Over the Fence Chat for 4/14/02 to 4/20/02

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Good morning, everyone!! So, what's the weather doing at your house today? It's cloudy here, but they are light grey and fairly high, so it's not too oppressive. Humidity is high and there is a gentle breeze; perfect morel stalking weather - except that they've just barely begun to come up 'round here! Won't stop the woods from being full of folks though! What the heck, it's a pretty day for a tromp through the timber!

Hubs is taking advantage of not being able to go to MO; he's got his trailor hitched to the truck and is getting ready to load his quad; heading a bit south of us to the Lincoln Trail motocross track for some practice runs. Hope he remembers to hose off outside before he comes in the house! He helped me set my 6 beds that Pop got nailed together out in the garden this morning; and he's going to make me a new sifter to go over the wheelbarrow before he heads out - Guilt is a wonderful thing!!

Well, sometimes it is...

Jessie is fine this morning, still peeing a little bit pink; but feeling lots better than she did yesterday. She keeps saying that she feels bad about me not going on my trip - I keep telling her that I can go today if I want to, since it runs all day Monday too. Wish I could find someone to head to MO with me this afternoon, no one can go to spend the night. I could go by myself, I reckon; I just don't WANT to! I've got tons of things to do around here, so I guess I just ought to go do them. Friend Jon wants to hit the UBS and the big Chinese buffet this week sometime, so maybe I will fit in a trip to the nursery then....Note to self; Make Jon drive truck to UBS!! (heh, heh, heh!)

Still haven't seen hide nor hair of Mr. Beldon the wood chip guy; sure hope he comes this week. Considering the amount of rain we've been getting, he may not be able to get in to where he stores his chips. The Ex isn't able to keep up with my cardboard needs, but neighbor Mike has an extra bale of boxes that we picked up at the grocery that he says I can have - only problem is getting him out of the woods long enough to load it for me! Hmmm...wonder if Pop could go get it with the round bale mover on the Ford....hmmmm

Ain't it wonderful how I can find all these ways to keep the fellas busy 'round here?! You don't suppose that THEY think so, d'ya?!

Well, the wash machine just kicked off, so I reckon I'd better go hang out my dresses on the line (unmentionables on the inside line; just in case we get company). I'll sweep the porch and fill up the ice bin just in case some thirsty morel hunters wander in from the woods for a glass of lemonade. Then, I think I'll sit out on the porch glider with Boo-Boo kitty and make a list of all the things I ought to do today - a nap on the glider will be first on the list!

You folks take care; think about daffodils, hyacinths and tulips today!

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2002


Sunny and windy with a threat of afternoon showers. Perfect day for running my "biscuit and gravy powered turning plow and cultivater" (me and a fork :>)

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2002

This weekend has been fun watching my non-country (but learning) husband and his children. We went and got 25 chicks and put them in the pen we built last year for chicks and then we had to build our one and only hen a house to stay in. Long story short last year we had 22 chicks and only one made it due to something or someone getting them, Mike got very protective of his "henny-penny" and put her in the pen we built the chicks to stay in (10'x3') and would put her in the old chick house on the weekends and when we were home and put her up at night. Whatsso funny is he's so attached to her but can't wait to make chicken and dumplins!!!

we also got a bunny and getting another in a couple weeks, Mike wants to try smothered fried rabbit. The kids have named everything hat moves.

have a great week ya'll............

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2002

We've had our first lamb. A few weeks ago I bought our first 18 ewe lambs, Polled Dorset. They are all between 10 and 12 months old. Two weeks ago one of them gave birth to a smelly lamb.( Died a few days before birth at full term size) The Ewe had toxic shock, but with very intensive care she is up and running back with the flock.

Yesterday I went to feed two we had separated out as suspect, at 4.00 p.m. with no suspicous circumstances. At 7.00 p.m. a beautiful ewe lamb had been born.

We understand that there had been a hole in the fence escape situation, so we are expecting a couple more.

Although a bit nerve racking it is a lovely bonus to our little flock.

