A Place to Stay In Coffee Country


The coffee trees are load up with green coffee, we saw few ripe cherries and talked about picking the first round ourselves two weeks ago. Then our regular picker called us, two pickers came and took 3 days to finish the whole farm; they picked 7 bags, with this coffee Terry tried out our new equipment for the first time.

Sonny had long weekend last week, he was busy most time; he asked me to take a morning walk with him yesterday. We don’t have any important job to do in the farm; I joined him, knew we will have a pleasant time together.

He had a back pack with a bottle of water, I had my camera. It was sunny, beautiful day, and we had time to stop and take a close look at plants or flowers.


Green plant


When I was taking pictures of ginger flowers, Sonny asked me, could we eat the flower. I told him, I don’t know, but the flower has good smell. I remember, when I was young, at Water Splashing Festival, Dai girls and women wore ginger flowers in their hair. It has good scent, they used it as perfume which nobody had . He asked me to pick one for him, then I continued doing what I was doing; when we resumed our walk I noticed he was wearing the flower. He inspired me to pick one and wear one too.Yellow ginger flower

Sonny is showing me the eatable part of Heleconia flower.

Bitter melon plantWild growing bitter melon bear small fruit, it’s a weed to most people. If you like bitter taste, it could be a yummy food. I pick the tender leaf and shoots when I see good bushes of bitter melon, stir fry it with ginger, garlic and chili. I like their bitter flavor, Terry likes it too; that make me even happier when I prepare this dish.


Half way down the road, Sonny wanted to take a break, there is a good place to rest, in front of Kane Plantation’s drive way. He is holding a passion fruit, we picked on the road.

Resting spot

Drive way


Not long after artist Herb Kane died, his wife sold the farm to Michale and David. They did a lot of work to make the place better and more beautiful, they are very friendly and nice people. When Terry and I had a conversation, not just once, many times we both said, how good we feel about them, how happy we are, to know such nice peoples live in our neighborhood.

They officially opened their B&B on June, a beautiful place to truly experience the life of Hawaii. Their web site is www.kaneplantationhawaii.com .


Sonny and I continued walking down the road, stopped to pick some guava by the road side, it’s one of Sonny’s favorite fruit, he showed his interest to this fruit when he was only one year old. We picked enough, just got ready to walk home; Michale drove by, offered us a ride. I told him, we were taking a walk. But Sonny wanted taking the ride, we rode to their farm.

Michale invited us into their house, I got permission to take some pictures. It’s a very neat house.

One entrance

Jay flower

Ocean view

In front of a guest room

One corner of the house

Main Building


They had guests in their house, we visited them for a little while, then back to home. Another day in paradise, a morning we spent together, a good time we shared.




Life is Good, Death is not Bad


Alison’s Mom past away in Los Angles, where Helen had lived last five years with Alison and Joel. They devoted their time to her, gave the best care to her. Helen was 98 years old when she past away, she had lived on big island for many many years; Hawaii was her home, her sweet home. Alison and Joel brought back her ashes to scatter into Kailua Kona bay, they invited us.

I only met Helen two times, first time was before we had Sonny; second time was five years ago, Alison came to get her. Sonny was three years old, cute little boy with long hair; Helen mistook him for a girl. From the way she looked at Sonny, there was real fondness, 93 years old sweet lady’s love for 3 years old child. I remember that day, remember Helen very well.

This ceremony happened on May 19, Thursday, at 3:30pm. I’ve never been to this kind of ceremony, and we would like Sonny to see and know, it could be a beautiful ceremony. On the way to there, we tried to explain to him, that every one come to this world, live for a while, then die. If people didn’t die, the world would’t be like this one we are living now; because populated human being would taking nature resource endlessly from earth, it would destroy the earth. So when you alive, enjoy your life and be happy; when you die, your body just disappear into the nature. Life is good, natural death is not bad.

