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The Poisoning of Hawaiian Soil by GMO and AgriBiz, Part 1

Amidst the wonders and beauty of this part of the world, I find a fierce battle raging between concerned residents and corporate chemical/poison interests. There are 2 sides to the controversy, I've learned. I asked Wayne Jacintho, a Kauai photographer, who are the people against the GMO/poison folks; he replied: "Everybody who cares about people and creatures that are being poisoned, everybody who cares about clean water and air and soil and the ocean…"

On the other side are the chemical companies, and locals who need jobs.

Here is a letter written by Wayne this summer to a local paper in southwest Kauai:

FEEDING THE WORLD In Aug. 3rd’s Garden Island, yet another letter proclaiming the chemical companies’ noble reason for existence: feeding the world.
And the heartrending revelation, by a Dow Chemical testifier the night of July 31st, that they, in conjunction with Bill & Melinda Gates, are developing a drought-resistant sorghum for some African country or countries. Yay!

Then, unwanted, unbidden questions arose, extinguishing the thumping koom-bah-yah in my heart.  I ask that gentleman to answer these questions, if only to restore the almost unbearable lightness I felt upon first hearing his stirring words:

1. Will these sorghum seeds be given, or will they be sold, to these people?

2. Will these plants at maturity have viable seeds, or will a ‘terminator’ gene have shut them down?

3. If the resultant seeds are viable, will those farmers be able to save some for replanting, or will they be punished if they try to do so?

4. If these farmers are not allowed to save and replant “their” seeds, will they have to buy each year’s seed from you?

5. Can these seeds be grown without special needs, or do these farmers have to buy Dow Chemical herbicide, pesticide, and synthetic fertilizers for which these seeds may have been “engineered”?

6. If these farmers have to buy these seeds, (and, if necessary, other Dow chemicals), and if there are unforseen disasters, natural or otherwise, and they then fall into debt to Dow Chemical, what will be the fate of these farmers and their lands?

Please answer straightforwardly, with source references.

Naturally, Wayne never got an answer.

See my post here of 2 months ago: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/search?q=roundup

Hawaiian Islands Part of Chain of Massive Volcanoes

This explains why there are so many dangerous places to swim in Hawaii -- the steep drop-off of mountains into sea.
-From Ted Fleming
"The Hawaiian Islands are a chain of massive volcanoes that stretch over 1,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Though some of these volcanoes reach nearly 14,000 feet above sea level, more of their height lies under the ocean's surface. For example, Mauna Kea (on big island of Hawaii -- 13,796 ft above sea level) is about 32,000 feet from the mountain's base to the summit."

Go to the post page…

This explains why there are so many dangerous places to swim in Hawaii -- the steep drop-off of mountains into sea.
-From Ted Fleming

Just Right Small Kauai Cottages

I've shot a whole bunch of these simple little frame structures on Kauai, usually with tin roofs and overhangs, usually resting on foundations of pre-cast concrete pads. I'll get around to posting a bunch more later. They make sense in terms of simplicity, economy, ease of construction and local climate.

Books and Latte in A Small Town in Southern Kauai

Ed (shown here) and Cynthia Justice run a great bookstore (with some 100,000 books in inventory, many of them used, in the small town of Hanapēpē.

How are you doing in this age of Amazon, I asked? Ed said their business has been growing each month, a 65% increase in the last 2 years. 80-85% of their sales are used books,and many of these sales come via Amazon.

There's also a v. cool coffee shop in Hanapēpē, opens at 6 AM.

Books and coffee, 2 of the staples of life…

Waimea Canyon in Southwest Kauai

The canyon is 10 miles long, and up to 3,000 feet deep. That's Waipoo Falls, ann 800-foot cascading waterfall. It's a 2-mile cliff hike to get there (I didn't do it).

Details  of the canyon on Wikipedia here (check out their panorama).

"…The canyon has a unique geologic history—it was formed not only by the steady process of erosion, but also by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kauaʻi.…"

Stewart Brand's Summary of Jesse Ausubel's SALT Talk "Why Nature is Rebounding"

Nature rebounding? Agriculture doing well? Huh? I wish all this were true, but I find this analysis troubling. What's wrong here? What parts of this are right and what parts are not? I'm posting this for comment.

