Summer Trip

This summer, we went to Canada for ten days. I would like to have a longer visit, but there were too many things need to do with our farms, Terry insisted for a short visit. So our schedule filled up with activities and enjoyed every single day.

One of the high light on this trip was meeting three of Terry’s high school classmates and their ladies, they haven’t seen each other for many years. Terry brought their class pictures, four of them were standing next to each other. Middle line, from left to right: Edward Jackman, Allen Baldwin, John Tovell , Terry.

 

 

Valerie is father Ed’s assistant, last September she contacted Terry before Ed, Allen and John’s annual meeting, so Terry had a chance to see and chat with  his old friends through Skype. Right around that time, the coffee Terry sent to UCC were held in customs office, needed more paperwork. That means our coffee wouldn’t be delivered to the school in time for their special event. Terry mentioned the situation to Valerie, she went through all of troubles and had the coffee delivered to the school in time. That was how we got to know her before we even meet her in person.

We arrived in Toronto on Wednesday morning, stayed with Shannon and Andrij, it’s our home base of this trip. We drove to father Ed’s place for lunch on Friday. It was a beautiful day, we were surrounded by green trees and grasses, sunny and blue sky. I talked with Jane, Jean, Martha and Valerie, they are happy people. Think about it again, the whole thing, from we arrived there to we left, the food, our talking  and laughing, it was perfect. I don’t know whether “perfect “ is the right word to describe it, but I couldn’t think of anything we needed more or less, it was perfect to me.

 

 

That evening we went to Maria’s home for dinner. We met her on our last trip to Toronto four years ago, she arranged UCC visiting for us. This time she invited us to her home, we met her husband Grigoris, parents in law, and her three beautiful children, John, Pano and Geogre. She has Greek background, Grigoris is from Greece, so we had delicious Greek food.

We met Pano first at the front of their house when we arrived there, Grigoris came out greeting us, into their house we met everyone. Dining table was set outside by the swimming pool, Grigoris’s father was cooking food on the grill, Maria was preparing food too.

Grigoris is a computer scientist, very smart and warm person; Maria is a passionate person. We talked about many things, coffee, children’s  education, we talked like old friends, there were no ending of our conversation. Grigoris’s parents left us; little Geogre went to bed; summer’s long day lights retreated and the air became damp and chilly. We left their house after ten o’clock, back to our home base, talked with Shannon and Andrij for a little while before we went to bed.

 

 

 

Saturday we drove to Waterloo to visit Shirley, she is living in a nursing home now. We met Andrew and Marlene there, took Shirley out and had a lunch together. Shirley looked good with positive energy as usual, but most of residents in that home were in bad condition, it was a very depressing scene. After lunch, we sat outside of building, talked with Shirley for a while.

When we were driving away from there, Terry said to me: “ At the end of my life, please don’t send me to nursing home, let me die at home.”

I told him:” Don’t think about death, we want you living a long time, you need to see Sonny graduates from college, get married and become a father.”

Sonny added:” Yes, dad, you are going to live to one hundred.”

Terry laughed, “ Oh, it’s a hard work to live that long.”

 

 

Then we continued driving to Grimsby. Terry’s grandfather lived there for some years after he retired, he owned a orchard. Terry remembers visiting grandpa when he was a little boy.

This time in Grimsby we were visiting Ann and Brad. Since we met them, they have visited us every year on their Hawaii vacation. But this was our first time visiting their home.

Niagra Falls is not very far from their home, on Saturday night there was a firework show. After dinner, Ann took Sonny and me to see the night scene of the falls. There were lots of tourists, reminded me the night life of my hometown.

Next day they drove us around, we had our one day tour. We drove through winery farm, orchard, visited historical site Fort George, and Niagra Falls again. Fort George was the most interesting place to Sonny, Ann and Brad know him well, picked a good place to visit. Later that afternoon Ann took me walking around the neighborhood. It’s a very nice area, well taking cared houses and yards, not too busy, very peaceful neighborhood. We stayed up later again, time with Brad and Ann so comfortable, they are like our family and we felt like in home.

 

 

Next day we drove back to Toronto, stopped and visited Shirley again, and met Bill and Joy there and had lunch together.

 

Back to Toronto, the best part is that we stayed right in downtown, walking distance to restaurants, shops and Chinatown. Shannon and Andrij are both retired now, they have time show us around. We stayed up later at night, got up after ten o’clock in the morning, went out for lunch around one or two. Food was good, we always ate too much, one meal a day was enough. Their favorite Dim sum restaurant was ours too, we went their twice. I really wanted some good spicy Chinese food, we searched online, found a Sichuan restaurant. We tried, the food were pretty good, we went back there second time.