We had a very good wealth that afternoon. When we got to the pier, saw a small group holding hands in a circle; a man was giving a speech, ended with a Hawaii song. Then we got on a clear bottom boat, every one had a bag of flowers, we had some too. Alison even prepared some pu’pu and drinks on the boat. There were a couple of albums of Helen with friends and families, we looked at the photo, and shared some story about her.

Slowly the boat left the pier behind, about 15 minutes later, it stopped. Joel read a page from the Bible, then we sang ” Somewhere over the rainbow” together, say good bye to Helen. Joel scattered her ashes , and we threw flowers into the ocean. And then, we saw some dolphins show up in distant, first there were only two and three; slowly swam to our boat, circling our boat. Later there were 20, 30 of them, hang around the place where Helen’s ashes were, some jumped out from water, spinning around, put up a show. Those dolphins’ appearing made every one happy, it seems that Helen met her new friends; they accepted and greeted her with warm love. We know she is in a good place now.

The whole thing went so well, so beautiful, what an amazing experience !



Kailua Bay

Flowers are floating in the ocean.


Throwing flowers into ocean



On the way back, the boat stopped over some coral reef, the lady works on the boat gave us a little lesson about it, especially to Sonny, he was curious. Now he said, he want his next birthday party on this kind of boat; so they can have fun and learn things.

A few days later, one night  in the bed, I had this conversation with Sonny.
” Mom, how do you feel when you die?” It’s question every body wonders about it, and don’t know the answer.
“Don’t know.”
“When you die, everything turn to black, you can’t see any more?”
“I think, when you die, your body can’t feel, you can’t see anymore.”
Then he talked about having tank and airplane, to protect us and his future family from war or Zombie. I tried to convince him, don’t waste his time to worry about it.
“Don’t worry about these things, you are only 8 years old, there will be many many happy things in front of you. You will graduate from Honaunau school, then middle school, high school. You might even go to college, get a job, go to different places, meet lots of people, your future girl friend and get marry. I’m going to be a grand mom when you have your child.” I just babbling all of these things, tried to take his mind off from war, zombie, end of the world. It worked then.

I had two times of experience nearby a dying person, I won’t forget them ever.

Hattie is my good friend, I visited her home on November in 2000, it was my first time and only time see snow. I spent a month there, couldn’t stand the cold winter. When I left, her mom was very sick with cancer, her families knew she was dying, and her mom knew it too.

Aunt was a sincere Buddhist, lived through a lot of harsh times, a very kind woman. She was a vegetarian, it’s not convenient to get nutrition food for her in the village, far away from the market. Home made noodle and steam bun were the main food, mashed up fresh chili sauce was a dish for every meal ( chili was a cash crop for them ).

Their bed is called “Kang”, was build into the house with brick and mud, they make a fire under the bed to keep it warm in winter, outside of the house, there is place to feed the fire. People can’t do very much there in winter.

Before I left, I bought some food for her mom from Xi’an where I was to stay. I went to say “good by” to them, aunt was very weak, lied in the bed. When she saw me, she smiled with happy, good spirit to me. Tears gathered in my eyes, I couldn’t say a word. She held my hand, with the happy smile on her face, said:” Don’t be sad, this is not the end, I’m going to a place of peace and happiness. Don’t afraid death, it’s not a bad thing. When it comes, smile to it.” Those words from her, a dying person, taught me using a new way to look at death. Her body suffered, but her mind was completely in a happy peace land.

Aunt died few months later, I know that she is in a place she wished to be. She is not exist on this world any more, but a piece of memory of her lives, in my mind.


May Day Celebration


Honaunau Elementary School had a May Day Celebration last weekend. Biggest day for students and families, it’s the only fund riser event for the school year.

The background of graduation ceremony is beautiful, on the wall was every student’s art work, every child. ( I asked Sonny to point out his drawing. )

It started with children’s performance for parents and community, then,there was a country shop store with local products, rummage sale, food booths and game booths. It’s fun day for every one.

May Day Celebration


Sonny with his friends

Terry sales scrips on May Day

Terry volunteered to sell scrips on that day.

