Waimea: Cowboys and Turkeys    

Turkey mom and the initial brood
We wake to the sounds of turkeys gobbling. There were no tropical birds singing. We do not hear the sounds of slack key guitar music drifing on a balmy breeze. Nope. We are in Hawaii but get awakened by turkeys, or rather a turkey. The neighborhood has a flock of feral turkeys in residence. Sometimes there has been a huge flock but it seems now there are just a few. Rowshan has befriended a proud mother of 8 chicks (turks?). Usually my parents don't encourage turkeys to take up residence around the house due to their tendency to eat young vegetable plants and shit profusely on vehicles when they roost in the branches above. However, they have grudgingly allowed Rowshan to make himself their guardian because among mother turkey's 8 chicks are 2 yellow ones. No one in the neighborhood has seen any yellow/white turkeys so we are interested in seeing how they grow up. Mom bought Rowshan some corn to feed them (after the breakfast oatmeal seemed to be dissapearing at a remarkable rate). Now, mother turkey will actually call up to Rowshan in the morning. We stumble out of bed, look out the window and see her looking up at us, clucking for

Rowshan and his friends

Aren't they cute?

Turkey mom keeping the kids warm
Aside from the turkeys, Waimea has several other characteristics which don't fit the postcard version of Hawaii. The dominant features of the region are rolling hills and pastures, cattle grazing, a shopping area named for Parker Ranch, and containing statues commemorating a famous Hawaiian cowboy, Ikua Purdy and more recently across the street, a giant cowboy boot, and another cowboy statue. Purdy became the 1908 World Champion Roper on the mainland and is credited with introducing mainlanders to the idea that Hawaii had cowboys. He was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2000.

Ikua Purdy statue

Waimea cowboy boot statue
Cattle were introduced in the Hawaiian islands when they were presented to King Kamehameha as gifts. Like most species introduced to the islands, their population soon soared out of control. In 1833, King Kamehameha III brought Mexican vaqueros to get the cattle under control and start a cattle industry. The vaqueros taught their trade to the native Hawaiians. Hawaiian cowboys became known as "paniolo" which was a version of the word Espanol. Hawaii still has cowboys. I think I read that 12 manage the cattle on Parker Ranch.

Waimea horse
My parent's moved to Hawaii in 2003. They both had lived there before and they talked about moving back and building on their land there for many years. Finally, after they retired, they moved and built the house. Rising in front of my parents' house is the huge Mauna Kea which in the winter, has snow on top. It also has a lot of telescopes because the air here is the clearest in the United States. I should correct that. It is clear on the top of the mountain. Where we are, it seems like most of the time everything is obscurred by a giant, cold, white cloud.

Mom and one of her fabulous quilts

Dad getting ready for Veteren's Day ceremony

Mauna Kea view from home
We also have the daily routine house things to do. Rowshan makes numerous trips to the dump. During one of these he found a fast, decent quality computer that worked almost perfectly.

Rowshan at the dump
So, that is Hawaii for us, cowboys, mountains and cold rain clouds. It is summer and we have our gas fireplace on. But there are many other things that remind us that we truly are in Hawaii. If we drive half an hour down the hill we get to the hot lava fields that lead to the beach (as well as numerous island paradise resorts). Down the other side, we get to the hot, green tropical Hilo side with its waterfalls and lush canyons. There is also the culture here: Hawaiian words have been pulled into everyday English-- ohana, kamaina, ono, mahalo, aloha. Many people speak with the lilt of Hawaiian pigeon in their voice. On the radio, there are a couple stations at least where you can hear slack key guitar as well as the rather surprising jah-waian (Hawaiian reggae). People greet arriving family and friends with leis, and you find flowers and coins placed on stone shrines to Hawaiian gods.

Waimea field

The clouds roll in



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