Ramblings from the Valley
New Orleans, 1998
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 13:10

May New Orleans

“In other places, culture comes down from on high.  In New Orleans, it bubbles up from the streets.” ~Ellis Marsalis

Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:07

Puerto Plata 2012Her way out was down winding and broken steps, those like the tucked-in stairs along the hilly side of a Greek island town.

All the way, sensing the salt and remembering the seaweed that clung to her arms as a girl. At times nearly freefalling in her quick pace to the place where warm sand and old seas meet.

No hand rail, just glances from children who played on the small verandas between the sets of steps, lined with elongated terracotta planters with bright pink and yellow flowers that might have bloomed the whole year through, except for Hades’ desperate wife-needing.

She didn’t stop, though sometimes she wondered what it may have been like had she slowed for a cup of coffee with the man whose skin is a sun-smeared brown, who sits out on the weathered wooden folding chair smoking a 4pm cigarette whose curls of smoke dance upward to his goats on the hillside above who need a milking. Might she have learned to smoke or sit?

She could have run into the dress shop whose vendor was always out sweeping her entryway with an old broom and a bent back. Around her soft belly that had carried four babies she wrapped a faded and threadbare red apron and sometimes stopped to wipe her hands on it, pausing to notice how low the sun had moved toward the horizon. She might have learned to slow and sew.

The front entrance to the shop was open every time she ran past it and smells of sandalwood, lemon, and dill tempted her nose as she dodged going inside and looked instead toward the sea.

Fall at Ricketts Glen, PA
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 02 November 2013 00:00

RG 11What must have been at the dawn of peak of leaf season in Ricketts Glen we ventured north to Benton, PA, where we met up with 8 friends for an overnight hiking and camping adventure. The drive was gorgeous as was the State Park, the falls, the lake, and a relaxing time among friends. These pics aren't enhanced; the colors really were that stunning.


September Adventures on the Eastern Shore
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 01 November 2013 19:18

ES 46My friend Beth, her sweet daughter Sadie, and I drove down to visit Sadie's grandparents, Granny Jan and Grandpa Jim, during the 2nd week in September. The weather was gorgeous and we spent 4 days cruising around the coastal areas of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Their lovely home is located on Elliott's Neck and Church Creek, I think. Right off the back deck, you can walk down to the water, which I did, as soon as I awoke...


Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 24 October 2013 18:35

In my travels hither and thither, I take pictures of my journey usually focusing on land and seascapes, creatures of all kinds, and I didn't realize it until recently, but also my feet. They comment on the context of outing: the season, the walking, the landscape. Here are a few I recently unburied from folders...

Nascar Feet


Hawk Rock
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 19 April 2013 15:47

Have you ever been to Hawk Rock? If so, you know what a good climb it is and how lovely the view; if not, make it part of your spring or summer plans. Pack a lunch, water bottles, and a hiking stick. Don't forget boots or sneakers on your feet. Stop and take photos of the views, catch your breath, and take notice of the diversity of plants that line the path -- so many more varieties than I've seen in our recent AT hikes. 

Regina Hawk RockMy friend Regina and I met at the A+ Service Station right off of 15 (Duncannon Exit). Head away from Duncannon, cross a bridge over Sherman's Creek, and when you arrive at the dead end (bar/hotel on the left), park on the right and the trailhead begins right there.

It's a strenous 2.5-ish mile loop. I briefly mention it here in my Go Take a Hike article. It's been years since I hiked this trail, and I'm not sure why - it's scenic, close by, and tends to deter flocks of people since it's not an easy stroll. I like that.

Jersey Mike Memorial Rock + Run 5K
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 13 April 2013 00:00

Crowd at JM5KToday was the Jersey Mike Memorial Rock + Run 5K Jersey Mike Memorial Rock + Run 5K and hundreds of friends gathered to remember Jersey Mike and support his kids. It was a gorgeous day along the river and I ran into all sorts of lovely Harrisburg people I haven't seen in a while and met some new people, too. Many more people showed up than they anticipated. My friend Beth and I were last in line and the race got started shortly after. Here are Penn Live's pics of the event. There were over 350 people gathered!

March, a month of madness
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 18 March 2013 19:58

Snow walk with umbrellaWell kids, it snowed today. Snow! I don't know why I'm surprised; this isn't uncommon in Pennsylvania. The day after St. Patty's and the day before my Dad's birthday. Snow! Just 2 days from the Vernal Equinox and the unopened heads of daffodils are covered in fluffy, wet snow. It was not what I was expecting as I'm eager for spring. Still, it's not such a bad way to spend an overcast day in March. Old man winter is huffing around in his drawers, packing his suitcase, and grumping about at the end of his visit. Don't wear out your welcome, sir. Spring giggles, all buxom and blithe, and pokes her curly headed face through the back door and smiles. "Can I come in?" She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, "Ooh, you've made muffins!" I've had enough of winter, but if this is the way he wants to go out, I'd say, job well done. No sense in being sheepish about it, fella. It sure is beautiful in the valley and the gentleness and gracefulness of snow turned my gray-sky frown, upside down. I like to consider it a bit of lawn-watering before spring fully arrives. And besides, it's going to be 47 tomorrow!


