Oct 30, 2014

"A" is for ...

Yep. That's a testicle tree.
The amazing, abundant, appetizing avocado.  The word and all its delicious meaning was derived from the Aztec name ahuacacuauhitl translated as "testicle tree." Indeed. Having recently enjoyed the shady comfort provided by the dense evergreen branches of such a tree, I can attest to the appropriateness of that name.

It's a fruit, you know. Even though it's green and savory (like a vegetable) and has high levels of unsaturated oils, minerals, vitamins and reasonable levels of proteins, the avocado is second only to the olive (another fruit, by the way) in oil content. It's strange fruit but extraordinary for reasons beyond it's vegetative qualities. The tree will have abundant flowers during pollination time but only 1 in 5000 blossoms will set for fruit which means there's a real survival of the fittest going on for each green orb.

Avo Hunter
Maybe you're not a fan. Perhaps too many bowls of gelatinous green goo have been passed off as
guacamole and you're skeptical of including anything that color or consistency in your food pyramid. I get it. They're not very friendly fruit, are they? With their knobby black skin and big pits that never grow in the windowsill Dixie cup even though everyone said it was the easiest science experiment ever.... urrrghhhh. Oh, I'm sorry. Fifth grade flashback.

What I'm rhapsodizing about today isn't that boring, suspiciously mushy, supermarket Calavos 'cado. We're in avo Nirvana here in the House of Good Living and it's time the word got out: Hawaii is the world capital of gourmet avocado.  Over 200 varieties of avocado trees grow here and all three "races" are represented ~ the West Indian, Guatemalan and Mexican types provide terrific diversity in growing altitudes, microclimates and harvest times.  It isn't just that Hawaii has more types of avocados; Hawaii has better-tasting avocados. The buttery, nutty flavor that makes the avocado uniquely savory among fruits comes from its concentration of vegetable fats.  And the Hawaii avo is the king of fats. Your California Hass has a fat content of about 8%; the fat content of the Kahalu'u, on the other hand, can reach 25%.  It's like eating butter.  But in a good, green way.

count 'em: 1, 2, 3, 4 varieties plus other tropical goodies....
Yesterday we visited Cousin Cyn's avocado grove, harvesting four varieties.  And by harvesting, I mean I stood and pointed at the testicles, I mean fruit, while Greg wielded a lacrosse stick at the trees' tender undersides.  It was that easy.  And, since avocados don't/won't ripen on the tree (something to do with enzymes, blah, blah, science words, blah) now we just sit back and let the brown paper bag work its magic on those little nutritional treasures.  Oh, the joy that awaits ...

Oct 28, 2014

I need the sea

I need the sea because it teaches me.
I don't know if I learn music or awareness,
if it's a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining
suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move in
the university of the waves.
                       Pablo Neruda

Oct 23, 2014


Maui's waiting for me on the other side of tomorrow which means it's countdown time here on the mainland.

Mail forwarded? Check.
Paper delivery stopped?  Got it.
Dog headed to Camp Scratch & Stick? Done and done.
Teleconferencing set up for committee and board meetings? Uhhh ... oops. DogGONE it. 

Best reason to head to Maui this time of year? I get to escape the PNW's every-falling rain. Hardest part of leaving the mainland? Managing my community volunteer work from 2600 miles away. Poor me, right?  

I'll let you in on a little secret: When I'm on that conference call for your 9 AM meeting on the mainland, it's 6 AM on Maui and I'm still in my pajamas. The noon luncheon meeting? I've progressed to swimsuit. And, by the 6 PM board meeting I'm probably relaxing post-beach, in my "conference chair" on the lanai, wearing a sarong. And no shoes. Definitely no shoes.