Ohia Lehua in Kaneohe

Kris and I fell in love with Volcano many years ago. A friend told us about cool cottages available for rent and we went to check the area out. I had been up there many years ago and had forgotten about the beauty of the rain forest. The song of apapane is so varied, lively and sweet. Staying in this cottage on the Mauna Loa side of the highway brought that all back to me. We made several visits after that, often looking at land and homes to buy. I didn’t want to own a piece of land…I wanted something that we could stay in.

After a few years of looking with a very patient friend and realtor we found an cedar A-frame in “the Village”, Volcano.
Because our business requires that we travel so much, it’s really hard to hub out of a small airport like Hilo. Flight options are very limited. We’re also not quite ready to give up Kaneohe…seeing the magnificent Ko’olau Mountains every day. So we live most of the year in Kaneo’he.

Years ago, we shipped a container of Ohia trees from the Big Island. We wanted to bring a piece of the rainforest that we loved with us. The ohia served as a bridge that connected us to Volcano. Kris has worked so hard to keep our Ohia healthy. They love porous soil…or lava…lots of water and lots of drainage. Anyone who knows Kaneohe, knows that Kaneohe soil is clay. Whenever a tree drowns, it is so heartbreaking. These trees will die suddenly and Kris hasn’t found a way to rescue them when they start to go.

A few years ago, we got a phone call from entertainer, Karen Keawehawai’i saying that she heard about our ohia from one of our friends and wondered if she could pick some for her grandaughter…for a hula competition. Karen came over…she loves our dogs and she loves to take photos. What a delightful person!

The next year two other girls came by and asked if they could pick some blossoms.
Kris picks the flowers for the dancers so that the trees don’t get stressed and we usually get a sweet thank you note. This year several dancers on their way to the Merrie Monarch Festival, stopped to get flowers and liko (buds) to make an offering to Pele at Halema’uma’u before the competition.
We’re loving the full circle that our trees and flowers are making as the dancers bring them home.

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This is a photo of lehua in our yard in Kaneohe with a mejiro (white eye).

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