After we ate, we checked out some stores on the way home. We shopped a Chinese grocery store, I planned to buy some spices and snacks, but when I saw some vegetables and the prices, I had to buy some and cooked a meal.

 

 

One weekend there was a flea market nearby, we checked it out, Sonny got a couple of coins. Another thing we saw, was a nude biking parade, the first time for us.

I wanted to visit Royal Canadian Museum, and it’s not very far away.  Andrij drove Sonny and I to there on Wednesday morning, we spent three hours there, didn’t have enough time. I watched a Chinese historical relic collector’s show, a hundred episodes, learned more things about history and culture. Facing those historical relics, I didn’t know much of history behind each of them, but I had bigger open mind than before, and appreciated the chance l had.

In the city, we walked by many homes’ yard with blooming flowers, especially Peony, they were so elegant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Friend

 

April 8th, a tragedy happened. It took our good friend Jerry’s life. It happened so suddenly, we still couldn’t believe it.

Since last July, Jerry had started helping to build our house, from foundation to building structures, roof trusses, walls, windows, doors, porch rails, dry walls, slowly he worked himself out of this project. He was in charge of building this house. Terry was his assistant and did odds and ends. Later David and John joined the building team. Last thing he did was putting up rails for the front porch, I painted it right after he finished the job.

We were still busy with small jobs every day between building and farming, we hadn’t seen Jerry and Machiko for a month, it’s not normal. They are our good friends, I felt guilty for not visiting them for so long. April 3rd, it was Tuesday, I collected some avocados for them and stopped at their house for a short visit before I went to work. They were home, both of them seems very happy. I knew Machiko must be very happy to have him staying home for a change, otherwise she was home alone. Even Jerry complained about getting tired without work, but I knew he was very happy at that moment. I told them that Terry and I would visit them again at weekend. I hugged them, said “I love you”. By visiting them, it gave me some satisfaction, I got rid of the guilt feeling inside of me.

Sunday morning, we went to beach. When we backed home, showered, had lunch, it was four o’clock. Usually Terry likes to take a nap at this time. I suggested to visit Jerry and Machiko, he said “ Better now, or too late for me.” Sonny asked how long we were going to visit them, I told him about an hour and a half.

When we got to their house, they were playing with a puzzle under a tent in backyard, and the TV was on as usual. Their kitchen and dining table are. outdoor. This is where we hang out when we visit. We sat around, drinking and smoking, talking stories, commenting on TV shows. Jerry had a white T-shirt on. He was very healthy and happy, still very strong for his age. He was getting tired of construction jobs, he wanted to buy a used fishing boat with his son, and start fishing again. Machiko has diabetes and only can have fish and chicken, no more beef and pork. Even though we live in Hawaii, fresh fish is still expensive. That might be one of the reason he wanted to fishing again, after all he was a fisherman before.

It was one of our usual visit, no big discussion, just happy to be together. Before we left, we hugged each other, said “I love you” to each other.

It was 5:30pm when we got home.

Next day we went to work, until afternoon back home, found there was a message from Machiko, said call her back. I called her cellphone, no answer, called Jerry’s cellphone, no answer.

Tuesday morning, I got a call from Machiko, she said Jerry is dead, and she was crying. This shocking news seems unreal, l couldn’t believe it, no sad feeling, no tears from me even she was crying on the other end. I told her I would see her right a way. Terry was roasting coffee, I told him this shocking news, he couldn’t believe it.

I had a few minutes digesting this terrible news while I drove to her house. As I walked into her house, saw her, we hugged and cried into each other’s arms. She had Jerry’s unwashed pajama shirt wrapping around her shoulders, trying to keep his scent around her. She told me that an accident happened after we left their house on Sunday, he died at 6:35pm. We still couldn’t believe he is dead. A couple of Jerry’s kids from the mainland would arrive around noon that day. She asked me whether I liked to view his body before cremation. I told her that I don’t mind to see his body, but I know Terry doesn’t want to do it. He doesn’t want to see his friend’s dead body, he wants to keep the memory of the alive friend.

The only dead body I’ve seen was my father’s, I didn’t get a chance to see my mother’s. Jerry is like a family to me, I should go to see his body with his family. Wednesday morning, I went to his home, told Machiko that I would like to go with them to view his body. She told me, after family’s discussions, they decided not to view his body. Because they all agree, Jerry wouldn’t want his families and friends to see him like that, he would rather have everyone remember the very alive him.