Have a great week


-- Anonymous, April 14, 2002

Joy has been having a great time in Hawaii. I get email from her every few days, altho she hasn't said much about particulars. I'll leave that up to her when she gets home, which should be on the ...um...I think it's the 17th. Figure a couple days for time zone wipe out on there. Last I heard, she was out on a whale watching boat and had seen a few, altho not close up.

In the meantime, I'm still burning the midnight oil, handwalking the horse with founder, changing her orthopedics every day and making new ones, giving Bute, etc. Looks like she is getting better now, more comfortable, and I've been able to reduce her Bute to 1/2 grm 2X -- down from 2 grm 2X, and am fixing to reduce to 1/2 grm 1X and see how she does on that.

And doing taxes. I know, we're not supposed to use dirty words here, but hey, that's life. We're all adults here. At least I had enough so that I could put a little away in an IRA this year and even got something of a refund -- altho I told them to apply it toward this year's taxes since they already HAD my money and the last time I didn't get it back until September anyway. Too bad I can't charge THEM interest, the way that they charge us.

And shedding out horses. Horse hair everywhere...in my mouth, in my dinner, in my underwear, in my bed at night....*ak. Ptooie!!* Of course, the biggest horse (also solid WHITE, mind you) lies down in the mud and SCRUBS it into his hide every chance the @$%@!! gets.

And I've also been learning guinea pig medicine. My regular vet wouldn't even look at the pigs (at least he was honest and said that I probably knew as much if not more about it than he did and saved me the money), another vet looked at the pig and told me what I'd already told HER about the pig's condition...and they couldn't x-ray his teeth without knocking him cold (unknown age, losing weight rapidly...gee doc, does this sound like a poor anaesthesia risk to you???), even tho he sits there for exam like a furry potato. Wouldn't even look at his molars without complete sedation either -- once again, he sits there like a bump on a log and opens his mouth up when you stick a finger in. What's so hard about getting an otoscope and LOOKING for pete sake?

Fuming. So the upshot of all this is: I bought myself an otoscope off of eBay, and books such as 'Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents -- Clinical Medicine and Surgery' and 'The Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents (fourth edition)' and am now studying to be a guinea pig paravetic....aka, DIY Vet. I thought that it was a nice bonus to have all the rabbit information too.

The weather here too an abrupt warming trend and hiked to 50. Everyone started wearing t-shirts and shorts. Today it hit 60. The snow is melting fast now, so much so that the horse barn is perched in the middle of a lake of muddy water that has a driveway and outdoor arena somewhere underneath.

Saw a first Robin. What in the world do they find to eat while there is still several inches of snow on the ground? Yet every year the dopey things come back here when there is still ice and snow everywhere. I've been seeing a lot of eagles circling high lately. Probably looking for winter kill deer to eat now that the snow is bringing them up. Makes me think about the book, I think entitled 'Children's Guide to the Environment' with the cartoon of the buzzards eating the dead animals with a talk balloon with one buzzard saying "Just doing Mother Nature's delicious recycling work!!" (and then, pray tell, what eats a dead buzzard? Bacteria! "Bacteria got NO taste!!")

And speaking of morel mushrooms, has anyone tried cultivating them? I've seen offers of spores to innoculate your own woods patches with (I think they eat on decaying hardwood chips? Was that it?). Has anyone ever tried this? I have never found a wild one locally, so I've started to think about the possibilities of my own patch under the pine trees.

I'm also eyeballing the area they ripped up putting in the new septic tank (which is supposed to be good for life now and I won't have to think about that again in my lifetime) and thinking about were to find some nice pine duff and maybe plant some blueberries there...

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2002

Exhustion settling in....

I went to Atlantic City over the weekend. I took $200 to gamble but only play Black Jack and all the $10 tables were not only filled but had people waiting. Good thing, I really didn't want to lose any money. I did put 25 cents in a slot just because. I also tried for the big ball. It is at $300 million. What would you do with $300 million? Anyway, I was there for a Pet Show Trade Show. It was fun and I get alot of free samples of stuff. Actually, my bird ran away from a new food I offered it. Makes you wonder.