I don't like Stewart's (and probably Jesse's) take on GMOs. Gardeners, people who work with the soil and respect natural processes know intuitively there's something wrong with the GMO juggernaut. And I've just found out that Kauai is a proving grounds for the GMO giants: Dow Chemical (makers of napalm, right?), Syngenta, DuPont and their like seem to be poisoning Kauai and its people in their brilliant blending of genetic manipulation, poisons, and profit.

We are as gods, right? Wrong.

In the next few days I'll post my observations on all this. It's especially vivid because I just saw huge fields of genetic experiments (nary a weed in sight) on the road from Waimea to Polihale Beach.


About 3 AM on the beach.

Camping on Polihale Beach

My experiences/photos are way ahead of my ability to post them. I'll throw out what I can when I get time.

This was at the very end of the road on the southern part of Kauai, at the end of the Na Pali coast.

Jungle Fowl of Kauai

They're on about every square foot of the island. Supposedly the great hurricane of 1992, which practically leveled the island, demolished most of the chicken enclosures and they're now everywhere. Pretty soon you get so accustomed to the crowing that it's no bother.

Most of them are the breed known as Red Jungle Fowl.

It wouldn't be difficult — heh-heh —to have barbecued or stewed chicken at any time (pellet gun or snare).

Kamokila Hawaiian Village

This is a recreated traditional Hawaiian village, on the banks of the Wailua River. There are maybe a dozen buildings and walking around (not many turistas) you can get a feeling for what life was like pre-gringo.

Candy and the Ship in a Bottle at Aloha-n-Paradise

Yesterday I discovered the espresso hangout in Waimea, called Aloha-n-Paradise, run by the very lively Candy Baar. While waiting for Candy to make my latte, I spotted a dust-covered bottle on a shelf on the porch. It was an exquisite little bamboo house, complete with 2 people and a palm tree impossibly ensconced in a bottle with a rusty cap with a diameter of about 1-1/4 inches. Did they build it inside the bottle, or have it folded so they could slip it in and then pull it erect?

I had to have it. Candy and I agreed on a price and when I get back, it'll be a star exhibit in the Shelter office.

Coffee is excellent and there's an art gallery and wi-fi connection.

Breakfast With Gina and Chantal at "Gina's at Yumi's Restaurant"

Yumi started the restaurant in 1978. She passed it along to her daughter, from whom Gina bought the business. As a tribute to the founder she calls it "Gina's at Yumi's." In the southern Kauai town of Waimea.

Chantal, Gina's mom was helping out when I was there.

A great breakfast.

Waterfall on Na Pali Coast

The 2nd part of my hike on the Na Pali Coast consisted of going 2 more miles from the beach up a canyon to this 300' waterfall, upon which I swam in the pretty cold water over to the rock face and got under the falls. I worried a bit about a rock or branch coming over the falls, but figured the chances were slight. A bunch of young people we doing the same.

By the time I got back to my car, I'd covered 8 miles (round trip) in 5-1/2 hours. It's about 11 miles to the end of the trail (you can't get through to the road north of Waimea (or at least it's very difficult), so you have to backtrack, and this means spending at least one night camping. I talked to a guy who went in for 2 days and ended up staying 11.

Local Food, Local Music

By way of asking around in Waimea (southern part of Kauai, where I've come today), I went to the Kaleheo Steaks & Ribs restaurant tonight, had a half order of baby back ribs with Hawaiian cole slaw, two local beers, and listened to local band Waiola do a bunch of covers (a perfect rendition of Percy Sledges' "When a Man Loves a Woman"), and then a stunning Hawaiian song where the singer hit impossibly high falsetto notes, the occasional yodel, and the maybe 25 customers were cheering.

This is out of chronological sequence with my trip, but I'll backtrack when I can.

The southern part of Kauai is WAY different than the northern part.

