Saturday, January 16, 2010

Enter The Man and Assorted Other Adventures

Fran joined us on Tuesday. His flight arrived early in the afternoon, and as we'd discovered before, if we don't get the kids out and doing something in the morning we're pretty much doomed to much whining and fighting. So we did the Judd Trail hike again, and stopped at Jackass Ginger, where this time the kids were a little bit braver, including BittyPrincess:

We stopped for a bit of vine swinging action (the kids have been trying to find a suitable setup since we got here):

Afterwards, we went to Kanaikapupu, Kamehameha III's summer house. Or the remains of it anyway:

We searched for wild-growing cinnamon nearby and didn't find anything we could bring home; it's there, we're sure, we just couldn't identify it.

Fran got in and we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the pool and catching up.

The next day, we walked around Ala Moana shopping center, had bento boxes from Shirokiya for lunch, and briefly met up with a friend. Fran also got a haircut, but we neglected to take before/after photos, so people who know us will just have to spot it in upcoming photos.

In the evening, we decided it was time to do something with the beans. In the absence of an actual coffee-roaster, we ghettoized one (weird, the spellcheck recognized "ghettoized" as a word):

We discovered that the beans had an additional layer that needed to come away, and then coffee beans magically appeared:

We were roasting them to drink the next day (because who wants to listen to the popcorn popper for 15 minutes at 6am?), so to be continued...

The family gets up and about at dramatically different times in the morning (ranging from my dad's 3:45 to my mom's 8:30), so we decided not to roast coffee right away. Instead, we piled into the car and drove around the island for sightseeing. It was a beautiful day. We made several stops for various kid playing and peeing reasons, including one at Kualoa Park (next to Chinaman's Hat) again, where the kids tried to figure out how to climb palm trees (unsuccessful but entertaining):

Boyness found a pet coconut to take home (well, to take back to Tutu and Papa's house and try to get someone to help him open):

We made additional stops for lunch at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck (yum), and for play at a couple of different beaches including this one:

We got back around 5pm, luckily driving opposite the evening rush hour.

And now, let the coffee adventures continue! We ground and brewed our beans, which resulted in a lovely smooth medium-roast coffee experience, particularly after the addition of a little fresh-whipped cream:

And then we proceeded to spend the last bits of daytime babysitting our ghettoized coffee popcorn thingy while the kids swam in the pool, finally producing three batches of beans in medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts:

That wasn't the most attractive photo of the beans, but it was one where it was clear we'd intentionally scaled the darkness of the beans.

And an FYI for anyone who might read or google to the blog considering this particular experiment, the popcorn popper method as outlined on the internet has some problems. The first is that after the first minute or so the beans are light enough to fly out the front of the popper when you use the normal plastic vent; this is why we put an old pizza grate over the popper. The second is that the stated roasting/popping time for dark roast was 6 minutes, and we had to go WAY past that to get our beans suitably dark (no, we didn't burn them). 6 minutes would have resulted in an extremely light roast, which I'm sure some people would like, but none of us were those people. I think our dark roast took closer to 20 min.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ala Moana Park, and the Neighborhood Circuit

First, we put the coffee beans out on the patio to sun (it was early, most of the day they were in direct full sun):

And off we went to Ala Moana Beach/Park to walk around the park and Magic Island:

Then, a swim, and back for lunch. In the afternoon, we walked the kids to the neighborhood park (Girliness was more than mildly irritated that they'd changed the play structures) and then to Johns Store for another dose of shave ice. Back "home" for some swimming time in the pool and some time playing Little Big Planet on Aunty B's playstation.

Meanwhile, our coffee beans retained some of their sticky but have been changing to a golden-brown-ish color. This may just be working.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Maunawili, and Coffee Wildcrafting (part 1)

Yesterday in the AM we saw Grandma E for a little kid-spoiling time and visiting time.

Once she'd left, we decided to go hike again, this time at Maunawili. This hike is in the mountains and is often seriously mud-covered, but we thought that since we'd had no big rainfall in the past week it should be ok. Ha.

