Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lots of Rain & a Record Low

It was raining from when I went to bed last night until I woke up this morning at about 7:30. The 1st thing I noticed was that the hallway light was on, then I saw that Dad's light was on & he was not in bed. Turns out he was in the family room, he had turned on all the lights on the way there. It was still raining so it was dark. And it was also cold, it was 63 degrees F! And the strawberries were flooded. I'm glad the timer has a 'rain delay' function; I set it so it skips the next watering tomorrow so the strawberries can dry out. If it stops raining soon.
Concentrated rain from roof has eroded area between last 2 plants; note soil on board.
I'm impressed with this timer, it was part of the drip irrigation kit that I bought.

And Dad was confused. He thought it was Saturday evening and it was time for dinner. I corrected him, then gave him his breakfast. After I opened up the curtains and got the newspaper I excused myself and went back to sleep. My fibromyalgia is acting up because of the cold weather, making me sore and tired; being cold triggers my symptoms. I pulled out a pair of Mom's leggings and put them on to keep warm; my sweatpants are in Kohala. I also got Mom's Mobile Warming heated vest out, but I needed to charge the batteries up again before I could use it, so I used Mom's heating pad instead.

I had been sleeping for less than an hour when I heard a crashing sound. I went back out to the kitchen & found that Dad had fallen. He was apparently putting his breakfast dishes in to the sink & lost his balance. As he fell he scraped his right knee and hit his back against the stove. After I helped him to a standing position, I got the wheelchair and had him sit down in the family room while I dressed the wound on his knee. He wanted to go to his bedroom after that so I wheeled him there & he went to sleep.

After all that excitement all I wanted to do was crawl back in bed & curl up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. But I haven't made any of my hot chocolate mix without milk products yet since 99% of the time the weather here is not conducive to hot chocolate. But I had bought some chocolate coconut water. Yes, it is a kinda weird flavor combination, but I had to try it. And I discovered it has a nice chocolate flavor, much like my hot chocolate mix. However, if you are expecting something to rival chocolate milk you will be very disappointed. Think of it as chocolate milk for the lactose-intolerant. It works for me, hot or cold.

Along with hot chocolate coconut water, I had a poi doughnut with peanut butter for breakfast. Then it was back to bed with the heating pad. The temperature had now dropped to 62 degrees! I heard on the news tonight that it actually went down to 61 degrees, a new record low for the day.

I got up at lunch time to see if Dad was hungry. When I woke him up he asked me if it was time to vote. Huh? Dad has never voted in his life, he did not want to get called for jury duty. I told him no, but it was time for lunch. I made soup to help warm both of us up. He asked me a couple more times about going to vote, so I used my replies to prep him for the doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon. I think he may be getting confused with the voting that the teachers were doing on Thursday to determine it they were ratifying their new contract; news about the vote has been all over the news on TV as well as on the front page of the newspaper for the last week.

The rain had stopped for about an hour & it seemed that the clouds were thinner because the sky was brighter. The temperature had also warmed up to 67 degrees F. But it wouldn't last, it started raining again so I crawled back in to bed.

When I got up to start dinner I found Dad was already awake and sitting in the family room. He asked me again about voting. Then he asked me if Mom had called. I reminded him that she had died, he wanted to know if she died at the hospital. He then remembered that we placed her ashes in Punchbowl but he did not remember the service at Hosoi or having lunch afterwards. I gave him a copy of the program, he spent a while reading it. Then rereading it. And rereading it again.

Happy Military Brats Day, PrepareAthon Day, Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, Bugs Bunny Day, Hairstylist Appreciation Day, Honesty Day, Oatmeal Cookie Day, Raisin Day, Sarcoidosis Day, & Pet Parents Day!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I Chose the Right Day to Plant

When I planted the strawberries yesterday I was hoping the weather forecast saying there would be showers yesterday was going to be accurate. It was. And today it rained for much of the day also. The gutter planter is far enough away that the rain draining off the roof misses it for the most part. The only exception is between the last 2 plants where a crease in the netting directs the water towards the gutter causing dirt to splash out of the planter. When it is no longer raining I will have to see if I can redirect the water away from the planter.
The rain comes down between the 2 plants on the right, washing soil out of the planter.

The rainy weather is also good for the volunteer papaya that I found in the compost pile a few days ago when I was mixing the green waste from the wreaths in with the dried leaves. I moved it to a planting area next to the compost bin. I hope it is a hermaphroditic plant since the other plants are about 100 feet away; I'm not sure if there are any other papaya plants nearby. There was another volunteer there, I think it might be some sort of squash. There was also a volunteer tomato growing in the compost pile but I pulled it out and composted it because none of the other volunteer tomatoes were any good.
Volunteer papaya in the center, possible squash near bottom of photo.