 

Jerry was one of the first people I met after I moved to Hawaii. He was a very good man, but not a person you want to mess around with. He was a good cook, he liked to feed people, and was always happy to see friends enjoy the food he cooked. Friday evening was our regular social time at his basement. we would see other friends, Damien and Tita, Kimo and Marilyn, Craig and Masumi there. We had picnics at Kei’e beach; drove over an hour to Waimea for a lunch; went to other side of island for a chicken fight; and many parties together. If we were away for vacation, he and Machiko would house sit for us. Through those friends, I understand the true meaning of Aloha, and Jerry had a big heart of Aloha.

At coffee season, Jerry, Machiko, Damien, Kimo were our reliable coffee pickers, Tita and Marilyn helped picking on their off days of work. Working with them, every day like a party day, we had lots of good times. About ten years ago, Jerry had more and more construction work, so he stopped picking coffee.

All of my family members are in China, Terry’s families are in the mainland or Canada. A friend told me once, that we couldn’t choose our blood related families, but we could choose our friends, and our friends are our chosen family members. Jerry was one of our family members we chose.

There is one thing I don’t regret is, I always told him “I love you”. He called me his little sister and loved me too. Before the accident, he said our house would be the last one he built. We even talked about house warming party, and he was going to make a imu for the party. It happened so suddenly, I had a hard time to believe it. Every time I drove on our road, all of the green trees and plants in my eyes, warm and bright sky over my head, blue ocean and  coast lines in distance, I just couldn’t believe Jerry is not here with us anymore. How come this beautiful paradise stays the same without our loving friend. Yes, the world won’t change a bit because one person’s death, but our hearts are experiencing the pain of losing a friend, like someone punched a hole in our heart, a hollow space appears where the friend occupied. Only time will mend the hollow parts slowly with the threads of loving memories we have.

Jerry’s family decided having a party to celebrate his life on June 17th. Terry, Sonny and I went to Toronto for ten days, came back on 15th.

We were so close to Jerry, I had kept hoping to see him in my dream since the accident, but the dream didn’t come to me as soon as I hoped. On June 16th, I saw him in my dream.

As usual, Terry and I were visiting them. Jerry just came back from work, he parked his truck in the back yard. He wore a white T-shirt and a pair of blue jean shorts. He walked toward us. He was very calm and peaceful, he knew we were preparing a party for him, and this was the last day of his life and he accepted it. We didn’t speak to each other, we communicated with each other without words, we read each other’s mind.

Then the scene changed, I saw a lake in front of me. A whirlpool appeared in the middle of the lake, and it started draining the water. Slowly the water of the lake became shallow, I could see some fish swimming, then I saw a big long fish’s back, rest of the body under the water. Water became less and less, finally I saw, it wasn’t a big fish, it was a Chinese dragon, it disappeared into the whirlpool.

After that dream, I felt something was lifted from my heart. Unconsciously I had resisted to accept the fact that he is dead, I had hold on to the memories of him tightly, so tight it almost crushed my own heart.  Only in that dream, Jerry showed me that he accepted it, I should accept it too. Now I’m holding the memories of him very gently in my heart, love is the memory of him.

 

June 17th, Father’s Day, it was a beautiful day. We had cloudy and rainy days for a while before that party, but that day was sunny with blue sky, had a gentle misty shower for a short time, and a rainbow appeared in the sky. There were lots of yummy food, just like the way Jerry would have done if he hosted the party. His daughter wrote the poem below.

From our picture files, I only found a couple of his pictures. We saw each other so often, who would think of taking some pictures. The image below is what I will remember of him.

 

 

When I come to the end of the horizon

And enter the other shore

Remember me with fondness,

Cry for me no more,

I have found my final resting place

That special spot to fish

Remember the times that we shared

You too I will miss

This is the journey I must take,

And I must go alone

Know that my heart is with you

As I take this journey home,

To that final fishing hole

For fishermen like me

To tell the biggest fishing tales

About the one that got away

Remember me with fondness

For this is not goodbye

It is “Till we meet Again “

At that big fishing hole in the sky

 

 

10 Italian Coffee Drinking Rules

I just read an interesting article by Anna Kay on line, like to share it with you.

https://www.medcruiseguide.com/10-italian-coffee-drinking-rules/

 

