9.04.2015

Homemade Chocolate

No hurricanes or tropical storms this year have directly kissed Kauai. Close, but no pancakes on a cast iron over kiawe wood with the electric out, darn. Reassures us all that science is a few ranks below the wildness of nature. And above nature on Earth, I reckon the sun and cosmic rays have a bigger say in how our planet downgrades and distributes energy from the universe, but that's a whole other discussion for a rainy day. Thankfully, we got rain and thunder this week. 


We were prepared every step of the way. 



What's this post about? A little bit of this, a little bit of that... oh yes, my darlings, chocolate. Better yet, chocolate made at home. Once you try it, you'll never go back to store bought. The trick though, is finding a local bean and if you're not living in Hawaii then good luck for sourcing locally in the USdeA and Canada. Also, the raw beans need to be fermented and this process can make or break the flavour and health of the bean. Here are pre-fermented and semi-dehydrated beans from our farm.


Next you roast the beans. I did them for 30 minutes starting at 325 in a toaster oven and decreased the temperature 25 degrees every 5 minutes until I hit 250, then I let them cruise at that heat until they basically smell like lovely chocolate.


Then I ground them with organic coconut sugar into a paste.


I kept processing them until it became warm and liquid-like. Finally, I molded it and popped it into the fridge to cool for a couple hours. Out comes the best chocolate I've ever tasted... and this kind contains all the yummy cacao oil, too. Good for the body, but can make for a gooey treat if left in the sun like most other chocolates.


How it was done 4,000 years ago. Bringing back the dead.



Onwards to the lettuce patch. For a long time a pile of flats and shade cloth and pipes and more farmer necessities have been lingering beneath the java plum tree, but no more for they now have a new home... the nursery.




Tony worked like a horse to get the tent up before the rain came. While he tinkered with the bamboo posts and waterline I fixed the pull cord on the tiller. During this last full moon the jeep breaks went haywire, tiller wouldn't shift and pull cord broke, the farm truck had a gas leak... and the computer died for just the night of the full moon and the camera was lost. Interesting. Maybe, just maybe, nothing was meant to be done that day/night.


The ladies were off in the woods gathering avocados while the boys worked the farm.




Nursery is almost there.


I have water, a table and seeds... let's sow.


After 6 hours of dropping one little seed in one little cell I created a yoga called sowga. Sow, while you stretch in all funny positions taking deep breaths and try not to go cross-eyed.


6,000 planted by the end of today. Two weeks from now 6,000 more...


One happy cashew nut tree.


8.21.2015

Kilo

Last week the forecasters called for tropical depression Three-C strengthening into a tropical storm, the hurricane and heading directly to Kauai, if and only if, nature follows human meteorological models. Come early Saturday morning I went to the gas station and waited in line for 15 minutes to fill my tank. The front page of all the Hawaiian newspapers by the cashier had pictures of a tropical storm named Kilo, the maturing Three-C. Rosa and I then did a trip to the food market and half of the bottled water was sold out and I saw several folks piling up charcoal in their carts. At the checkout the lady scanned my two bottles of dish soap and told me I was smart for stocking up soap before the storm, I replied, "no, I just like this not stinky, baby friendly, no sodium lauryl sulfate soap and it's on sale." Walking out of the store I told Rosa that if a storm ever were to hit we'd bring outside all our jars and buckets to collect rainwater, and we have wood for fire and Dada knows where lots of avocados, bananas, coconuts, chickens, eggs and pigs are. Rosa said, "eat lilikoi and Apple Jack." Yes, we would eat lots of passion fruit from the backyard and the neighbors horse if we had to. We're set. 



Over the weekend the big WHEN is it going to turn dictated how we would be impacted by Kilo. Some grew more paranoid, others more skeptical. I weighed out in the middle and simply observed what local natural resources are around us, and how we could survive if the power and water would go out for an extended period of time. I was born a survivor man.


Then yesterday morning the big WHEN became a big NEVER. There was no big headlines of Kilo or any forecast. It was gone. Vanished. Thanks for buying, come again.


Adios Kilo. Nice to know you. I thank your arms for bringing rain to our garden and farm, but this 95% humidity and no wind and super high heat is bugger!



Now, three days after the whole county was readying for a state of emergency, and most of the plywood, bottled water, batteries and flashlights and charcoal, oh my, is bought up....  Kilo is peacing out way westward, defying the normal path. It wants nothing to do with us, except maybe to excite us and boost a little consumerism in an indirect way.


But, just wait, tropical storm Twelve-E is heading towards us from Mexico... stay tuned!

8.20.2015

Kilo is brewing and I have a camera

A few hours ago I was feeding the chickens and gathering eggs and my cell phone thing buzzed aletring me that flash flooding was coming. Shortly after that I heard thunder, something I haven't heard in 6 months, then... it never rained. Oh, if only a 50% chance of rain was 100% chance of rain with a promise by the creator then maybe we could be certain it's going to rain right here, right now. No matter what, the plants needed water so I went back up to the lettuce patch to give them a drink. If you drive just a few minutes anywhere on Kauai you're almost guaranteed (with a 50% chance) to have different weather. Heading home from the farm I heard from a myna that a hurricane is coming, is this the ol' cry wolf tale or is it really coming this time? We've had a few spinners this season that started way out east of us and came close, but then spun off north and vanished. Still praying for rain. 


Hey, Hanai thinking men, what are we going to do if it's the Big One?


"Well golly gee let's get them avocados before the wind gets 'em." says Chef Adam.


Avocados aren't all we have. There's kobocha squash.


Butternut.


Sorgham wrapped in squash vine. Mmm....


Thai basil.


Sunflowers... for the birds.


Hawaiian hot chili... probably not a good thing to eat during a big weather event in case we all have to move inside a tent or the water goes out for a few days.


Here's our beautiful family garden. 


I could not resist taking a picture of the treasures in the back of the jeep. Spare tire, anti-freeze in case radiator pops again, hose (the good kine), ripening apple bananas (3 hands), boots, several sickles, all various sizes and shapes, a leather farmer hat from the 1950's (I've been through three straw hats in two months and said heck, if this leather one has been around for 66 years then I'm sure it's going last another half century), breakfast - chia, oats, cacao, maca and sesame seed in a mason jar, with a silver spoon of course, backpack, water sprayer, pruners, machete and a family of ants.


I will sell the wagon for $1,000,000. Best invention ever!


Home sweet home.


Nursery is getting there. Today Tony put up the tent and I painted the platform 'brick over red with stain'. Yeehaw.


A little impatient... but, I really wish to get some seeds in the ground. Here's a makeshift nursery for the cilantro with old shade cloth, bamboo and a pallet.


Farmer David building a raised bed to plant rainbow chard and spinach.


Sexy rasta amaranth.


Thank you chickens for the eggs this morning!


A horse wandering by Kealia Farm, another beautiful farm by our house that has a family friendly market every Friday from 3-7 with ono lau lau and lilikoi butter.


Nothing beats Wednesday, mandatory family beach day.


Dada and Roro napping under tree.


Then Mama and Roro napping under tree.


While the girls dreamed I took the camera deep into the woods and had some fun. Enjoy!