Farewell Mighty Ship
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:59

Tunnel First PlantingIf you would have asked me a year ago to imagine life without the high tunnel, I am not sure I could have done it. The 3,000 square feet of covered growing space visible from my kitchen window, the gift of fresh, organic food, the electricity of insect life, the magic of the soil, and the blessing of that kind of work on mind, body, and soul, had all become part of my identity and of my daily life and thoughts. Many people know me as a grower of food and a tender of the soil. I see myself as someone who is responsible for producing crops, managing a greenhouse, planning a sow and harvest schedule… I am proud of that!

Poplarville 2005
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 12 January 2013 11:09

The roof to the chicken house is caved in from Katrina, like aluminum foil covering yesterday’s casserole dish, sagging into the half-empty space once filled with layers of sustenance. I was three, climbing over the burly Oak roots in front of the door to the chicken house, clutching Momo's wispy cotton apron that hung from her waist, keeping an eye out for rambunctious roosters.

I'm Feeling Grateful...
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 26 April 2012 19:59

...for my day was capped on either end by beauty and peace in the our valley.

...for early morning: I harvested microgreens, squash blossoms, and baby wasabi mustard greens in the fragrant candy-scented spring air.

Squash Blossom 2012

The Buzz of Bees
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 18:02

Swarm in PinesHow appropriate that we were discussing onomatopoeia in class last night (that, and hyperboles and metaphors and haikus). Our bee hive in the catalpa in the backyard has been wildly active this year. It was a sleeping nest until January. Phew, what a winter. While I was feeling cheated by the cold season that was mostly absent, the honeybees were busy making plans and not letting the strangeness of the season impinge on their task at hand - to keep a hive thriving when nothing was in bloom.

Fall Musings
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 31 October 2011 10:31

Powell's Valley SceneI just finished what was quite possibly the busiest summer of my life. I taught 7 online classes, ran a 14 member CSA, took on the volunteer job of pool co-chief, learned how to hatch and raise chicks (a specialty breed at that)… In the transition from the hustle and bustle of the hot season to the cool season I have found myself in – 5 classes, no CSA, and settling into the rhythm of being a chicken farmer – I am almost bewildered at the quiet, slow, and peaceful pace here. It is a considerable adjustment!

What do I do with myself? I’ve begun baking, freezing, apple-sauce-making, I picked up where I left on 3 novels (and finished 2!), I’ve been hiking, on Sunday drives, and dreaming about our plans to one day build a home. I anticipate a snowy season and recently treated myself to a pair of cross-country skis! I’ve wanted a pair for nearly a decade so I figured it was time with amount of precipitation in Winter 2011's forecast. I’ve picked up my camera again after not having much time to take photos over the summer. I have cleared out beds in the high tunnel, but still have plenty of work to do… but at my leisure. Smile.

With the unexpected and very early snowfall we had over the weekend and freezing temperatures, the tomato plants that were spritely and yielded 7 pounds of tomatoes just a few days ago, are now curling and browning. I’ll pull the plants out and compost them this week. There are plenty of greens and root vegetables we are still enjoying – arugula, mustard, kale, brassicas, turnips, radishes, winter lettuces. Within the next week, I’ll clear and prep several beds for the 9 pounds of garlic seed I need to get into the ground.

Chicks in the snowThe chicks are more delightful than I ever imagined. The Earth Cowboy and I are so happy to have them around. They are easy to tend, amusing to watch, and fun to hear clucking and crowing their way through each day. They free range and have explored what’s under the falling leaves as the season changes. They had their first experience with snow this weekend and immediately ran to an area by the leaning fence where snow hadn’t reached. They walked in a single file line along this 8” path and fluffed their feathers to keep warm. They don’t seem to mind the cold as much as the white stuff under their feet.

I’m looking forward to an unhurried and quiet season – time to spend planning, thinking, reading and wrapping up the year.

October Snow
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 30 October 2011 15:14

We heard that it was going to be a VERY SNOWY winter this year... but technically, it's not winter yet!

Leaf in Snow

How often does it snow in the peak of leaf season?


Go Take A Hike
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 11:57

Written for Harrisburg Magazine
Spring, 2004


Hike 1Unless you toss down 6 teaspoons of cod liver oil per day or take Vitamin D supplements, your body is probably deficient of the sunshine vitamin, particularly after a long winter of an early setting sun and considerable amounts of cloudy days.

Sunlight is our leading supplier of vitamin D. And why, you ask, do we need vitamin D? The sunshine vitamin, nicknamed this because our bodies use ultraviolet radiation (UVB) from the sun to make vitamin D, has been found to prevent prostate, breast, ovary, bladder, and stomach cancers, just to name a few. Severe vitamin D deficiencies are linked to Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, soft teeth, slow healing, insomnia, rickets and muscle cramps.