Buckwheat "Kauai Waffle" at Hanalei Coffee Roasters

Short Hike on Na Pali Coast

This is a steep, rugged section of land at the end of the road on the north shore of Kauai. I hiked in 2 miles to Hanakapiai Beach and it was tough! This is a mother of a trail, steep and slippery in parts. When I got to the beach, the surf was (sorry to use the word) awesome. 15'+ shore break. Anyone in the water would be more or less instantly killed, if not by the bonecruncher waves, by the rocky (no sand this time of year) shore.

A few observations:
1. There were just too many people on the trail.
2. I couldn't believe how many overweight people were making this trek.
3. There were also runners -- running no less.

At left, part of the trail going up…

This day's adventure to be continued…

Super-high resolution image of Andromeda from Hubble Telescope

From my friend Mickey
(Full screen please):

"Speaking of Tiny Places to live, here is an interesting video.

Each bright light is a star cluster or supernova. All the other points of light are stars. 100 million of them. They form a section of the Andromeda Galaxy which, in turn, is only a tiny piece of what we see in the night sky. And so many of those stars have planets orbiting them; many more planets than stars in this video, but unseen.

Makes our Earth seem very small. Tiny, actually."

Simple Wood Frame Home in Hanalei

Note how the porch is created by subtraction.

Wai`oli Hui`ia Church in Hanalei


Elegant Building in Hanalei

"Waioli Mission Hall stands as a major monument of Hawaiian architectural history, the primary inspiration for the Hawaiian double-pitched hipped roof so widely popularized by C. W. Dickey in the 1920s. Built by the Reverend William P. Alexander, Dickey's grandfather, the plaster walls of the frame structure repose beneath a sprawling roof and encircling lanai. The roof, originally thatched, was shingled in 1851. Similarly, the freestanding, ohia-framed belfry at the rear of the mission was of thatch construction, but most likely received a covering of shingles in the same year. The form of the twenty-five-foot-high belfry drew upon a long British and American colonial tradition. Common in its day, today it stands as the sole surviving example of its type in Hawaii.
This was the third church building on the site, with the earlier thatched edifices falling prey to fire and storms. It remained a center for worship until the completion of Waioli Huiia Church (ka44) in 1912, when it became a community hall for the church, a function it still serves today. The building has been thrice restored: in 1921 by Hart Wood, in 1978 by Bob Fox, and again in 1993, following Hurricane Iniki, by Designare Architects."

Swimming, Birds, Coffee,Stone Age Polynesian Sailors, and a Harley Davidson Pickup Truck

Ocean I took a last swim yesterday before leaving the hotel in Kapaa, with fins and some new goggles. Saw fish, coral, sandy spots. Got out and swam 4 laps in the very nice fresh water pool just outside my room. I walked past a hotel guest on my way out of the water and he said, You looked at home out there. Well, all right…Headed north to Hanalei…

Birds All of them are new to me. A flock of little (finch-size) cinnamon brown ones with black heads, elegant color combo, that flit around like a small cloud, staying about 15' from admiring humanoids. A small grey/white one with a scarlet head. Small doves with blue beaks.

"I like coffee, I like tea, I like the java java and it likes me…Right now I'm at the Hanalei Roasting company with a 16 oz latte and a waffle with papaya and banana slices and, er, um -- whipped cream. No wi-fi --  hey-hey-hey; makes me think of Mung Noi, Laos village reachable only by water, and no motor vehicles. Remindful in the sense of being in a different world from my normal coastal (east + west) everything's-on-all-the-time mileau.

Kindred Factor I feel at ease with people here. Brother/sister appreciators of the ocean and the earth, tuned in to the beauty of the physical world.

Stone Age Polynesian Sailors It seems that around 3-400 AD, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands reached Hawai'i (as well as Tahiti sand Easter Island) in wooden dugout sailing canoes, carrying plants and animals. They had maps made of sticks and shells. When I get time I'm going to Google around for "Discoverers of the Pacific," which appeared in National Geographic Magazine in Dec., 1974. Also book with fascinating title, The Vikings of the Pacific, by Peter Buck.

