Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AIA Honolulu Third Annual Free Historic Walking Tour of Honolulu Down Town

AIA Honolulu Third Annual Free Historic Walking Tour www.RickNakama.com

AIA Honolulu Third Annual Free Historic Walking Tour www.RickNakama.com TOPICOn Saturday the 25th of April, Kelli and I joined up with a friend of mine who invited us to the "Third Annual Free Historic Walking Tour" conducted by the AIA Honolulu. We registered and started our walking tour at 1015am and finished our walk a little over time at about 100pm. It was a cool and sunny day.

The registration and tour started at 119 Merchant Street at the AIA Honolulu Building, formerly known as the tallest highrise building of Downtown, Honolulu (at 6 stories high). A guide book was provided with color photos of the buildings on the tour and a brief, but detailed summary of the building's highlights.

AIA Honolulu Third Annual Free Historic Walking Tour www.RickNakama.com TOPICIt was very interesting to be able to spend so much time in each spot and reflect upon the surroundings. I think this is the most time in my life that I have ever spent in Downtown Honolulu. It's not the same driving through or walking from 1 parking structure to another office building for appointments. The sidewalks were not crowded with other business people rushing from point to point because it was on a Saturday. To be able to recognize the fine detail in most of the older buildings and see the back drop of modern day highrises towering over them was a very dramatic feeling.

I wouldn't mind signing up for some of the paid walking tours and other candle light walking tours that are conducted through out the year or even this AIA walk again! It was a fun way to burn some calories and spend the day out on an urban Honolulu walking trek. No mosquitos or mud provided in this experience...

Most of you know I only take and publish photos taken from my Nokia N82 5.0MP Camera Phone. I don't like carrying extra devices on me everyday or any day. My friend's blog should have photos from a "real camera" posted up soon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lanai / Balcony / Veranda Gardening

Here's an update on what's going on in my lanai gardening...

After working many years in the Waikiki hotel business, I have learned that not everyone knows what a "lanai" is. I guess it depends on where you are from if you are familiar with the word or not. We here in Hawaii commonly refer to lanais as a lanai where others may call them balconies or verandas.

Anyway, with that out of the way, gardening on a lanai has been a challenge for me. I have always grown things in regular gardens because I grew up in a regular house. These past several years, I have been experimenting with options available to have an efficient and visibly pleasing garden on my lanai.

condo lanai garden tomato www.RickNakama.comThis is one of my latest experiments to add to my lanai. I thought of this after seeing one of those infomercials selling what is called a "Topsy Turvy". (I don't want to post a photo of it here, but I'm sure you can find it if you Google it.) If you don't know what it is, it's an unattractive hanging green tube that allows you to grow a tomato plant out of the bottom. (Just Google it if you don't understand.)

I didn't want to have that unattractive thing hanging on my lanai because not only would it be something I would see, it's also something the neighboring buildings would have to see. I decided to pick up a coconut fiber hanging basket from Target (which recently opened in Honolulu) for about $8.

Then I started some tomato seeds in a tall cup of soil until it grew to about an inch in size. The height of the cup actually was the same height of the dome of the coconut basket if turned upside-down. I used a "venti" size plastic cup from a giant coffee producer.

When the seedling reached about an inch high, I made a hole in the coconut fiber with my finger in the center of the domed area. With the hole large enough to fit the tomato seedling through it without damaging the seedling, I carefully placed the upside-down coconut fiber basket over the cup with the seedling in it. I made sure the seedling peered through the hole in the coconut fibers. Next, I let it grow under the grow lights for about another month. It grew to about 2-3 inches; the size it shows in these photos.

hanging tomato basket www.RickNakama.com TOPICYesterday, I decided it was time to turn my coconut basket "right-side-up" which would make my tomato hang out of the bottom. I took this photo because I was amazed that after only 1 day of hanging upside-down, the tomato plant seems to have turned itself to face upwards again. Very quickly!

hanging tomato basket www.RickNakama.com TOPICOn the top side of the basket I planted some basil, cilantro and oregano. I planted the basil because I read a book one day while I was in Barnes and Nobles that said it was good to plant basil plants with tomato plants. I don't remember the name of the book now, but I'm sure I'll find it again.

hanging tomato basket www.RickNakama.com TOPICI also bought this window planter box from Target and started some salad mix seeds and more basil in it a couple months ago.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Compost Worm Bin

Last weekend, we decided to begin a compost worm bin. Kelli and I have been interested in these composting worms for a while, but just never made the effort to start one. A lot of the procrastination had to do with the start up costs.
www.RickNakama.com Waikiki Worm Company storeThere is a local business woman who has been specializing in providing these compost worms and worm bin kits for several years. Her business is called Waikiki Worm Company. The business recently expanded and is now in a larger retail space just outside of Waikiki, at 1917 S. King Street.
We started with the basic set up. It comes with:
www.RickNakama.com compost worm bin-A 1/4 pound of EPIGEIC Perionyx excavatus, a.k.a. Hawaii's native composting worms. (Click for worm info.) Sold ala carte at Waikiki Worm Company for $40 + tax. It comes in a quart size zip lock bag with some vermicompost that contains the other organisms to help start the composting process.
-A 10 gallon plastic bin with "Waikiki Worm Company" logo and pre-fabricated holes. Of course you could buy this bin from Walmart or somewhere for about $5-$10, but it won't have the official logo on it and you'll need to drill your own holes.
-A basic worm bin starter book titled "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Appelhof. I've read about half of it, not in order. There are interesting parts, but has a lot about designing your own worm bin. I wasn't very interested in that part because I don't really want design information. I enjoyed the parts of the book that gave more explanation on the care of the worms.
-Start up instruction leaflet & couple worm-y bumper stickers.
The total with tax came out to $71.20. The other things we purchased to complete our set up was a larger plastic container to fit under the bin to be used as a drip tray and a couple bricks to prop the bin over the drip tray for adequate ventilation. That was another $10 or so.
www.RickNakama.com Waikiki Worm Company wormswww.RickNakama.com Waikiki Worm Company worms
www.RickNakama.com Waikiki Worm Company wormswww.RickNakama.com Waikiki Worm Company worms
www.RickNakama.com Waikiki Worm Company wormsWe started with the 1/4 pound because it's suggested that they will be able to keep up with 2 adults average weekly food waste that can be added to the bin. The suggested consumption amount is 2 pounds of fruit, vegetable or grain waste per week.

It takes a while for the entire process to look like vermicompost. In approximately 4-6 months we should have our first batch of nutritious compost for our plants. Right now it just looks like a bunch of worms eating fruit and vegetable waste. I'll post another update when they start to break down more of it.

From WormBin
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