Today, we put five trailers full of manure, some bone meal and lime in my garden and tilled it under. Good thing for the ATV because I would have had to bring it uphill in a wheelbarrow. The trailer holds about three wheelbarrows full so that was great. And I got to use my new Mantis! Actually my husband did so I have to go over it again when he's not around :) It's suppose to rain for the next couple of days (we really need it) so everything should sink in.

Off to Home Depot tomorrow to get a new storm door and wood molding for the basement. Ahh, more work to do....

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2002

What would I do with $300 million? Probably get my self assassinated playing politics. I'd piss off liberals, conservatives, Republicans, and Democrats alike.

Our weather has been pretty good these last few days. Temperatures have been doing about 85 or so in the afternoons. It's rained on both Saturday and Sunday and may well rain today. This year's thunderstorms have been kind of odd as the first one yesterday came straight out of the west but the one that really laid down the water about an hour and a half later came out of the southeast. Looks like it might be a year where we get convergence storms which are cells from two different fronts merging together to make an even larger cell. They can and often do produce some whacking good thunderstorms. The rain is good, lightning popping so hard and fast that it looks like a strobe light display is NOT!

Spent all day Saturday down to Bartow at a poultry seminar. It was mostly geared towards 4H kids but still had some interesting stuff for a fellow like me. Saw a number of the pretty show breeds that I'd only seen in pictures before and learned some new tricks for dealing with aggressive roosters (besides eating them) so I'd say the seminar was at least worth what I spent on gas and food to go down. When my daughter gets old enough I think I'll have to get involved in 4H so we can wrestle poultry back to being practical livestock and not just beauty pageant contestants.

Sunday morning I got out and finally planted out the three swamp chestnut oak saplings I'd bought months ago. Moved the chicken colony house to its next space then seeded and raked out the manure from its old space. My field peas have all broken ground nicely but I'm still waiting on the summer squash to make an appearance. It was three year old seed so the viability might have faded away but I won't decide one way or the other until Wednesday.

With that behind me it was time to do something about the grape arbor (scuppernongs). It came with the place when we bought it and really needed some attention. The end nearest to the house has poison ivy in it so I took my nice new eye hoe and went at it. Went ahead and hoed the grass away from all the vines, spread manure laced brooder bedding around them and mulched them all in. If I had $300 million I'd have someone else rake up all this doggone mulch! Also pruned the vines while I was at it. Didn't intend to prune them quite so severely but they were so tangled and interwoven it proved impossible to sort them out. I just whacked everything off to between five and six feet long. When they sprout out again I'll keep the strongest canes and eliminate the rest. Won't be much of a crop this year but next year ought to do right fine.

The big thunderstorm started up just as I was cleaning up from the pruning so I repaired to the workshop and started working on a feeder shelter so I can hang the chicken feeders outside and not have the feed be ruined. It's become painfully obvious that I have no talent for carpentry but stuff does eventually get built and it's serviceable even if it's ugly and the angles are all off.

It was getting on towards evening then so I knocked off, washed up and took the family on into town for supper.

Pretty fair weekend all in all.


-- Anonymous, April 15, 2002

We have been so busy that some days I have not even turned the computer on!!! Kidding was completed on Sat. when my best milker had QUADS. Two does and two bucks; only had quads one other time. I now have 11 kids on bottles, as the buck kids will all be sold to 4-H kids at the auction next Sat. What with milking five does and feeding kids three times a day, my basic chores are now five hours a day. That sure takes a slice out of the day.

We are having gorgeous weather here, a bit warm for this time of year so not I am worried about potential violent weather. It is suppose to get up to mid 80's tomorrow. Not a good thing for Michigan this time of year, unless of course it is one of those once every twenty years were winter really does end the middle of April. We can always hope.

