Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hooray for Spring

It seems that spring is upon us and winter is behind us. I really enjoy spring because of all the things that were dead coming alive. I especially like to plant in the garden and watch my veggies grow. So far, I have corn, green beans, sugar snap peas, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and onions all coming up. And I planted my tomatoes and peppers yesterday. We have also been eating asparagus which is awesome. Every year I like to try something new in the garden. This year I am planting eggplant. I have never really eaten a lot of eggplant but we had some on vacation and it was not too bad so I thought I would plant some and try it out some more. There is another thing I am going to try this year but I will save that for another post. I still have some more stuff to plant, hopefully I will have everything planted in the next week or so.

One thing I wanted to share with all of you is about where I buy my seed and plants (even some of my landscaping plants) and give them a plug because I really like them. I have been buying from them for about the past 5 years. It is a great local place in Farmington called Chicken Holler. They are one of the few places still around that sell bulk seed like old times with the seed in wooden bins and you get whatever you need. They have a huge selections of seed. They also have the biggest selection of veggie plants like herbs, tomatoes, peppers, etc. They have more kinds of tomatoes than I have seen anywhere else (especially heirloom varieties). They also have lots of landscaping plants and berry plants. Another great thing is they grow a lot of the plants in their own greenhouse. They also have very knowledgeable and friendly staff that can answer questions about the plants and growing them. Just the other day when I was there, I learned three new things about growing the veggies I was buying just from talking to them. And one of the greatest things is their prices are cheap, really cheap for some stuff. For instance, a three pack of tomato plants is just $1.09. Just one plant at other places will cost you three times that much. I bought 36 tomato plants, 16 pepper plants, 16 marigolds, 3 eggplants, and an onion set and spent less than $30. You can't beat that anywhere. I hope you guys that do gardening will check them out. They also have all kinds of gardening supplies and (for the winter time) they carry a huge selection of wood stoves and accessories.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

While we were gone

Some friends of ours (Israel and Dani) stayed at our place while we were on vacation. Since we were gone for 2 weeks we figured it would be a good idea to have someone look after stuff. We are really appreciative of them staying here and helping us out. But, a few things happened on the farm while we were gone.

First we had two goats have babies (just one each). I think Israel and Dani were a little worried about this and that something bad might happen and they not know what to do. But, the goats did good and had no problems having the babies. Unfortunately they were both boys. We really wanted these babies to be girls so we could keep them but they had other plans. These boys are super cute though.
The first one born was Red Head's baby. She has usually always had two but this year just one. She also always has the biggest babies. His dad is Albi. I am not sure how much he weighed at birth but at one week he weighed 18 pounds. Our others have averaged 7-8 pounds at birth and probably not much more than 10 pounds at a week old. He is a monster and really cute. I wish I could keep him.

A day later our white goat had her baby. This is her second time to have a baby and she still only had one. His dad is Valentino. The baby has markings from his dad, who is half Alpine. The baby has markings like an Alpine goat. I think he is our cutest goat born this year. I really hate to sell him also. It seems like our best ones are always boys.


Also, while we were gone, a snake decide to wander up by the house. Israel texted me to ask if he should kill it. It was a non-poisonous water snake. I told him to go ahead and kill it, I kill most snakes. It was the first time he had killed a snake by himself.

We really appreciate everything they did for us while we were gone. We may have them turned into farmers before too long.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, Saturday, Sunday = Beach

A lot of our time the past few days has been spent on the beach, several different beaches. And we spent lots of time with the Hunters since it was the weekend and they did not have to work.

Friday we went to Waikiki beach and hung out for a while. We also did a lot of walking around the fancy shopping area down there. It was pretty fun. We had sushi for dinner and then went and got mochi ice cream for dessert. It was our first time to have it and it was good.

