Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Done.

That's it.

I've moved to tumblr.

ceciliayang.tumblr.com

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weekend in Pescadero (through iPhone)

Oh. Hey. Yeah, I'm alive.

Anyway, let's not go into why I disappeared from my blog for half a year. It has to do with work, a lot more traveling than I've ever done in my life, and let's be real here...Netflix. I cancelled it after a a brief flirtation turned quickly into a deep, disturbing addiction to really bad movies. (If only I could cancel the Internet too...)

Anyway, this past weekend we took a quick weekend getaway to the lovely old historic town of Pescadero. In true Half Moon Bay fashion, it was unbudgingly grey and overcast. I loved it though. Phone reception was also shoddy, and our B&B's wifi was nearly nonexistent, which meant that we were nearly off the grid.

So. We got to relax on the beach (I managed to fall asleep on the sand, even with these two little girls running around my head, holding large rocks, pretending to be birds caring for their nest?), explore the local bakery – which, every hour, bakes this hot soft chewy artichoke garlic herb bread that is AMAZING, and romp around in tide pools, which always manages to bring the five year old out in me.

I love tide pools. Sadly I can't really vouch for the tide pool sea life down by Pescadero – we only spotted a few anemone, hundreds of tiny crabs with toad-like faces, hermit crabs, and the usual sea detritus.

Here are the photos I took with my iPhone. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon in Kauai is known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." I can see where that comes from, but it's quite different. Waimea is greener, lusher, with softer edges.

These are photos from last October. We started driving to the lookout at 3pm, which meant that the fog had already started rolling in. I kept praying that the skies would clear up for views of the canyon, but the higher we were, the more it drizzled.

Some photos from on the way up – you can see the soil was a lovely deep red color.






When we first got to the lookout, the fog was completely opaque. R, who's a lot more patient than I am, told me we should wait it out. For forty minutes we hovered around the lookout (at least ten people came, took an obligatory photo, and quickly left) and we were rewarded with some peek-through views of the canyon.  I think it was even more beautiful this way.



 

On the way down, the sun was setting over Nihau (small Hawaiian to the west of Kauai). There were some pretty epic crepuscular rays. But you can see how thick the cloud layer was – there was no way we could've gotten a clear view up at top.



Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm alive

I swear I am. It's been a little crazy over here. Within the span of two months I left a job, found a new one, and packed up and left for the Big Island of Hawaii, where I worked on a farm on the Hilo side of the island–the rainforest side. This was November and December.

I lived in a treehouse, tasted every new tropical fruit I came across, hiked across a dead volcanic lake, and scooped up a lot of donkey poop. I went by myself and it was amazing. Hawaii is so beautiful. I'd pack up and go back in a heartbeat.

I have so many photos to share...and given that I had gone to Kauai in October (and wrote only post about it so far...), my blog is going to be very tropical in the foreseeable future. Or next couple years, considering my writing speed.

In the meantime, enjoy some of the pics I took on my iPhone:

Airplane descending


 
Papaya tree with unripe fruit



 
Donkey, chicken, goat.



Volcanic steam vents



 
Turtle sunbathing on a Punalu'u black sand beach.



 
Banyan tree planted by Franklin Roosevelt.



 
Sunrise on my last day.



 
Hike down Pololu Valley.



 
Rain and fog in Keaau.



 
Above altostratus clouds on Mauna Kea.



 
City of Refuge



 
Rainbow at Volcano National Park.



 
Kileau Caldera



 
Leaf skeletons in rainforest mulch



 
Waipio Lookout



 
Hiking on the Kilauea Iki Trail



 
Crepescular rays at sunset



 
Cross-section of a cacao fruit (where chocolate comes from!)



 
Rainbow eucalyptus bark



 
Turkey Tail



 
Ube tapioca and coconut milk...aamazing



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cherimoya, the "ice cream fruit"

*Update 1/21/2012. I take back all the negative things I said about this fruit. I had some fresher ones later in my trip and they were so, so, so much better.

-----

There's one fruit I've been wanting to try a long time...and that was the cherimoya. After all, it's what Mark Twain called "the most delicious fruit known to men."  (I was wondering how he managed to snag one, as they only grow in the tropics...apparently he once traveled to Hawaii as a reporter for the Sacramento Union.)

Anyway my photos are pretty disgusting. I got the cherimoya in relatively normal condition this morning from the Hilo Farmer's Market (it was soft and green with only a few small twinges of brown – which meant it was ready to eat), but it got knocked around in my car trunk the entire day, thanks to the abrupt starts and stops along Hawaii Belt Road, which is undergoing construction in multiple places.

It also could have potentially been due to my not ever driving in the past year, but we're not going to explore that option.

So here's a nice picture of a cherimoya (looks a bit snakey doesn't it):

Source


And since my photos are so ugly I'm hiding them til after the jump...

Bipolar

When I'm petting the cat...



When I stop petting the cat...


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Macadamia nuts: Harvesting, de-husking, cracking, eating.

I now know why macadamia nuts are so expensive. There's a macadamia nut pasture in the backyard of a farm on the Big Island, and I got to see what work goes behind macadamia nut processing (at least the small-scale, by-hand type).

Enter the macadamia nut pasture...

This is how the nuts look on the tree. Most I spotted by themselves or in twos, but a few were in big beautiful clusters such as these.

If they're low enough and you're not too short, you can pick by hand. This is rarely the case though – for most I used a macadamia fruit picker (not pictured, but imagine long wooden handle with something that looks like half a bird cage attached at the end).


The green ones are younger; the brown ones are older, but you don't separate them by color. You separate the ones that have cracks from the ones that are still whole.

For the ones that are whole (they might be green or brown), you need to "age" them before you can eat them, which mostly means getting them as dry as possible.

To do that, you can layer the nuts in a bin between layers of cloth (to take out the moisture), and leave them there for weeks until the husks are starting to crack. At that point, there will be some compost in the bin (and a ton of bugs too...there were actually millipedes and earwigs in there...I somehow managed to restrain myself from screaming/sobbing. Aghhh I guess that's how you know they're organic).



Here are ones that have cracked:


Once they've cracked, their outer husk is easy to remove.

And on in the inside is a smooth round seed:


Once you have the seed, you can now use the macadamia nut cracker (pictured in the lower left here):



If they're still "wet," the edible portion will stick to the shell, and it's very hard to remove. The little shards can still be roasted and eaten though.



If they've dried sufficiently, the inner "nut" will have shrunk in size so that it doesn't stick to the shell, and comes out easily.



The taste of raw macadamia nut is pretty incredible. It wasn't at all what I expected – it tasted like mature coconut meat: crunchy, fresh, and slightly sweet.

The nuts of my labor: