Mamaki Tea

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Mamaki tea is an herbal, non caffeinated tea native to Hawaii.  We have a few shrubs on our property.  The leaves can be used either dry or fresh, and have a number of health benefits when made into a tea.  It is known to work on stomach, liver,  bladder and kidney issues.  It has also been known to help lower blood pressure.  It is a mild tasting refreshing tea that can be drank hot or cold.  I make a big pot, refrigerate it, and drink it cold.   We typically have used fresh leaves, but we’ve dried some as well, packaged them, and have given them as gifts.

The picture above shows the berry of the tea shrub.  These berries have a waxy like consistency and can have mild laxative effect.  They’re slightly sweet, so one has to be careful not to eat too many, unless of course, you’re looking for that laxative effect.  The black specs in the berry are the mamaki seeds.  I have started a few new plants using these seeds.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how well these plants grew.

 

 

 

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Perfect Weekend

What an awesome weekend.  First, Friday was a holiday, so three day weekends are especially great.  Friday was spent taking care of all the regular stuff, laundry, mopping, etc. ,  I had a few friends stop by and pick up some “groceries” from the garden on the way home.  Then Saturday and Sunday, we spent fixing things in the garden (securing the duck homes for protecting baby ducks and fixing the roof on the shed.  Then we planted a bunch of things, a kumquat tree, some watermelons, radishes, carrots, and some pretty flowers in the garden.  We enjoyed the pool all weekend.  It was hot, and water was cold, a perfect combination for a perfect weekend.

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Our ohia tree is in bloom right now.  Rapid Ohia Death is a big concern on the Big Island. It is decimating forests on our Island.  Our tree, our only ohia tree, is currently not affected.  We’re doing our best to keep it that way.

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So many things to do … so little time

Keeping up with all the things on our little patch of land can easily be a full time job, but all I seem to have time for is the weekends.  My husband works on the farm every day when he gets home from work, which is mostly feeding the animals and watering where needed.  I get home later than he does, and after a long day I don’t have the energy to do more work.

Weekends are left for normal house chores – laundry, vacuuming and mopping, and general cleaning. So in between that, I’m usually harvesting and cooking.  Because we had plans on Saturday, all this work was left to Sunday.  It’s been a super productive day.  I made two loaves of banana bread.   Cut four of the nine pumpkins (most are for freezing, but I’m making a batch of pumpkin soup), harvested cloves (they’re just starting to get ready for picking, so there wasn’t many, but I’m so excited about that!), and made some fresh lemonade with sugarcane we grow.   We really need a sugarcane press, I tried cutting and boiling pieces of cane to make a simple sugar, the conversion ratio isn’t great, I needed a lot of sugarcane.  Luckily I like tart lemonade!  There are so many pumpkins, I can’t cut anymore, so I’m going to give some away to co-workers.

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Cloves on the dry rack.  The tree is loaded, so this is just the start.  My hands smelled like cloves after I picked these.

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The coffee trees are flowering.  When they’re all flowering it looks like it’s snowed.  This is the first year we’ve got coffee since we chopped all the trees down in an effort to control the coffee borer beetle.  We’re looking forward to drinking our own coffee again

The MOST exciting thing on the farm is new babies!  Our call ducks are laying and brooding. Today we got our first ducklings.  They’re just perfect!!  One of our chickens, however, kicked one of the momma ducks off her nest of eggs, so it appears she will be raising these ducklings.  We have heard of this happening before, the only thing that we have to watch for is when the ducklings start swimming in the pond.  Apparently this really freaks momma chickens out because obviously chicks aren’t swimmers, and I guess they don’t realize these aren’t chicks.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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The momma is sitting on the rest of the babies, we think there are three maybe four more.  It was hard to get the shot, so it’s a little blurry.

I also froze some bananas for our Yonana machine.  I’m not trying to market this thing, but I swear it’s one of the best inventions ever (next to the cordless vacuum cleaner!!).  You take a frozen banana and put it through the Yonana and it tastes like ice cream.  I swear it tastes just like banana ice cream.  You can add other frozen fruits to it if you want, but banana makes it creamy.  I’ve made it for a number of occasions, and people cannot believe all it has is bananas, they’re sure I’ve added cream or yogurt, or something to give it the ice creamy texture.  But it’s just the Yonana machine.  The banana has to be frozen or it’s just mushy banana.  It’s super healthy since there’s nothing added.  It’s going to be a hot dry summer this year, and I know now, we’ll be getting a lot of use out of this thing.  I got my at Amazon, but I’ve seen them at Target and Costco.  They have their own website too.  I swear, Yonana owes me a commission on the number of machines I’ve helped sell!

I love being home and getting these done.  I even had a nice dip in pool, it was HOT today.  Now I’m going to try to convince the hubby to end the day with a nice drink around the fire pit.

 

Yacon

We started growing yacon a few years back.  Native to South America, yacon has been around for thousands of years and has some really great health benefits.  It tastes a bit like jicama, but sweeter and to be honest better.

Yacon is related to the sunflower.  It has a small yellow sunflower looking flower, but has no seeds.  When ready, you dig up the root of the plant. Yacon oxides really quickly once you peal off the skin.  A little lemon squeezed on top helps slow that down.  It can keep for up to 8 months unpeeled.  It’s better if you have a cold cellar, which we of course don’t have in Hawaii.  But we keep it in the shade and it’s usually eaten or given away way before the 8 months anyway.  It can be eaten raw or cooked in a stir fry.  You can be make a syrup out of it, although this I haven’t tried.  You can also make a tea.  It tastes a little like a water chestnut when stir fried.  It’s super easy to grow here in Hawaii, and it’s so good for you.  I would recommend it to anyone growing a little garden here.

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