Next day was Sonny’s birthday, we had a party for him at beach. Before the party, I discussed with Sonny about only inviting his friends, make a small party. But he insisted inviting Daddy’s friends, if they don’t come, it’s OK. Small or big, he had fun with his friends.

He loves airplanes so much, it’s the decoration on his birthday cake. He selected 4 toy soldiers and washed them to put on the cake later.

Birthday cake

Birthday presents

He wanted bombers for his birthday, and Terry helped him find these toys on line and bought for him. He showed me, which is super fortress, which is flying fortress and Mitchell bomber. Before we got the box, he reminded us every day to check our mail box. I’m glad, he likes his new toys very much and plays with them every day.

He is 8 years old now, Terry and I agree that he can start learning to do few things. We showed him how to make food when he is hungry, there are few easy one he does. He likes macaroni and cheese, and willing to learn how to cook it; now he can do it, just need us to pour the cooked macaroni out. I showed him how to cook oatmeal; another good one is, cut 1 or 2 ripe banana into bite size, pour some granola on top, then add some yogurt. Granola with juice or milk is the easiest one, he makes that quite often.

The more he can do to take care himself, the better I sure feel.





Relaxing season

It has been some times since I posted last blog, a good friend sent a e-mail to ask, is everything OK with us.

Actually we are all doing fine, less farm work, we have more time to enjoy our relax season. I grew some vegetables in my garden, Chinese cabbage, green beans and cherry tomato are all ready to eat. We  can’t eat it all, gave some to a friend and Sonny’s music teacher. Last Friday, I went to garden and saw some of Chinese mustard getting old, I harvested most of them, about 20 pounds. I made 1 gallon jar of mustard pickles yesterday, and was thinking who I can share this with who will enjoy it too?

We have 10 laying hens now, more eggs than we can eat,  it’s a good gift for whoever visit us or we visit. Almost every day Sonny and I go to collect eggs together, the chickens  stay in the upper coop now, we usually take the longer way so we can pick wild thimble berries. Before we go up, everyone picks a number,to guess how many eggs we will get; but Sonny picks 3, 4, or 5 numbers, so he can win most time.

We bought new pulper machine from Columbia last year and stored the equipment at a friend’s farm for quite a while. Our friend Steve was in Hawaii in February, he had experience with moving heavy goods. With Steve as the leader, our friends Mark, Matt and Burni,  and Terry moved the machine to the right spot in our building.

Since then, Terry was busy with this new project. Tearing the old rusty roof down, taking the old floor apart and rebuilding it, putting the new roof on. Every day he spent some time up there, he didn’t need much of help from me, except the time when he put the new roof on. Taking his own pace, he finished the project in 3 weeks. He is an amazing man.


Moving the new pulper with three friends



Terry is working on the project


Expanded space with new machine

We went to Kollette and Jason’s music party last Saturday, their farm grow mac nuts and coffee. Like us, as a farmer, they can slow down with farm work now. They have a beautiful farm, nice place for hosting a party, kids can running around in the farm and have fun. It was a nice sunny day, with music, friends, food, everyone seems enjoyed the time a lot. We stayed there until 9pm, later we heard that some people spent the night and next day there.


A music party at a friend's farm


When we were getting in our truck to the party, Sonny asked me what was the reason of the party. I told him, it was a music party, Jason and his band, some local musicians were going to play some music.

Then he said, ” How about having a party at our place tomorrow ?”

” What is the reason for the party?” I asked him.

He said: ” Just to have some fun.”


Our drive way






Happy Chinese New Year!


Today is the day, the first day of my new year life circle, the day we can take it easy with our farm work, the day I can take my morning walk again. Hooray!

Coffee pickers came to pick the last round right before Christmas, Terry’s two nieces and their families visited the island for this holiday season, we had a busy and wonderful holiday with lots of family time.

Liam and Maddi, they are 13 and 12 years old, their family rented a beach house at Ke’ei beach, not very far from our place. every day Sonny asked same question many times, ” Are we going to Liam and Maddi’s place to have dinner?” or ” Are they come to our house to have dinner?”