What function does vitamin D have in our bodies? Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and carries it across cell membranes. (www.nlm.nih.gov) This ensures strong bones and teeth, and a happy nervous system, which is why sunshine-free people are often, depressed people… we’ve all heard of the winter blues.

Well good news, my low-level vitamin D companions, the spring equinox has arrived and with it, she has returned with sunshine, greenness, and generous opportunities to absorb vitamin D while burning calories and checking out some beautiful places not very far from home.

First Muse Lunch
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 11:39

Organic Flashy Troutback Lettuce - this striking salad mix addition looks like festive confetti in the salad bowl and has a crunchy, but delicate texture. We enjoyed it today with leftover grilled salmon and rice vinegar dressing. Mmh!

Flashy Troutback Lunch

Spring Peepers
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 26 April 2011 09:36
Frog 1Sometimes I have to remind myself to pause and take it all in. To breathe in the sweet, fragrant springtime air. Yesterday it smelled like raspberry candy. To watch and listen to the birds as they gleefully welcome each new day and new growth on the treetops. It cannot be overstated how magical spring is - new bits of greenness appear every day; places of bare limbs and empty spaces are suddenly filled and made whole again. The mountain is speckled with bits of green, white, and pink. Sweat bees have emerged and greet me at the door each morning at eye-level. After weeks of rain, the trench between the high tunnel and the house has become a small pond and home to happy, cacophonous frogs who are laying eggs and singing love songs all afternoon in the dappled sunlight.
Blue Rooster Farm
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 23 April 2011 00:00

Sheep BRFOnce a month, we purchase meat products from a small, local farm located in East Waterford, PA, called the Blue Rooster Farm. They raise and sell organic beef, pork and lamb, and recently, they partnered with a sustainable group in Alaska and have made available delicious wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon. Julie Hurst, one of the farmers, typically delivers to several dropoff points, but there was a change of plans this week, and Julie agreed to meet me right off our exit. So nice and convenient! I pulled into the parking lot of our meetup point, and I saw Julie waiting for me. She was holding a bottle and feeding something small. A little baby?

Early Spring Walk
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 17 March 2011 13:54

Buds on our favorite bush

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The spring cacophony of frogs, birds and everything else that sings echoes out across the valley announcing the season of rebirth. We are just 3 days away from the official commencement of my favorite season. Shoots and buds are appearing around every turn and we're up to 12 hours of sunlight per day now!

A Hard Rain
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 11 March 2011 18:48
Clarks Creek MailboxesIt's been raining hard here in Central PA for several days now. We awoke to the sounds of rushing water and a closed road. The rain had ceased and as the mountains and streams drained into the center of the Valley, Clarks Creek flooded up over the road making it impassable for most of the day.
Happy Cross Quarter Day!
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 12:21


Lightpost with iciclesThe Examiner today tells us that "Ancient peoples...split each season, or quarter of the year, into halves. The dates on which a mid way point of a season fell came to be called a cross-quarter or mid-quarter day." And today, February 2nd, is just such a day, also known as Groundhog Day. Not evident by the icestorm here in PA and the blizzard all over the midwest, Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow and it's gonna be an early spring! We can only hope. Today is also my Mama's birthday. Happy Birthday, Ma!

Lucky Number 33
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 20:14

For the second year in a row, we awoke to no heat on my birthday. Last year, it was because of major flooding that filled our cellar with rain water (which is the room that houses the boiler). This year? The blower motor went caput... whatever that means. It was all up and running by afternoon time and the house had only gotten down to 55 degrees. What can I say? Everything has its own way of celebrating birthdays. Furnaces, in my case, stop working.

Macaren and Bodhi T
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 17:03

Maggie YawnsI don't blog about my cats enough. For as often as I squish them with hugs and kisses and ear scratches, enough hasn't been said about my fantastic furry friends and the sweetness they bring my life.

I was never a 'cat person.' That's probably because we only had dogs growing up and I had never been around cats. I love all creatures, so if I would have had a cat as a youngster, I would have known just how much of a cat person I am.

Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 14 November 2010 23:21

Clouds 1

The clouds were tremendous today. I found myself staring upward on my walks back and forth between the house and high tunnel.

Feeling Grateful
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 15:55

For ...

Blowing in the Wind

...little bits of the universe.

Long Shadows
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 00:00

Autumn 2010 Backyard Facing Peter's MtnDespite the near-drought we had at the end of the summer, lots of rain in early fall and other well-aligned climatic conditions gave us a better-than-expected autumn. The colors are tremendous and the trees aren't dropping their leaves at just any old gust of wind, and we've had some wind. We recorded a 32 mph gust that rolled through earlier in the month. The sun is hanging out in the sky for a shorter time each day and its position is casting long shadows in the late afternoon light.

See the fullness of life all around you
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 14 October 2010 14:23

Fall colors in the back fieldIt's a cozy fall day, the leaves are spinning to the ground in colors that hint at December's Christmas lights. Rain softly falls and mist moves across the mountains. Lentil soup and baking bread are filling the house with home-smells. I'm feeling grateful for so many things.