Going to put in peas, onions and fava beans today, and perhaps some slaw type plants...........if I get that far. I need to vaccinate and disbud a couple of the oldest kids and I have not touched the kitchen in two days!!! Then there is the huge pile of laundry that is spilling out of the hamper and into the bathtub these days. I started kidding season in fairly good shape, but now it will take me weeks to really get caught up again. Hope all is well with everyone and I look forward to hearing about your trip Joy...........welcome home tomorrow by the way. hugs to all...............oh, Polly.........sure glad I didn't travel all the way down there now cause the biggest reason would have been to see you!!! Hope Jesse is better.

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2002

Sounds like all of you are keeping busy...what with spring chores and such. Like Diane, I haven't even turned on my computer the last few days or so, other than to check my email. Harry is playing his chess games, but there's so much going on here right now with family "stuff" it's really hard to concentrate on the things I enjoy (like being here!!). This "sandwich" generation thing is soooo depressing sometimes.

But, anyways....we're finally getting some much needed rain here in my area of Maine. Our water table is most definitely back to normal!! We're supposed to have 70 and 80 degree temps here by Wed. Heck!! We'll have to start mowing the lawn!! Planted Sugar Ann peas last weekend. We've always planted Sugar Snap peas, but I'm getting tired of staking them. Hopefully these peas wont grow much taller than 3 ft.!! Also put in radishes, chard, spinach and carrots. The rest of our garden will have to wait til it dries out somewhat!!

Polly...just read your previous post about Jessie. I sure am glad she's feeling better!!!

Congrats to Alison and Diane on the four-legged babies!! Wow, Diane...quads!! That's great! I sold all my "kids" this year. Was planning on keeping at least one really nice doe, but with all this family s..., well, some things have to be put on hold!! Maybe next year :-)!

Going out on the back porch now to listen to the timberdoodles (woodcocks)!! They always seem to relax me! Have a good week everyone!

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2002

I'm having display problems with my peecee. I don't know if my monitor is going or I've got a virus (although I'm up to date with Norton....) I get a headache trying to read these messy fonts.

Hope you are all happy and I'll write when I can focus. This sucks!

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2002

I'm home, alive, barely (2.5 hours of sleep -- yuck!). The weather here isn't much better than Hawaii -- hot and humid in both places. And it makes me think of tornadoes! :-(

Not up to speed yet -- more later. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2002

Welcome home...boss!!!

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2002

I found a herb garden today!!!It was gorgeous here today!I took 3 wheelbarrow loads of dried stuff,off one of the herb gardens and found my red clover,comfrey,arnica,sage and lemon balm, and the tag for the new white echinacea.Then we went to the new bush and roped off where the house will go,and sat in my future kitchen and ate salsa!We heard a coon churring ,and saw a turkey hen all alone.I walked down to where the end of the yard will be and found a little stand of hemlock,with a wee creek beside,with 2 or 3 little mini waterfalls.WOW! I don't know ,which I disbelieve more,the land or the baby.!!!The ultrasound monday showed that the baby is in my uterus,that sounds crazy but it is not an obvious conclusion in my life.My husband is leaving for Winnipeg ,next week he will be gone for 2 weeks.Feeling very content...blessings....Anyone heard from E.M.??

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2002

I believe I saw a post from EM over on CS. For the life of me, though, I can't remember what thread it was on :-)!!

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002

Hey all! Sheepish, it must just be a bad week for computers - my keyboard shot craps; and I haven't gotten in to replace it yet. I'm typing with an on-screen keyboard and the mouse - now I know how Hubs, the one fingered typist feels!

Jes is much better; and I went to the nursery and bought a bunch of perennials, so everyone is happy - except

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002

Damn! Everyone is happy except Pop; who's out scooping poop with the tractor! Woodchip guy called too, so hopefully I'll wake up to another pile of good stuff in the yard! Gotta go -this keyboard is making me nutso!

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002

Hi Joy, welcome back. Hi everyone. I still haven't got the visuals totally fixed, but nearly. I can read and write online for about five minutes before I start having acid flashbacks (LOL).

