Monday, March 29, 2010
The blowing of the sacred Pu or triton shell announces the start of a Hawaiian ceremony, such as a wedding, or seasonal celebration. The deep sound is reminiscent of a ship's horn, and can be heard throughout the forest, across land or water.
Some Hawaiian ceremonies use a conch shell rather than a triton, but it was the triton shell that was found in these waters, and used from ancient times forward.
Here the triton shell is being blown by Robert near the start of the path up to the rainforest wedding pavilion. The tone is clear and pure, and will definitely inform your being from the inside out that something special is going on. The lei po'o or head lei he is wearing is traditional, made from the native plants that grow in this forest.
The direction in which the shell is blown is meaningful, as is the number of times it is blown. Our celebrations are derived from Hawaiian culture and honor Hawaiian culture, and are adapted to western culture and custom.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tommy Bahama has aloha shirts. Hilo Hattie has aloha shirts. Walmart and Long's Drugs have aloha shirts. Aloha Friday means aloha shirts, and that means the aloha shirt has a spot in a great many closets.
But what if you want to find something vintage, a shirt that recalls the days when you visited Hawai'i via steamship. If you want to stop in Honolulu, there is the venerable Bailey's, a shop you can spend the kind of time in you'd usually set aside for a bookstore with comfy sofas. But if you prefer to line up your wardrobe from the comfort of your computer seat, there is the Hana Shirt Company.
Their on-line selection of shirts is ultimately gratifying. You can be a facebook fan and be treated to tiki talk and the appreciation of their friends. You can browse their shirts endlessly, and will surely see classics that appeal.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
As we planned the treehouse, we knew there had to be a place to prepare food. As wonderful as it is to eat out, it can be equally delicious to relax in your own private little space, especially when that place is so different than anything you are accustomed to.
Since the space was so limited, we opted to scale everything down. The stove: a two burner propane cooktop. The sink: slightly larger than a wet bar. The refrigerator: for now, it is electric, but will likely be changed to propane as well since we are off grid. Being off grid is a constant challenge. The refrigerator is a major energy eater. We began with the pots on a shelf, but moved them to a tree branch pot hanger. The microwave was an afterthought, as the farmer's market here has vendors with wonderful pre-made meals.
We added the backsplash, using glass tiles, some of which are fused glass from an artist in Benicia California, where we once lived.
All the dishes and cups and glasses, the eating utensils, and the drinking water are all there under the counter top. The tray on top of the microwave holds coffee and tea, sugar, salt, honey and snacks. When it is finished, there will be a hanging tiered fruit and vegetable basket over on the right. Even the garbage and recycling fits below the counter.
If we were truly dedicated to living easily and frugally, we would give up the refrigerator altogether, and along with it, ice on demand. Instead, there would be a built-in food cooler, where air would circulate through from outside, and fruits, vegetable, eggs, cheese, and cultured milk products would stay edible for days at a time. For now, we are dedicated to the comfort of our guests, so the refrigerator stays. For now!
Friday, March 19, 2010
This week we put in a tabletop supported on a tree branch inside at the treehouse. Before, there was an outside table and chairs you could pull in if al fresco dining was not your thing. Since it does rain in the rainforest, even though the table is on the covered lanai, it can still feel a bit too close to nature out there of an evening.
The new tabletop seats two comfortably, and can double as a desk. It is conversation height, so you can stand if you'd rather not sit. We're pretty fond of the view - it's a true window table.
Monday, March 15, 2010
In the dreaming-about-it phase of the treehouse, we had multiple ways up. There was especially a rope net ladder - very piratey. There was a fireman's pole; a big brass post for sliding down.
The reality became what you see on the right. The trees in the rainforest grow slowly. Unlike other parts of the island that are very warm, the temperature is cool here on top of the volcano. These trees are about 200 years old, but their girth is not sufficient to prop up a house in their upper branches. The treehouse gains almost twenty feet of loft from the bubble of lava in the lava tube over which it is built. The trees grow directly out of the bubble, and are the largest trees in the area. To get into the treehouse, you first ascend the lava tube.
Our rock designer Tony brought in massive chunks of lava rock that he moved by leverage. He studied the rise and absorbed the feeling of the structure. He said prayers to Akua and moved the stones into place.
Our builder wanted steep steps up to the first platform. He said that people entering the treehouse should know by the way up that they are entering a treehouse and not a ground house. So as you walk up, you must hold onto the railing. Even in the slippery wetness of the rain, there are good firm handholds, as you grip behind the bamboo posts. You are glad you are not trying to bring too much in with you.
Whether you are staying at the treehouse or elsewhere in the rainforest of Kilauea, consider bringing along a waterproof lightweight jacket, closed-toed shoes that easily slip on and off but fit your foot snugly, pants that roll up and stay up, sleeveless shirt and long sleeved tee shirt, and socks or indoor slippers. A hat with a brim. A microfiber jacket or vest or sweatshirt will be welcome. You will not need bug spray, and the hat and jacket take the place of the umbrella.
