Diamond head towers over Honolulu. It’s hard to miss. Because of that many directions on Oahu are given as toward or away from Diamond head.
We started our hike up Diamond Head in what we thought was early in the morning, but the parking lot only had a few spaces left. The path was already full of people.
The path starts out easy, and steadily gets more difficult. This a fairly easy hike, but not for anyone who is not in decent shape. Most of the hike is on a switch back trail, just wide enough to allow two people to pass. As you near the top you start up a long stairway, then a tunnel, then a spiral staircase. This takes you to the observation room used by the spotters in charge of cannon protecting Pearl Harbor. Your next step is to crawl through the spotters view port.
Around the corner, and up a few more feet and you are on the upper observation deck. A very crowded and not very big observation area. The view is wonderful.
The view down on the ocean was great. I spent some time checking out a scuba diver fishing on the reef.
The hike is long, and not that easy. The view is great. Have patience once you reach the top and on the trail. The area is popular and could be crowded. I think they control the crowd on the trail by the size of the parking lot. The trail can be crowded, but the view is worth it.
Filed under: Uncategorized
You’ve got to write to have readers. I’ve watched my count of daily visitors and I can tell you that when you write more, you get more visitors. Writing what people want to read helps.
Food stories seem to be really popular. We all like to eat. For me that means writing about food production.
Pictures of your vacation are nice if you are at an interesting place. No one wants to see pictures of all of your relatives on vacation unless there is a stunning back round.
Commenting on what other people write helps you get readers also. If you are going to comment, please know what you are talking about. If you come across as an air head, only air heads will respond. Write respectfully and know your subject.
Pictures can really help you tell a story. A picture tells a thousand words.
If you know what you are talking about, respect your audience and post regularly your readership will grow. You might even find me commenting if I find something there that catches my eye.
Filed under: Ag education, Animal care, Farm, farm animals, fertilizer, food, food safety, harvest, Minnesota, organic, science
The health benefits of organic food are one of the most intensely debated issues in the food industry.
By definition, organically grown foods are produced without most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. Livestock aren’t given antibiotics or growth hormones. And organic farmers emphasize renewable resources and conservation of soil and water.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the National Organic Program, says that organic is a “production philosophy” and that an organic label does not imply that a product is superior. Moreover, some say there’s no need to eat organic to be healthy: Simply choose less processed food and more fruits and vegetables.
The argument often comes down to the nutritional benefits of organic foods, something that’s hard to measure. To compare the nutrient density between organically and conventionally grown grapes, for example, researchers would have to have matched pairs of fields, including using the same soil, the same irrigation system, the same level of nitrogen fertilizer and the same stage of ripeness at harvest, said Charles Benbrook, chief scientist at The Organic Center, a pro-organics research institution.
Last summer, the debate came to a head after the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a comprehensive systemic review that concluded organic and conventional food had comparable nutrient levels.
The consumer must also be aware that simply being labeled organic does not make it so. To truly be organic is should be labeled as USDA Certified Organic. The process to be labeled organic takes years to achieve and some want the organic price with out the extra work it takes to get the label properly. Also organic crop production takes more work since many tasks that conventional farming does chemically must now be done by hand or machine. Organic livestock production has more risks since a sick animal must be treated with slower working organics rather than fast acting antibiotics.
Although my personal choice is not to go organic, I have no argument with those who do. They deserve the extra money that truly organic products command. My choice is to go for the least amount of processing I can. I prefer the fruits and veggies from my garden because they taste better when vine ripened and eaten immediately.
But in Minnesota we cannot have vine ripened all year long. Having produced livestock I understand the need for some antibiotics. I understand that hormones are part of life and no meat can be “Hormone Free.” Despite not being an organic farmer, I also emphasize renewable resources and conservation of soil and water.
There are many times that I consider the concerns of the alarmists unreasonable, but I am a scientist. I understand the workings of the body and the way a plant uses chemicals placed on it. For me there is no concern. I still wash my raw fruits and veggies, no matter who grows them. I’ll let the cooking process take care of the rest.
We arrived in Honolulu a bit early to check into our hotel. We spent the time at Emily’s place. Emily is sharing a house with two others and has a bedroom and use of the rest of the house. It’s not much of a house by mainland standards but it is sufficient for the islands.
We took my parents on a walk to the school where Emily teaches. The open air hallways, louvered windows and carefree island style are a lot different than we are used to here in Minnesota.
The area between the Ala Wai canal and the Pacific is known as Waikiki. This area that was once the garden and playground of Hawaiian kings would not be recognized by Kamehameha. The canal cuts off the water that once fed the gardens, fill has been hauled in to make room for hotels and shops, and taro fields and fish ponds are now a playground for tourists. Our hotel was right in the middle of this.