Weather stinks: cold at night, rainy all day and night.

Did anyone watch the Oakland/Mariners game on teevee last night? If so, the downpour at that game (in California) is similar to our weather here...except that we are still close to freezing at night. What spring???!!! At least my basil is sprouting on the windowsill.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002

Welcome back, Joy! (D'ya guys suppose she noticed the missing cigars and the lampshade yet?!)

Got off work this am and went on one of those grocery extravaganzas - ick, yuck, bleech! However, things improved when I somehow got disoriented in Wal Mart and ended up in the garden center. Really. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Found a weird looking, large flowered, pink and dark purple salvia; plus a couple of white iris and some Mexican Heather. Also bought a new keyboard - unfortunately, the one I bought was a dud, so Hubs went by after work and got me the one I'm using now. It's soooo nice to be able to "talk" again! What's that? You were enjoying the peace and quiet, eh?!

I drove over to town Monday to borrow my Ex's lawn edger and dropped by the Red Barn Garden Center, just to see what they had in. $138 later... It was still a lot cheaper than a trip to Missouri; or so I keep telling Hubs! I spent Monday and Tuesday planting perennials (and moving established ones around!) Had to work on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but Pop made up for it but getting out the tractor with scoop and moving a bunch of dirt and compost into my beds for me. He also tilled up around the gardens and in between the new beds. Mr. Beldon showed up too, so I now have a couple of wood chip mountains - all right!!

I did some raking and leveling of beds after I got up from a short nap this afternoon; then I weeded the perennial beds and the beds in the older garden. Hubs and I went out after supper and planted 4 grape vines - two concord and 2 white, for his wine making project. I'm still thinking about getting a couple of seedless ones and trying to grow them on the porch railing! I have a bunch of annuals yet to plant - as soon as I decide where they need to go! Pop is on my butt to get the melons started - our weather has been so warm lately! I keep trying to tell him that it's supposed to turn off cold, but he ain't listening! If the thunderstorms hold off for tonight, I may go put some seed squares into the garden in the morning. I also need to go out in the berry patch and dig about 100 plants to set in the big triangular beds around the grape arbor. Pop says that they will be the only berries on the place next year!!

Our peach trees bloomed out this week, so I am hoping for fresh peaches in July and August! Strawberries are blooming, and the asparagus is starting to come up. Some of the rhubarb has started to try to go to seed - early for that nonsense!! Neighbor Mike said that he heard a whip-poor-will last week, so I've been keeping my ears open - so far all I've heard is the almost deafening chorus of spring peepers and the occasional owl. The red buds have finally bloomed out, and the maples in the yard are full of "propellers"! We've all been using the "water cure" that was recommended here for allergies; and seem to be doing okay so far.

Well, it's getting late and I need to grab a shower before bed - since I was out playing in the poop pile - so I reckon I'd better get to it. You folks all have a good weekend - I'll be spending mine at work, darn it!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

???Missing cigars????Lampshades???? Do I even WANT to know?

I came back from Hawaii to hot weather, then last night it dropped quite a bit, then back up today. Yep, got tornado watch alerts today (duh, like we couldn't figure THAT out!). Rained quite a bit late in the afternoon, and now it's raining again (oh, yay, mud! >:-{ ), and supposed to drop again tonight, with a whalloping high in the mid- 50's tomorrow! I'm still wearing shorts, but it will be back to long pants and sleeves. Hopefully this is all soaking in and not making mud. The grass is getting quite green, especially the patches the dog has been visiting . . . ;-)

Dang it, I thought of a question I wanted to ask and it ran right out of my brain. Probably time for me to go to bed!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

It must be spring, the news is full of tornadoes dancing over the Midwest! Wishing y'all the best in zigging while they're zagging!

I think our four year drought is starting to ease here in Florida. We certainly haven't been getting El Nino like rains but we've been getting more than we got this time for the last couple of years. Been a damn sight of lightning too. Fortunately *most* of that has been high-altitude cloud to cloud lightning which makes for amazing light shows but not much threat to anything.

