Love & Light and everything bright...

23 Jan 2011

Updated July 27, 2009: Adds new fruit stand, south shore beach...; new cool-looking HP laptop; new Rainbow Shower, Gardenia flowers, jams; First, best grass growth...

The "Green Day" at the Gulch

After four months of sustained effort, finally the final phase: greening over


The "Green Day" at the Gulch: Hydroseeding

After four months of sustained effort, finally the final phase: greening over

HAIKU, Maui, July 19 - It took four months of sustained effort and "mucho dollari" spent on opening up the gulch at the Lower Rainbow Shower to human access.  On Friday, July 17, we finally reached the final stage - greening over. 

When I took possession of the property on Mar 18, I was facing an almost impassable 8-10 ft tall "cane grass" jungle that blocked our views and the light to all other plants on the 85-ft nearly vertical drop between the Upper and the Lower Rainbow Shower.  After constructing a two-switchback road between the two parts of our property, clearing and grading nearly 11,000 sq ft of jungle at the bottom of the gulch, not to mention the building of an uaca/apucheto (heiau) with my own hands, we were about to turn the place back to nature.

In Hawaii, this process is called "hydroseeding."  Lawn nurseries grow the grass from seed until small roots ("stolens") are established.  Then a machine mixes them with fertilizer and mulch and shoots them through a hose onto the area where the lawn is supposed to be.  That way, the birds don't get the seeds before they have a chance to grow.

I know, for many of you city slickers this is probably about as interesting as watching grass grow.  It was for me, too, before I had to learn all these things about landscaping because I could not find a competent and reasonably priced provider here on Maui.  So after several false starts, we hired one company to do the irrigation and another to do the hydroseeding.  Both are equally as expensive and risky.  For, without proper irrigation, you're basically flushing the hydroseeding money down the toilet.

So a week before the hydroseeding was scheduled, a local landscaping company dug a trench down the middle of our gulch road where permanent water pipes were to be laid.  From there, temporary lines were to be installed to the sides of the road, where the sprinkler heads would be located.  That was done over the course of the following 4-5 days.

Then two days before the hydroseeding was to be done, we had a major water line break.  That caused an extra day's work and delay.  So the irrigation company had literally just finished turning on the sprinklers of the repaired line to test them half an hour before the truck arrived with hydroseeding materials and people.

That Friday morning, Elizabeth and I got up early to do the final weeding of the lower gulch, and the watering the special grass that I had manually planted inside the uaca (apucheto) - middle left shot.

In fact, I was still down doing the final raking of the lower road (above) when the hydroseeding truck and a crew of four men arrived. 

At first, there was much fussing and fuming about how difficult the job was, especially by the boss man.  I had actually invited several times to come and inspect the site before arriving with his truck.  But he kept saying, "don't worry, I have a 200-ft hose."  Now, I was the one reminding him of that and assuring him that the 200-ft hose would suffice, while he kept muttering, "I don't think we can do this job."

At first, they tried backing the truck down the road.  Eventually, they gave up on that idea after several unsuccessful attempts (above).  But not before wrecking my two railroad ties that I used for channeling the water drainage from the Upper Rainbow Shower lawn.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth also took some pictures of the process and myself.  And unbeknownst to me or to the truck crew, she was also recording "The Green Day at the Gulch" with her video camera.  Take a look...

  Part 1 of 4 - First attempt... failure

  Part 2 of 4 - Second attempt... failure

  Part 3 of 4 - Third attempt... success!

  Part 4 of 4 - Working...

Finally, seeing how they were struggling, I suggested a location based on common sense. "Here's the shortest line down to the gulch," I pointed to the edge of the Upper Rainbow Shower lawn (left).  And that's where they finally set up shop as the hydroseeding machine roared into action.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the hose, some 85 vertical feet down in the gulch, and some 170 linear feet across the road and the slope, you can see what hydroseeding looked like.

Occasionally, the hose would clog up (left).  So that meant about a 5-10 minute delay until they cleared it.  But one time, the machine on top jammed.  The owner asked me if I had a two-by-four.  I did not.  So they used one of my 200-pount railroad ties to break the logjam (two middle shots).  Yes, it was one of those that they had first wrecked during their failed efforts to back the truck onto the gulch road.  Whatever works... it worked!  And the show went on... (right).

