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hawaiian snail

This is the shell of the Achatina fulica, or giant African land snail.  This species has become a problem in many areas of the world, including Hawai’i.  It is an invasive species that has pushed the native species of tree snail to endangered status.

It’s on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of 100 Most Invasive Species Worldwide.

It competes with the native snail species for food, and is highly destructive to the native vegetation.

As if that isn’t bad enough, did I mention that it can kill you?

There’s a nematode that lives on the snails that can give you eosiniphilic meningitis.  The nematode is rat lungworm (angiostrongylus cantonensis), and it can cause thousands of tiny worms to hatch in your brain!

And you thought I was kidding about the “deadly” part of the title.


halawa cemetery

An old cemetery behind a long-gone church is being taken over by trees and vines.  Few tourists even notice it, and most of those that do are discouraged from exploring it further by clouds of ravenous mosquitos, and huge spider webs–most housing huge but harmless spiders–that seem to have been deliberately constructed across anything remotely resembling a footpath.

How said mosquitos manage to avoid said spider webs is a scientific mystery.

This intrepid photographer managed a few smart phone shots…there’s no way to set a tripod up here!

I love the contrast between the few, massive cement grave markers and the hundreds of slender, delicate tree trunks surrounding them.

I’d love to come back in 50 years to see how the cemetery has changed.  Will it be a forest, or will it be restored?

Only time will tell…


halawa rainbow

It only took a five minute shower to produce this pretty rainbow.  And the wonderful thing about Hawai’i is that it doesn’t just rain in April…you can expect rainbows any time of the year.

Bring on the rain!

sun and cloud

One thing I love about the tropics is the never-ending variety of clouds.  On this particular morning, huge clouds were chasing the sun across the sky from east to west.  The landscape was an ever-changing tapestry of light and shadow.  The clouds would blot out the sun momentarily, and then it would reappear as hot and bright as ever.

plumeria radio

Have CD players in cars become obsolete?  It wasn’t that long ago that I used to travel with a packet of CDs, or made it a point to purchase a few when I arrived in a new destination and was going to be spending time in a rental car.

Now I simply put the mp3 files of the music I think I’ll want to listen to on my smart phone before I leave town.  This rental car didn’t have the latest wireless Bluetooth technology, so I actually had to connect a cable from the phone to the car to enjoy my tunes.  I know, first world problem!

So then what to do with that gaping slot on the dash?  I mean, isn’t that bad feng shui or something?

Fortunately, Nature graced me with a gift most mornings:  a freshly fallen plumeria blossom suitable for dashboard decorating.

The flower, besides being lovely, made the car smell wonderful…much better than those icky little cardboard pine trees that hang from the rear view mirror!

I think it was fitting that I could both see and smell a fresh plumeria blossom while listening to some lovely slack key guitar duets…and let’s not forget the beautiful island scenery I was feasting my eyes on as I drove around.  It was a multi-sensory banquet, to be sure!

white clematis vine

While English ivy can be lovely climbing up a brick wall, I’d much rather have a clematis vine on mine.  These lovely white flowers, several inches across, with their delicate yellow centers, manage to look dramatic and dainty at the same time.

This is a white anemone clematis (Clematis montana var. grandiflora).  It even manages to have a beautiful scientific name!  And as you can see, it’s a prolific bloomer.

I think I’m in love!


We’re looking down a row of attention-grabbing forsythia bushes during the peak of their springtime bloom.  When covered with flowers, they take the prize for the most cheerful bushes I’ve ever seen.  Bright daffodil-yellow blossoms attached to dark orange branches, with a smattering of brand new green leaves just beginning to sprout…there’s nothing shy or retiring about this bush.  It’s a far cry from mellow;  au contraire, it screams “Look at ME!”

red azaelas

I just love how this tree trunk is completely surrounded by boisterous red azaleas in full bloom!  Isn’t it great that there are plants that will grow and bloom their hearts out in the shade?  Camelias and rhodies are two other species that are shade loving and prolific bloomers.

spring flowers

Why pick flowers when you can have a living bouquet like this?

orange tulips open

As tulips bloom, they open further and further.  Eventually they loose their “classic” tulip shape and become larger and flatter.  I love the way you can see all the detail in their petals, stamens, etc.  Mulit-hued tulips like these are especiallly beautiful when fully open, since you can see the color variations on the edges of the petals so much better.

Past their prime?  I think not!

Perhaps this IS their prime…

What do you think?


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