While I was out doing chores after dark last night I noticed that we have *hundreds* of lightning bugs this Spring! They've been rather sparce for the last couple of years - the drought I suppose - but boy were they out last night! I love watching them.


-- Anonymous, April 19, 2002

Good to "see" ya, Joy!! Maybe off and on you could tell us stories of your Hawaiian adventure?? Do all the guys on the beaches wear thongs :-)?

I think that this will be the year for "strange" weather. On Wednesday this week we had 80 degree temps and humid!! We hardly EVER get humid here. Then we had a major thunderstorm early in the afternoon with hail. Yuck!! We've had showers off and on today and temps are more normal for us. No offense, but you all an keep your tornadoes and hurricanes :-)!! I can deal with cold and snow much easier.

Reading about your peach trees, Polly, made me miss the ones we used to get from a neighbor. I don't know what variety she had, but the fruit was huge! Unfortunately, she passed away and her home and property was sold to folks who wont share!! I have another friend who gives me some peaches from his tree, but they're so small and kinda sour. I use them for making peach jam. We have cherry trees, but maybe we should put in peach trees, too. I still want to start an asparagas patch....sheeesh...don't want much do I??? Polly, you're so full of energy, I'll make a deal with ya...come on up and plant some peach trees and asparagas and I'll send you home with more lobster and crabs than you can carry :-)!!!

Harry and I are actually going out to a "fancy" dinner restaurant tonight. Guess I can't wear sneakers and blue jeans. Usually we head for the nearest Chinese buffet, Chicago Bar and Grill or Denny's, but today is our 31st. anniversary so we thought we deserved better!! Maybe...just maybe, we'll spend the night in a motel!!???

Well, gotta get back to my housework and I have a batch of cottage cheese I'm working on, also. I'm planning baked manicotti for dinner tomorrow and wanted to use fresh cheese with it!! Stay dry everyone....

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2002

Well, I have a little time now, so I can tell you more about my Hawaiian trip. First, though, I will tell you that I have a sick cockatiel. Had to be hospitalized with a respiratory infection yesterday. Came on really fast. This means a couple of weeks of dosing the bird with sticky medicine that will get all over her poor little head. She isn't the most cooperative of the birds, either (though there are others that would be worse!). I should be able to pick her up later today.

Okay, back to Hawai'i. We only went to the beach once and then we sat in the shade. Although I did some wading in the warm ocean. It was a lot warmer than it has been when I've gone in January previously. I am not much of a beach bum. I'd rather be looking at scenery or hiking or something like that. I get bored and too hot easily. Sitting in the shade listening to the waves, however, was quite nice. I could have just taken a nap, but we had to leave and pick up the kid from school.

Regarding the men in thongs -- not in Hawai'i! I suppose there might be some somewhere, but I've never seen them (though we didn't go to any of the nude beaches -- grin). In Hawai'i, every one seems to wear those baggy swimming trunks. You can scarcely differentiate them from shorts. Some people ARE wearing shorts, and conversely, some people are walking around all day wearing a swimming suit. The only time you see something like a Speedo on a guy is on some of the lifeguards at the resorts or if there is some competition going on, such as the Ironman Triathalon. The women on the beach wear swimsuits much like you'd see anywhere else -- tiny bikinis on those that can get away with it, lots more coverage on the "ample" figures. Of course, we're talking about the Big Island, where things are more conservative and family oriented. I don't know what they're wearing on Oahu (where Honolulu and Waikiki Beach are located) or Maui (the "hip" place to go) -- they might be more daring there. We always go the the beaches where "locals" have easiest access (not the resort beaches). Technically, all the beaches are open to EVERYONE, but parking can be problematic, and most don't go in for hiking over to the areas most accessible to the resort tourists. Maybe they're more daring in beach garb, but I don't know.