Blue Rooster Farm
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:31


Our neighbor Liz introduced us to Blue Rooster Farm, a local meat farm in East Waterford, PA, owned and operated by Julie Hurst and Roy Brubaker and their two daughters.

The Victoria Trail
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 14:26

Victoria TrailWe live about a half a mile hike from the Appalachian Trail, which runs along the top of Peter's Mountain north of our house.

Aloha from the Valley
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 09 April 2010 08:19

Around 6pm last night we stood waiting on a giant thunderstorm that the NOAA radio alert had warned us about 3x in the previous hour, and that we could see ominously approaching us from the west on Google Earth.

Welcome Spring
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 22 March 2010 19:06

Saturday was the Spring Equinox and it with it came pinches of color and inches of growth.

I'm feeling thankful for lists of things to do.

...for sunshine and rain.

...for the sweet smells in the valley.

...for warm covers and cool night air.

...for spring peepers.

...for new grow lights and happy seedlings.

...for unexpected and surprise adventures.

...for laughter.

Spring 2010 CrocusSpring 2010 DaffodilsSpring 2010 Beets

Happy Spring, friends!



Maui, Days 1 and 2
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 08 March 2010 12:55

March 6, 2010

After 19 hours of travel time, my friend Beth and I arrived in Maui, Hawaii on Saturday around 5pm. The air that greeted us as we deboarded the jet was warm, humid and sweet. We had arrived on a volcanic rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Unbelievable. Jagged mountains and green stretches of sugar cane fields unfolded before our eyes. Bobbi, Ashtanga Yogi from Be-fit Yoga, and our tour guide and part-local in Maui, met us at the airport with a beautiful smile and a Maui tan. We found our Bio-beetle rental car, a cherry red VW Jetta that sounds like an old bus and runs on bio-diesel, and off we went, following Bobbi onto unknown roads flanked with ocean and mountains and dotted with lines of magnificent Monkey Pod Trees remniscent of trees on the African plain, as well as the finial-like Captain Cook pines. We spotted rainbows and low-lying clouds and crisp, fresh air filled our nostrils as we drove further into the foothills of Haleakala into the upcountry of Maui. After about 15 minutes of driving, we arrived in Makawao and stopped at a local store for food, the Rodeo General Store, what we came to refer to as just "Rodeo". The floors were hard-wood, the shelves held only organic foods and the produce display boasted locally grown avocadoes, tomatoes, bananas, liriquoi, limes, and much to my surprise and happiness, Black Tuscan Kale!! It was advertised as Lacinato Kale, but I recognized the name and its unmistakable texture, unlike any other kale. They were selling it in small bunches of full sized leaves, which I had never seen. I felt an instant connection with this place. We gathered our supper: carrot ginger and split pea soups, beets and greens in olive oil, Ahi Fishcake and Salmon filets, guacamole and chips and coconut tapioca. We may have picked up a 6-pack of Blue Moon, too. We grabbed some Maui coffee and half and half for the morning time. We drove to the B&B in Makawao, God's Peace of Maui, a hidden property on Hali'imaile Road surrounded on one side by the Haleakala Mountain and pineapple fields, and a view of the north shore on the other. I don't think we expected the fruit orchard either. The yard is lush and filled with tropical plants and even nasturtiums! Coconuts trees line the front of the house and an Angel Trumpet casts sweet fragrances your way as you enter and exit the property. It's not mango season, but there are mango trees, too. The B&B is cozy and clean and the people are really friendly. There are about 8 rooms and 3 showers and 4 toilet/sink rooms. The owner lives on the top floor with her kids and hosts guests from around the world down below. Our room has a queen sized bed with soft sheets, pillows and blankets, a small fridge, TV and shelves. It's small, but perfect for us. Oh, and it faces Haleakala. After arriving and getting a tour of the property from Bobbi, we settled into a hearty meal outside at the picnic table... the one next to the hot tub, and chatted with a local woman and played catch with her gorgeous Australian sheep dog named Tsunami. We took showers and were sawing logs within seconds, exhausted after what seemed like days of travel.