Driving Waikiki is a challenge. I’d rather walk. First parking is at a premium. If you plan only to stay in the Honolulu area a car is not needed. It is only if you plan to extensively travel the island as we did that you will need a car.
Many of the Waikiki roads seem to go one way, and usually in the wrong direction. You can head off on a one way street, only to find it turns into a one way going the other direction half way to your destination. A tram or bus is much easier.
Our transition day on Oahu was a Wednesday in Lent. We drove to Emily’s church east of Diamond Head for Holden Evening Prayer. Calvary By The Sea is set in a stunning place. When you turn into the drive you cannot see the sanctuary since it is behind some other buildings. The walk to the sanctuary is first under an arbor, then up a flight of steps, then into the church sanctuary.
The design is simple with several rows of pews set in a U shape around the alter. The eye is drawn to the windows on the Pacific. Kahu Tim says that there are times when he is preaching, and the surf is high, he knows that he does not have everyones attention. If a whale should happen to breach, he just as well not be standing there.
There is a wonderful resource for the hungry on the grounds of Calvary. They were busy packing for the next days distribution of food. The place was busy as people bagged what may be the only good meal some folks would have for the week.
After church we spent some time with folks at the church having home made soup and bread. It was a great way to get to know the people of Emily’s church.
Commercial travel between the Hawaiian islands is mostly by plane. There does not seem to be an hour that a plane does not make at least one trip out of Honolulu to another island.
All of the airports in Hawaii are open air. There are very few areas of any of them that are totally enclosed. The climate is so mild that there is no reason. Airports are filled with covered walkways and flower gardens. You can spend your time looking out a window at concrete and planes, or go for a walk in a flower garden.
Airplanes on these island hops are small, but efficient. You are rarely in the air over an hour. In fact it can take you more time going through security, checking in on your flight and waiting for your plane to take off than it does for the trip. Our planes were only about three quarters full. The price for these short trips is quite reasonable.
Honolulu’s airport is a bit more enclosed than the smaller airports in the islands, and is busy. The airport is built on fill hauled out to the oceans edge. You are right on the edge of the island.
Many folks are using these airports for hops to other islands for both pleasure and business. Some of the children in my daughters school fly home for the weekend and stay in dorms when they are at school. The variety of needs for this form of public transportation are why there are so many flights.
In short, we found air transport between islands both easy and affordable.
Wednesday of our week in the Hawaiian Islands was a transition day. We slept in a little later, packed our bags and headed off for our last few hours on the big island of Hawaii. We had thought we would check out a few of the sights south of the Keahole-Kone airport, but realized that we were running out of time. Scratch that idea.
On a whim we turned into a plant nursery. It turned out to be an inspired hour. The nursery was not large and had one owner/employee on hand that morning. She was happy to show us around her domain.
The Kohala and Kona areas of the island are still under development. They are in the process of carving new homes, resorts and businesses, sometimes out of bare lava rock. The plants and trees have to come from somewhere. These are some of the folks that do that. Anyone wanting plants in the area has no choice.
Most of the area is so new geologically that time has not had time to create dirt. You have to haul it in. The same with plants. We saw developments that were less than ten years old with trees that were over 50 years old growing there. Where do they come from? Answer, other parts of the island. Some of them are rescues from other businesses or homes, others are grown for that purpose.
The nursery had shaded greenhouses for tender plants that need less sun. There were rows and rows of trees, flowering shrubs and all of the flowers that can grow in Hawaii. We were proudly shown new types of plants as well as the most unusual that they had, both native and imported.
For my gardener family this was a great way to get to know more about what makes things happen on the island. It was a great way to spend an hour.
When proposition 2 passed in California it paved the way for a mass “prison break” for California hens. As of now the exodus has not yet happened, but is the experience of Germany a portent of things to come.
Germany is now unable to meet consumers’ demand for eggs after banning the use of cages in egg production at the start of 2010. In 2009, Germany imported 4.9 billion eggs- half of the total eaten in the country- and many come from the Netherlands, where 44 percent of hens are raised in cages.
So where will California get its eggs? I expect from Mexico. Anytime you move your food production outside of your borders you create a whole new concern. The fact is that we can no longer control how our animals are treated when they are not in our country. Other countries do not have the same laws we do to protect food. We will have no idea of what could come across the border with those eggs. It’s something to consider.
As we made our way back to our resort after visiting Kilauea we came to a sign that said South Point, and we turned south.
The 12 mile trip to Ka Lae is one of adventure. Although the road starts out in relatively good condition with lots of greener around you, the pavement slowly deteriorates and so does the landscape. Much of the road is only paved in the middle, and when you meet someone on the road both must take to the shoulder. The area is dry, sparsely populated and mostly uninteresting. The trees all seem to be bent over from the prevailing trade winds. The area does have one major claim to fame. It is the southern most part of the United States.