I worked on sorting out more of Mom & Dad's papers today. Dad has asked Curtis and me to take care of all the mail & bills for him. Mom, on the other hand, had still wanted to be in control of keeping track of all the bill paying and other finances; which made it very difficult for me since if she got a hold of some paperwork she would hide it from me. Fortunately, before the dementia got really bad, Mom had almost all the monthly bills put on auto-pay and all their retirement, VA benefits, and social security payments put on direct deposit; so for almost everything if she hid the bill from me there would be no dire consequence. I made a spreadsheet to track what day of the month payments and deposits are made and how much they are. I also included the short list of which annual payments can't be paid automatically; I think I've got it under control now.

Happy Birthday to Diana! Happy Kiss of Hope Day, Peace Rose Day, Shrimp Scampi Day, Zipper Day, Rebuilding Day, Sense of Smell Day, and Pool Opening Day!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Strawberries Planted

After breakfast I worked on the strawberries. It took me a little over an hour to complete the project. Last night I brainstormed how to get the gutter to drain properly. I attached the gutter to a board and raised the end of the board about 1/2", creating about a 0.5% grade, which allows the gutter to drain properly.
From the east end, looking down the gutter.
From the west end, looking upslope.

It was painful, but I removed all the blossoms from the strawberry plants so that more energy would go in to growing more roots so that they can become well established. I will let any new flowers mature into fruit. I think the 8 plants should give us a suitable amount of berries for our breakfast fruit bowl. Right now we are eating oranges and mangoes from trees in our yard.

I ran the drip irrigation on manual in order to dampen all the new soil in the gutter. I had it on for 30 minutes, which is the amount I am considering every 24 hours to keep the plants properly watered. After 15 minutes it didn't look like much, even after 30 minutes it didn't look like the water had spread much. However, there was some water dripping out of the end of the gutter. After about 2 hours all the soil appeared to be saturated.
Water saturation after 15 minutes.
Water saturation after 30 minutes.

My original plan was to have the timer go on at 5 in the morning so it does not compete with the other watering schedules; the sprinkler for front yard comes on about 6 in the morning and the one for the back garden at about 7. I am reconsidering the timing due to the visit from a young brown anole; it came in to drink water. If I have it on at 9 in the morning when the anoles are more active; they might come around the strawberry plants more and they can help keep insect pests under control.

Aunty Jeannie and her sister Carolyn came over for dessert tonight. Curtis & Lori were also here, they picked up Aunty Judy on the way. Aunty Jeannie brought a Ted's Chocolate Haupia Pie, Curtis & Lori brought poi doughnuts from Kamehameha Bakery, Aunty Judy brought a strawberry layer cake, and I got haupia ice cream from 8 1/2 Desserts, turnovers & chocolate peanut butter doughnuts from Napoleon's Bakery. We had a great time catching up on what everyone has been doing. I showed them the slide show we had for Mom's service. Tomorrow Aunty Jeannie & Carolyn are going to Spam Jam in Waikiki. I might join them if it doesn't rain. There's a storm that dumped a bunch of rain this afternoon and a high probability that it will do the same tomorrow.
Clockwise from left: chocolate haupia pie (being cut for serving), haupia ice cream, box of pastries from Napoleon's (chocolate peanut butter doughnut on top), poi doughnuts, & strawberry layer cake.

Happy Birthday to Karyn, Jim, Cynthia, & Andrea! Happy Hairball Awareness Day! This is a day we all know about in this household! Also Happy Blueberry Pie Day, BraveHearts Day, Great Poetry Reading Day, Workers' Memorial Day, Superhero Day, Arbor Day, and Teach Children to Save!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Garden Project

While I was picking up the lavender, pakalana, & catnip yesterday I saw a bunch of strawberries in 4" pots. I love fresh, sun-warmed strawberries. But so do the red-vented bulbuls. So I decided I will grow the strawberries in the cat run! I brainstormed last night and decided the best option was to grow them in a rain gutter using a drip irrigation system. Here's where I want to put them.
I will use the pieces of rebar stuck in the wall as the supports.

Here are the major components for my project. I had wanted to plant strawberries for Mom but she needed so much supervision I was unable to even get started thinking about how to do it. I will be using the Seascape strawberry, they are a day neutral variety so they will fruit year round as long as the temperature is between 35 to 85 degrees F.
I got the last 8 strawberry plants.

Here's what it looks like with the gutter in place. The strawberries in this photo are still in their 4" pots. I'll be taking them out of the pots and filling the gutter with soil.
There will be end caps on the gutter.

