September 25, 2007

Finding the right builder-from Smith Brothers Construction

Aloha Home Builders, this Blog is a copy out of the Quarterly Newsletter of Smith Brothers Construction. Finding the right builder is always a project and usually takes some time and careful consideration from the client and the broker.

The selection of a builder or remodeler is a major decision, and should be approached in a thoughtful, unhurried manner. Allow plenty of time to interview and research at least two candidates before making your choice. Hours invested at this point can save months of time later on.

At the initial interview, the most important information you’ll get is not from brochures, portfolios, or a sales pitch, but from your own intuition. Ask yourself:

Can we trust this person to execute plans for our dream home, likely the biggest expenditure of our lifetime?
Is there a natural two-way communication, mutual respect, and creative energy?
Does he have the vision to make our home unique and important?
Is his sense of the project similar to ours?
Can we work together for at least a year?

If you’ve answered “YES” , you’ve found the most valuable asset-the right chemistry.

Hawaii Vacation Rentals Inc. has been in business for over 13 years in the Puako area. We are considered one of the most efficient and detail orientated businesses in our industry and are continually updating our knowledge of our local market and networking with all of the necessary team members to help you create your lifetime dream.

We have Architectual Designers like Rick Sifuentes of RCS design, Builders such as Smith Brothers Construction, Interior Decorators that have that island touch like Shirley Wagner of Fine Design Interiors, and the broad knowledge of Patrica Freeman with over 25 years of Real Estate experience to help you make these major decisions. Over ther process of building you will find that you save money and time by using their collective knowledge and years of experience to guide you in this very important endeavor.

September 19, 2007

Planting Native Plants

Native Plants are becoming more and more rare in the islands. We hope people will think of this when arranging the types of plantings and shrubbery for their new homes or remodels. Palms do very well in the more arid regions along the coast. Pineapple can be used as a decorative plant or as an edible addition to the garden area. The fun thing to do is buy the pineapple, cut the top off , and throw it in a pot with a little water and watch it grow.

Water is pretty expensive on the Big Island so we hope Xeroscaping will become more main stream. Water conservation is becoming more and more a pressing issue as this islands new home population explodes. Xeroscaping is easy to do and relatively inexpensive to grow compared to bringing in plants that do not grow well without water in this area. Drought tolerant plants really do look nice , I personally like it better than a regular grass yard becuase the maintainance is so much less involved.

When I was in Las Vegas I really did see some nice ways to conserve like grid watering hoses for grass yards and recycled water fountains. This is a horitculturist dream island and the potential for companies to provide more native plants has no end due to the abundance of local varieties. Please support the local plants.

September 12, 2007

History of Pineapple in Hawaii

People don’t really know exactly when pineapples were introduced to the islands. They grow quite well here in the Tropical Desert. With plenty of sun and a little water you can have a mature plant within a few years. The pineapple was common of voyages around the 1700s to the 1800s to prevent scurvy, some believe that a wayward Spanish galleon traveling the Manila-Acapulco route was responsible for accidentally introducing pineapple to Hawaii long before Captain James Cook’s arrival in 1778.

The first recorded planting was on January 21, 1813 , by Francisco de Paula y Marin, a Spanish horticulturist and advisor to King Kamehameha the first. From there the pinapple industry made its roots and kicked off to become one of the islands main crops and over a 90 million dollar a year crop at its largest scale.

The scientific name for Pineapple is Ananas comosus and its a perennial herb belonging to the Bromeliaceae family. The main flowering time of a Pineapple is in mid-December and fruiting follows in the summer. Although today Pineapple planters can induce flowering artificially during different times of the year to make harvesting possible all year round.

I usually buy my morning Pineapple at M’s Puako General store right next door to our office. For around $2.50 a container I can get my morning fix. I was told that the core of Pineapple has a special vitamin c that only Pineapples contain. Recently I have been cutting off the tops and saving them to replant for my garden at home. So far most of the tops have turned out to be good and have started the journey to my stomach. HA Ha.

Make sure when you get here you try the island fresh Pineapples , if you are lucky you may find a white one at one of the many roadside stands.

September 11, 2007

Diving off of your back yard

Your Hammock by the sea

People travel from all around the world to experience the clear blue waters of Puako. If you are a diver and would love to see manta rays, dolphins, hump back whales, and turtles then this is the place to purchase. Puako is a very distinct shoreline community with numerous dive spots along the public access entries.

