books, Kuaokala Trail. The forecast was to be scattered showers with gusty winds. As we entered Waianae, it started to pour. But we decided it would passing, and by the time we get to the trailhead, it would be clear.

A little bit of sunshine

Kuaokala is a permitted hike because the hike is on military land. To get the trailhead, you enter at Kaena point Satellite Tracking Station. Besides the permit, you will need ids for everyone in the car. The military police let you in through the three gates. You will need to call them on using call box if they are not around.

View of Makua Valley

The weather turned not in our favorite as it became more wet and windy as we hiked. It made parts of the trail slippery and our views obstructed by clouds and rain. But I did managed to catch a few shot when the sun peaked out.

gusty winds on the ridge
going over the red boulders
The crew during a break in from the rain. Cousin “E, “T”, “J”, and “L”
“L” amongst the red boulder
“J” and “T” making good use of fencing

This trail was worth going on wet and windy day. The rain made it a little tougher but it was great to get out amongst the trees.

Thrifting for repurpose, redo #3

I hope the “third time’s the charm” comes true as this is my third time trying to post this. I’m starting from scratch deleted what was left of the post. I’ll try and keep is short.

I went out thrifting on President’s day, looking for fabric and yarn for my inventory for my Etsy shop (opening in March). Yarn selection was a bust, just a bunch of bland acrylic yarn. But in my roaming for a good deal, I spied a knitted top hanging at the end of the ladies dresses.

“Hmmm. This looks interesting.” as I walked up to it.

The frogging (knitting term for ripping out) begins

It looked hand knitted but had a Free People tag. It was linen, cotton, and rayon blend yarn of worsted weight. It was unravelling at the shoulder strap and I guess that what it got put back on the rack. Unravelling is good sign as I just want the yarn and would be taking it apart. The price was $8.49, less than one skein of this type of yarn and I probably get at three skeins worth.

In the end I bought it for $8.49 plus 25% off because of President’s day and good 360+ grams of yarn.

By the way, I google this top and it was originally selling for $148. I think I got a good deal, don’t you think.

Gardening Adventures

I started this post on 11/24/2020 and it had two words in the draft all this time, “My grand”, and nothing else till not. And sad to say my veggie garden is in similar shape.

My first attempt at planting seeds, I put a few seeds in a starter pots with seeding soil. I watered them everyday and put them in a sunny but cool spot. Well, out of two pots of eggplants, I got 2 seedlings and only one looks like it is doing well. And the shiso, nothing sprouted. Sad.

Uncle H’s radishes and my color sketch

A couple weeks later my cousin brought over radishes from her dad’s garden (Uncle H), and was laughing about how he planted his seed. He liberally spread the seeds in the garden and a lot of the sprouted and this was from thinning out the radishes. I decided to try Uncle H’s technique, it couldn’t be worst than I did.

First to tidy up my new veggie garden of weeds, and “sigh,” cat poop. A stray neighborhood cat was using it as a litter box in the area that I decided to plant. I scooped out the poop, weeded, and spread a layer of coffee and cacoa grounds in the bed to keep the cat away. I read cats dislike the texture and smell of coffee grounds and we save our grounds for the plants, it works out perfectly. Once there garden was clear, I planted my kale who was looking pot bound and the Waialua pepper plant I got from the half price rack at Lowes in the top bed, daikon seeds and a papaya seedling (birds brought the seedling to us in returns for morning papaya from my mom) in the lower bed.

Using Uncle H’s technique, I planted one generously seeded row of daikon.

daikon seeds spouting

Just in case you were wondering, Waialua peppers are a hybrid of a jalapeño and the daikon that I planted are long white Japanese radish. I use a lot of that for pickles for our meals.

Haha! It worked! Both the coffee/cacoa grounds to keep the cat away and Uncle H’s technique. Now I’m patiently waiting to my veggies to goodies for our meal with them.

At 6 weeks in, leaves are beautiful and I’m just starting to see the white tops.

More gardening adventures to come. I’ve been spending much more time outside in the garden. Twice a day, weeding session to get the yard back to what it was like when my dad worked on it. And I started a science experiment with some dying orchids. That’s for the next post.

I made little animals

Out of odd-shaped scraps, that inspired me to make something with them. They are simple and more graphic than “Hot Wheels”.

They are made of scraps of materials, stuffed with the little remnants of thread fabric, and hand-stitched together.

Something to pass the time, something to make me smile.

Cat
Elephant

What to do with small scraps of fabric?

I have three bags of scraps from my cousin’s mask-making business. From medium-sized pieces to very tiny ones, I told him to give all to me. My first idea was to spin them into fabric twine or yarn, but my spinning skills need work. Still not to the point that I get enjoying it.

Bag 1 of 3 scraps of fabric from mask-making

During the Christmas weekend, I watched handmade craft videos and happened upon DinLife . DinLife is a video from Japan. No one speaks, just background music. It’s very peaceful and calming watching her do her craft. Her stitching is so consistent and she makes these beautiful pieces out of scraps of fabric.

I decided to try my hand at making a doll. I used one of the large pieces of scraps from a Hot Wheels mask and started with the head. As this was the first attempt, I decided to go with the flow and see how it turned out before committing to a pattern and directions.

I turned a doll’s head into a dog’s head with that technique by adding a muzzle and ears. It reminded me of a German Shepard. I don’t know why I did the muzzle area and ears. It just happened, a happy accident.

bodyless

This happy accident turned into a Christmas day project I finished up on Boxing day. Mom and Dad thought it was funny and cute. Now “Hot Wheels” the dog sits on the dining room table to keep them company.

I think he’s more Poi Dog than German Shepard. Poi Dog is Mutt in Hawaii slang. His proportions are off, neck too long, ears too wide, and the stuffing of his leg needed to be firmer so he could stand up taller. But all in all, he is a pretty cute pup, if I say so myself. He makes you smile.

Dad’s Art

Dad has been enjoying drawing and collaging in these recent years. It’s not an everyday thing. When he’s in the art mode, he’ll whip out his sharpies or start cutting up cardboard.

His materials of choice are old newspaper, discarded cardboard boxes, and his trusty sharpie pens. He uses the newspaper as his canvas with the sharpies. And the cardboard is the structure of his piece. These pieces are ones that he wants to stand on their own.

The key to Dad’s art is upcycling. He has always been a frugal man and has made many things from scraps around the house. He’s our MacGyver. But these days, building things is hard for him, and his drawing and pasting has taken its place.

He’s medium of choice is sharpies and old newspaper. I’ve bought for him sketchbooks, paints, and watercolor pencils to no avail getting him to use them. He would always fall back to his sharpies

Sourcing Materials

Dad does think about sourcing his material. One day, he asked me if I ate a fig bar. He said, “I want the wrapper because of the foil inside of the wrapper.” I asked him why he needed it? “I’m going to use it for the eyes on my turkey and snowman to make it stand out.”

He sourced the Depends box for the Christmas tree because of its green color. One day, I walked past him, sawing away with a serrated knife at the box, cutting the tree’s triangle shape. I just had to smile, he still has that making thing at 92.

I’d thought I would give my dad art a show case so I gave him a tag on Instagram and Facebook if you like to continue to search for new work. #jo1drawing. I made his tag from his first name, Joichi. “Ichi” means one in Japanese. 

Have a Happy Holidays. Eat well and stay safe.

Our Happy Thanksgiving Menu

As a three seniors (60+) family, it is hard to find a small turkey that we wouldn’t be eating for the next month. Plus, I found out my mom doesn’t like turkey. What! Who doesn’t like turkey? Well, in my life, this makes two. Oat tolerated it for my love of turkey, and now it’s my mom. Huh!

Dad’s annual Thanksgiving drawing. Loves to draw on newspaper. #jo1drawings

With no help from the parental units, I came up with the menu of shrimp tempura, veggie tempura, and mom’s famous pumpkin shortbread.

Mom’s eyes are close but it’s the only shot of the table: shrimp tempura, eggplant, veggie tempura; Okinawan sweet potato, Hamakua mushroom, three types of tsukemono (Japanese pickles by me), black sesame tofu with ume salt, black soybean natto with shoyu koji

Everyone loves mom’s pumpkin pie even people who hate pumpkin pie. It’s the combination of the creamy custard and the slightly sweet shortbread cookie crust. I have fiddled with this recipe over the years, changing the pan shape and size, using sweet potato, and even trying it with a regular pie crust (not the best). My sweet potato pie is based of this recipe. Here’s my adjusted version.

The corners are the best with it’s caramel edges

Mom’s Famous Pumpkin Shortbread–adjusted

makes 9 x 13 pan, roughly 20 pieces
Pre-heat oven 425º

Crust*

  • 3 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c cold butter, cut into small pieces

Prep pan with a light coat of non-stick spray, be sure to get the sides. Mix flour and sugar, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, till a sandy texture. Press flour mixture into the pan, slightly up the sides. Refrigerate crust while you mix up the filling.

Filling

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 t salt
  • Large can of pumpkin about 3 1/2 cups**
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon***
  • 1 t ground ginger***
  • 1/2 t grounded cloves***
  • 3 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • 1 t vanilla

Combine all the filling ingredients, making sure it is blended well. 

Pour the filling into the crust—Bake at 425º for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350º and bake for 55 minutes or when the toothpick comes out clean. 

*If you want to use the springform pan instead of the 9×13 pan, half the crust amounts. The baking time will differ because it has a thicker filling. It has a longer bake time at 350, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Test with a toothpick. The center shouldn’t be jiggly. Cool to room temp. Then put in the refrigerator to set.

** I’ve used both can and roasted pumpkin for this pie. The differences would be you can control the caramelization, chunkiness, and you will have pumpkin seeds to roast up as a snack. My preferred pumpkin is Kabocha because of its smooth texture.

*** I use my spice mix. Here are the proportions: 1 t cinnamon and ground ginger, 1/2 t ground cloves, 1/4 t nutmeg. I mix up a large batch and keep it in a small jar in the spice cabinet. I used 3 t of the mix in the pie. You also can use it in apple pie, oatmeal, or whatever suits your fancy.