Back in November I had talked about sharing pics of the Hala-weenie Notecard set. I printed a small run for the Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona weaving conference in May. Here's a current pic:
In July, Emily and I went to help Jesse with cleaning/caring for pūhala he had planted several years ago. It was a beautiful day in Kohala. It was just the three of us. We didn't see any Monk seals, but Jesse said there was one that regularly rested in the area and prompted the warning signs.
The region has great cultural significance as the birthplace of Kamehameha Paiea. However, much of the archaeological sites were damaged over the decades by plantation activities and then natural erosion.
The pūhala (above) after we pulled and piled the "rubbish" leaves to compost.
Jesse (above) rolling a kūkaʻa.
Emily (above) prepping her lau. Me (below).
Cleaning pūhala with Jessie and Emily didn't feel like work. The area was beautiful, Jessie brought yummy snacks, and conversations were insightful and informative. What a great day.
EH & I headed to Oʻahu for the day to attend the annual membership meeting for Ulana Me Ka Lokomaika'i. I had recently joined as I learned that living on Oʻahu was not a requirement for membership. UMKL members regularly attend the Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona weaving conferences and are always so enthusiastic and friendly.
(Above) There was a pāpale peke display. The tiny pāpale had to be less than six inches wide/long. The skills were amazing. They all had proportionate lei too. One even had a blue ring neck pheasant lei hulu!
August 5, 2023 was Uncle Herb Kaneko Day! There was a special presentation as Uncle Herb was recognized by the Mayor for his contributions to and support of lauhala weaving communities for decades. He was not able to attend so David, his son, accepted the honors in his stead with grace, humility, and remarkable impersonations of Uncle Herb-isms. IYKYK.
All member attendees received a book. An informative history of the organization and collection of articles and information about the club founders Aunty Gladys Grace and Uncle Frank Masagatani.
For the month of August, I was back at Māʻona Community Garden after an almost year and a half away. I confess, the pūhala called to me. This time I brought reinforcement(s). Cara committed to four straight weeks in August of pulling weeds and vines to re-clean the pūhala. Lisa also came when she could. OMG the space got cleared so much faster with their help. Unfortunately a couple of the smaller trees were gone from being smothered by the vines and weeds, but there are still survivors. I couldn't knowingly neglect them, especially knowing that in other areas (Maui, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, and a confirmed case in Hāmākua on Hawaiʻi Island) the Hala Scale has decimated trees and those trees will never return. And, it's become so widespread that the Department of Agriculture is no longer keeping track of it. Grrrrr.... Hopefully UH will find a very specific biocontrol way to save our trees soon. In the meantime, I/we mālama while we can. Cara and Lisa wanted to learn ulana, but the requirement was to help clean the trees (clearing around them, pulling vines and the old dried leaves), then when it's time, harvesting and cleaning/processing lau, then ulana. Cara and Lisa are learning ulana lauhala literally from the ground up. We salvaged what "good" lau we could but all most all of it was mildewed/moldy from the summer rain and lack of ventilation from the canopy of vines. Not all the trees are fully cleaned, but it's getting there.
"Before" one session
"After" that session
I then experienced my first kumu retreat. It was hosted by Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona in Puako at Katie's family's amazing property (above). We ulana on the upstairs lanai. Peggy and Michael generously did all the cooking so we could just relax and ulana.
I brought a "dog" that Marcia had lent me at the last conference. I had tried to duplicate it several months ago but was not satisfied with how it turned out. I decided to try to duplicate it in the same size mauʻu - which made a huge difference in following the shape. Michael also got into it and not only did he figure it out before I did, he adjusted the "parts" and made a teddy bear. Sorry, I don't have a pic of it.
The above pics were taken shortly after dawn. I was so focused on weaving and being in the moment that I forgot to take pictures. It was really nice to just sit and weave with the other kumu. At the weaving conferences, we're usually so busy teaching and organizing that we don't get to really hang out and visit with each other. There was no formal instruction at this retreat. We were just weaving and talking story. I still learned so much. Not just about lauhala. I learned that Donna is the president of the orchid club on Maui. She gave me good information for the orchids and pīkake I'm trying to grow in my yard. I still am learning with my lokelani and aspire to have a lei garden. I wish I was better with plants but at least my black thumb seems to be more of a brown or yellow thumb now... gonna have a green thumb someday, I'm keeping a Growth Mindset!
A lovely end to the summer. Now back to my yard. Happy Fall Y'all.