March 9th, 2020 / posted by paularath

Clearing the “jungle” begins. Yes, that’s our neighbors’ house and we are blocking the entire driveway. Lucky they’re at work all day!

You may have noticed I haven’t written a travel blog in awhile. Jerry and I decided to focus a year or so on our home and get some major stuff done. Major stuff such as refinishing the chocolate eucalyptus floors (pau!), re-roofing the house (pau!), installing new rain gutters (pau!), checking and cleaning our 30 solar panels (pau!) and, last week, trimming all the trees and cutting back the rainforest as it creeps toward the house.

The deck view before tree trimming.

We live, literally, in the rainforest. We love it and don’t want to live anywhere else. But oh my, how things grow – and overgrow – here!

For a number of years we chose to let the trees grow high around the deck. We liked to feel as though we were living in a tree house. Then, about ten years ago, we tried cutting the trees so we could see across the valley, with wider vistas of the Koolau Mountains. We loved it! Now every few years we trim everything so we can get that lovely view back.

The “before” view looking up the valley.


The view from our deck is most beautiful when the mysterious mist plays over the mountains. But today it’s clear.

It’s especially beautiful in the evenings, when we can look down toward town and see the soft remnants of a tropical sunset, and can look up the valley and see the moonrise and the mist as it encloses the Koolaus.

Jerry loves to sit on the deck in the early evening and write a bit of poetry. (Yes, he writes poetry!)

The view from my office mid-trimming.

The back yard also requires quite a bit of cutting back. Multiple varieties of ferns, ginger and other plants grow like crazy. My office has a complete view of the back yard, which has a Japanese berm with rocks, a rock “stream,” and a tropical “backdrop.”

On the side of the house, an area which no one sees unless we’re picking herbs together, the hau constantly crawls creepily toward the house, threatening to “eat up” my herbs. It’s the most difficult thing to control, along with its “buddy,” heliconia. The hau has sort of attacked us from the neighbor’s vacant lot.

So the trees and forest got a nice trim, and we thoroughly enjoyed the view. Then, last night, the wind picked up and, well, see for yourself:

Fallen tree in our backyard

On the roof, but not on the solar panels

…but it’s okay, no damage, even to the new roof and rain gutters. We suspect this fishtail palm was being protected by some of the trees we had trimmed, and without the protection, the wind came straight at it and knocked it down. It was never very sturdy, as it wasn’t supposed to grow that tall.

But oh well, we will deal with it. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the views.

Here’s one of the views that inspired Jerry to write a poem. This is the view back toward the Koolau Mountains as the moon rises, taken just a few days ago.

As the moon rises and the sun sets over our deck…                       Photo by Jerry Mayfield

Another reason we are lucky we live in Hawaii!

Next up on this blog (and I promise it won’t be so long between blogs this time):

  • Where in the world is Frederic Fekkai these days?
  • Cleaning my closet is the hardest task I undertake within my house. Here’s some closet psychology to help me (and perhaps you too) survive this task.

Paula Rath


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