Landmark 222

Ask me anything   A growing collection of my favorite things, both ordinary and extraordinary, starting with San Francisco

    Day 26


    Nui, the farm cat. More on him below.

    Fun, semi Hawaiian-themed facts I’ve learned on the farm:

    - Lilikoi (passion fruit) is a vine, which often grows on mango trees on our farm

    - Chickens are quite the incestuous bunch (more on this later)

    - Coffee beans are actually the pit of the fruit or coffee “cherry." There are two beans in each cherry, except for one more rare type of cherry, in which there is a single, smaller bean called a peaberry.

    - Mice love Craisins (according to Ben).

    - Bananas won’t fully ripen on the tree.

    Nui the cat. While there are several cats that live in the general farm area, he is the only cat they actively feed, but only on the weekdays. On the weekends, he fends for himself. He comes lurking around our kitchen and common areas at night whenever he smells something we’re cooking up. He may look sweet and docile, which he is most of the time, but he has feral blood running through him, and I’ve seen him chase wild cats up 30 foot trees just to show them who’s boss. According to Ben, if you don’t feed Nui on the weekends, he will get hungry enough and tear apart field mice and chase down mongoose.

    I wasn’t quite sure of my standing with Nui until the other night.

    When he rubs up against my leg as I’m opening up a package of bacon, I’m pretty sure he’s just hungry and trying to exploit my love of cats to feed himself. A true scavenger, he’ll chomp down on anything if given the chance. I accidentally dropped an empty can of coconut milk on the floor and he lapped up the excess. A piece of balsamic-dressed lettuce fell and he snatched that right up. Lettuce, really?

    To my surprise, he followed us to our cabin at the end of the evening. Ashley, however, is allergic, so we didn’t let him stay for long. Unfortunately, I think this gave him the wrong impression, because around 3 AM that night, Nui came a-knockin’.

    And by knocking, I mean slamming his entire body into our screen “windows” (we have screens instead of glass), digging his claws into the screen so he could peer into our room. I guess he was feeling my vibes earlier because he did this not one, but 6 times throughout the night. I suppose he couldn’t deduce what we could possibly be doing besides sleeping despite his keen night vision capability. 

    I’m going to go ahead and assume that most people don’t know what it sounds like when a cat flying-squirrels himself onto a large screen, so to give you an idea: at that time of night, it sounded like someone hurled 1000 porcupines at our cabin and they all got stuck in the screens and were wiggling around like mad trying to free themselves. And the kicker is that Nui couldn’t clear the jump from the landing to the window, so he would jump onto the threshold of the closed door and not-so-gently shimmy his way to pounce on the screen, clawing his nails into the wood.

    This cat is a force to be reckoned with.

    Next time: more developments on the Rooster Killer (apparently he has an arch nemesis in the form of a hen) and chicken incest.

    — 1 year ago
    Day 12


    Ashley spreading potash on the high coffee farm

    Yesterday was a rather magical day. Not because anything necessarily beyond belief happened, but more of in the sum-is-greater-than-the-whole-of-its-parts kind of way in terms of sequence of events. Also, remember, this is Hawaii and I live on a farm, so take “magic” with a couple grains of sand. First, I’ll get to the rooster murder…

    The veteran WWOOFer on the farm is Ben. Ben grew up in a log cabin in Western Colorado and has had a long series of diverse jobs leading him up to his 1.5 year stay here milling coffee beans. Pretty much everything you touch in the WWOOF shack, our communal living space including kitchen, shower, and bathroom, has been involved with Ben at some point. From the over-grown kale he planted in the garden to the hideous table cloth on the large picnic table. My first day exploring the farm, I found 2 bee-bee guns laying by the table. Ben informed me that they were his and that he has another one in his cabin “just in case.” 

    In case of what? I wondered, but he is a man of uncomfortably few words, so I let it go for now.

    If you’ve ever spent time on a farm, or a place where roosters live, you would know that Babe and Charlotte’s Web and other farm movies are full of shit when the rooster cockle-doodle-doo’s quaintly at sunrise. No. Roosters cry out whenever the f they want to, mostly starting at 3:30 AM on our farm. The assholes of the farm, as I call them, these buttheads will make as much noise as they want, stomp all over the plants in the garden, and cluck over to your cabin and let out the loudest cry in the middle of the night, I swear to God, just to see if you’re in there. One morning at a restless 4 AM, I counted the time in between cockle-doo’s and one rooster averaged a cry out, literally, every 8 seconds. F this guy.

    This one in particular was the king of the assholes, and he came around every morning to just to piss us off. We tried to think of the douchiest name to call him and so we settled on Dwight. He looked like any other typical rooster from a child’s storybook, if a little small, and he was a relentless dick-wad. 