If we did have a meal with them, he always had his toy pistol, toy rifle, and wooden gun with him, so they can play chasing and shooting game. He always teamed up with Maddi, to against Liam. If they came up to our place, three of them ran in the farm, played their shooting game.

If it was late and dark outside, they can play one of Sonny’s favorite games, which was playing Bombers At War on the computer, Liam showed Sonny how to get higher score; and played the game together.

They both were so patient and played so good with Sonny, he wanted to go with them when they were leaving. it was first time to him, at home base, tasted the life with cousins nearby, play with them almost every day. It was first time for us to see, the full excitement in him every second when he played and ran around with them. It’s the most special Christmas to him.




After the harvest, we couldn’t find any help to prune the trees right away; we started to do it ourselves while waiting for the help. I did the most of pruning on the upper section, Terry did the most of chopping.

It was my second year of pruning, I cut down lots of old branches, seems pruned heavier than before. I asked Terry’s opinion, he said:” I don’t know, you’ll find it out after next year’s harvest.” He want me to learn taking care the farm by my own way, making my own mistake on the way. He said:” Don’t worry, you can’t make too big damage by pruning.”

Later I got two local friends who helped to prune with me, and three Mexican workers who chopped the branches. They did a great job, now our farm looks very nice.

As soon as we cleaned a section, Terry put the CBB traps out.  It’s the best time to set the trap around the farm; bugs are looking for a home, but there are hardly any cherrys on the tree except the traps, they caught lots of bugs.

Through last year’s experience of dealing with CBB, we believe we can keep CBB’s population down. We milled this crop, it looks very good, the coffee we are sending out right now are this fresh crop.







If your life is full or busy, time seems fly by with a blink. One more year of our life disappeared, we are getting older, our child is getting bigger, stronger and smarter. Watching our child grow brings a smile to our face, every aging sneaking up  on us slowly. Like Terry said, building a child is more interesting than building a farm.

This morning I told Terry: ” I love our life,  raiseing a child together. We are so lucky to have each other and love each other. Someday, when Sonny grows up and out from the house, and you are gone, it will be a lonely life for me. ”

Terry said:” Today won’t come back, today is the day in your life. Enjoy today when you have it, enjoy the happiness when you are live in it. Don’t waste too much time to worry about the thing in the future. ” I know he is right, I’m trying to enjoy the happy moments we have right now.

In this new year, I wish our families and friends enjoy their life as much as we do, and a very good new year to look forward.

Best wishes to everyone !


Bamboo Shoots, a Gift From Nature

At this time of year, it’s bamboo shoots season, a yummy food from mother nature; so quite often we have this dish on our dinning table, we love it.

The previous owners planted this bamboo 50 years ago, right behind bedroom shack. He didn’t realize the bamboo could grow so tall and expand so big; some bend over and brush the roof, make scratch sound; some lean on the roof.

Bamboo clumps need to be taken care of, otherwise, they grow too crowded and tight, hard to get shoots or bamboo from it.

First year I moved to here, Terry spent 2, 3 weeks to clean one third of the clump. He used regular saw to cut dead one and some green one, pulled it out and burned it. I watched him working on it, know how hard is it to cut big bamboo; I can imagine to do it myself. Next season, I talked to my mom on the phone, asked her how to cook bamboo shoots properly. Since then, I harvest the shoots every year, keep the clump small and easy to maintain.

From harvesting the shoots to cooking, take quite bit of time and effort. First I use a saw to cut the shoots, and use a machete to peal off the outside layers; then slice them and soak in water for 4 or 5 days, every morning and evening change the water. First couple of days, the shoots and the water are light yellow color, slowly the shoots turn to pure white. Next, I’ll build a big fire with coffee wood, use a big pot, cook the shoots with plenty of water for 3 hours at least. After that, season the shoots and they are ready to eat.