March 7, 2010

We awoke fully rested at 5:30am, an hour before we had set the alarm clock. We woke half the sleeping guests with our giggles and talking. I make no apologies. We're in Maui, people!! We made french press coffee and sat at the bar near the kitchen with our laptops and checked our email and the rest of the world. No jet lag, we couldn't believe it. After a couple pots of french press, we got ready for yoga. The real purpose of this trip is a yoga retreat at the House of Yoga and Zen of Nancy Gilgoff, but I tagged along on an unexpected and spontaneous vacation. Our group includes Bobbi, Beth and me, Joe Bedard and his son Greg, and Linda and Donna. Having only ever been to 1 Ashtanga Yoga class in my 32 years, I wasn't sure how well I'd do with a room full of practiced yoga folks, but I was excited to stretch and participate. The only indication of the studio was a small sign off the road that reads "Organic Tomatoes". The studio was built on a farm. But not just any farm. When we pulled into the driveway, 3 Gothic High Tunnels appeared. Oh lord, could this get any better? Two dogs and a fluffy Maggie-type cat ran around happy in the sunshine. We entered the studio, a single-room structure with high ceilings that seemed like nothing except a place to practice yoga and meditation. Their was a sense of stillness. It was lit only by the sunlight streaming through a high east-facing window. The floor was covered in a thin outdoor carpeting and beautiful people lined the two longer walls with their mats. Nancy came in, a tall woman whose presence evokes respect. She was certainly the authority of the practice. We began a chant in Sanskrit that I wasn't familiar with and followed sun salutations at the sound of the gong. I participated through the poses until they asked the new folks to come to an end. The close of the practice are 3 lotus flower poses. Throughout the class, an assistant named Keiko helped me and got me into positions I didn't think I could do. She was gentle, and despite her small stature, strong. She whispered instructions and encouragement as Nancy called the poses and counts for the class. Heavy, rhythmic breathing filled the spaced and folks moved in and out of poses. It was beautiful and as if humans were flowing in some ancient way. As I lay there in rest, I watched Beth next to me as she moved and breathed. Yoga seems like an embrace of the self, a deep reflection and love of one's own body, spirit and movement. I was entranced. I finished my rest and got up to take pictures of the property and the high tunnels and pet a cat who had the tail of a dog.

The high tunnels were a fantastic surprise. I wish the Earth Cowboy could have been there. He notices the small details that make things work, the details that I sometimes overlook. They used tomato clips. I set my camera on micro to get closeups.

After yoga, we stopped at Casanova for breakfast and coffee. I had a double latte with honey and a mozzarella/basil/tomato omelet, which was served with one of, if not the, best biscuits I've ever had. It was almost as if they were prepared in a cast iron skillet. Mmmh. Casanova is open in the evenings for Italian dining, but the main dining room was closed, and we had breakfast in the cozy and colorful front section of the restaurant. An older and lovely Hawaiian woman made our coffee - it was scrumptious and perfect and served in an extra large glass mug. The employees were friendly and the service was fast. After about an hour of eating, laughing and discussing ethics (Greg is a philosophy major at Millersville), we drove back to the B&B to change and get ready for a day at Baldwin Beach in Paia on the North Shore. Um, did I mention... of Hawaii?

I can't really say much to explain how beautiful this Maui Beach was, so I'll just show the photos. The water was warmer than I expected and the sun was brilliant. The water was a mediterranean blue and the sand was a soft yellow.

We met friends of Bobbi's and late afternoon, we packed up and headed into Paia for dinner supplies and sightseeing. Beth and I got a gelati - 2 flavors. Liriquoi and Strawberry, both fruits locally and organically grown on the island and then we decided it was time for a Margarita so we stopped at a corner restaurant called Milagros and had Happy Hour margaritas for $3. We had to meet everyone back at the cars at 5pm, so around 4:45 we made a mad dash for Mana Foods, a big and busy Maui grocery store, something that back east we'll call a super nice health food store. It's kind of a social spot, too. We grabbed some lime tortilla chips to accompany Bobbi's dinner of "Burritos in a Bowl", some yogurt for breakfast and chocolate bars for a midnight snack. Our last stop was at a very hip wine store called The Wine Corner where we grabbed a bottle of Malbec for dinner.

Before heading back to the B&B, we drove to Ho'okipa Lookout off the Hana Hightway to see the ocean from another view. We spotted sea turtles bopping their heads in and out of the water with the surfers. We climbed over the guard rail and walked down to the rocks below as the sun was taking its final bow for the evening.

When we got back to the B&B, cooking, laughing, wine-drinking and just general happy-people-socializing commenced. Joe broke open a bottle of Sailor Jerry and more laughing followed. By 10, we were exhausted, but decided to finish the day with a quick dip in the hot tub. I was so relaxed after a 10-minute soak in 105 degree bubbles, I could barely walk to bed.  We slept to the sound of downpour and sometimes rain would bounce off the banana leaves outside our window and splash onto my face. It made me smile.

March 8, 2010

We awoke shortly before sunrise at 6am and enjoyed more French press and fresh rain and bird songs. Greg and I are the two people on the trip that don't regularly practice yoga, so we attended class on the days that were recommended to us. I logged into class and did some school work and Greg slept in while the rest of the group went to a Mysore Yoga Class. Beth called when they were finished and Greg and I drove to Casanova to join the group for more coffee and biscuits and I made a quick stop at the post office to mail the Earthy Cowboy a postcard. We came back to the B&B and after a bowl of fruit, cottage cheese and yogurt, we got ready to hike the The Four Falls of Na’ili’ili, in spite of the rain and cooler temperatures.

