Mele Haloa

I recently completed my second ipu heke for hula. I asked my hula sister Edie to help me name her.  In case you’re wondering some hawaiian instruments are male and some are female. The ipu heke is female. I sent her a photo and explained I had burned the images of two taro leaves on the outside of my ipu. Both the top and bottom of the ipu heke were grown in my garden . If you look back in my February blog the largest gourd in the picture is the bottom of this ipu heke. A few days later she sent me the following email:

The name of your ipu came last night and before you learn it, you have some homework to prepare for it.  Because there is kalo on the ipu, you will need to read about Haloa:

“Root of Life” – Taro (Kalo) – Legend of Native Hawaiian Creation

Updated about 4 years ago

Taro plant (Kalo in Hawaiian) is linked to one of many mythological versions on creation of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Legend joins the two siblings – Earth Mother (Papahanaumoku) and Sky Father (Wakea) – together they create the Islands of Hawaii and a beautful woman The Stars (Ho’ohokuokalanii – for “The Heavenly One Who Made of Stars”). Waikea desired his “daughter’s beauty” and came together with her to create a child who came stillborn and alu’alu (deformed). Their son was named Haloanaka (Haloa – for “Long Breath” or “Eternal Life”) and buried in earth’s soil. After Ho’ohokuokalani’s grieving watery tears over her son’s grave, out sprang a fragile, strong and healthy plant—Kalo (Taro): “The stems were slender and when the wind blew they swayed and bent as though paying homage, their heart shaped leaves shivering gracefully as in hula. And in the center of each leaf water gathered, like a mother’s teardrop.” The second child born of this union was named Haloa, after his older brother. The younger Haloa, first-born man, was to respect and to look after his older brother for ever more. In return, the elder Haloa, the root of life, would always sustain and nourish him and his descendants. And so the Kalo (Taro) of the earth became the sacred crop of Native Hawaiian people and principal food for the generations to come. Still today, in remote valleys, such as Waipio on the Big Island of Hawaii, taro is a way of life. Knowledge of its cultivation and its qualities has been passed down from generation to generation. Taro farmers often spend the day in knee high water, planting new keikis, harvesting mature corms, and weeding the abundant tropical growth around the invaluable food source. Taro in Hawaii is mostly used for poi (pounded taro), table taro, taro chips, and luau (green taro tops).

 After I read the story I called her. She had named my ipu heke Mele Haloa, song of Haloa.  I’ve come to really love Hula and my hula sisters and I’m very blessed that she named my ipu heke.


Ulu (breadfruit)

Ulu is a Hawaiian canoe plant, meaning the plant was brought by Hawaiians on canoes to the islands. Also known breadfruit, it is a very versatile fruit. One of my favorite ways to prepare it is to cut it up and boil it. After it cools I cut it into bite-size pieces and fry in olive oil with a little garlic salt. You can also roast it or bake it. It can also be prepared like poi. I found a really good recipe for breadfruit pudding; it’s like bread pudding but instead of using bread you use breadfruit.  I’ve attached the recipe that I used this week. It turned out really well.  Breadfruit is a little like the jackfruit in that it also has a sticky sap. It’s not as bad as the jackfruit I will say, but if you oil your knife well before cutting it open, it helps a lot with the cleanup later .

Breadfruit Pudding – Jamaican Recipes

The breadfruit tree itself is one of my favorite plants. It has beautiful big leaves which are shown in the picture above. You can also see the white milky sap coming from the fruit in the picture above. After you pull one off the tree it’s a good idea to let it sit outside until the sap stops running. It doesn’t take more than half an hour for it to stop. The breadfruit ripens quickly and should be used within a few days of picking.

To market to market …

It was a busy afternoon harvesting dragon fruit,starfruit , and Meyer lemons. We’re selling them to a local CSA in Hilo. Dragon fruit is our cashcrop we sell each year but this is the first time were selling the lemons and starfruit. Our tree is so loaded with starfruit I’m surprised some branches haven’t snapped yet. We gathered almost 400 pounds of all the fruits today.

Weekends are usually tied up with farm and home chores that we barely ever go to the beach anymore. But this morning, David had to work so we ventured to the Kona side, and got some snorkeling in. It was so nice. Then we made a quick pit stop to Costco.  It was a good, productive day. Feeling very grateful.


We have so many Kombocha pumpkins right now. I started with five and took this picture after I already cut one. One pumpkin produces a lot meat. What’s nice about this pumpkin is the skin can be eaten too. I ended up cutting four and froze 10 -1 quart bags for later use. I also saved some to roast this week. I even saved the seeds and roasted them in a little olive oil and salt. They were really tasty.

I also cut one of the jackfruit and am drying that. I covered everything in plastic and wore gloves before I started cutting it. It was much better this time.


We had  great blue heron stop by for a short three day visit. In case you’re thinking I didn’t know there were herons in Hawaii, you would be somewhat correct. There is the Aukuu which is a black crown night heron that is native but the great blue isn’t from here. Sometimes they find their way here but they’re a long way from their home. It appeared his wing was a bit damaged but he was still able to fly. He feasted on tilapia from our pond, got his strength back then was gone. He was tall around 4 feet. He was skiddish so some patience got me this shot. Truth be told I wish he would’ve stayed. The other birds, our chickens and ducks didn’t seem to mind him at all either. He would’ve been welcome to the family.

Just a random shot of Jingle and Gus. Gus our dog isn’t as thrilled with the cat but he’s growing more tolerant as you can see.