A bag of beans – coffee beans…


The manservant has a friend, the Hawaiian,  who lives on the Big Island.  

The Hawaiian grows Kona coffee on a 3 acre farm.  To be authentic, Kona coffee can only be grown at altitudes between 1,000 and 3,000 feet along a 20 mile stretch of rainforest on the slopes of Mauna Loa.

The Hawaiian hand picks and mills his beans and then sun dries them.  He drives them to a place to be roasted in 25lb batches.  He stands overseeing the roasting process to ensure he gets his beans back.  He then hand packages them for sale. 

The majority of his customers like a roast blend of 2/3rds dark : 1/3 medium. There is more flavour with a dark roast but less caffeine than in a medium roast.  The Hawaiian drinks a 50/50 blend.   We go with the grower's choice. 

Ten divine pounds of 50/50 blend arrived in a bag for us today.  God, it smells good!

The Hawaiian has a basically fully sustainable farm.   The coffee shrubs grow everywhere except the plot for the vegetables: 

  I have never met the Hawaiian but the manservant hangs out on the farm whenever he goes to Hawaii.  I am told that the Hawaiian can whip up a marvelous meal straight out of this garden.


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Visitor …

A friend from Hawaii arrived on Saturday morning and left today.   It is quite difficult to "entertain" someone when all  at-home time is spent on the couch with leg elevated and bedtime is 9pm!   Luckily our guest was really easy going and didn't expect much attention and the manservant has two working legs!  Best of all we now have an open invitation to her place in Hawaii!

The last time I was in Hawaii we took The Princess and Cat's daughter, Kimba …..

That was in December 2005  – time we thought about going again!


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Hawaiian Exotics

Monday it was 74 degrees in Washington DC and we sat out on our deck enjoying lunch in the sun – I got a tinge of pink on my cheeks.  By this afternoon it was snowing  and my cheeks were pink from the cold!!  Such  a variance without leaving town!!

I had been looking forward to taking some photos of the eclipse tonight and posting them but it doesn't look as though the clouds are going to clear in time. So, when plans go astray it is nice to have some old favourites to dig out.  I took these photos in a Buddhist garden in Hawaii.   

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Girl’s day out

Princess SJ and I had a girl's day out today  – Princess is only here for another 4 days, during which I have to work, so we made the most of today.

We went to a 10.30am session of "Juno" even though that meant leaving the house before the mercury had risen to anything I can understand.  We then had a really nice lunch before hitting the shops for an afternoon of splurging on my already sick credit card – which is now critically ill and about to be placed in intensive care! 

It was unpleasantly cold outside today  – the sort of cold that freezes tear tracks to your cheeks and makes your ears sting.  The sort of cold that gives almost instant frostbite to exposed skin.

The sort of cold that makes me wish I lived somewhere  else  – like Hawaii where even winters are warm!   It was only December 2005 when that's where we were.

This is a photo of the island of Kauai as we flew over – lovely warm tropical paradise.

Sunset on Waikiki Beach:

Ah -  I feel warmer already!

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Seeing the New Year in with a bee sting in paradise

The other day I was thinking back over previous New Year Eve celebrations and one popped into my consciousness and has been there ever since like an annoying tune.  

The astro-dweeb and I were on holiday on the island of Moloka’i’ (Hawaii).  Moloka’i is only 60 square miles in area, 38 miles long, and ten miles wide at its widest point.  It is 25 miles southeast of Oahu, and only 8 miles from the eastern end of the island to Maui.

I could rave on and on about Moloka’i   -  we have been there a few times and always found it to be just paradise itself.   It is very laid back with not a lot of organized activities and not many services.

We were lazing on the beach with the nearest people about a mile down the sand.  We were feeling very smug about the fact that we were in America and doing this on December 31st.

I was reading a book with my arms up to shade my eyes from the sun when there was a sort of tickle along the underside of my arm.  I wiped my arm against my body and felt immediate searing pain.

Looked down to see a bee writhing in the sand.

Errr,  husband dear, have I mentioned that I might be allergic to bee stings?   

I had once been stung on the face and needed an adrenalin shot after suffering an adverse reaction.  

There was no hospital on the island and the clinic, which opened a couple of days a week, was closed.  We knew this because we had received some sort of notice.  If you needed urgent medical attention you had to call a helicopter!!

Deciding that calling a helicopter seemed extreme we went to the only small store which was open and stood there checking out the backs of all the drug packets (God, knows what the counter person thought!).

We bought everything which had anti-histamine listed as an ingredient.
I took many puffs of Ventolin,  doubled the dose on the drugs and halved the time between taking them

I rubbed my arm down with Brandy because it was the only alcohol/vinegar we had to neutralize the sting – except for the champagne we were saving for midnight – and we were not about to waste that on my underarm!

So …. Now I am really spaced out and suffering everything listed as an indication of severe allergic reaction though I can’t tell if this is due to the sting or a drug overdose!!

My arm was rapidly swelling and the sting site was now about the size of a golf ball.

I was feeling dizzy and a bit faint but was worried about lying down incase I fell into some sort of coma and not ever seeing the next year.   

Thinking back I am not sure what the astro-dweeb was doing during all this but I am sure he was hoping for the best…….

After about 4 or 5 hours I obviously had neither died nor become unconscious, so we decided that the sting was not going to be fatal even though the sting area was now the size of a tennis ball!!  (the jury was probably still out on the drug overdose!).

I have no idea what I was doing during most of those hours between the sting and midnight but just before 12 we went out to the beach with our champagne and popped it and yes I had my share!

The story got many laughs after the fact but it was all very surreal and so many things could have gone horribly wrong!   I was seriously drugged up and then threw alcohol into the mix and the New Year was pretty much a big dizzy blur.

Good thing my heart was strong because it was racing for about 12 hours!!

I continued to take the anti-histamines but went back to the regular dose and when the pharmacy finally opened on 2nd January he basically said that given the circumstances and lack of anything else I had “done the right thing”   – though we might have omitted mentioning to him about the alcohol.  

Kids!   Do not try this at home!! – or in Hawaii!

I hope your New Year’s Eve is not quite as eventful – but happy!

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The packing continues…..

The astro-dweeb has just got back from a week in Hawaii.   Although this sounds wonderful I know that he does not get to enjoy any of the activities we envision when we think of a trip to Hawaii.   That is unless you visualized sleeping all day and searching for extra-solar planets all night!!     I used to go with him before I had to get a “real” job (read; a paying one!) –  I definitely took advantage of the beaches and hikes and we just passed each other at breakfast and dinner. 


While he was gone I managed to sort through cupboards and fill 20 packing cases  – only 40 to go!!  This productivity means there are narrow alleyways to the important things like the bathroom and fridge, and a line of sight between the couch and the television/TiVo set up  – it is amazing how easily the remote control can be put off its job by a piece of errant cardboard!


Closing tomorrow!  Scary!!



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