    Last Wednesday morning, Ashley and I awoke after a surprisingly satisfying slumber and noted that it must have been that Dwight hadn’t come by much before sunrise.

    After a typical 8-hour day of squatting down and pulling weeds from the trunk of coffee trees with our hands and our rusty, Tetanus-teeming sickles, we mentioned Dwight again, and Ben lifted his head out of the can of sardines he was eating from to let us in on some early morning happenings. 

    Eloquently, he said, “Who’s Dwight? The rooster? Oh, I shot him this morning.”

    "WHAT? You killed Dwight?"

    "Yea, you guys didn’t hear me this morning? About 5 AM." Wow.

    "What did you do with the body?"

    "Well, normally I make a stew out of them or something, but I had to go to work, so I just threw him on top of the mulch pile." 

    His face held no expression of emotion. He emptied out the rest of the sardine contents into his mouth and headed to his cabin.

    Drudging back to his private living quarters, he nonchalantly let out, to no on in particular, “I watched that bird hatch in the fire pit last year and saw him grow.”

    I guess that’s why the other WWOOFers stayed out Ben’s way.

    We are going on a hike to find the citrus orchard, apparently bursting with ripe with grapefruits, oranges, giant lemons, and pomelos, that exists above the high coffee tree field. Supposedly there are also green tea plants. I’ll recount our fantastic Saturday later. 

    — 1 year ago
    #Hawaii  #Coffee  #farm  #rooster  #chicken 
    WWOOFing on a Coffee Farm in Hawaii: Day 6

    (View from the farm)

    Per Michelle’s suggestion, I have decided to publicly chronicle my stay at the Holualoa Coffee farm in Holualoa, Hawaii. I am WWOOF-ing, a.k.a. working on the farm in exchange for housing and food along with my dear friend Ashley, whom I became close with in college, for those of you who don’t know. We work for 4 days, 8-4pm, and then we have 3 days off. Not bad, right? Currently my last day is set at March 5th. I should hope it will be relatively interesting to read my journey through the coffee fields and (hopefully) the rest of the island.

    Speaking of journeying throughout the island, our transportation is for the most part limited to how far our feet can take us and catching a hitch. Having been here just under a week, we have already met some interesting characters who have been so kind to pick us up and assist us in reaching our destination, which has mostly been the beach and “town.” I say “town” because Kailua is mostly a vast archipelago of strip malls full of chain fast-food joints but majorly lacking in any of the popular ones. Does anyone go to Wendy’s? At least not as your first choice right?

    Additionally, “town’s” beachfront property belongs to a string of second-story sports bars overlooking many-a-sunsets. enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. However, other than the obvious, overly-sun kissed pink skin that plagues most tourists, one of the dead giveaways is the sports jerseys they wear to the bars…That’s the first thing I pack when I go to a tropical island.

    Back to the hitchhiking characters: Last night, or I should say at dusk, our first ride came in the form of a Nissan Xtera adorned with a beaming Dominos Pizza sign. Mr. Pizza Delivery man was so kind to take us a little out of his way and halfway up this extraordinarily steep hill, called Lako. He was from a small town in Oregon and moved out here with his cousin, seeking the American Dream, or maybe the Hawaiian dream. I just inferred that last part though. His missing teeth simply added to his charm. 

    Speaking of Oregon, earlier in the day on our way to town for some passion fruit sorbet, we were picked up by three husky, freshly pink Oregonians in their eight-wheeled pick-up still displaying Oregon plates. They had just purchased some land with the intention of building a house. Other than that, I didn’t find them particularly interesting and you probably wouldn’t have either.

    The last hitch I’ll mention now pulled over in a Scion box car with California plates. The car was stacked full of dirty 5-10 gallon buckets and smelled of stale pot probably smoked in the last 45 minutes. Yes, it could have been a skunk, but I don’t know if there are indeed skunks on the island and if the scent wasn’t enough of an indication, there was a delightful trucker cap displayed on the dash emblazoned with marijuana leaves. But hey, I’m not judging and also, there were three of us (me, Ashley, plus another WWOOFer Brandon), so we weren’t in a position to be overly selective. They turned out to be two nice 20-year-olds recently arrived from Pomona, CA after purchasing a mac-nut (macadamia nut) farm down the road from ours. After getting past the basic niceties, the first question from the driver was, “Hey, do you guys rave at all?” I then saw one of those glossy, neon postcard-sized flyers in the back seat listing 20 DJ’s for a NYE party in the Inland Empire. Brandon let out a decisive, YEA!, while Ashley and I said not so much…to be polite. Eventually, they plan to have large, warehouse-like parties at their farm that last all night with lots of people wearing little clothes and little inhibition.

    Okay, I am going to bake off these brown butter cookies now. I’m improvising without brown sugar, baking powder, etc. Will report on those next time.

