Nature Friday ~ June 23, 2023

Grieving ElsaAloha and welcome to another Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. It’s just me, Elsa because you may remember Norman became an angel last week. Mom and I have been holding each other trying to get used to his absence. We stayed with my Grandpa for several days which was comforting but it’s still been a day to day, up and down week. Even chasing skinks and bunnies wasn’t as fun as it used to be because I miss my big brother. Mom’s struggling herself but is trying hard to help me. Who knew us dogs grieved but let me assure you, we most certainly do. I mostly lay around moping and only come to life when we go on walks. So let’s share some of the beautiful things from Mom’s trip to the Big Island.

Signs from Lava Lava Club
Signage at Lava Lava Club

Elsa: {hollering} Ooh Mom…since you were there, will you help explain things?

The Mom: Of course, little one. I’m happy to help you, though I know you’ll do a fine job.

Elsa: It’s just not the same without my brother partner-he was so good with verifying stuff. You know me, I can be a bit of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal.

The Mom: Umm, I did know that but I’ll help wherever I can.

Volcano, Mauna Kea

Elsa: Great, let’s get started then. First time visitors to the Big Island are never truly prepared for the sights they’re going to encounter. The Kona side has the sunniest weather but if you’re hankering for tropical rainforests, desert-y places or snowy conditions (Mauna Kea has blizzards ,on the summit) you’ll find those too. So you told me the view from your bedroom window looked at two volcanos. Kohala, the only extinct volcano on the Big Island (it’s also in the driest part of the island receiving only about 10 inches of rain per year and is on the far left end obscured under the sunrise in the above photo) and Mauna Kea, the tallest at 13,796 ft. above sea level. You told me the landscape was just incredible with splashes of green growing up from the middle of the lava trails.

Volcanos-Kohala & Mauna Kea

Petroglyph Reserve

The Mom: It sure was nothing like I’ve ever seen on the mainland and blew me away especially when I visited the Waikoloa Petroglyph field, some of them date back to the 16th century. The different types of lava flows were so fascinating and left me in total awe of the power of volcano eruptions and the pressure used to create the island. Pāhoehoe flows have  smooth, billowy, or ropy surfaces, while the A‘ā flows have rough, jagged, or clinkery surfaces. They are pretty unstable and hard to walk on and you have to really watch where you’re going so you don’t fall. And then there are the fascinating lava tubes, those natural conduits where the lava travels beneath the surface of a lava-flows. Those tubes were formed by the crusting over of lava channels and pahoehoe flows. A broad lava-flow field often consists of a main lava tube with a series of smaller tubes that supply lava to the front of one or more separate flows. This one was a major tube at the petroglyph preserve. It looked like an enormous cave.

Lava flow

Petroglyph signage

Elsa: As clumsy as you have known to be, I’m glad you didn’t fall on any of those loose lava chunks.

The Mom: It was an early morning walk while our group slept in, and because I hiked alone through the preserve, I took extra care walking around.

Elsa: Whew. I sure liked some of the flowers and wildlife you encountered on your walks. So glad you kept your eyes open. Hawaii has some fascinating and unique flowers, trees and animals. I think I’d like this Plumeria flower best because it smells so good and is truly beautiful.

Plumeria Flower

The Mom: Plumeria is my favorite of all the island flowers. It’s often used to make leis and comes in a variety of  colors from pink to white and yellow with shades in between. As I walked back from the preserve, I found this flower that I think might be a Bauhinia x blakeana. It was a lovely sight near the golf course lake. They are sometimes known as orchid trees.

Orchid trees

Cattle egrets followed me every day on my daily walks and are typically found in groups near ponds. They are very shy and I couldn’t get close without scaring them off.

Cattle Egret

Elsa: I noticed you also found some goats along the highway going into Kailua Kona. How come you didn’t get a better photo? I know you love goats and Hawaii has gobs of them.

Goats of Hawaii

The Mom: Yeah, these little guys were hanging out in the shade along the road. But we couldn’t stop to get better photos because we were running late getting to the wedding rehearsal. They are all over the island and can pose some problems for unsuspecting tourists who aren’t paying attention along the highway.

Elsa: Well I’m sure I could have herded them away. Angel Norman taught me how to do that.

The Mom: Not likely, Ninja. They are feral and quick as jack rabbits. Feral goats were brought to the islands by Captains Cook and Vancouver in the late 1700’s as gifts to the Hawaiian people. They are cute, but destructive. Wild goats (and wild pigs) on the island are not well liked by the locals since their unquenchable hunger has managed to contribute to the extinction of many special native plants.