Often, I just stir fry the shoots with oil, garlic, salt and chicken base paste; add some green onion before take them out from fry pan. It’s simple and easy, the shoots are very tasty. Sometime, I’ll make a spicy bean sauce to go with plain shoots.




There is another way to prepare the shoots. After pealing off the outside layers, cut the shoots to two big pieces, then cook it for 4, 5 hours, change the water 3 times. Using this way of cooking, instead of pure white color, the shoots are light yellow and have stronger bamboo shoots taste. I use this way to cook, when I have plenty time after I harvest the shoots.



Most times, I get one or two 5 gallon buckets of shoots at one time, there is no way to eat them all by ourselves, we give away most of them. Sometimes, we have to work very hard to give away all the shoots if we have too much; and not every one knows how to make it into a yummy dish.

I found, giving the shoots to Japanese lady or Asian woman is a easy way to get rid of my shoots. Because they know how to cook it and appreciate it very much.

John is our friend, his family had a Japanese lady as a nanny when he was a little boy; this lady is 90 years old, still lives on his family’s property, near his house. If I give some shoots to John, always give an extra bag to him, ask him giving it to this old lady.

One day, John visited us and brought a gift to me, a package of Japanese dessert from this lady( like Chinese moon cake, but different ingredients ). She bought it from her temple’s fund raiseing event , went over to John’s house, asked him to give it to me who she never met. It moved me.

I give the shoots away, is because I have; and need other people helping to eat it. I didn’t expect them give me anything for returning, so her way of thanks moved me. I can’t help to love this old lady, and continue giving some bamboo shoots to her, I know she enjoy it.

What did I gain from it? It’s not a secret, let me tell you. I gained the joy of giving, and big satisfaction of my hard work.



Epiphyllum nights

Friday night, I was on the path from our living room to bedroom, the air was filled with a strong fragrance. Next moment, what I was doing was a flash light on my hands, watching and enjoying broad-leaved epiphyllum flowers.

This type of epiphyllum bear large, strongly fragrant flowers that bloom for a single night only. How could I let the chance of viewing those flowers slip by, I watched and enjoyed the sight of blossom. At that moment, I was happy and pleased by their presence, marveled at mother nature again. It wasn’t my first time see this flower, but the smell and sight swiped through my body and my senses like first time. The feeling was so fresh like no other, it was not the first time, but it was those flowers’ only time.

I took their photo before too, not good. This time was accidentally I used flash light to lit them up, and it worked much better. First I used my mouth hold the flash light, then I hung the flash light on the stem of epiphyllum, or set the flash light between coffee branches. We had rain that day, coffee trees were wet. There was me, ducking under the coffee trees, trying to capture the beauty of the night blooming flower, with the only light source from my small flash light. Smiling, I was pleased with what I was doing, for a moment, I was a very young little girl again.

They are so elegant, like a queen of the flower world, without great force of imposing posture.




Those were flower buds which bloomed last night.




Egg collecting boy

Living on a farm, it’s very hard to imagine without any animals around. We have cats and chickens, once we even raised a pig. ( it seems too much work to raise a pig )

Raising chicken is really fun, we enjoy it very much. When we had new born chicks, I visited them several times a day, they are so cute and fun to watch. We have wild mongoose here, it caused us many times of failing to raise chicks. And we have loose dog problem too, our chicken coop didn’t protect them from a pack of dogs. One time, dogs killed all of our chicken, I was so upset, decided to quit from it for a while. Later on, Terry built a coop up above ground, and we keep it right beside our house.

Collecting egg is another fun part of raising chicken, I was the one doing it most time before. But this year, Sonny is BIG boy, he want to take the responsibility to let chicken out and collect the eggs. He loves his job, asked me to take a video.

It’s really fun to watch, and like to share with everyone.




Coffee blossom in Kona

After I posted coffee blossom buds picture last time, 3 days later, they started to open up. Not like a little girl, shy, always hiding behind something. They are more like well grown up young girl, ready to see the world, and show the world their pure clean beauty. All they need is touch of love of rain and sun.

These images were captured with my small camera, if I had better camera, I might be able to do a better job showing their beauty. Too bad, these pictures can’t send their fragrance to people who are looking at them. Their smell like jasmine, not very strong, accompanied with a light sweetness.

It was very a special time period  in Kona country, and I enjoyed those days of my walking exercise best. My eyes were filled with sea of white blossom, each of them like a different shape of smiling face. Wherever I’m looking, I only see one thing, a happy face. My heart was full of happiness, made me want to shout out loud ” I’m happy”. Instead of that wild expression, I kept it in silence, with a smile, walking between the sea of happy blossom.

Bees buzz around, they were very busy, didn’t mind I took pictures of them at all.

My usual half hour walking extend to an hour walk.





In a week / ten days, slowly these beautiful flowers vanished one by one. Can’t help to sigh over the short duration of their beauty. But I know, they are preparing and moving toward to the important and only purpose of their being.


Our Christmas day

We had a beautiful day for Christmas, the weather couldn’t be any better than we got. We went to beach to celebrate our Christmas day in the morning, and whales were flipping their huge tails, shooting up water in the bay, it was the first time of this winter we have seen.

There were some good waves, I joined Sonny and other kids, had lots of fun doing body surf.

Water and kids are such a combination, kids can play in or with water for hours. But not me, I grew up to be afraid water and stayed away from water. In my village the grown ups told us all kind of tales about a dragon who lived in water, before anyone close to waterfall in the jungle could hear the dragon’s roars. It’s hard to understand why they tell such tale, maybe that’s how they grew up themselves and believe those tales. Or maybe that’s how mountain people think  about water, since they don’t have much knowledge about big lake, river, or ocean.

I didn’t get any access to find the simple joy of playing in water. For my confident in the ocean, I came from a long way.

Ever since I’ve met my water play mate Joni at beach, we will stay in the water as long as the kids. We, two middle aged women with a group of kids, like mothers of a school fish, play with them in the water for hours. I understand why kids can stay in water for so long, because I can do it too, very easily. And I can understand their joys, because I had the same simple joy in my heart, very truthful. When I’m playing in water, I’m totally relaxed; like a child, released from grown up world,  happy and wild to be a child.

I took lots of Sonny’s pictures at beach before, now we hardly have any, since I’m in water all the time.

We had parties with our local friends of several years on Christmas day. We spent  Christmas day in a very special way two years ago.

After breakfast we took a walk, half way down the hill with a half dozen bags of coffee. Clear blue sky over our heads, warm sunshine shone down on us, past vegetable farm, mac nut farm, flower farm; the trees and plants we are so familiar, and again so special in our joyful and appreciate eyes in that moment. We saw beauty of the place where we live, felt so lucky to be here.

We paid a visit to a famous Hawaii’ artist, Herb Kane, who lived on our country road. Traded our coffee for copies of his art book. When Terry told him those books would be sent to our relatives’ kids as a present, he wrote the kid’s name and his signature on each book; cut out thick paper and wrapped each one. He wrote on the book for Sonny ” Wishing you fair winds and following seas on all your life’s voyages.”, so beautiful and touching.

I was awed by this kind, gentle artist. While Terry and Mr. Kane talked in his studio, Sonny’s curiosity led him wondering into different rooms.I followed him, I saw his simple house and got a chance to look at his art hanging on the walls, those must be very special pieces to him.

His book ” Voyagers ” was the first book introduced to me by Terry, the first year I moved to here. The first time I came close to painting, fascinated by his arts and his story, and a dictionary to help me along the way. Through his art, I see a big strong Hawaii’ man in the river of Hawaii’ culture and history.

Mr. Herb Kane past away this year. For 2, 3 months, every time when we drove by his place, we couldn’t believe that he wasn’t there anymore.

For this Christmas, my memory brought back the special moment meeting this great man, and all my respects to him. He was the kind of gentleman, the only one I’ve ever met.