    NEXT TIME: A WWOOFer is a rooster murderer!, the official farm gossip, and the state of our living situation. 

    — 1 year ago
    #coffee  #farm  #hawaii 
    San Francisco in 1887: Snow on Shotwell
(photo credit: Found sf)

    San Francisco in 1887: Snow on Shotwell

    (photo credit: Found sf)

    — 2 years ago with 1 note
    Add to my wishlist: SF-made, SF-themed iPad 2 Ork case that is made out of a discrete, hard-back book cover. Made by @DODOcase
Photo credit: DODOcase

    Add to my wishlist: SF-made, SF-themed iPad 2 Ork case that is made out of a discrete, hard-back book cover. Made by @DODOcase

    Photo credit: DODOcase

    — 3 years ago with 43 notes
    #iPad2  #DODOcase  #san francisco  #SF  #Sf-made 

    Motown at it’s best. Try not to watch this video three times in a row.

    — 3 years ago
    In the process of rummaging through old photos so that my computer doesn’t explode, I paused for a minute on this one and decided to share.  A firework

    In the process of rummaging through old photos so that my computer doesn’t explode, I paused for a minute on this one and decided to share.  A firework

    — 3 years ago with 3 notes
    #firework  #fireworks  #photo  #photography  #colors  #bright  #light  #abstract 

    sea of abstractions. see more on Flickr

    — 3 years ago
    #ocean  #sea  #abstract  #photos  #sand  #shore  #lines 
    Sneaky’s Underground BBQ

    A pulled-pork sandwich and an appletini might seem like an unlikely pair. But when new gay bar, Rebel, located in Upper Market near Octavia, teamed up with the smoking crew of Sneaky’s Underground BBQ, it was a match made in happy-hour heaven.

    Sneaky’s began, before many of the city’s new barbecue spin-offs like Rib Whip, as a Bay Area 
barbecue delivery service back in 2008 after Ben Thorne and his friend, Pat Wachter, both got laid off from their antique-dealing jobs. Having never set foot in a professional kitchen, the duo took their weekend hobby of smoking pork shoulder in the back of Pat’s Mission home to the next level by delivering their Carolina-style pork and tasty sides to friends.

    Since February, Sneaky’s has been working the Rebel crowd. “It was symbiotic,” says Thorne. “They needed food, and we needed a kitchen.” During the bar’s happy hour, the bandana-clad staff serves two-for-one drink specials along with plates of spicy hot wings and jalapeño mac and cheese to a mixed crowd. “If it weren’t for San Francisco’s fervent support of underground food, we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” says Thorne. For those who want to eat in at home, do not despair. Sneaky’s still delivers to nearby neighborhoods.

    — 3 years ago with 2 notes
    #san francisco  #BBQ  #local  #food  #Castro 
    Smitten Ice Cream: Made-to-order Deliciousness

    Back in 2005, Robyn Sue Goldman had an idea, but she wasn’t quite sure how to execute it. “I wanted to re-invent old-fashioned ice cream without all the preservatives and stabilizers you get in regular ice cream,” Goldman thought.

    photo courtesy of nicole_grant @ flickr

    She then teamed up with some engineers to develop a method for just that —the churned-out-back taste and texture of just-made ice cream using only the freshest ingredients. Three years later, Smitten Ice Cream and the invention that enabled it was born. The machine, affectionately named “Kelvin,” is a triple-patented liquid nitrogen-freezing magician that turns a milk-cream-flavor mixture from liquid to ice cream in one minute. Seriously. Check out Kelvin in action in this video from NBC’s The Feast.

    photo courtesy of nicole_grant @ flickr

    Goldman began her ice cream career in a food cart back in 2008. “I put Kelvin on the back of a Radio Flyer wagon and a battery pack I made that would last three hours,” said Goldman.

    After a few years of carting around Kelvin, Goldman opened her first store last month in Hayes Valley. Housed in a recycled shipping container, the store is the first installation of the temporary foodie compound The Proxy Project, which is slated to include a Ritual Coffee and a biergarten from Suppenkuche. The Smitten shop is packed with four Kelvins, and all the ingredients are made in-house (or, in-shipping container).

    When the liquid nitrogen freezes the cream mixture, it creates smaller ice crystals than what is in a typical, store-bought ice cream, which in turn creates an extremely light yet creamy texture. With flavors ranging from salted-caramel to rhubarb crisp (with a rosemary streusel), a heaping scoop of this fluffy, made-to-order goodness sits atop one of Smitten’s hand-rolled pizelle cones. It’s the perfect treat to have while you sit in the park or walk around Hayes Valley during a sunny afternoon.

    — 3 years ago
    #san francisco  #ice cream  #local  #bay area  #food  #dessert  #hayes valley  #Smitten