What Makes the Italian Coffee Culture So Special?
Cappuccino, espresso, macchiato… if you are a coffee lover, then you’ll recognize these popular Italian coffee-based drinks right away. However, not only have Italians taken the art of coffee making and consuming to a new level – their entire coffee culture developed a number of rules which the first time travelers to Italy might find a bit overwhelming.
Are you dreaming of taking an evening stroll in Rome, and then sitting down for a cappuccino in an authentic Italian café? Well, if you do that, you’ll break the rule #1 – never order a cappuccino in Italy after 11am, i.e. after breakfast time. Italians only drink it with pastry in the morning, which is their favorite breakfast (and it’s a sweet pastry, no less!).
Want to order a large cup of take away coffee? You’re out of luck if you do that in Italy (not to mention that you’ll break the rule #7), as there is no concept of take away coffee in their cafés. Their approach to life is that, if you don’t have a few minutes to sip that superb espresso at a bar, chat with the barista about the latest scandal, or take that much needed break from work, you seriously need to work on your priorities. 🙂
And yes, the Italian way to drink an espresso is while standing at the bar. Three sips while it’s hot, and off you go. That’s rule #8, by the way.
If you find these peculiar rules a bit intimidating, no worries. Take a look at this handy infographic created by Med Cruise Guide below and get acquainted with the 10 key Italian coffee drinking rules for your next Italian adventure. Once you get to know them, you’ll enjoy the coffee like the locals do in this country of passionate coffee-lovers.

 

 

 

Read more at https://www.medcruiseguide.com/10-italian-coffee-drinking-rules/

 

Raising A Child Is Not An Investment

 

Last Monday I wasn’t feeling well, headache and no energy. If I stayed at home and lying in bed, I might feel worse instead of better. Sonny was sick the night before, I got up several times whenever he needed me. He didn’t go to school, Terry stayed at home and worked around house; I went to our new building and painted the porch. With a easy working pace and cool breath, I felt much better when I back home. Sonny had a good rest, Terry threw some fertilizer. Next day, Terry and I finished throwing fertilizer on the rest of the farm.

That weekend Sonny spent most of his time playing video game, then he got sick, later he had to work on his homework on Monday evening. In sixth grade, he convinced us, he will responsible for his homework and take the consequences if he didn’t finish homework. So we don’t ask him about his homework anymore, we trusted him. He takes his homework seriously, spend quite bit of time doing online research for his homework. He likes to wear headphones and listen to jazz music when he’s doing his homework.

He didn’t want missing Tuesday school, because he had to turn in his social study’s homework. In the morning, he woke up and came to our bed to have a few minutes of cuddle before he got up.

He said,” mom, I have a confession to make, I’ll feel better if I tell you. I know lam responsible for my homework, I didn’t finish my homework last night, I need more time to do it than I thought. I’ll finish today and turn it in tomorrow, I might lose a few points for my grades.”

I said to him,” OK, you can finish today, turn it in tomorrow. But you can’t go to bed without finish it tonight. I’m glad you told me about it. I hope you”ll do your homework before play games in future.”

He told Terry on the way to catch school bus in the morning, Terry and I agreed that he learned his lesson this time, and we were gratified how he dealt his problem, instead of lying and hiding, he chose telling the truth and an open communication. He stayed up to 10:15pm to finish his homework that night.

 

 

 

Last week I watched a Chinese talk show, four people’s conversation, the topic was about that parents bring up children for the purpose of being looked after in old age. It’s an universal value for most of Chinese for thousands years.

On the show, one man has two grown up daughters, he told them that their mother and he both have retirement and healthcare, they can go to nursing home when they need. His daughters don’t need to come home for taking care them, but they are welcomed to come back if they want to, not for taking care of parents. His children are free individuals, they should live their life with their own interests, not for their parents.

Right after I watched the show, Terry and I had to go to town together, I talked about it with him in the car. He told me his view about it.

He said,” Children didn’t choose to come into this world, parents brought them into this world, parents are responsible to love and support their children. When your child reaches 18 years old, you can’t just ask them leaving home and make a living by themselves. Yes, they need to find their talent or ability to support themselves, but you still need continue loving them and supporting them. Raising a child is not an investment, you do so much for your child, so you expect them pay you back after they grow up. No, every happy moment you get from them are their payment, they already pay you back every single day. Love should be the only reason to have a child, the only way to raise a child.”

I like how we have our conversations, it’s so comfortable.

 

Same topic, same person, different ages or times, could have different opinions.

Before I married, saw the way my brother and his wife treated my mom. I was very angry and there was no way to forgive them. At that time, I thought a person could choose different person to be your wife or husband, but you couldn’t choose your parents, you only have one mother and one father. As a child, why do you even bother to pick a girlfriend or boyfriend who doesn’t like or accept your parents? Find someone can accept your parents, won’t put yourself into the bad situations. My uncle had four marriages, first two women were not nice to his widowed mother, he told them to leave. To those two women, he was a bad man and husband. But that was his decision, between a wife and his mother, he chose his mother.

Now as a mother, of course I hope my son will find a woman who likes me, and I love her. But nobody can predict future, certainty I won’t make him to choose between his girl and me. As long as they are happy and love each other, I’ll give them my blessing.