Rain in the rainforest: like snow to the Inuits is rain to the Hawaiians. We have lots of different types of rain. Here at 4000 feet, we frequently have pineapple rain. The tiniest misty droplets fall. You can barely feel it on your skin. You can be outside in it for several minutes and not get wet. It comes and goes so subtly you may not be sure you are in mist or in a cloud. Some call this area the cloud forest. When the raindrops are more formed, you may be tempted to treat it as if it is pineapple rain and linger outside, probably trying to get some outside work done. After awhile, you notice you are getting wet. You feel the rain in your face, and may be tempted to tip your head back with your mouth open and drink directly from the sky, but realize there is not all that much water coming down. The varying stages of rain continue, all the way to monsoon, where the sky opens and sheds water in such quantities that you are not sure you want to see what walking in that downpour would feel like. You will get drenched no matter what you are wearing, and the feeling may be like being under a waterfall. As you contemplate it, you wonder if you have ever seen such rain before, and if you ever will again. It is seldom, and it does happen, and you marvel.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Maybe you have known each other since 7th grade, and it feels as if your destiny together was as certain as the four seasons. Or did you meet later in life, a happy surprise, a miracle even, the discovery of a life partner mid-way through it all.
However it was and whenever it was, chances are fate has intervened in a dozen different ways. You have weathered storms and even tsunamis, experienced ultimate joy, and held on to each other when the life boat felt fragile and the seas rough.
Is it time to set aside a few days, and celebrate being together? What might it be like to wake up in the rainforest, a chorus of birdsong welcoming the new day? You throw open the doors to the lanai, and outside there are flashes of red as the birds flirt in the treetops, at eye level, because you are in a treehouse in the rainforest.
Perhaps your day out will begin with a walk through an ancient forest, where trees have grown new roots from the branches down into the ground. A drive down to the black sand beach may bring you face to face with sea turtles. You are returning to the rainforest and a party in the pavilion for two, a celebration of what has made your lives meaningful in the years you have been together. Or perhaps you would like your children there, your best friends. Whether it is just the two of you, or up to 24 people, it can happen in the rainforest pavilion. The day may be blessed with rain, and you may be dancing and having a toast to all that has gone before, and all that is still ahead.
At the end of the festivities, step into our Land Rover and be transported back to the romance of the treehouse. If you have not already done so, you may want to look through the back pages here and see the pavilion and the treehouse. We invite you to an adventure in romance, and a celebration of being together in this life, in one of the most beautiful and serene places on earth. Aloha!
Friday, March 12, 2010
When you choose to get married in the rainforest, maybe the image that comes to mind is a frothy cinderella like gown with all that white contrasting with the deep green of the forest. The image is lovely, and there is nothing that says you can't do it.
If on the other hand you are not one for necessarily following all the rules, the forest suggests a playful palette of colors, particularly the colors of the forest birds. This ensemble by URU is one example of the way you can think about bending the traditions as to wedding attire.
Today, the sun is brilliant and the sky blue. Two days ago, it was raining. The pavilion shields you from the weather, but you are still out in the forest, sheltered, serene. Like life itself, the weather is unpredictable and even capricious.
Just some ideas for a rainforest wedding. Your tradition may say white, and tradition is one note in the symphony. It may be a note you must keep, or the lure of a less traditional look may be irresistible.
photo is from the URU clothing site: http://www.promaxdigital.com/uruclothing/index.htm
great timeless designs that suit the rainforest
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Take a teeny tiny interior and add a ships ladder so you can walk indoors to the second level, and there will be much pondering as to how to set up a sitting area.
The glass door to the left goes to the outdoor shower. By the time we knew the builder/designer had the doorway in mind, it was too late to arrange a full walkway from the deck that stops at the hobbit door you see by the lamp across to the shower deck on the left. I had been visualizing a built in lounge taking up that full corner, a place where ten year olds could sleep or full grown adults could stretch out with their feet on a pair of those black ottoman squares you can see there between the red chairs.
A drive around the island to Kona netted us these versatile chairs at Costco. Living in a place such as this island in the middle of the ocean, you quickly learn that there are few sources for furniture. We have a couple of teak importers, an upscale place with truly lovely and somewhat pricey things, and less than a handful of other sources, one being Costco. These chairs were perfect. Leather does well in this climate, and stands up to heavy use. Red is fun, and brings the color of the lehua and anthurium flowers into the house. The little seats can be pushed together for snuggling. The ottoman can be a table or foot rest. Here, the chairs are oriented for watching movies on the small wall TV, looking out the french doors, and watching the fireplace. That fluffy patch of white is a sheepskin in front of the fire.
We are finding it cozy and sweet, especially when the rainforest is receiving its rain - sitting inside with some slack key music playing and the fire going, conversation, some hot cocoa.