A Student’s Trip to the Kahumoku Farm

This next entry is not writing of my own but the experiences of a student of George’s from the workshop by the name of Carol Brown.  She visited his farm and helped to take care of it.  It was originally an email but I read it and felt that this kind of story has a place here.  So here it is.

 

“I’m fortunate to be at George’s workshop in Napili on Maui.  He invited students to visit the farm, so I got up at 4am to take the 17 mile trip to George and Nancy’s home in Kahakuloa.

It was a harrowing journey along a single lane windy road with no guard rails…not a trip for the faint at heart and I was glad that George was doing the driving.  There are stretches where one vehicle would have to back up a long distance if you met another car on the road. There are very few turnouts to get past each other.. but that is what keeps the valley quiet and “local”.

I got to feed the ducks all the organic matter left over from meals.. they murmured softly as the ate the food… I guess that is where the term “lucky ducks” comes from.   I also fed the chickens and collected eggs and know the true meaning of “farm fresh”.  Onolicious.   And then I gave some grains and greens to the goats… there were mama’s, kids and a couple of billies all eager to have their breakfast.

 

I gathered herbs from the organic garden for our dinner tonight. At the workshop we eat wonderful healthy food each day, topped off with Nancy’s desserts at 10pm.  Who could ask for anything more?!

 

Even when George is busy teaching music, cooking great meals for his students and playing host, he still makes sure his whole ohana is looked after, even his critters.

 

 

Being a student at George’s workshop provides the “whole” experience of Hawaii and I’m grateful for the experience of visiting the farm.”


Carol Brown
Halfmoon Bay BC, Canada

 


Slack Key Workshop Day 1

Every year George Kahumoku holds his Annual  Slack Key Guitar & Ukulele Workshop at the Mauian Hotel.  Those who sign up for this event have an opportunity to study Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar with some of the top masters in the genre.   As an added bonus, participants also get to experience George’s top notch cooking every meal, tonight we had beef stew and taro.  As I have stated before George says he loves two things:  music and food.  He just isn’t sure which one he likes more.

One class today stood out from the others and was raved about by everyone who attended. this was Hawaiian Blues How to Jam with Others.  It was taught by Bob Brozman and Jeff Peterson, two of the top guitarists/instructors in the world

Every evening as the final event of the day, and before dessert is served, there is a group Kanakapila.  This is an event where all the students and teachers sit in a circle and have a giant jam session.  Students get to jam with masters such as Dennis Kamakahi, Kevin Brown, David Kamakahi, and Jeff Peterson.  Keoki and George lead the session and students take turns selecting and leading their favorite songs

One year, Auntie Edna Bekeart composed a song especially for our workshop, which she often participated in.  She is now on the Big Island with her daughter (she is 93 years old).  George and his students sing her song every year to honor her.

Afterwards dessert is served!

 

The Injured Baby Goat

George Kahumoku has a large number of goats on his farm, he always exaggerates the number and says fifty but really it’s around thirty goats at any given time.   Recently a particularly adorable baby broke his leg and it had to have a splint applied.  After three weeks the splint needed to come off.  George went into the field accompanied by our faithful herding dog Li’i Li’i.

 

 

Li’i Li’i is a Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix who is a herding dog by nature.  It can be difficult to isolate and capture a baby from the pack by yourself, so it was Li’i Li’i’s job to run interference so that the herd is paying attention to her rather than to George, this way he can sneak up on the splinted baby goat and pick him up.

 

 

At first we had some trouble isolating the splinted baby goat from the rest of the herd but with the help of Li’i Li’i we were finally able to catch him, which was a good thing because we only had twenty minutes to do this before George had to drive down the mountain to do his radio show.

 

 

Once George had the goat in hand I assisted him in cutting the splint off so that we could check his leg. The leg was a little crooked but otherwise healthy and when we released it the baby ran back to the herd without so much as a limp.  He was healthy again.

 

 

 

Dessert First: A Tradition that Needs to Be Spread

When I first met George Kahumoku he was leading a school tour group that I was a part of to learn the culture of Hawaii. Whenever we stopped to eat (which happened quite frequently because George loves food as much as music and gardening) George would always say “in Hawaii we have a tradition: we eat dessert first.”  He would then proceed to order ice cream or chocolate cake before the main course, and the entire school tour would follow his lead.

The Birth of a New Hawaiian Tradition

Years later this tradition of eating dessert first is still being followed by anyone who has ever eaten a meal with George.  Last week we went to IHOP together after a concert at the MACC with George and Sean Na’auao.

Before George even looks at the menu he orders a banana split for the entire table proclaiming, “when I was young I lived with 26 cousins and we never had dessert at all.  So I always said when I’m older I’m having dessert first.”  And now he does.  That proclamation makes me think that eating dessert first is not so much a Hawaiian tradition as it is something that George made up as an excuse to have dessert first, but even so if it’s not an official tradition maybe it should be.  After all, traditions have to start somewhere and who wouldn’t want to eat this before their meal.