We took a gorgeous drive along the Hana Highway on our way to the falls and Bedard spoke all of our thoughts when he said, "In any direction you look, you get a different sky." Heavy dark clouds, light fluffy ones, blue skies, rainbows, and on and on. The rain had stopped and the sun was out when we arrived at Bobbi's friend Merritt's house to pick up Merritt, Troy, Elizabeth and Carrie. Merritt lives in part of this beautiful home and the owners are here about 4 months out of the year. The views were fantastic and the house was pretty cool, too.

Once we were all there, off we went in 3 cars to find these waterfalls. We were all in anticipation of an exciting day. Bobbi had told us earlier that to get to the 4th waterfall, you have to climb ropes and then swim a 100-foot canal, so I was looking forward to some bushwacking, swimming and marveling at Hawaiian waterfalls. After driving up and down very windy hills, we pulled off the road and parked on the side of a steep embankment. We then decided it was time for a group photo.

We crossed the street and began our adventure down into the bamboo forest. We got lost about 3 times and when we finally arrived at the first waterfall, it became obvious that our plans to hike the four falls were over. It's rainy season here on the island and the path across the river was completely washed out and the moving water was too fast for us to cross. We decided to drive to another waterfall nearby. I use the term "we" loosely - the decision of where to take the group next came from discussions between Bobbi, Merritt and Elizabeth for the most part. I was along for the ride, and I loved it. Take me on an adventure!

What happened next fulfilled all of (or most of) our expectations for and exciting day. Before I left for this trip my only plan was to have no expectations and to see and experience new things and places, but after 3 days of thrills and good times, I suppose I may have been expecting only more fun and excitement.

We took the Hana Highway back about 5 miles and then drove about a 1/2 mile down a gravel road flanked by lush tropical plants and trees. We stopped and parked by coconut trees that I wanted to open and drink from, but alas, most of the group were on their way down into the greenness. For about 20 minutes we bushwacked our way along a steep cliff at the bottom of which was a muddy rushing river, all 11 of us, including two spirited friends in their 60's. Fearing that the water was too high to continue toward the falls, half of the group split off and headed back to the cars. The rest of us - Bobbi, Troy, Donna, Greg, Beth and me - continued toward the waterfall that Bobbi remembered from a past visit. More bushwacking ensued and what surrounded us were tall trees dressed in the most enormous philodendrons I've ever seen. I have a philodendron in my kitchen. I've only ever thought of it as a house plant, but here they were in their native habitat - enormous, and uninhibited. They vines felt their way down toward the water and up the trees. I felt small, like Thumbelina. The canopy of trees let in only a little sunlight and the earth was dark and looked like the best, richest compost I've ever seen. I wondered if I might be able to get some of this for my raised beds.

We weren't sure we were going to make it to the falls - the distance eluded Bobbi's memory and the path wasn't clear, but we continued and right around the time we weren't sure if we should keep going, a flat path opened up before us and we spotted the falls about 300 feet ahead. Hooray!!

On our hike back to the cars, which seemed about 1/2 the distance than the journey to the falls, Donna led our small group in "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands." You can't make up this kind of stuff. A group of 6 people who don't really know each other, and some meeting for the first time, bonded in a bushwacking, hiking, waterfall adventure. I'll keep that sweet memory for my life. This is living.

We left our hiking grounds and the Harrisburg, PA, group headed into Paia for dinner at Flatbread Pizza Company and I had one of the best pizzas I think I've ever eaten. Beth and I split the Organic Salad and the Co-Evolution pizza -- the roasted red pepper, kalamata olive, red onion, rosemary, goat cheese pizza -- and enjoyed a couple of Liriquoi Margaritas. Wowza. The big stone pizza oven was in the front of the restaurant, and we sat in the back to be partially outdoors while we ate. Donna journaled and asked us each to describe the waterfall hike with one word. I said "engaging".

Our next stop in this full and blissful day was in Kahului at the Sports Lounge where we went to see Bobbi's friends and yoga comrades play in their band, Soundwave, rock and surf music. They were tight and groovy and I wanted to dance. Instead, I had a couple of Maui Brewing Company Lagers. Good times.

We noticed the clear skies on the way home and watched the stars, thickly packed and twinkling in the Pacific sky. I don't remember climbing into bed, but I do know I slept soundly with rain sounds and a happy heart.

March 9, 2010

You know, I don't mind the daily rainfall, in fact, I love its cleansing and refreshing effect. The sun comes out a little later, after I've had my coffee and opened myself to the day. We're visiting a perma-culture farm and hiking a crater today. This trip is a gift and each day gets even better.

So many adventures followed that I lost time and focus to blog about them. Eventually I will post photos of the remainder of the trip and brief descriptions of where we were and what we were doing. Thanks for reading!

Year of the Tiger
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 15 February 2010 00:00

The second Tuesday in February brought us 15 more inches of snow and the Chinese and Tibetan New Years, as well as Valentine's day, all fell on Sunday. It was a week-long celebration of newness, love and the white stuff.