The S. V. Kauai The size of Kauai is exquisite. 25 X 35 miles, a ship in the sea. Multiple climatic zones, clean fresh air. It feels like I'm out in the Pacific in a (stationary) sailboat, with the ocean moving around me.
Note on travel writing: my blog is hardly viral. It's down from 2,000 people a day to about 1,000 these days (am posting less), so I'm not worried too much about ruining great spots by describing them. I feel that readers here are more or less like-minded people and should they visit these places, they'll be tuned-in and welcome visitors.

Hanalei is stunning, but I liked Kapaa a lot. The comparison is a bit like San Francisco/Oakland, or Medford/Ashland. One drawback in Kapaa is the traffic jams. I guess if you live there, you try to travel the highway during off hours. This is Sunday, can't believe this is only my 4th day here. Oh yeah, I'm staying in  a nicely-converted school bus belonging to newly-met friends on the outskirts of town here.
Old Harley pickup truck in Kapaa

Home Sweet Ocean

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin about half past dead…
This song recurs to me now and then when I'm on the road. In Puerto Jiminez on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, a kind of dusty border town, the song came to me. And here this morning in Kapaa, on the northern shore of Kauai, I've got only a half hour from the airport and I love the  place. It's got the big touristy hotels, but there's a healthy local gringo culture here, haven't been here long enough to suss out local Hawai'ian culture, been here less than 48 hours now, gotta check out of hotel soon, so will post some of yesterday's discoveries before the maid kicks me out:
My Daewoo beater, duct-taped sunroof, $25/day (30 w.tax), perfect, not being the new Avis/Budget/Alamo brand new tourist rental.

Found a place to lay my head, got into ocean, perfect temp., not too cold/warm, oh my! 3 times in water yesterday, each time with fins, once with air mat, which I'm finding difficult to control, squirrelly; a little body surfing;  the sand is rough and granular, fluffy, soft, nice to roll around when you come back in. Last night swam in rain. No one else at least here, doing anything like this. I'm like a starving man sitting down to a banquet, the Pacific so inviting and comfortable, unlike the 50 degree NorCal ocean.

Small Town Coffee
Annie Caporufscio set up shop in this converted Ford airport shuttle van with her partner Jeremy Hartshorn; Annie had run the shop for 9 years in rented space, but got tired of the landlords rising the rent and "…didn't want to be bullied in the lease." Great barista crema, the muffins make a good breakfast. Local hangout, good vibes…

Kauai Beach House Hostel
$40 shared sleeping room, $80 for a solo room (of which there are 3). Looks doable to me, especially in the land of 2-$300 hotel rooms. On beach, clean, wi-fi, young travelers, kitchen, shared baths, cool place.

Shared room.

Paul Iwai's Rooster Farm
How many roosters, I asked. 200?
More, Paul said. Are they beautiful! Had great visit with Paul, from a Japanese family, on family land, born here, I know chickens, and we talked shop. Oh my again! Look at these beauties; beautifully tended. You should hear the noise!

I asked Paul where I could buy a knife and he gave me two. We ate macadamia nuts from his trees, he gave me grapefruit, tangerines, I'm sending him 3 books. Kindred spirits abound here.

 That's part of what happened yesterday, gotta pack up and head north now. 

The Most Wonderful Day of My Life

I realize that I am afflicted with over-enthusiasm, especially when it comes to communicating my experiences as i move through life. That said, this was just about the most perfect day I've ever had.

I was a water person in earlier years, starting at 4 years of age when I fell in a lake and while underwater until my dad fished me out, enjoyed the experience. In high school I swam competitively and one day after a swimming meet at the great Fleishacker salt water pool out at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, a swimmer named Jim Fisher and I went out across the Great Highway to swim in the ocean. I couldn't believe it. The waves, blue water, invigoration. I was hooked.

Had my first surfboard ride at age 18, then changed my major at Stanford so I was through every Thursday at noon and able to head to Santa Cruz until Sunday night. I was a lifeguard, taught swimming, and then somehow over  the years, drifted away from the beach in comparison with my serious surfer friends.

WELL -- I've come to this small island of Kauai to get back in the water. Today I was in the ocean 3 times -- a little bodysurfing, mostly swimming (the last time in the rain tonight) and in a fresh water pool 3 times..