After about three hours or so, the Lower Rainbow Shower lawn in the gulch was done (above).

I took a number of shots from various angles around the edges of the lawn.  The rightmost shot of the section of the gulch lawn where we first started.  The following day, when a surveyor I had been chasing for months finally showed up, we discovered that that little part was actually on our neighbors property.  Well, we didn't mind.  And I know he won't.  For, he will now also have a beautiful lawn where there was impassable jungle only four months ago.  :-)

Slowly, the men worked their way up our gulch road...

Finally, the job was done, some five hours after they arrived.  Since tore up our upper lawn with their truck and hydroseeding machine, I had them do some seeding there, too.  Then, just as I paid them as they were about to drive off, something amazing happened. It started to rain.  It was a light, gentle rain, perfect for a newly planted lawn.

"You see, that's the best kind of a sprinkler a guy can have - God's landscaping service," I said as I waved them goodbye.

"You're not kidding," the owner replied.

We have not had any sustained rain since early May.  Yet the rain that started as the men were leaving on Friday kept up on and off for the next two days.  A coincidence?  Sure.  By now, you know from my other spiritual stories that there is no such thing as "coincidence" when it comes to the life of an Inca shaman.  The Creator was obviously blessing our "newborn" with a baptism of His own (the type of grass we chose was El Toro).  Considering how important watering is for survival of an expensive lawn like this, His help was more than welcome.

"I've set the timers initially to four times a day, 10 minutes for each cycle," I told Elizabeth afterward.  "Then we'll just have to watch it carefully every day and adjust the timings accordingly."

"It's like nursing a baby," she said.

"How appropriate," I replied.  "And his name is El Toro."

"No, El Torito," she said lovingly.

Later that day, we went for a drive around the coastline in our neighborhood.  By now, I have received my new Hawaiian custom license plate (ALTZAR - my astral name).

Almost three months ago, I came up with the idea of having a rainbow chandelier at the entrance to complement the male and female rainbow posts next to it.  Elizabeth volunteered to translate the idea into reality.  And now she has.  Take a look at the pictures of the rainbow chandelier that Elizabeth had made out of beads (two middle shots).

Meanwhile, I have been also dabbling in some visual arts stuff.  Above is a bamboo design that I had made using the bamboo sticks.  I cut them myself at our gulch about three months ago, then dried and stained them in the last few weeks (right is a close-up shot). 

The following morning, I returned from the gulch with basketful of passion fruit (right) and a lot of guavas.  Elizabeth is already getting set to use them to make jam.  And today, I hauled up the hill from the gulch two branches of bananas with probably about 200 small bananas in total.

"Living off the land at Rainbow Shower," guess you can conclude about our lifestyle here.  :-) 

Well, with all our major works behind us, "from now on, we are down to short strokes," I told Elizabeth this afternoon as we went off to our favorite beach in Paia.  "So we can afford to take it easy once in a while."

And that's all she wrote from the Rainbow Shower this week...

New Fruit Stand, South Shore Beach, Surf...

HAIKU, Maui, July 26 - We've been noticing some activities around a new fruit stand on Hana Hwy near our "Rainbow Shower" home.  So a few days ago, we decided to stop and check it out.

"Machete Marco," the man who runs it and lives in a boat next to it, "gave us a full tour."  It included Elizabeth making a special smoothie for herself using just about every fruit juice known to man on this island.  :-)

The following day, we had some business in Kihei after which we decided to drive past Wailea to Makena, and across the only remaining lava field on Maui (that this writer is aware of).  Along the way, we stopped at a lovely little beach (above).  On our way back, we actually went for a swim near Makena (actually, only I did, the surf was too high for Elizabeth's taste).  That's where we learned from the life guards that the surf on the south shore, especially around Makena, is high in the summertime, whereas the surf on the north shore, where we live, produces giant (60-70ft) waves in winter months, especially November/December.  We can't wait...

New Cool-looking Laptop

Separately, I got a new laptop delivered on Friday.  My old one (Toshiba) was dying a slow and agonizing death.  Like an old horse, it seems to be saying to be, "I've served you faithfully (more or less) for five years now.  Don't I deserve a bit of R&R on some green pastures before I bite the dust?"