18 inches!
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 06 February 2010 15:10

We awoke to a winter wonderland today. It's the most snow Central PA has seen in years - nearly 18 inches! The Earthy Cowboy was out running the snowblower before 8am. After a quick cup of coffee, I joined him to pull the snow from the hightunnel with the snow broom and to clear the cars.

Snow and Clarks Creek

Sweet Treats
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 31 January 2010 15:43

If you're ever in South-Central Pennsylvania on Interstate-83 between York and Harrisburg, take the Yocumtown Exit and treat yourself to a Maple Glazed Donut. You'll be happy you did.

Maple Glazed Peanut Topped Donut

Hungry Worms
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Saturday, 30 January 2010 09:00

Bag O' WormsThanks to this inspiring urban farmer for reminding me to turn that pile of food scraps on my kitchen counter into worm food for the red crawlers who live in the kitchen. I have come across the suggestion to freeze and defrost kitchen scraps for the worms time and again. Apparently it breaks down the cells of the food making it easier for the worms to digest. I'm going to try that next time. This time, I just threw it all into the food processor.

Flood Warnings
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Monday, 25 January 2010 12:27

I woke up at 6am today right as we lost electricity in the valley. It was windy, dark and pouring rain. The yard, road, field and creek were flooded. It was almost 60 degrees. 60 degrees! I read about a record breaking high temperature in Ohio in the 1950's that was recorded on January 25th: 73 degrees. Today is my birthday, and the weather is always kinda weird on my birthday, almost always overcast, rainy and stormy. I remember one birthday as a kid, maybe 5 or 6, in Pensacola, Florida and, my, how it poured. Some of the kids still showed up for my party, but we had to play indoors. I decided not to play indoors today, I wanted to see what the flooding had done. After the heavy rains receded, I went outside. Happy 32 years to me. xo

Clarks Creek after the torrential downpourClarks Creek by the bridge

Clarks Creek is the highest I've ever seen it. Rushing through in shades of earth. The surrounding mountains and hills are draining down into the little valley creek.


The Northern Flicker
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 19:33

I spotted one of these woodpeckers out the kitchen window on Sunday. He hopped around, digging up insects with his long, slightly-curved beak.... until the Starlings came by the busload and he took solace in a Catalpa Tree. I had never seen a Northern Flicker, and I felt lucky to have seen one in the dead of winter as they are "one of the few North American woodpeckers that is strongly migratory. Flickers in the northern parts of their range move south for the winter, although a few individuals often stay rather far north." (All About Birds)

Here are a couple of videos I took:

Northern Flicker, Video 1Northern Flicker, Video 2


We've since seen him hanging out in the leafless catalpas. Looks like he's here for the long haul of winter.

The Pennsylvania Annual Farm Show
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:29

The chicken who wears his brains on the outside...In January, Harrisburg (and the Dept of Ag) hosts the annual PA Farm Show at the enormous Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. We don't attend every year, but this year we went with another couple and spent 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon walking, looking, eating, talking and making our way through the crowds in the 24 acre facility. We didn't go to see any particular rodeo, contest or event, but the schedule describes everything from "Honey Extraction Demo by the PA State Beekeepers Association" to "Championship Horse Pulling Contest".

There were so many delicious things to eat; some of the things we tried (and loved) were the rib sandwich, fried mozzarella balls, potato donuts, hemp pretzels, German Roasted nuts (my favorite farm show treat), strawberry smoothies, fried mushrooms and honey sticks.

Believe it or not, we did other things in addition to all the snacking.

We saw a red stag, a 16-year old Bison named Harvey who was ready to go home, the most gorgeous Alpacas I've ever seen, goat kids nursing their very annoyed mom, and we found the Americauna chickens we want to raise (<- that is not an Americauna. I called it the chicken that wears his brains on the outside because I can't remember its official name.) The Americaunas weren't the biggest chickens there, the English Orphingtons were much larger, but apparently Americaunas are the tougher of the two. Orphingtons are softies and can be bullied despite their size. With the raptor populations in our valley, and one particular cat named Maggie, I think we'd only have any chance at success with tough, watchful birds.

There were all kinds of bovine and equine creatures at the farm show and a variety of crafts. Folks raised Angoras and made yarn from their hair. I bought beeswax candles. There were stands there that were more akin to a Flea Market than a farm show. There was the giant butter sculpture that featured a family of dairy farmers (and their cow) gathered around a table.  There were terrariums, dioramas, flowers, photos, canned food, corsages, cakes and pies - all entered into competitions. The big room with all the farm equipment (tractors, trailers, etc.) was neat, but we were pretty tired and made that our last stop before calling it a night.

Click here to view the pictures from the farm show. (coming soon :)

A Few of My Favorite Things
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 16:28

With the newness of the year and the slow but sure return of the sun, I reflect back on the previous year and those things I don't want to take for granted, those things that help me make it through the dark winter.

I've chosen a few of my favorite things from each month of 2009 to highlight.