Saturday we went to Kailua. We rented kayaks and took them out into the ocean. We went to a little island that is a bird sanctuary and walked around. We canoed to another beach down the way that is supposed to be one of the better beaches in Hawaii. It was nice. One thing we did that I have wanted to do my whole life is bury someone in sand. We buried Justin and shaped the sand into a Merman (half mermaid half man). It was fun. We also had some awesome shaved ice yesterday. This is not the normal snow cone kind of ice you get in Northwest Arkansas. It is almost like ice cream it is shaved so fine. I don't like snow cones usually but this was awesome. I think you could make a killing in NWA with this.





Sunday we went to church with Justin and Heather. After church we went to an awesome place for lunch. It was a Dim Sum restaurant. This was Margo and I's first experience with dim sum and we really liked it. It was fun and the food was really good. After lunch, Margo and I went back to the beach for a few hours. One thing we will miss about Hawaii is all the different types of food and restaurants. We have tried lots of things we have never had before while here. We have enjoyed the food very much.



Tomorrow we head home. We have really enjoyed our time here. We did lots of stuff but there is so much more to do and see. But, it will be good to be home.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hawaii: Wednesday and Thursday

We decided to rest most of the day on Wednesday because we were really worn out from our trip to the big island. But, on Wednesday night we did the most touristy thing to do while in Hawaii. We went to a Luau. We narrowed it down to two possible ones to go to and finally picked the Paradise Cove one. They served alcohol and the other one didn't so we figured it would make it more tolerable with a little liquor in the system. Before the meal and show they had Hawaiian games and craft demonstrations. They had a guy climb a palm tree and throw out a bunch of flower petals on everyone. They had hula lessons. They had a royal court processional with hawaiian dancing and uncovering of the kalua pig. It was very touristy and a little cheesy. The time for food finally came. It was all you can eat and the food was actually pretty good. There was kalua pig, fish, lomi salmon, chicken, rice, salads, poi, dessert, etc. While we were eating at long tables there was a show on the main stage that consisted of lots of hula dancing, music and singing, and fire twirling. We did get to see a pretty good sunset which was nice. I am not sure it was worth the $68 each but I guess if you are in Hawaii you should go to one.







Thursday was a pretty low key day also. We have completed most things on our list of stuff to do. We tried to go to the beach in the morning but it was overcast all morning and kind of chilly so we did not stay too long. Today was the day that we did the USS Arizona Memorial (Pearl Harbor). It has been closed since we have been here because of constructions nearby but it reopened today. They only let so many people a day go to it because it is not that big and they have to ferry people over to it. So, you go early in the morning and get a ticket for an allotted time. We got there at 8am and the next available tour over there was 12:40 so we had to waste some time. There was a bunch of stuff to see around the visitor center. Anyway, we finally made over to the memorial. It was really cool to be there and see it after studying about it in school and hearing about it your whole life. It wasn't amazing or anything but definitely worth seeing.









Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Big Island Day 2

We got up early on Tuesday to drive across the island. It isn't very far across, but it is a drive between the two mountains and the roads aren't always the best, so it took almost 2 hours. The west side of the island is very different from the east side. This is where Kona is, which has lots of resorts and tourists. It is hotter and drier on the west side too.

We started off by driving through Kona coffee country. There is an area about a mile wide and 20 miles long where the conditions are just right to grow coffee really well. To be "Kona" coffee, it must be a specific type of coffee tree and be grown in this small area. We stopped in at a few different coffee farms for samples. We did a tour at Greenwell Farms, which is one of the biggest producers and processors of Kona coffee. It was really interesting to learn about how coffee is grown and processed.




We then drove to Pu╩╗uhonua o H┼Źnaunau National Park. This is a historical sacred site and was a place of refuge for warriors. We then drove back to Kona and had lunch. We drove around town and looked at some shops before heading back to the other side of the island.



