I ran over a mongoose on the way home from work, tonight. I really feel terrible about it. It just zipped out into the road, and there was nowhere to go. I definitely killed it. I probably should not have looked in my rear-view mirror right afterward, but I couldn't stop myself, and well, I hope it was fast and painless.
In an attempt to console myself, I thought about how they are an invasive species to Hawaii, and rationalized that maybe I had saved some birds. But that didn't really help. I like most critters and I still felt bad. Mostly, I hope I didn't orphan some tiny mongooses. (I really want to say "mongeese" but that is not correct.) As a child, my mother read Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to me and it certainly left an impression. I don't have issues with them. I'm truly sorry I killed one.
This was my first roadkill. Years ago, I did hit a cat, but only the tip of his tail sustained damage. It was kind of a funny story, in retrospect. I was going down our street, and a cat ran across the street in hot pursuit of another cat. I braked and swerved but could not miss it entirely. There was a a witness who told the owner, "Dude, she couldn't help it. The thing just launched." I was always grateful for him, telling it like it was, in such a California-speak way.
When Miss Scarlett was in driver's ed, her teacher had a pretty funny mantra: "Don't Hit the Nene Goose." I can still remember her quoting that, over and over. It worked; she never hit one.
I guess the only way I can atone for this is to do a sort of a PSA. Here on the Big Island, things are frequently running out in front of cars. Please watch out for moongooses, pigs, goats, sheep, the Nene goose (our State Bird), the neighbor's cat, dogs, quail, pheasants, the neighbors' children . . . I guess that covers it.
I haven't blogged for a while, and I kind of hate it when other bloggers say, "I haven't blogged in a while, and here is why . . . ". It sounds like whining to me so I don't do it -- well, until now, I guess. I haven't blogged lately because it seems terribly trite to write about the delicious recipe I just tried, or how Mr. L's avocado tree is doing, or where the newest fun lunch spot is. Why trite? Well, because of the situation in Pahoa, Hawaii, and the surrounding areas that are threatened by lava. (Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes; hence the title of this post.) Having grown up in Arcata, (Humboldt County), California, when I have felt a little homesick, Pahoa has filled that void, with its wackyFarmer's Markets and fascinating folks. Just a whiff of patchouli takes me back to my childhood.
Lava is currently invading one area, Kaohe Homesteads, and threatens to run across Highway 130. Should this occur, it would cut off the communities of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and Hawaiian Beaches. Some businesses have already closed. Alternate routes are being developed by the County. I have friends, and co-workers, who have been frantically re-locating, finding storage units, and generally stressing out. My poor volunteer at work, who lives in Leilani Estates, cries every time I see her. Several of the folks I know are retirees, and their homes, and "dream homes," will be negatively impacted should the lava continue on its present path.
When we decided to move to the Big Island, we looked at homes that were in lava danger zones. They were less expensive, newer, and had more acreage. I was sorely tempted, but fortunately Mr. L., already earning his nickname, didn't think it was safe. We ended up buying a smaller, less vulnerable property, in Hilo. It turned out to be a great decision, in many ways (closer to work, schools, the hospital, the college, etc.). I remember Mr. L asking our realtor, "What about the lava?" and she replied, "We don't worry about it." Well, we were worried, so we decided "town" was a better fit for us. For the people who bought there -- they had to know the risks, but they rolled the dice. I hope they weren't sold a bill of goods.
Recently, the lava has slowed. That is good news in that it buys a little more time for the residents to deal with their circumstances. But, is it inevitable that things will get worse? It sort of sounds like it, according to the experts. I sincerely hope they are wrong. For some, if they just have to find an alternate route to get to Hilo, they can cope with that. For others, it means the end of a lifestyle they have worked hard to build. And then there is the waiting -- talk about stressful. My pal Alan has a good attitude . . . "Waiting for hot lava is a droll existence . . . get out and have fun." Another senior lady in Pahoa said, "What am I going to do? Sit around at home?" Maybe it's just the mentality of the people who are attracted to the area. They are a little quirky; very fatalistic. I admire their pioneer spirits; I wonder if I would have it in me to face life as they do.
Let's just start this post with my admission that baking bread in Hawaii is a pretty dumb hobby. It's already dang hot, and I keep firing up my oven. However, I've hit upon the greatest thing since, well, sliced bread, and it's worth sharing.
I have been baking bread for years now, mostly in an absolute workhorse of a breadmaker that Mr. L got me years ago ("Maxum" brand). It does a great job, particularly on whole-wheat bread, which can be tough to work with.
Last year, I started experimenting with sourdough starter, because I was missing that crisp-crust, chewy inside, peasant-type bread that I used to buy but cannot find here. I had mixed success.
Recently, I wrote a post for wisebread.com entitled "10 Delicious But Difficult Recipes Made Easy." One of the recipes I deemed difficult was good bread, and I started researching recipes for an easy yet professional-tasting loaf. The one I decided to try comes via Mark Bittman (New York Times) on YouTube, at the Sullivan Street Bakery. It looked easy; I tried it, and it truly is. I need to work on my loaf-shaping (most things that I bake come out amoeba-shaped) but it's delicious.
This first photo shows me mixing the flour, yeast, salt and water. Oh, and there's Pumpkin napping, on the right.
After you get the dough mixed, cover it, and let it be for twelve hours. This is the slightly tricky part, only in that you have to plan ahead a little. I am working toward mixing in the morning before I go to work, and then baking when I get home. Ideally, I would like to bake every three days or so, which is about the length of time it takes us to eat a loaf.
Above: Slices of the amoeba bread. It made KILLER BLT/Avocado sandwiches, toast, croutons, etc.
Note: You will need to have a pan that has a cover, as you will see in the video. I used my roaster, which worked great. The hardest part is getting the loaf into the preheated pan. He makes it look so easy, in the video!
If you have always thought bread making was hard, you might give this a try.