January (besides bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens)

Field Sunset and Striking ColorsJanuary Sunset behind the High TunnelMothership CloudJimmy attaching a ratchet strap with the use of a pool torpedoMy birthday cake

Dramatic sunsets and clouds that look like motherships. Birthday cake and my true love.

Snowed in!
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 14:56

Snow started falling in big white fat flakes late Friday night, one week before Christmas. It snowed all through the day on Saturday and left us with around 6-8 inches of fluffy loveliness. We loaded up the fireplace and settled in for a few snow days. I spent Saturday making soup, grading final exams, fighting a head cold with Yogi's Cold Season tea (at least a dozen cups!), streaming Soma-fm's "The Christmas Lounge: Chilled Holiday Grooves and Classic Winter Lounge Tracks", and ordering a few last minute Christmas presents online. I shoveled the walk twice and again the next day, which was a terribly windy day; the wind created snow drifts all around, it reminded me of the way sand dunes form at the beach. Our tall evergreens in the backyard looked dressed for a party, all in white!

Calliope & Bodhi in the SnowMaggie and the Shoveled WalkSnowy coated evergreens in the valley

First Snow of the Year, Fall 2009
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 16:59

Hightunnel on the First Snow DayI'm always a little anxious looking ahead to the dark months of winter, but December has been nothing but nice with much to do! Friday, December 4 was our first snow fall and that was just one reason to celebrate December. While snow collected on the roof of the hightunnel, I harvested beets, swiss chard, baby spinach and baby kale. The winter harvests were going to a friend who contacted me looking for "ethically grown foods" and planned to make baby food with the beets and spinach, also, to a local restaurant and to friends who bought a $25 gift certificate that I had donated to another friend's fundraiser. The vegetables grown under the protection of the  Agribon are significantly larger than the ones grown without the protective covering, and they were planted two days later. When we get around to building the supports to hold up the Agribon, all the beds will have it. It will come into use in the spring to raise the temperature of the soil and protect spring crops allowing us to plant even earlier. In the first photo, you can see where I moved the Agribon aside so I could harvest swiss chard. Those gorgeous green leaves veined with magenta are swiss chard, sister of the beet, lover of the soil. I read somewhere, and I can't remember where, that growing beets and swiss chard doesn't deplete, but leaves the soil with a substantial amount of nutrients.

Bed 4 Agribon RaisedMagenta Sunset Swiss Chard LeavesCut Swiss Chard Stems

1,000 of 'em!
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 17:37

Steps upTwo Sundays ago the Earthy Cowboy, Beauhemian and I drove to Jacks Mountain between Lewistown and Huntingdon, PA, to hike the famous "Thousand Steps". There are truly 1,000 steps that make for a hell of an ascent, though it is a pretty quick hike. Despite the tough climb, there were plenty of families and kids hiking.

Autumnal Colors
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:50

I am about a month late on posting this, but I wanted to share it anyhow. We had a beautiful autumn this year, and though there is technically still another month or so until the Winter Solstice, we are past the prime of glorious autumn. In the words of Shakespeare,

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang/ Upon those boughs which shake against the cold.

Welcome to November. But that's today, another topic. These are from October, a time lovingly described by John Donne,

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace/as I have seen in one autumnal face.

View of Peter's Mountain From the BackyardOctober Maple and Catalpa Trees under a Blue SkyView of Peter's Mountain standing in front of the High Tunnel

Happy Earth Day
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 17:32

Though we have much work to do on the high tunnel, work for clients and papers to grade in my classes, we took a break today and went for a lovely drive through Powell's Valley, a cozy spot on the other side of Peter's Mountain with wide open views in which we daydream about building our dome. We reminisced about the frozen scenes and the sunset that we saw on our last drive through Powell's Valley, December 25, 2008. The homes, gardens, lawns and fields are tidy and are always real pleasure to see in our passage through the valley. We couldn't believe how many yards were graced by a pink version one of our favorite trees, the weeping cherry. It seemed that every house had one somewhere in their yard! As we drove, we wondered what Kutt-A-Way Nurseries that we remembered passing 4 months ago looked like now that spring has arrived, and when we came upon the nursery, we realized where all the valley neighbors must have gotten their weeping cherry trees! There were rows upon rows of the pretty little trees, and behind them, some sort of flowering white-budded tree, perhaps another cherry? Further down the road, I pointed out another favorite, the Japanese Magnolia, another tree that we would like to see in our yard around the dome one day.

I had to put down the Easter Bunny and other Initiations into (micro) Farm Life
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 10 April 2009 12:24

Yesterday was a sunny, blue-sky kind of day. I was feeling high on life, grateful for blessings that abound, and generally pretty smiley. I was watering seedlings in the high tunnel when I noticed Maggie having a grand time over by the barns. I went over, and my heart broke - she had caught a baby bunny, one that looked just like the picture in our album here on the site. She was proud, and he was hurt. I walked away, saddened, and continued watering, trying hard to ignore the situation right in front of me. When I was finished watering, I noticed Maggie had joined me in the tunnel, so I went to find what was left of the poor bunny.