On our way back we drove a different way, through the northern side of the island. It was interesting to drive through all the different climates and topographies. For miles and miles there were just lava fields in all directions. As we got further north and east is started getting more lush and green. There was an area that was really green and hilly, not any tropical vegetation, lots of cows and sheep grazing, it almost seemed like Arkansas. We drove down the east coast along the ocean. For part of the way we went along an old highway on a scenic drive. This area was like a rainforest, very green with lots of big trees and plants. We stopped at the Tropical Botanical Garden. It was very cool. Lots of really pretty plants, including some really nice orchids. The Garden was on the coast, so there were some good views and pretty waterfalls. After leaving the Garden we went to a little restaurant that makes smoothies from fruit they grow on their farm. So we got a tropical fruit smoothie and some homemade Kona coffee ice cream, they were both really good.





We got back to Hilo with some time to spare before our flight, so we drove around town for a while. We watched paddleboarders and surfers and walked around some shops. We really liked Hilo, it was a cool town. We got back to Justin and Heather's about 9 pm after a long, but very fun, two days. There are more pictures on Picasa.

The Big Island Day 1

The past two days we were on the Big Island, it is about a 30 minute flight from Honolulu. It is the biggest island and is twice the size of Delaware. There are 13 different type of climates in the world and the Big Island has 11 of them. If you don't like the weather you can just drive a few miles and it will change. Another crazy thing is that there are old lava fields all over the island. It is like driving in a desert except it is lava everywhere instead of sand. We really liked this island, if we were going to move to Hawaii we would live there.

The first thing we did upon arrival at 6:45 am was go to Volcanoes National Park. This is what I (Josh) have been most looking forward to. We got there so early that we were the first ones to the visitor center and the only ones there. We did several things at the park. Unfortunately there is not place that you can see active lava right now so that was a little disappointing. We went and saw the active volcano Kilauea. You can't get real close but it was pretty cool to see. We also saw lots of steams vents while driving around coming up through cracks in the ground. We then went and did a 4 1/2 mile hike around the top and through the Kilauea Iki crater. This is the crater from the 1959 eruption of the volcano. The hike around the crater rim was very jungle like. Then we went down the crater and hiked through the lava lake bed. It was really cool to see all of the different lava formations, some of it was smooth, some was really craggly, some looked like asphalt, there were different colors of lava. From the crater rim the lava bed looks smooth, we were surprised that it was very rough and uneven. There were lots of big cracks and steam vents throughout the lava bed. They say the lava is still cooling and you can feel heat from the lava that is still hot a couple of hundred feet below the surface. It was really awesome to hike through. Also on this hike was the Thurston Lava tube where the lava cools on the outside and hot lava continues to flow through the inside and it makes a tunnel. After the hike we drove down a long road that went through the lava fields and had views of the ocean. The road ended where lava flowed over the road several years ago.





This is us during the long hike in the middle of the crater.


lava tube


lava field leading to ocean




After we left the park we drove to a black sand beach. It is black because the sand is made from lava. It was cool to see but was rough on our feet.



Next, we drove to Lava Tree State Park. This is where lava flowed a long time ago and cooled on some huge trees. The lava burned up the trees on the inside but the cooled lava stayed standing up like a tree trunk.



We then went to Akaka Falls which is a ginormous waterfall. It was really beautiful.



It was a really long day which included like 7 miles of of hiking. We finished the day by eating at an awesome Japanese restaurant. It was some of the best food we have had. It was mostly local looking people there, I think there may have been one other white american in there besides us. They did not even have silverware, just chopsticks. It was really, really good.

There are tons more pictures on our Picasa site. Day 2 of the Big Island coming soon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday

Today we spent the day on the world famous North Shore. This is a really cool area on the north side of Oahu that is considered one of the best places in the world for surfing. When we first got up there we came across a little farmers market that we stopped at that was cool. Next, we went to a bunch of cool little shops with souvenirs and hawaiian themed decor and art. For lunch we went to Giovanni's Shrimp Truck. There are several of these set up along the road and this is supposed to be the best. You just walk up and order and they have some tables set up around it. We had some awesome garlic shrimp. It is peel and eat and super messy. Next, we went to the beach for a while. We went to where there was a beach with lots of surfers. The waves aren't as good this time of year but they are still able to surf. It was really fun to watch the big waves and surfers. After we left that beach we went to another one down the road where the sea turtles beach. You never know if they are going to be on the beach or not but we got lucky. There was one up on the shore sunning. It was really fun to see it. There were some swimming in the water near the beach also. After a little while it scooted back into the water and was gone. I got some videos of it but I will have to wait until I get back home to put those up on the blog. On the way back home, we stopped by the Dole Plantation. It is mostly a tourist trap but we had some pretty good pineapple ice cream there.