 

 

Someone said, love of a couple’s final goal is to be together, love of parents and children are destined for separation. The great love of parents is not to tie their children around them, it’s the freedom for children to pursue their dream life.

 

 

 

 

Coffee blossom season

Last week, Scott and Dillen helped us to chip coffee branches, we are officially finish our coffee season, feel very happy about it.

Terry had to work on our building project, so I took my time pruning the whole farm by myself. If I made sandwiches for Terry to take in the morning, I could work until two o’clock before lunch break. Some days I quit working early and cooked lunch for them around noon, at 4 or 5 o’clock I went back to work for another hour or two. Our friend Jerry prefers small lunch, so he can back to work easily without too full stomach, but I only can last a few days without rice. Usually We have rice with a meat dish and vegetable dish for lunch, it’s our main meal of a day, we don’t eat supper, only have snacks on your own. If several days without my regular lunch, I feel hungry and eat more food at the end of the day, it messed up our meal routine.

 

We had Scott to help dragging coffee brunches one day after I finished pruning, it was Saturday, Sonny helped too. Sonny is getting stronger, he dragged six big brunches at a time, then ran back to get some more. I told him not to run, he would get tired quickly. But he was full of energy and kept his own way of work, I guessed he had imagination games going on in his mind. I gave him complements and told Terry that evening. To further prove my words and how strong he is, he asked me to get on his back. So I stood on a chair and get on his back, he carried me and walked around in living room, say “ dad, look at me, look at me.” He was so happy about it, but I was happier underneath my heart secretly.

 

We just had a big round of coffee blossoms, I always have iPod with me when I’m working, so I had chances to capture these images below.

 

They are gorgeous, never get tired to look at them.

 

In 2018, I wish we’ll continue our small farming life and enjoy every day together.

 

Building Project

We are building our new home on the new farm. Right after last coffee harvest, we started working on the house foundation, it took us five months to get it ready.

The house site is not a flat spot, we had a backhoe to level it, then we found out that we had to refill some area. We moved many truck loads of rock from other part of farm to the building site.

Our good friend Jerry started building rock wall for the foundation, Terry and I finished at the end. After we poured concrete for foundation, building project goes pretty well. Jerry is a talented carpenter, has lots of building experiences. Just two of them did the beginning of house structure, then we had three more friends helping to put floor sheets on.

Jerry is like a family to me. He is a good cook, when he cooks special food, often he call us to join them, especial during my pregnancy, I had many meals at his house.

One morning they worked on the first side of wall frame, when I got there with some sandwiches at lunch time, they were taking a break and waiting for me. Jerry said that I could help lifting the wall frame before lunch, so I joined them to complete the work. I thought they could do it without me, since there were five men. But Jerry waited for me in purpose at this special moment, so I had the opportunity to be part of the building project symbolically. It means a lot to Terry, Sonny and me, our new house we build together.

I took many pictures to follow the progress of building.

 

 

 

 

Last month we had trusses delivered, they were so heavy, we had to rent a crane to lift and put on the top. Jerry had some questions, he asked Wayne, his boss who is a contractor, to check it out the materials and plan, before we had crane there.

It was Saturday, Terry took Sonny to his piano lesson, I went to the new farm to pick coffee. There were only about 150 coffee trees, but coffee was getting ripe. Around noon, a man walked up the drive way, he saw me and asked whether this is Terry’s farm. Then we introduced each other, he is Wayne. I heard Jerry talked about him before, but had never met him. I looked at his face, couldn’t move my eyes away, until I realized my behave was impolite. I couldn’t keep my mind quiet anymore, I told him:” You look like my dad a lot, your face, even your hair style.”

He laughed, said: ” Your dad has a good hair style.”

“My dad was a handsome man. Are you Chinese? I’m Chinese.” (Look back now, I realize how direct I was, not tactful at all.)

“No, I’m third generation of Japanese in Hawaii. We are all oriental, so we could look alike.”

Then I showed him around and the building plan. He grew up in Kona, family have farm land, we talked about farming and other things.

That afternoon, I told Terry that Wayne looks like my dad a lot ( he hadn’t met Wayne yet ). I didn’t know I would see him again very soon.

Monday was the day to put trusses on, I continued to pick coffee there alone, Wayne came to help because Jerry asked him. He was up on the ladder, securing the center part of trusses, Jerry and David worked on the two ends. While I was picking coffee, a picture occupied my mind; a man who look like my father was helping to put trusses on our new house. That man was not my father, but somehow, the image of my father’s figure, working on top of the building, freeze frame at that moment in my mind. I think, in future, whenever I think about building this house, my father’s figure will always appear there.

Working as team, they were very efficient, about two hours they put all trusses on. At lunch break, Terry tried to pay him, he refused,” I just come to help Jerry, because he helped me many times.” After two attempts, Terry didn’t insisting anymore, but he happily accepted one pound of dakine coffee.

Terry saw my dad’s picture before, he also think that Wayne looks like my dad.

Next day we had some coffee pickers, so I stayed home, picked around the house. Meeting Wayne opened the memory channel of my dad, I hadn’t cried for my dad for a long time. But that day I cried without holding back, let my emotion taking over and in charge totally. It’s good, I was alone, nobody saw my running tears and heard my crying voice, and nobody disturbed my very private moments. When I stopped crying, my eyes were a little pain, red and puffy, but I felt much better.

Can you imagine? Someone you love and care past away, many years later you meet a stranger  just look like your loving one. Is it suppose only appears in a movie or fiction story? But it happened to me, my emotion was a mixed one. Shocking, happy, loving. At the end, I come back to reality, they are two totally different individuals. Wayne is a kind and generous person, who helped us when we needed it, I could always have special feeling toward him. I’m a very lucky person, this was a gift, the life gave to me.

A couple of days later, it was Chinese Middle Autumn Festival, a family reunion festival. I met my parents in my dream, I led them into the unfinished building, showed them the house plan. They both seem very calm and peaceful, then dad showed me a new brown leather couch cheerfully. I would like to believe, they know everything happening in my life, because I’m still loving them and thinking about them.

 

 

 

Picking coffee again

We already picked 4 rounds of coffee. First round was in August, there was not much ripe coffee, I picked alone, Terry was working on our building project on other farm. This was first year, I didn’t feel lonely when I was picking alone. Sometimes I listened to music or podcast, sometimes I just enjoyed the peace and quiet. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the work or feel helpless, I just did what I could that time, hoped I will find some helpers later.

Terry works very hard, way harder than me, and I couldn’t even help him with certain works. My mom told me many times before, loving Terry and don’t let him work too hard, taking good care of him, so he can live a long life with me and Sonny. But Terry is not changing the way he works, he said about the ability of working, “if you have it, you use; you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”

Juan and his uncle, who helped us for years, went to mainland this year and didn’t come back. I didn’t know where to find coffee pickers, but I knew it won’t be easy this year. More and more coffee was getting ripe, I prepared to spend many days on the field picking coffee with Kathy this year. Then one day, a friend gave me a coffee picker’s phone number whom he used once. I called the number and met the guy at our post office next day, showed him our whole farm. Next day his wife, brother and friends came and picked the second round. The better part is that, his brother lives nearby, he can keep an eye on our coffee, they came to pick when the coffee getting ripe. I saw them many times on our road before, but never talked to them. Now I think I’m very lucky to meet them and get their help.

At the third and fourth rounds of picking, Kathy came to help too. She is an amazing woman, wish when I reach to her age, I can be as strong as her.

 

 

This Summer break, we didn’t go anywhere, spent most times working on the farms. At the beginning, we asked Sonny to make his own daily routine plan. He remembered that we let him to have free time with his games as long as he finished his routine works last Summer, so he stayed up to 11pm or 12pm often. When the school started again, he realized he needed more sleep, he took a nap after he came back from school every day in the first week of school. He learned his lessons, he decided that he could stay up to 9:30pm from Monday to Thursday, 11:30pm from Friday to Sunday. I liked his plan, and asked him to add two hours farm work from Monday to Friday. I told him, he grew up on a farm, we needed his help and he could earn some money too. He agreed with it. Then next day, he asked to give him Wednesday off, I gave in. The best thing is that he kept his promise. Sometimes, Terry and I both went to other farm to work, he stayed on this farm pulling weeds alone.

He is in second year of middle school now, they have debate class which is his favorite class. He could spend lots of time doing research on line, often he shared their debate topic with us, and the fun debate moments in the class.

One day, I picked him up after school, we had an interesting conversation.

He asked me:” Mom, if you love someone, but this person doesn’t love you; and another person loves you, but you don’t love that person. Who should you choose to marry?”

I said:” Neither of them. You should only get marry because you love the person and this person loves you too.”

I thought for a second, add, “If someone tells you, she loves you, you could try to see, can you find that kind of love in your heart toward her. If not, you have to be honest to yourself and to her. Now think about your dad and I, daddy loved me first and told me, then I found the love in my heart toward him, so we married. If in the future you couldn’t find a person to love and she loves you back, you don’t have to get married, you could live alone and still enjoy your life. Getting marry is just one kind of way to live your life, but not the only way. Living alone still can have a good life.”