A barista coffee shop on wheels with wonderful coffee, muffins, and vibes. A hostel on the beach with rates (in this expensive resort area -- Kapaa --) of  $40/$80 per night for shared/solo rooms. A guy in the country with about 300 beautiful roosters and tangerine, grapefruit, macadamia and lychee nut trees.  A day of clouds and sun and clouds and rain. This island like a large boat in the Pacific Ocean. A Mexican restaurant that feels like you're in Mexico with delicious food and 3 TVs with Mexican soccer games.

I'll try to get around to writing it up (with photos) before long…

New Photos of Fit Old People

Russian photographer/writer/journalist Vladimir Yakovlev is doing a book on fit elders. Keith Levy of New Zealand sent us this link with photos of 8 of Vladimir's subjects: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/11343268/Life-begins-at-70-Pensioners-discover-extreme-hobbies-in-their-twilight-years.html

"For the past two years Russian photojournalist Vladimir Yakovlev travelled around the world, searching for people who have discovered new found hobbies and pleasure in their older age. With the series The Age Of Happiness, Yakovlev hopes to change the usual perception of life after retirement and promote positive aging. On his travels he met some extraordinary characters over 60-year-old - some very close to the 100 milestone - who enjoy each day and inspire others to make their lives equally fulfilling.

Yvonne Dole, pictured, had a car accident when she was 80-year-old resulting in serious concussion. Doctors advised her to hang up her skates. The 86-year-old - who continues to participate in competitions today - says, 'If I ever get in a bad mood, I look at my peers with their oxygen bags, put on skates and smile .'
Picture: Vladimir Yakovlev/REX

Duan Tzinfu, 73, demonstrates his amazing flexibility. He only started training when he turned 60. Before, 40 years of hard work at a glass production plant meant he could barely walk and was not flexible enough to reach his toes.
Picture: Vladimir Yakovlev/REX

I'm Off to Kauai

I can't figure out why a Pacific West Coast native/surfer such as moi have gone only twice to Hawaii, and did no surfing and just a little swimming on both trips. Well, I'm off tomorrow early from Oakland on a $211 Alaska Airlines one-way flight to Kauai and I am excited! I intend to get back into the water in whatever way I can, and tune back into El Pacifico physically.

Whereas I've prided myself on not checking in bags for a few years, this time I'm taking a honker bag with wheels and about 35 lbs. of swim fins, air mat, tent, sleeping bag, soft rooftop surf rack, hiking boots + etc. What a luxury -- checking in  a bag! It's different when I was going to Southeast Asia and wanted to jump in and out of airplanes quickly.

I've got a bunch of people to visit, both near Hanalei and Waimea, and I'm doing a slide show/talk on Tiny Homes on the Move at the Princeville Public Library next Wednesday, January 21st (northern part of island near Hanalei).

Being away from the office and biz responsibilities, I'll be posting a lot more. I love doing the blog, but when in the saddle of running a publishing empire (hah!), there's only so much time. SO, stay tuned the next few weeks; come along with me and ride shotgun.

Little Stevie Wonder, Live at Age 12, on Bongos and Harmonica

I posted this last April, and just listened to it again. It's so good I'm putting it up again, along with this description:

"Written and composed by Wonder's mentors, Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby, "Fingertips" was originally a jazz instrumental recorded for Wonder's first studio album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie. The live version of the song was recorded in June 1962 during a Motortown Revue performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Containing only a few stanzas of lyrics, "Fingertips" is essentially an instrumental piece, meant to showcase Wonder's talents on the bongos and the harmonica."

After this, I listened to Stevie much later in life, doing this duet with Ray Charles:

Hands Off! MacSpeech Dictate

I started having problems with circulation in my hands years ago and eventually had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand in 2009. The surgeon, Dr. Robert Markison, in San Francisco,* recommended that I get MacSpeech Dictate and a Sennheiser ME3 microphone. I did it, started using it, amazed at how well it worked, but gradually got back into keyboarding by hand.