As you near the end of the road you have a choice. Turn right to the Kalalea Heiau, turn left to a green sand beach, or go straight ahead to Ka Le. None of these places are marked by road signs. You are left guessing if you are on the right road. For us the road ran out at Ka Le.
The point of land is known as Ka Lae. The historical site at the end of the road is known as Ka Le. I don’t think we ever did find Ka Le, but the sights of Ka Lae were enough.
There you are, about 50 feet above the water and people are fishing. One fellow was using a kite to carry his lines hundreds of feet out into the ocean. Three poles, one for the kite and two for fishing lines. It was an interesting operation.
Also in evidence at Ka Lae was a surge pool. The waves would push water into the rock walled hole from underground, and then the water would run out again. I would not want to fall in.
That and some old wind generators were really about all that was there. It’s a dry windblown piece of country.
When you travel in the Kau district of Hawaii there is one thing you need to be aware of. There is not much there. Gas and food were scarce and we were running short of both. We turned our car north for our resort. We did stop at a small town for some gas and a bite to eat on the Kona Coast. We were coming to the end of our last full day on Hawaii. It was time to go back and get ready to move to Oahu.
Filed under: Ag education, Animal care, Farm, farm animals, hunger, tillage, Wildlife
Many folks are promoting the vegan lifestyle. They say that we should not eat meat, some go so far as to say we should not eat milk or eggs. To do so is cruel and vicious. If vegans get their way we have a dilemma. What to do with all of the animals.
If farmers have no economic reason to keep the animals what to they do with them. To turn livestock loose is not a good idea either. Vegans say that we can eat more efficiently by eating herbage instead of animals. The animals, if we are not eating them, are still there and in direct competition with humans. If we are not eating livestock, they will be eating the food we need. To allow livestock to procreate on their own will lead to more animals to compete with humans. Males will fight, be injured and suffer. Animals will be injured or get sick and suffer a long time.
If we let nature take it course, we will soon have large numbers of carnivores. Wild carnivores will kill these sick animals in ways that are a lot more cruel than humans do. Large carnivores make people nervous. people start considering that those carnivores are looking at us as a meal.
So ,what to do? Do we continue to eat animals and mange them for the most efficient production of food for humans, or do we let our livestock loose to compete with us? Animals running loose will be digging in our gardens and fields, eating and destroying the food we need to eat. Do we eliminate most of the unneeded livestock and how do we do that. One day, will we only see livestock in zoos?
The dilemma is to live with productive livestock, or eliminate all animals not kept in zoos. We will have to eat some how. I would rather live in a world with other species in it. Only people in the world would be boring.
Filed under: Hawaii, travel | Tags: Check out more on my travels to Hawaii in March of 2010 in past and future blogs.
I would bet that most folks that go to Kilauea Caldera to see what’s up in the Haema’uma’u Crater come from Hilo on the east side of the big island of Hawaii. But we didn’t. We were staying on the west side and had to drive better than 3 times as far. The drive was worth it.
We had a mission that day to get to Kilauea and back and all of the sights of the Kona Coast were bypassed in the drive. We did see acres of Coffee and Macadamia nut farms, twisty roads and a much greener Hawaii than we had in the South Kohala area.
As we approached Kilauea there was evidence in the air of volcanic activity as the volcanic fog (Vog) hung over the road for a time. Kilauea has been sending out a plume of vapor for some time now. The sulfur in the air could be tasted for a while. Once we got upwind the air cleared.
The visitors center is on the northwest rim of the caldera and a long ways from the action in the Halema’umau Crater, but the overlook gives you a good view of the size of the caldera. Take the time to take a guided walk to the calderas edge.
Since the action in the crater is still sending hot vapor and sometimes ash over the south and west side of the caldera, you cannot take the rim drive. You do need to make your way to the Jagger Museum for a closer look at Kilauea.
But even in the face of all that desolation, it was amazing to see trees and plants growing right to the rim of, and sometimes even in, the caldera itself.
This ohia lehua was growing right on the edge of Kilauea’s caldera.
We did not take the time to drive down the Chain of Craters road. We had seen enough lava flows in Kohala. We did take a drive over to see the Lava Tube.
The lava tube is in an old flow with lush tropical growth all around. The parking is very limited, and there is nothing else to see and only a short hike to see it in. You can spend more time finding a parking spot than in hiking the tube trail.
The rich earth outside of the tube had a large variety of plant growth which I found as interesting as the tube.
I’m planning on going back to see Kilauea and come in from the Hilo side so I have more time to explore. The volcano is of the “safe” kind, and gets a lot of visitors. Perhaps I’ll see you there some time.