Okay, enough about swimwear! Aren't you sorry you asked? :-D The Big Island of Hawai'i (also named Hawai'i, but usually called the Big Island or occasionally, The Orchid Island, to avoid confusion) is not like the other islands nor what people typically think of as "Hawai'i". It does have some tropical areas, but a LOT of it is lava flows -- no vegetation or just a little bit growing on it. There is also a lot of pasturage type land, and cattle ranching has been one of it's main businesses for a couple of centuries. There are about 11 different climatic zones, there's usually snow year round at the top of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (the two largest volcanic mountains on the island -- there are five altogether). When you go up in elevation (called "upslope" no matter which volcano you are on), the weather becomes cooler.

My cousins live in Waikoloa Village, which is warm, very dry, and windy. Looks sort of like Tucson as you look out on the landscape (but fortunately is not full of stickery cactus). Waimea (also know as Kamuela to differentiate it from the other Waimea's) is at 2500 ft, and is often quite pleasant. We spent a lot of time up there. That's where the kid's school is, and also a convenient point in between a lot of other things.

Specific things we did: Went, via the Saddle Road, up to Volcanoes National Park (again!) and stayed overnight, walked through Thurston Lava tube and the pitch black section where few go (we had a lantern), went and tasted wine at Volcano Winery (and I bought two bottles -- one has been consumed and the other came home with me), found a quilt shop in Volcano Village where I bought lots of beautiful batik fabric. Did the trail loop at Akaka Falls north of Hilo on the way back to Waikoloa.

Went on a whale watch cruise. Saw one big male humpback all alone first. Only knew it was a male because when they put the microphone in the water, he was "singing" (only the males sing). Moved to another area where we found a baby humpback playing on the surface. Mom surfaced a few times and her "escort" (waiting to father the next generation)did too. The captain could tell they were different whales by the patterns on their tails. A couple of other males made forays to test the escort's determination, but the original escort prevailed. Very knowledgeable crew. It was fun. I was also hoping to see some spinner dolphins, but none showed up. They often come to boats and surf the wake or bow wave, and jump and spin and put on a show. I've seen them the two other times I've been out in a boat over there.

We also went "Flumin' Da Ditch" -- there is an irrigation ditch in North Kohala that was used for bringing water to the sugarcane. Now that that industry is defunct over there, they have trips on the ditch for the tourists. Inflatable kayaks that hold about five and let water in on your butt. Not that THAT matters, we were soaked before it was over. There are spills of water into the ditch from upslope collection points, and we were wet head to toe. They could have avoided them more, but didn't. And it was rather cold water! The kind that makes you gasp when it hits you. The ditch includes tunnels that are varying depths underground, but I'm not claustrophobic, so that wasn't a problem. I did like the outdoors parts better though, because you could see all the vegetation and hear the birds. The water still provides some irrigation for growing flowers and for watering livestock.

Went to hear a group called The Battlefield Band up at Waimea. They're a Scottish Celtic music group. It was fun. We also went a different day to the theater there to see "Gosford Park". I enjoyed the movie, and would like to see it again, now that I've figured out who's who and what was going on. It's very confusing at the beginning, and if you don't have an ear for English accents, you might not be able to understand what's going on.

We ate in a number of different restaurants as well as some old favorites and good dinners at home. Lilikoi (passionfruit) is very popular in Hawai'i, and I love it, so I had it as often as possible. It isn't served as the "whole" fruit -- it's usually the juice or things made from it (syryp, flavorings, sorbets, etc.). Iced tea with lilikoi is very good!

And there were numerous other small things we did and shopping, etc., that I won't bore you with. This was my "fabric" trip. I also bought a bunch of sarongs that I intend to cut up to make various garments. I think that was everything interesting that we did.

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2002

Alan, you are lucky where you are at. Whichever weather year we are having (El Nino - La Nina) - both are brats in south Texas, we need some rain bad.

Joy, your trip to Hawaii sounds awesome! Yeah, you spend so much time touring the sites, you come back from vacation needing a vacation. Sounds like you made the most of it, though; enjoy the memories.

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2002

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