In the last year I've started having circulation problems in my right hand again; my fingers are cold a lot of the time, like default for the right-hand is cold. So I'm using gloves (the best ones are rabbit-fur-lined leather ones), moving around (hiking gets the circulation going in all body parts just fine), and getting into MacSpeech Dictate much more fully. I've just had to work at it (and basically be alone, so I'm not disturbing others), and it's getting smoother all the time. It's a brilliant program.

Killer Beamer Motorcycle

On the street in Point Reyes Station California a few days ago. Yeah!

Bobby’s Mobile Art Cart

"Bobby Heffelfinger created this rolling art studio in West Marin county, California, on a 2013 Ford F-350 truck with mostly recycled materials (left over from various building projects). He started with the truck chassis and built a flatbed with 2 × 2 steel square stock.…"

A Bit of What's Going on Here in the 1st Week of 2015

Blogs I'm putting most of my posts on building on TheShelterBlog now. I'm starting to link to those from this blog. TheShelterBlog focusses on building, homesteading, gardening, and the home arts, whereas this blog tracks my eclectic path through life. Note: if you go to the "Categories" button on the right and select a subject, like, say, "Natural Materials," you'll get all the posts on that subject. The info available this way is growing each day. This is getting to be a body of work.

Dwell Magazine I can't help myself from continuing to knock this soulless, sterile publication. Who are the people that live this way? Certainly different from our tribe.

Stretching—The Pocketbook Edition Rick Gordon is about halfway through building a 5" x 8" pocketbook edition of our best-selling book (3-1/2 million copies, 23 languages). Pocketbook editions of Stretching have been very popular in Spain and Germany and we feel it's time to introduce it in English. Out in 2015.

Small Homes Our next building book is under way. Contributors are beginning to send us photos, descriptions. Note: Contact us if you know of (or have built) an imaginative, artistic, practical, and/or economical home in the 400-1200 sq. ft. range: lew@shelterpub.com

Mini-Skeleton I was looking through Cool Tools for Christmas present ideas and one of the items led me to this unique little (9" high) skeleton, available from Amazon. One of the comments from a nursing student said that both the leg bones (tibia and fibula) were switched; same with the arm bones (radius and ulna) This is true, but I was able to switch all 4 of them into the right positions. This is a fine little skeleton, ingeniously produced, for a very low price. BTW, there is a great children's book on anatomy that's selling on Amazon or $.01 these days: The Human Body by Ruth Dowling Brunn and Bertel Braun.

My Life Since I quit competitive running, I've been taking long walks in the woods, looking for mushrooms, wild foods such such as yerba buena tea, cattail pollen, watercress, miners lettuce, etc. Been getting clams, fishing for eels. Picking up oak trees knocked down by storms on the roads for firewood. Skateboarding when I can.
-Yoga started again after a year's absence, it's so good for stiff, banged-up bodies like mine.
-Kauai Going there the last 2 weeks of January, to get in the warm water, do some hiking, shoot photos of small homes.

Comedian David Dean on the radio last week:
“Honk if you love Jesus.
Text and drive if you want to meet him."

My First Building Project

In 1961, a surfing friend, John Stonum, was studying to be an architect at UC Berkeley, and designed this small building for me to build in Mill Valley, California. I wanted to build a sod roof (now called “living roof”), and we had journeyed up to the Heritage House on the Mendocino Coast to see their two sod-roofed cabins.

This was a post-and-beam structure, with posts 6 feet on centers, and oversized precast concrete piers for the foundation. A lumberyard in nearby Olema, California was going out of business and I bought a truckload of “merch” grade rough redwood two-by-fours for $35 a 1000. Not $350, but $35.

As you can see, there were two 2 × 10 Douglas fir rafters bolted to each post (which had notches). The roof decking consisted of the two by fours on edge, nailed together. I knew very little about building, but with this building started out a process that I follow to this day: when you don’t know how to start, simply begin. As you go along, you’ll figure things out.…
Continued at http://www.theshelterblog.com/first-building-project/

Triumph Motorcycle With Side Car in Pt. Reyes Station

"Hey, Dad, what's all this junk doing on this beautiful bike?"