According to the instructions the drip irrigation system would take 20 minutes to install. But it actually took me about 90 minutes to get to this point below. But that was because I had to put the gutter together; the guy at City Mill warned me that it was really difficult to get the end caps on, he wasn't kidding. The drip system works, no leaks, but I still need to adjust it so it drains properly & doesn't allow water to pool and start rotting the strawberry roots & crowns. That will be tomorrow's task. Then I'll plant the strawberries! First harvest should be in about 3 months.
End caps are on, drain holes are drilled, & irrigators are dripping! Ready for the next step!

Here's what the bulbuls will see. Hopefully this will keep them from sneaking in through the chainlink fence openings.
The bulbul patrol on duty.

While I was checking on the new plants this morning I found a green caterpillar on the planter with the New Zealand spinach and sweet potato. I had to look really hard to find the sweet potato, the caterpillar had eaten all its leaves! I think it is an Achemon sphinx caterpillar (Eumorpha achemon).

But this planter has a bigger problem than the caterpillar. It's flooded, which will kill the plants more quickly than the caterpillar will.

Hopefully the bulbul patrol doesn't spend all their time in Solar Cat mode.

Happy Birthday to Evelyn, Donna, & Sherry! Happy Babe Ruth Day, Prime Rib Day, Tell A Story Day, & Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Today!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Brazilian Cardinals

This morning I heard a lot of singing and found a pair of Brazilian Cardinals on top of the neighbors' roof. They were introduced in Hawai'i in 1928 on O'ahu. There are also Northern Cardinals in Hawai'i, also introduced in the early 1900's; so we have cardinals from both the northern and southern hemispheres here.
Brazilian Cardinals (Paroaria coronata).

I got a call this morning from Aunty Jeannie. She is in town for about a week. And she was staying about 6 blocks from Bick & Ron. I dropped in to see her & her sister Carolyn before I picked up Bick & Ron to take them to the airport. She'll be coming over for dessert on Friday evening so she can get together with Curtis and Aunty Judy also. I might join her & Carolyn at the Spam Jam on Saturday and the Lei Day celebration on Monday.

On the way back from the airport I stopped in at Lowe's to get copper tape to keep the slugs and snails out of the lettuce & other plants on the planting table. While there I stopped at the nursery to see if they had any English lavender, I've been looking for starts for a couple of years and haven't been successful. I kept getting told it wasn't the right time; but I found it today! However, the only variety available was Hidcote, which is a culinary variety. I wasn't able to find any Grosso, which is a hybrid lavender that I grew for crafts; it has a high lavender oil content so it retains its fragrance for a long time. I guess I'll have to learn how to cook with lavender. I will be planting the lavender in the red cinder area by the driveway; I had planned to do that ever since I cleared the area out since Mom liked the color purple and the fragrance of lavender.
Hidcote variety.

I also picked up a pakalana start; I love the fragrance! I'll be planting it by the papayas so it can climb on the fence. Pakalana is my favorite flower for making lei. After it gets established, when you come to visit me I'll make a pakalana lei for you!

I also bought a catnip plant. I'll be planting it out in the cat run. Hopefully it will be able to survive for a while.

Happy Birthday to cousins Karen, Daniel, & Kenley! (I didn't know until now that they shared the same birthday.) Happy Audubon Day, Help A Horse Day, Kids & Pets Day, Pretzel Day, Richter Scale Day, and Administrative Professionals Day!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rise & Shine!

Today is Tuesday which means breakfast with Curtis! Today Bick & Ron joined us at the Rise & Shine Cafe in Mililani. Bick had the Homemade Granola, Yogurt, & Fruit, Ron had the Veggie Omelet with Breakfast Potatoes, and Curt & I had the Breakfast Burrito. Everything was great! There were a lot of enlisted personnel there since Schofield Barracks is nearby.
Curtis holding the door for Bick.
Homemade Granola, Yogurt & Fruit.
Veggie 3-Egg Omelet.
Breakfast Burrito with Avocado.

On the way to pick up Bick & Ron in Waikiki, we went by another view of Leahi. This is a very close look at the west side of Leahi.
Leahi #28: On Campbell at Monserrat.

After we picked Bick & Ron up, we headed to the freeway via the McCully Street on-ramp. To get there we passed the Mo'ili'ili mural, it is one of the many pieces of art on barriers that surround construction sites. This one has additional pieces at the top and on the walls to give it a 3-D look.

After I got back I finished cleaning up the baking cabinet. I had started it a couple days ago, taking everything out so I could wipe up the diatomaceous earth I had used to keep the ants out. I put the other opened package of brown sugar in an ant-proof plastic container. I also decided to put a couple other things in containers like the psyllium husk and the semi-sweet chocolate chips. 

Happy Birthday to April!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fresh Picked Mangoes for Breakfast

This morning I started out by picking some mangoes before breakfast. I saw 3 ripe mangoes last evening when I took a bunch of flowers over to Jamie's house. You can see one of the mangoes in the photo below; it's bright yellowish orange, hanging above the section of fence closest to the street sign.