I didn’t know why he came up with this question, I’m just glad, he is open and willing to seek my opinion when he has a question. I can share my thoughts with him, but he has to think about it himself, make up his own mind. Wish we can always talk to each other like this, even after he grow up.

 

 

Perennial Peanut Groundcover

 

Rain falls gentely almost every day, in the afternoon or night time. We are in raining season again.

Terry works on the new farm most time, I work on this farm. Sonny helped to  throw fertilizer last time, he helped with this job again last week.

He is as tall as me now, can carry some weight, and likes to show me his strength. I let him taking his own speed to do the job, I value more of his trying to help than the amount of fertilizer he threw. First morning, he did three bags, I did ten bags. He said to me,” Mom, you are awesome, you are so fast.” I told him that I had more practice. Second morning, we finished the job, but had four bags left; that means we didn’t use enough for the farm. Third morning, I used up those four bags at the area where Sonny did the job, it was his off day from farm work.

 

I started my Perennial peanut ground cover project last year. This plants grow low, don’t climbing on trees, build nitrogen in the soil, sounds great to me for our farm. I started on one acre flat area with more soil. Digging a small hole for one seed, about two feet apart. It took me some time to plant the whole area, Sonny helped me at weekend. But only 20% of seeds came through, weeds grew faster than peanut, at the end, not many peanuts are doing well.

After coffee season which is dry season, most weeds died down, only the peanut patches were healthy green. Finally I got some time to attend it, hand weeded those patches. I took these two photo at below this March.

 

Slowly we got some rain, these peanut patches took off, it spread out fast and wide. At the same time, weeds grew again, I tried to keep up with weeding this time. I used a sickle to dig out clump root of weeds, pull out young weeds, throw weeds into a big bucket, then dump the weed underneath banana trees. Often I worked 4 or 5 hours in the morning, 2 or 3 hours more at late afternoon if it’s not raining. I spent so much time squatting or kneeling when I was weeding, my knees and back started getting ache. Now I understand, why a person complain about pain of joints when they get older. I have a jar of  home made comfrey salve from Joni, some nights I rub a little on pain area before go to bed, next morning I feel much better.

It’s a simple job, but require a lot of time. I’m enjoy doing it, when I see the peanut cover more and more ground, image the land and coffee trees getting happier, it gives me a big satisfaction. Half acre of my first experiment area look like the three photo at below now.

 

 

 

Other half of acre look  like the picture below.

 

I had Sonny helped me to plant more peanut on empty spots between patches this March, it grow very well now.

 

The plants have yellow flower, it’s edible, has light sweet taste, I tasted it. The plants flower year-around, bees were busy and happy, I could hear their buzz when I was pulling weeds.

 

Planting Perennial peanut as ground cover on our farm was my idea, my project; Terry didn’t involve, he worked very hard on our new farm, six days a week. Two months ago, he spent two mornings pulling weeds with me, saw how well the plants growing.

He said to me, ” at beginning, I worried how determined are you with your project, are you going to be persistent with it? Now I think you did great, it looks so nice. I’m so proud of you.”

I was surprise to hear he said so, because I didn’t catch any hint of his doubt, he didn’t express any negative opinion about it in this whole time. Instead, he gave me a little encourage, let me do it all in my way by myself. I’m very happy to hear his complement, but the strongest feeling it give me is gratitude, for the way he treated me, let me try to carry out my idea by myself. There is the presence of his love, love with wisdom behind the whole thing. I’ll remember this, will try my best to love him and Sonny in the same way in the future.

My goal is planting this ground cover on rest of farm. Terry suggested planting smaller area at a time, so I can keep up weeding these areas. It might take me several years to complete this project, but I think I can do it.

 

Mountain Apple Flower

One morning, I was feeding our chicken, saw the mountain apple tree full of beautiful blossom. It reminded me the Spring time at my aunt’s village.

My aunt and uncle’s villages located on top of a mountain, no transportation to there when I was young. It seems took us very long time to climb the mountain, we usually reached the village in the late afternoon. Often, we were stopped by some relatives who were working in the field, kept us to have lunch with them in their working shack. I don’t know why, their field seems very far from their home, take a hour walk to get there. In Spring, we saw wild cherry, peach, plum blossom everywhere, and often we broke a wild cherry blossom twig to play with. When we reached the village, most flowers lost their pedals.

My aunt’s old house had a plum tree, it was very close to back deck, we could climb up the tree from the deck. My aunt’s two grandsons were a few years younger than me and my sister, we had a lot of fun when we visited them. In my memory, my aunt’s house with plum and peach blossom is the most beautiful house, that image keeps a warm spot in heart. I told Terry that I’d like to plant peach, cherry and plum tree near our house, not for their fruit, but for their blossom. Even their blooming time are not very long, only once a year, but their beauty are like delicious food to my happy mind and happy heart.