Elsa: So I heard you went back to the Greenwell Farm for another tour. Why do you go back every time you’re in Hawaii?

The Mom: Apart from having one of the best coffee beans in the world, the farm dating from the mid-1800’s is a remarkable place and the tours are always informative. I always learn something new every time.

Coffee Farm

Coffee beans

The coffee cherries are separated from the beans and then  dried on large drying racks that are still manually controlled by farm workers to keep them from getting ruined when it rains. Coffee beans Coffee drying racks

Coffee trees

Those coffee trees are descendants from the original coffee trees planted by Elizabeth Greenwell, founder of the farm from the late 1800’s. Our guide called them the granddaughters from the original trees.


Notice that hanging purplish flower on this banana tree? That means the tree is done producing bananas and another will grow in its place.

Elsa: The farm has orchids, lemons and avocados, along with some unusual plants. What the devil is that red thing?

Lobster claw flower

The Mom: That’s Heliconia rostrata, otherwise known as Lobster Claw plant. It’s very showy but I found this Dendrobium orchid even more amazing. Orchids are parasitic and this one is attached to an avocado tree.


Another showy plant that smelled divine was the beautiful Rainbow Golden Shower tree near where we stayed. These flowers were on the inside of the branches and I loved the incredible fragrance whenever I walked under it.

Rainbow Shower tree

Elsa: Wow, that is something beautiful. I know you have millions of other photos that I could share but we probably ought to wrap it up. I think I heard some of our readers snoring. This may all be fascinating to you but others might be bored to tears. One thing that did amaze me were all the sunsets that were so colorful. I know you weren’t able to capture the elusive ‘green flash’ when the sun disappears in the water but here’s a link that explains it well. Maybe the next time you go you’ll capture it.

Hawaii sunset

The Mom: I got very close at the wedding but alas my cell phone camera just wasn’t quick enough. They only last a nano-second but it’s quite cool to witness. And speaking of the wedding, here’s a photo of the happy couple. I’m so grateful to have been able to share in their special day.

Hawaii wedding

Elsa: Miss Hailey (my favorite vet tech) was gorgeous and Christian is my buddy. So what’s on the agenda for your weekend? Doing anything special? I think the extreme weather here is gone (we’ve had buckets of rain, super destructive hail and a tornado that went through the southern suburbs here yesterday) so let’s just chill and hang out together, ok Mom?

The Mom: That we can do, little one. Thanks for sharing pics for this week’s Nature Friday. I know it’s been hard for you but I’m always here for you as you figure out what being an only dog is all about. So far, you’ve handled yourself very well, sweetie. Keep up the good work.

Elsa: Thanks Mom. Hopefully I’ll figure it out. I always thought of myself as the top dog but being an only dog is different. With your love and support I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

65 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ June 23, 2023

  1. Java Bean: “What a cool place to visit. And the plumeria! Our Mama loves plumeria. She would probably smuggle a bunch of them home in her bag.”
    Lulu: “Somehow I don’t think a plumeria would travel well smushed into a suitcase.”
    Java Bean: “Well, if you packed it in bubble wrap …”
    Chaplin: “We cats send lots of purrs your way. We know how much you must be missing Norman.”
    Lulu: “And we dogs send lots of tail wags!”

    1. Thanks for the purrs and tail wags, guys. And if I could, I’d send you some plumeria to enjoy in return.

  2. I have one word with which to describe your fantastic captures of Hawaii: Plush.

    You can almost smell the perfumed air, the ocean and nature comingling to produce a magical flourish that wraps around your brain. I do so love that.

    And here’s to love!

    1. Many thanks, Marc. Hawaii does has a distinctive fragrance about it especially in the early morning hours when groundskeepers are busy primping everything up. Here’s to a nice chill Sunday.

  3. Beautiful photos. I know you and your mom are missing your brother. Sending you hugs. XO

    1. Thanks so much, Ellen. I completely get what you’re going through about Emmy. Thinking of you and hoping tender thoughts of comfort help.

  4. Elsa and Mom, I am so, so sorry – this post hit me like a rock. Annabell has been very ill and required to be flown to Adelaide – Royal Adelaide Hospital – for emergency treatment so this last week I have been out of things. I am still in Adelaide. I don’t know what to say. I am shattered.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, John. We are still reeling from the suddenness. I’m so sorry to hear Annabell has been ill and hospitalized. Know I’m sending you both healing thoughts of comfort along with prayers.