If you rent one of our luxurious homes you can enter the waters right in the back yard. The Hawaiian name for the turtle is “Honu”. They have made a comeback in the recent years largely due to the protection status they recieve as an endangered species. Since Tourism dominates the Hawaiian economy we often forget how important it is to protect this special place.

Peter Apo puts it best when he writes his articles “Behind the Aloha”. He states that we do not fully grasp the construct of the visitor experience and the long shadow it casts on hosting communities and their places. Creating a visitor destination is about asking a community to openly and intimately share itself with total strangers. This is profoundly provacative when driven by investment policies formulated thousands of miles away. The challenge of successful destination development requires skillfully managing the complex relationship between the visitor, the guest and the destination, yielding quality visitor experiences and responsible development. Hawaii has a way to go before it can claim to be acting responsibly or that the emerging model is sustainable.

We hope to protect this area with a sensible approach to sustainability. Please feel free to donate to any of the local protection agencies. You can see some of those on our links page @

September 6, 2007

White Mountain “Mauna Kea”

Rising nearly 14,000 feet into the clear blue and green skies over the Big Island of Hawaii lies the wonderous Mauna Kea. This is a very special place to the Hawaiians. It is so sacred and should be approached with reverence and respect. The Hawaiian name for this mountain is Mauna O Wakea.

Often times in the winter you can see snow next to the clouds. Its amazing to wake up and see all of the snow while your sitting under a palm tree on the beach. Sometimes , though rare, you will see the snow glissening on Mauna Loa and occasionally in the past Hualali although I have never seen that myself.

Many of the worlds astronomers use the telescopes on top of the mountain for the best viewing on the planet. Sometimes you can really see them from below and they look like little white golf balls on the summit.

The Lele , or in Hawaiian the Altar, sits on th summit and symbolizes Mauna Kea’s spiritual connection. Visiting Mauna Kea is an adventure allowing you to step back in time. On a clear day you might even see the other islands off in the distance.

James (Kimo) Kealii Pihana is the Mauna Kea Ranger on duty and also acts as the Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner.

September 4, 2007

Kilauea Still Flowing on the Big Island of Hawaii

Recent Status Report, Updates, and Information Releases
Kilauea Daily Update issued Sep 4, 2007 08:44 HST Volcanic-Alert Level WATCH – Aviation Color Code ORANGE
Report prepared by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO):

Activity Summary: The 7/21 fissure eruption continued to supply an open channel which, in turn, fed two `a`a flows – one advancing to the northeast over previous flows and the other advancing along the southern margin of previous flows. The summit and Pu`u `O`o recorded the inflation portion of a DI (deflation-inflation) tilt event starting mid-afternoon yesterday.

Hazard Summary: There are no immediate threats directly from lava flows. A publication detailing the current and potential future hazards posed by this eruption is available at

Vent areas are hazardous and conditions can change rapidly. Access to the 7/21 eruption site in the Kahauale`a Natural Area Reserve is closed (see…). Lava flows advancing through vegetation are hazardous and can produce fire and methane explosions that propel chunks of lava and rock several feet into the air.

last 24 hours at 7/21 eruption site: The vent continues to supply an active lava channel about 1 km long. Two flows issue from the lower end of that channel: a spillover fed an `a`a flow moving northeast and 2-3 seeps on the south side fed an `a`a flow advancing along the southern margin of previous flows. The lower section of channel overflowed infrequently.

last 24 hours at Pu`u `O`o crater: The webcam again showed lots of fume but no incandescence. The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu`u `O`o cone turned around and recorded slow inflation about 1.5 hours after an abrupt tilt reversal at Kilauea summit. Seismic tremor levels are at low values except beneath Pu`u `O`o where the levels are at moderate values. Rockfall seismic signals have decreased in frequency since yesterday afternoon.

last 24 hours at Kilauea summit: The tilt network recorded the expected abrupt inflation starting at 3:10 pm. Seismic tremor levels have returned to low values. A few small deeper earthquakes were located beneath the southwest rift zone and the south flank.

Maps, photos, webcam views, and other information about Kilauea Volcano are available at A daily update summary is available by phone at (808) 967-8862.

Earthquakes located within the past two weeks can be found at

A definition of alert levels can be found at…