Before we could leave, BittyPrincess interrupted the process by pulling a stool down on her face (ouch) and giving herself a nice bruise. It will probably be visible in any future photos for this trip. She rallied over saimin and an episode of Fairly Oddparents, and we were on our way.

When we started it was overcast. I got one picture of the trail before the madness hit:

By a little into the trail it was drizzling and the camera was stashed in a ziploc bag. Before we'd hit the halfway point it was pouring big fat thunk-thunk drops of rain on us. So much for there not being too much mud.

Still, we got to the falls without incident. The rain slowed to a light drizzle and I could get the camera back out. Almost everyone was game for a swim:

Well, not me. My belly is not actually that lopsided, I'm standing on two rocks and my hips aren't lined up with my shoulders.

Girliness was game for some jumping:

Uncle P, of course, had to jump from one of the higher points (not the highest at this site):

On the way back, OMG the MUD. We hadn't actually slogged through or detoured around (too much foliage to just walk alongside the path) anywhere NEAR that volume of mud on the way to the falls, it had collected/mudded-up(?) in a big way since then. Since I didn't want to risk the camera, again, no photos except for two as we left the trail:

And now, the coffee adventure begins

We found wild-growing coffee plants about 1/2m into the trail:

On the way back, we collected a smallish bag full of ripe looking beans, so that we could see if we could process them ourselves:

The coffee beans were surprisingly easy to liberate from their berry/shell/whatever you call the red not-coffee-bean part:

Two days of drying in the sun and we'll be ready to figure out how to roast them.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kaena Point

There is an interesting myth that you can drive "around" the island of Oahu. Pure myth, even if at some point some intrepid souls could make the journey. Even when we say we drove "around the island," what we really mean is that we drove around the eastern edge, up to the North Shore, and then through the center of the island from Haleiwa through Wahiawa back towards the south. Yesterday (Saturday) we decided to go hike at Kaena point, the big circle-island-road fail point. Our group requires two cars; had we thought about it beforehand, we could have parked at opposite sides of the point and each done the hike in opposite directions, swapping cars at the end; we didn't, so we hiked to the point and back again on the western (Makaha) edge.

Among our first sights on the trail at Kaena was a tourist who "has done this before" (probably over 30 years ago...) and who "comes every year" who didn't realize that there is no such thing as going around the West/North border (aka Kaena Point) to complete a circular drive around the island. They got stuck about 1/4 mile in. As we walked on we saw them get free of their ditch and start backing towards the trailhead.

On the trail:

BittyPrincess spent about 5% of the trail like this:

And my camera spent about 99% of the trail in my backpack.

We got to the nature preserve at the tip of the island, and did see some albatross, a few brave ones even nested pretty close to the trail:

Later we saw some of the birds in flight, but again, the camera spent 99% of the trail in my backpack.

The point itself:

And some Hawaiian Monk Seals (a critically endangered animal, probably not least because people don't seem to bother them at all):

Here are a few photos of an area where the road just doesn't even exist at all anymore:

A pause to explore a rock bridge:

Plodding our way back (OMG it was HOT!). Boyness and Girliness actually jogged portions of the trail with their Tutu, doubling back to meet us. You would never guess it by the time we got back to Tutu and Papa's house, what with all the swimming and running around they did...

And a last view to the point from about the halfway out, before we couldn't see it anymore.

The hike was heinously hot. I remembered it (from doing this about 13 years before) as a "thirsty" hike, so I brought 6 40oz water bottles and Tutu brought her camelback, but we still did the last half mile or so thirsty and out of water. Oh cruel world, the water wasn't potable at the trailhead, so we had to drive out before we got another dose (the dog was suffering particularly badly). So (and I know this happens occasionally) if you've reached this blog doing an internet search and are deciding to do this hike, LOTS OF WATER.

Despite professing extreme weariness, the kids bounced around and sang the whole car ride back. Swimming in the pool. Plate lunches at the beach for dinner. Lots of rowdy for kids who'd just been on a tiring hike. Apparently there is no wearing them out...ever.