I don’t have my peach, plum flower yet, but I’m very happy to enjoy the sight of mountain apple flower, capture some of their moments.

 

 

 

Sonny was chosen from his school to attend literacy award ceremony by Achive 3000, it was hosted on Wednesday in a fancy hotel. We were happy for his achievement, he asked for screen time in Tuesday evening to reward him, he got his wish.

 

 

 

 

Giving and Accepting

Kathy helped me picking the last round of coffee. Terry and I worked together  pruning, some coffee stumps are old and tall, don’t have very healthy branches. I pruned with a hand saw, when I saw  a coffee stump needed to be trimmed, I tied a ribbon on the tree; Terry trimmed the tree with chainsaw. It took us 3 weeks to finish the job. At that time, our friend Ann and Brad were having their vacation in Kona from Canada, they came to help us dragging coffee branches and piled on road side.

We had Scott to help us chiping the branches. First day, it took some times to get the chipper working, it ended up just Terry and me, we did three hours work. When we fed the chipper branches, we needed to hold the branches and gave a little push. The vibration wore out Terry’s wrists very soon, I fed the chipper a little more at the end. Second day, Terry dragged branches close to the machine, Scott and I fed the machine. We worked five hours to finish the job. I thought the machine works better than last year, our friend David fixed our machine last year.

Now I can really say, coffee harvest season is over, it sure make me feel good about it, even there are other farm works waiting for us.

 

I hadn’t visited our other land when I was busy picking coffee, Terry worked on the land often. He worked very hard, but it made him very happy and satisfied with his complishment at the end of the day.

Our pumpkin patch produced lots of pumpkins, we tried to give away, but the circle of our friends is not big enough to use it all. I asked Terry to build a small food stand, set it up by the road, offer free pumpkins to whoever want it. He didn’t build the stand right way. He picked 11 pumpkins and left by the road, next day he found they all gone. We both were happy someone can use it. I asked him to build a food stand again, in that way, pumpkins are in the shade and out of rain. A couple of days later, he made one. I know he had to find a right day and in the mood to do it.

Every time we left some pumpkins on the stand, it won’t take very long, pumpkins got picked up one by one. A few times, Bill,  who lives on the hill and knows Terry, left some nice ginger from his farm on the stand. We took some and enjoyed it very much.

Why are we doing this? Because we have more than we need, sharing make us happy, giving is our first step to be genorus, be accepted by other is the step  to build and make us a better person. So when you accept someone’s sincere and kind offer, you are making that person to be a better and happier person. So I think that giving is a good move, but accepting complish the mission of giving. Giving without asking for return, is the true meaning of giving; returning without be asked, is a good surprise. That is how we felt about Bill’s ginger

 

Every married couple develop their own way to understand each other and get along. I made a rule for myself. If I want Terry to do something, asking  or mention three times is the limit number to me. Because he is a hard working person, I rather  let him taking his time and find the right mood to do it, than keeping remind him. Sometimes my idea wasn’t appealing to him, he would give me other way to approach, or just refuse to do it. “Yes, dear” is the magic words to a good marriage, but NO is a powerful word too, we all need to learn to use it sometime, even to the one we love. Because we love each other, I don’t want him forcing himself to do a thing, just to please me; I rather want him be true to his feeling. If he is happy with himself, he can bring happiness to me and make me happy too. If I couldn’t do it by myself, I just gave up, otherwise I tried to do it myself. I made a small tin roof shad by the garden, two barrows to catch rain water, so funky, but works for me. Often I fixed up our chicken coop too.

there is never ending of learning in our life time. I was’t a much of cook before I married, now I’m a good enough cook for Terry and Sonny. I had never killed a chicken before I married. In my family, my mom and I were the only two people couldn’t kill a chicken. One Chinese New Year Eve, only mom and I at home, we both felt helpless and had our New Year’s Eve dinner without a dish of chicken. Now we raise chicken, I learned to kill and butch a chicken from my sisters.

One year, we caught wild pigs in the trap frequently, one pig a week. Our friend Jerry killed the pig and butched it, it was a quite of work, he was getting tired to do it. I would like to learn to butch a pig, so I asked Jerry to teach me next time we catch a pig again. He would teach me, and Terry hung a long strong rope in garage for that purpose, but we haven’t caught any pig since then. Well, there are so many things out there in the world we could learn, and it’s impossible to learn it all, I’ll try to learn the things come to my way, interesting to me or necessary to me.