  5. Xena here. I’ve never been an only dog – Lucy was here to welcome me when I got adopted – but I hear Angel Lexi liked it just fine. Say, with all those beautiful, strange plants there in Hawaii, I bet there’s lots of critters to chase, too. Did you Mom see any lizards? Rodents? XOX

    1. Loads of critters, Xena. All sorts of various kinds of birds, geckos, goats, and then there are the mongoose but it’s not good to chase them-they’re aggressive and unpredictable and definitely don’t like to be chased. You have to be wary whenever you encounter them and give them wide berth.

  6. Thank you, Helen. She needs all the help she can muster. She’s taken Norman’s passing particularly hard. I think it’s because they shared so many special times when they visited the hospital.

    Those lava flows are mesmerizing. It’s hard to fathom what nature is capable of at times.

  7. Oh my – those photos are really stunning. Hawaii is gorgeous – beautiful vistas, flowers, ocean and skies. I bet the wedding was perfect. Elsa dear, it will take time to get over losing Norman but his spirit is ever so strong and will keep you warm at night and happy during the day knowing HE is watching over you and your Mom.

    Love, Teddy (and Mom Pam)

  8. Wow, No snoring here, even at 315am…LOL! I am a night owl…
    Beautiful flowers over there in Hawaii. Unique!
    Congrats to the happy Couple, may their life together be blessed and last many happy years.

    Hugs to you and Elsa, grieving takes a long time, I think the more so when one isn’t ‘prepared’.

  9. Mee-yow WOW!! That Lobstur Claw flowerss are speck-taculur Miss Monika an Elsa!
    An yore rite that Plumeria iss furry purrty two!!
    An Elsa mee iss sorry that you are only Poochie…..
    Iss not easy butt you can due it. An you have Miss Monika to help you an you can help her…..
    It ISS quiet tho’…. two quiet…..
    Wee send all our <3 LOVE <3 to both of youss;!
    ***nose bopss*** BellaDharma an {{{huggiess}}} BellaSita Mum

    1. Thanks, sweet kitty and mum. The flowers from Hawaii are so incredible; they truly blew me away. And extra thanks for the sent love.

  10. You know Elsa, you would still be top dog if mom got you a goat to chase. I love the beautiful flowers especially the lobster claw! I want to go to Hawaii!!! Glad that nasty weather didn’t cause you destruction. Prayers

    1. Mom is super fascinated by those lobster claw plants. They are so bright and unusual. If you ever get the chance to go to Hawaii, I’m sure you’;d love it. There’s so many incredible sights and the people are so warm and gracious.

    1. Thanks for thinking of us. It seems like every day Mom hits a new low but I’m hoping I can help her get over the heartache.

  11. Thanks so much for joining us for Nature Friday Elsa and Mom, it’s never easy to lose such a loved part of the family!

    Hawaii is so very colorful!
    Rosy and Sunny

    1. Thanks for hosting, Rosy and Sunny. We were happy to share photos from the beautiful Big Island.

  12. So glad you and Elsa are supporting each other. Dogs do miss their buddies, and to call it grief is not too strong. I know Tegan grieved when we lost our corgi Darwin. Grief is just hard.
    Your photos of The Big Island were beautiful, and your explanations very interesting. Nice job.

    1. Thanks, Amy. Elsa is taking it pretty hard and does a lot of moping around. Breaks my heart all over again. I keep hoping with some time she’ll feel better along with me.

  13. Definitely not snoring at those pics. Beautiful, and I could almost smell the flowers. So glad you are taking care of your dear Mom Elsa and that she is taking care of you. <3 You all will make it, though I know your hearts are so broken right now. Norman was a one-of -a -kind dog. He is missed and you all are dearly loved.

    1. We’re glad you didn’t fall asleep looking at all of the pics. Mom got a bit carried away because the island is just so doggone pretty. Yes, we are both missing Norman terribly. The house seems very empty, much like our hearts.

      1. I am sure I would get carried away with pics as well if I visited Hawaii!
        Sending many hugs and wishes for your hearts to be filled with happy memories, for smiles to come amidst the tears! ❤❤

  14. Feeling your heavy hearts, Elsa and Monika. I miss your sweet Norman too. Being an only dog was hard on Ducky, too, sweet Elsa so I’m sure she would say you’re doing a good job. You and your Mom have each other and that’s the most important thing of all.

    Now, just to put your mind at ease, I was NOT snoring. I love all those gorgeous photos. Makes me wish I could clone myself so I could be in Hawaii and here at home at the same time. The bride and groom are absolutely adorable!!

    Warm, gentle hugs to you both. I wish I could give them to you in person! And puppy kisses from the Z Kids!!