The turtle had a transponder on it so they can track it.


That is Margo and I standing on the rock.


Tomorrow we fly to the Big Island for a couple days. We are mainly going there to go to Volcanoes National Park but we have several other things to see there as well. We will not be able to blog until we get back.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finally the Beach

Several people have been surprised that we had not gone to the beach yet on our trip. Well, we made it there Saturday but not before doing some other stuff. The really good thing about today was that we got to spend the whole day with Justin and Heather since it is Saturday.

First thing this morning we went to a souvenir flea market thing. Around Aloha Stadium a few days a week, they have a ton of vendors there selling really cheap Hawaii souvenirs. We were told this was the place to go to get them. It was your typical shirts, magnets, hats, necklaces, hawaiian souvenirs. We just bought a couple things including a dormant Plumeria that we can plant when we get home. We may go back another day to get some more souvenirs.

Next we went to the local farmers market. This is something we try to do on all of our trips wherever we go. it was a really good market and had tons of local stuff including lots of good flowers and fruit. We bought a lot of fresh fruit including mangoes, papayas, pineapple, oranges, and avocados. One specialty thing they had there that we had heard was awesome was fresh made ginger ale from local ginger. It was awesome.

After lunch, we went hiking at Manoa Falls State Park. It was a rain forest trail that led to a waterfall. I (Josh) had been really looking forward to seeing some rain forest areas up close so I really enjoyed this.




After the hike, we headed to the BEACH. We went to a beach east of Honolulu away from the beaches packed with tourists. It was a really great. When I think of amazing beaches that you would see featured on the travel channel or something, this beach is what pops in my head. It was beautiful. The sand was good, water was a great color, cool trees along the beach, small islands in the distance, and big volcanic mountains in the background. We stayed there for a few hours and had a really good time.






After we got home we picked up some to-go Korean Barbecue and ate at home and watched a good movie (Zombieland).

It was a good day. Click here for more pics.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friday in Hawaii

Today was kind of a light day for us. This morning we started off with Coco Puffs from Liliha Bakery. These are supposed to be some of the best pastries anywhere. Heather had told me that they will change the way you look at the world. They were really good. Margo and I ate a bunch and had a huge sugar rush. I forgot to talk the other day about something we had for breakfast. We had some toast with pineapple jelly on it, I loved it.

Later in the morning Justin took us to Byodo-in Temple. It is a replica of the famous Buddhist temple in Japan. It was really beautiful. For you Lost people, this is where they filmed Jin and Sun at during their wedding.




After the temple, we went to a botanical garden that was pretty cool. We got to see the world's biggest flower which is on top of the world's biggest palm tree which takes 60 years to bloom. After it blooms it dies. See if you can find Margo.


After the garden, Justin took us on a nice drive up a rainforesty mountain that has a great lookout. It was super windy but the views were awesome.


We did not do much the rest of the day. For dinner we went to Side Street Inn which is another well known local place that was featured on Anthony Bordain. It was pretty good but not great.

Keep checking our Picasa web album, we put more pictures on there.

Friday, April 09, 2010

First Full Day in Hawaii

Yesterday (Thursday) was our first full day in Hawaii. As I said previously, we are staying with our friends Justin and Heather (for free!!!!!!). It has been really nice to see them and hang out again. We decided that while they are at work during the week, we would do touristy stuff that they have done before or don't care about.