Since I was on the other side of the street, I took photos of the north side of house. Unfortunately I did not take a "before" picture so you could see what David did. Just imagine 6 or 7 stumps of 'oha'i ali'i spread along the fence. There are still 2 stumps left, they could not be dug out because they are too close to the kokutan bushes that I want to keep; I have to cut them down at ground level.
The yellow and red 'oha'i ali'i, seen to the right, are being trained in to trees, like the pink one on the left side of the driveway

I started the clean up of the baking cabinet; it was looking pretty good, no ants seen coming or going. I moved everything out and cleaned up the diatomaceous earth that I had sprayed to get rid of the ants.
Look Ma! No ants!

But those ants are sneaky. I took everything out of the baking cabinet and saw no ants. But when I looked in the box they were climbing on earlier, they had confined themselves to the box in order to avoid the diatomaceous earth. You could see where they ate holes in to the sugar. I got rid of the box of sugar.
The white stuff is diatomaceous earth that I sprayed to keep the ants from escaping. The black things are the ants.

I put the other open bag of brown sugar into a plastic container with an ant-proof lid. It's a little shorter than a full box, but once the box is open I can take the bag out & fit it in the container.
I cut the box apart to keep the important information with the bag of brown sugar.

I found the container in the cabinet that Mom seems to have most of the plastic containers in. The only problem is that she did not keep all the lids in the same cabinet. It's like looking for Easter eggs.
Some of the containers were removed as I looked for something to put the brown sugar in.
Here's what I took out of the cabinet, including the container that I used.

I found a volunteer banyan this morning. It is growing out of the drainage hole of a pot in the holding area on the side of the house. When Susan, Curtis, & I were born Dad's father started a bonsai banyan for each of us. They were growing well until about 10 years or so ago when Dad started having difficulty getting around the yard & was unable to water them as much as they needed. I am hoping to be able to get this one to grow as a bonsai.

Bick & Ron dropped by this evening after dinner. We went and picked up some malasadas at Leonard's Bakery. We got the filled ones: custard, haupia, dobash, macadamia nut, and mango. They are yummy! I think the dobash is the best. We're going out to breakfast tomorrow morning with Curtis.

Happy Birthday to Chuck, Jack, Meira, Alika, & Mason! Happy Pigs in a Blanket Day!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Clotheslines

Before Kai left he replaced 4 of the 5 clotheslines. One actually had already broken about a week before he arrived, 3 others were worn and looked like breaking was imminent. Yesterday as I was checking the status of the lettuce I noticed that the lines were a little loose; the bath towels would be hitting the retaining wall for the garden. So I picked up some turnbuckles & redid all 5 lines.
"During": the 2 farthest lines are already changed, other 3 are waiting for their turn.
Never send a man to do a woman's job.

A male brown anole was defending his territory this morning.

I have been watering the orange tree regularly since I arrived here. With the regular watering, it has been flowering regularly. And producing lots of oranges!

Curtis & Lori came by after lunch today. We worked on opening up the envelopes from Mom's service and recording the koden that was received. We received 62 envelopes at the service and 23 more through the mail or in person. Mom's obituary came out in today's paper so there will probably be more envelopes coming in.

Happy Birthday to Rita, Ryan, & Maya!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Birthday, Boys!

Today is Shiro & Momo's 16th birthday; affectionately known as "The Boys". And Shiro got a present in the mail today! I had been having problems with the WonderBowl, or more correctly, with the IR tag for the WonderBowl. It's not watertight; so sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. So I ordered another Wireless Whiskers since Shiro is on a special diet & also needs to lose some weight; it has an RFID tag that is sealed & isn't affected by water. It was supposed to be delivered on the 25th but it arrived today in time for Shiro's birthday! I checked for Momo at the humane society but he wasn't there; that would have been the best present for him.

Here are the standing flower arrangements for Mom that were from Curtis & me and from the grandkids.

Yesterday after the service Bick took those standing wreaths apart so we could save the flowers & reuse them. Now the dining room table is covered with flowers. I took one container of flowers to Mrs. Vea and one to Donna; Bick took some back to their hotel. I am giving another bunch of flowers to Jamie. I'm hoping Lori will take one of the arrangements home.

Kai & David left today; on the way to the airport we went to Punchbowl. We weren't able to visit other niches yesterday after Mom's interment since we needed to get Dad home, it was a very long day for him. Today David took some flowers from the arrangement that his father, John, sent for Mom to place at Susan's niche.
Flower arrangement from John.

When Kai left today, he made his bed for the first time during his stay here. Only problem was he didn't follow directions in the guest room.
"A" for bed making effort, "F" for reading comprehension.

Happy Birthday to Norton Younglove & Devin!