    1. Thanks so much, Sue. We appreciate your kindness and comforting comment. And Elsa is especially grateful you didn’t snore through our photos. Mom was nervous people might think she was like the weird relatives who make their family and friends sit through an endless slideshow of their vacation while their eyes roll back in their heads. 😉

  15. I wasn’t snoring! These were wonderful pictures. I spent a month there many years ago (decades really) and I love the islands. Love the headpiece on the bride too. We all miss Norman and are hanging in there with you. I think all creatures grieve, just in different ways. Hugs to you both.

    1. Thanks, Kate. Hawaii is quite the special place. The kids’ wedding was somewhat traditional among young Hawaiians and every so beautiful. Mom has been looking through the wedding photos to help her grieving heart. I’m just napping more. Even playing with Norman’s toys isn’t fun.

    1. We hope by going through them we’ll begin to feel better. Thank you for the hugs; we need them.

    1. Thanks, Mike. You’re very kind; we appreciate your gentle thoughts of comfort and supportive friendship.

  16. Elsa – Your Mom’s photos were beautiful and I enjoyed reading about her trip – not at all boring! Have a good weekend you 2 and take care of each other.

    1. Thanks, Susan. We are doing our best; some days are better than others and hope they begin to outweigh the bad days.

  17. What INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL photos! I could look at photos of Hawaii forever! The new couple is simply adorable!!!! How lucky to live in Hawaii! I had texted you immediately when I heard about Norman, not sure if you ever saw it. (((hugs)))

    1. Many thanks, Caren. Yes, the kids enjoyed being back to the island with all their many friends. Christian is local and Hailey lived there for over 8 years and it’s a special place for them. Yes, Mom received your sweet text. Thanks so much for thinking of her-she greatly appreciates the gentle messages of comfort.

    1. Thank you Kosmo and Mom. We are both heartbroken about his crossing the Rainbow Bridge and hope he’s running free and without limitation with Angel Sam and all the other Blogville babies. We hope you guys are well and enjoying a good Finnish summer.

  18. Two of my favourite bloggers to lose a beloved member of their family within a week of each other was very hard. I am happy to see that you are helping each other out because grief is just so hard.
    What insanely gorgeous photos these are (and no, Elsa, I was not snoring through this and I would have gladly looked at more photos!)
    Happy Friday to you. Sending lots of love.

    1. Losing a beloved pet is always difficult and we send our most gentle thoughts of comfort to your blogger friend.

      Mom was concerned since that’s the longest post she’s created in ages. She thought maybe people will lose interest after the first 1000 words. People seem to have such short attention spans these days. Thanks for the love; we felt it.

      1. Yes, it is. I don’t know why I thought you knew John. 🙂 He just lost Lucy.

        No, Mom need not worry that anyone will lose interest. There are those who write 1000 words that drag on; others, 1000 is barely enough because it’s so good! Yours are of the latter so, fear not. We have lots and lots of love for you.

        1. You’re too kind.

          Oh gosh, I have not yet seen John’s post about Lucy. I’m so very sorry.

            1. I was behind on reading posts before Norman since I’d been sick since returning from Hawaii. It’s been hard to have either the physical or emotional bandwidth to stay caught up this month. I know that sounds selfish. I’ll send my sincerest condolences this morning.

              1. I’m so sorry you returned from Hawaii sick. It is not selfish. It is life and we do what we need to. John is the last person who would take this personally!

                1. You’re very kind. After checking with several peeps that went to the wedding, a whole bunch of folks got sick. It was like a super spreader event and included the bride and groom as well as a bunch of others! We’ve left messages of comfort for John and Twiggy. It’s always a sad day when a beloved pet crossed the bridge.

                  1. Oh, that is just awful! Way to kill the after-buzz of a wonderful affair.
                    And you are so lovely to have done so. I don’t doubt for one second how much John and Twiggy appreciated your efforts.

    1. Thanks Sandee, Mom was quite surprised at how much she has enjoyed visiting Hawaii and all it offers. It’s so different from anything else she’s seen in nature. P.S. Mom sent you a private FB message about your very touching gift which arrived yesterday. Your thoughtfulness really touch Mom’s heart. Thank you for making her smile through her tears.

  19. grief…. I was struck by the level of grieving elephants do… they hold wakes for the departed and often visit the site year later too…. you two have each other to help, and ll the beauty you notice each day… love to you, LeeAnna

    1. We hope the day to day beauty of life back in Colorado helps heal our aching hearts.

  20. Elsa, you are doing so well, looking after your mum…she needs you as much as you need her.
    Those were super photographs of the flora…the lava gave me the heebie jeebies, though!
    Long life and happiness to the married couple.

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