So, the first thing we did this morning was go hike Diamond Head Crater. This is an old volcano crater right in the city. It is crazy to look out over the city and see a big crater. Inside the crater is like a whole different climate. It is hot, arid, and not windy. It makes me think I am in Africa or something. The climb up to the top is a little strenuous. At the top, you can look out over the city and ocean. There are also some old bunkers at the top from the war. We went early which we are glad we did because it started getting hot when we were leaving and it started getting super busy with tons of tourists as we were leaving.

After the crater, we drove around a little and then went to a Hawaiian shirt place called Bailey's. It has the largest collection of Hawaiian shirts in the world I think, 15,000. They even have ones worn by famous people in movies that are worth thousands of dollars. I found a couple that I liked and would actually wear but they were kind of expensive ($69-$99) so I passed on buying one.

Next we had lunch at the Rainbow Drive-In. Let me pause here to tell you that a big part of our vacations is food. We are especially excited about the food here because it is more unique here. We read lots of reviews and guidebooks to find local places and authentic Hawaiian places. Rainbow Drive-In is just a order your food at the window place. They have been around a long time and serve cheap authentic Hawaiian lunch stuff. We both had the Loco Moco which is a common Hawaiian dish. It is rice with a hamburger patty on top, a fried egg on top of that, covered in gravy. It was really good.

After lunch we went and toured the Iolani Palace. This was the home of the Hawaiian royalty in the 1800's. It was very pretty, with lots of neat artifacts.

After all of that we came home to take a nap. Then Justin took us on a drive up on a mountain (Tantalus) that overlooks Honolulu. It was an awesome view and was in some dense forest. It was really beautiful. We then went to the Punchbowl, a smaller crater in Honolulu, where the National Cemetery of the Pacific is located. The grounds of the cemetery were really nice. They had some war memorials and extensive displays of battles in the Pacific.

For dinner, we all went out to eat at Ono Hawaiian Foods. We originally saw this on Anthony Bordain's No Reservations but also every guidebook and website we read said it was the best authentic Hawaiian restaurant. It was a hole in the wall kind of place but the food was amazing. It has won the local Best Authentic Hawaiian food award for the past like 10 years. We had kalua pig, laulau (pork wrapped and cooked in taro leaves), rice, lomi salmon (a tomato salad dish), a beef jerky type thing, poi (taro root paste), and haupia (a coconut custard type dish). It was all really good (except for the poi). It was a fun experience, the waiter was really nice to us and told us what things were and suggested what we should order. He even gave us an extra serving of haupia to take home (this was Josh's favorite).

Here are a few pictures, there are more on our Picasa site.
Here is the view from Justin and Heather's apartment. Can you see the ocean?



A view from the top of the mountain we drove up. That is Diamond Head Crater and part of Honolulu.



Us at the top of Diamond Head, with Honolulu in the background (it was windy up there!).

Thursday, April 08, 2010

We didn't crash on the Lost island

Well, we made it to our destination..Hawaii. We will be on Oahu most of our time here staying with our friends Justin and Heather. They moved here last year so Justin could go to school here. We are also going to go to the Big Island for a couple days next Monday and Tuesday to check stuff out there. We will return home on the 19th. We did not do much yesterday when we arrived because we were kind of tired from traveling. It was a 9 hour flight from Chicago. And we are 5 ours behind here so we were up for about 24 hours straight yesterday. So, I am writing this at 7am local time and it is noon back in Fayetteville. Justin and Heather picked us up at the airport and leied us. Then we just hung out around their apartment and went and had some sushi with them. Today we will start our touring of the island. Stay tuned for more updates.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Going on a Trip

Margo and I are leaving for vacation in the morning for TWO WEEKS. Stay tuned to the blog as we will try to post about it while we are gone.

See if you can guess where we are going by this picture we took.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Learn to Farm Day

We are going to have another Learn to Farm Day tomorrow (Saturday). We will be deworming our goats. This time of year is when goats can really start getting wormy if you don't watch it. So, we will be checking them using the Famacha method and giving them worm medicine if they need it. It should be fun. We will most likely be doing it in the afternoon so if you want to come, let us know.