I took it seriously. I did not want to be around with all of my files inside its bowels when the Toshiba took its last breath.  So for the last month or so, I have been investigating various options.  And I finally succumbed to the Vista and got the latest HP "Artist Edition" Notebook, which was just released on June 29.

Of course, I expect to go through the pain and agony of conversion, migration and incompatibility issues even within the different products from the same source (like Microsoft and HP), let alone when dealing with multiple providers.  But so far, the coolest thing has been the look of my new HP Artist Edition 2 Notebook.  It was designed by a young Japanese woman who won a worldwide contest HP had run last year. Check it out...

In the left shot, you have the Old and the New - side by side.  They look like "surf and turf," don't they?  :-)  The old one has double rainbows of the Rainbow Shower as its screen wallpaper, while the new one has the "musical whale," an image I designed back in march when I first listened to the whale sounds and added the keyboards to them. :-) The whale's grace and the blue backdrop go well with the new laptop design.  Well, better than the "turf" (the rainbows over our land).

But back to computer design, not only is the HP Artist Edition notebook aesthetically pleasing in a physical sense, the artistic design has also embedded into its software and every window the operating system uses. 

It seems, therefore, that finally somebody is listening to my 1994 message about the "refusion of arts and sciences," and the importance of good looks not just good performance of technology.  In early 2006, I also wrote to some senior IT industry executives urging them to take beauty into account when designing their products and to do away with the "box" mentality that the technology has developed.  I enclosed the photo on the right of my family room in Arizona as a case in point (of trying to deal with and hide the ugliness of techno boxes).  Guess HP has been listening... and now delivering its first cut above the rest (of competition) and the "art of it all" (also see MacAttack Falters at Foot of Mount Vista, June 2008 and Adios, Microsoft Vista!, July 2007).

Alas, the science is still lagging behind.  So I have been slugging it out with Microsoft, Apple, HP and a bunch of other vendors' products and support staff in the last few days, with more battles to come next week.  Wish me luck...

Meanwhile, this update is the first "productive" bit of work I am sending you from my new cool laptop.  Now I have to come up with a name for it.  Want to help?  Any ideas?

New Rainbow Shower, Gardenia Flowers

HAIKU, Maui, July 27 - Last night and morning, I discovered some new flowers at the Rainbow Shower...

First, our Rainbow Shower tree in front of the house has been slow to bloom, but did produce some rainbow colors in its branches (left).  The Kula Gardenia, however, which I planted back in April right next to the new spa, did blossom this morning in two colors (!) (two middle shots). 

Separately, I have been bringing to Elizabeth several dozen guavas and lilikoi (Hawaiian for passion fruit) from the gulch every morning.  And she has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen, making guava and passion fruit jams and preserves "to die for" (right).  Or as that fruit stand owner Marco put it, "to live for." :-) [we gave him a sample jar and he immediately wanted to know for how much he could sell our jam.  We told him it wasn't for sale].

First, Best Grass Growth inside Uaca

HAIKU, Maui, July 30 - Well, it's been almost two weeks since our Green Day at the Gulch.  So I thought it was time to take stock of how our grass was doing, especially after I spread some fertilizer around and the (cheap) annual rye grass seeds...

The roadside growth is pretty sparse.  On the other hand, some parts of the Lower Rainbow Shower lawn look like a swamp.  So we are learning how hard it is to balance the different elements of the terrain, the weather and the irrigation.  They warned us that El Toro, the hybrid grass we had chosen because it does well in the shade, is slow to grow.  So we'll just have to watch the grass grow (literally!) for a while longer. :-)

But what I found very interesting is that the first and the best growth is occurring inside the Uaca (heiau) where I had planted by hand some kukiyu and rye grass seeds before the hydro-mulching was done.  Also, the Creator has been very generous with rain.  Up until now, all we have been hearing from the local landscapers were complaints about the drought.  Not this year.  And especially not in the last two weeks since we planted our grass.  It has been raining nearly every day, but ever so gently... the perfect rain for a newborn we are nursing here.

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