View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

God's daily protection - again!

Proverbs 30:5  "Every word of God has proven to be true. He is a shield to those who come to him for protection.
Gen 39:21,22  While Joseph was in prison, the LORD was with him. The LORD reached out to him with his unchanging love and gave him protection

 Proverbs 30:5  "Every word of God has proven to be true. He is a shield to those who come to him for protection. 
 Psa 91:10-11  No harm will come to you. No sickness will come near your house.
  He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways.

Yes, F0lks, it has been another adventurous day in the day time drama, The Query's in Hawaii.   Do you notice anything that stands out in the attached photo of the left front wheel of our Volvo SUV?  Yes, you are correct, two brand new lug bolts!  Why, you say, would you put in only two new bolts?  Because that is all that was missing.   And that brings us to the story, because, as you know, there is always a story.

It seems for the last two or three weeks I have noticed a faint rhythmic hum type noise that was in time with the rotation of the tires.  There were no handling issues and it did not track or pull one direction of the other.  And with all the company we have had the past month it was easy to forget about the noise.  Plus I don't drive the Volvo very often since the Camaro arrived, surprise surprise.  

So this morning we were taking the Patterson's to the airport, who spent a couple of nights with us on their vacation to Oahu and The Big Island, when this faint hum becomes a much more perceptible rhythmic metallic sound.  Les comments that it sounds like a bearing going out, but all I see is Dollar signs involving overhauling the front wheel drive axle assembly.  After dropping the Pattersons off at the airport and saying our goodbyes, I decide that it is only 10 minutes to Cotta, the Master Volvo Technician, and have him listen to this and give me an estimate on what it is going to cost to make it go away.  

Cotta is an interesting story in himself.  He has been a Volvo technician most of his life, worked for the Honolulu Volvo dealer until he decided he wanted to open his own shop on the Big Island.  He has more work than he knows what to do with, had three of the vehicles inside his small shop, and no less than 6 outside waiting for parts or to be serviced, and is constantly being interrupted by people like me wanting to know what is causing this noise or why is this not working.  

When we arrive, Cotta is busy waiting on a lady.  After about 5 minutes he comes over, I relate what is going on, he asks me if I have had any tire work done, (NO, he last serviced it a month ago) he jumps in the back seat and I head down the alley to the highway to see if he could hear it.  As we are pulling away from his shop, he asks  "Is that the noise you hear" and I replied "yes".  He tells me to stop, jumps out of the car and looks at the left front wheel, tells me to back up, and then motions all the way back to the shop.  Mind you we are still in the alley, haven't gone more that 50 or 60 yards.  I stop in front of the shop as he walks into his office.  I then notice that two of the five lug bolts are gone, two are about 50% backed out and only one appears to be maybe tight.   Cotta comes out with two new lug bolts, tightens and torques those five and then checks the other three wheels with the torque wrench.  Those were all OK.  

He then relates to me how disturbed he is over this because HE was the last one to work on the car when I brought it in for service and his 100,000 mile check where he checks everything, brakes, rotates and balances the wheels, etc.   About this time I notice he looks whiter than when I first arrived, my stomach is churning, because we both realize that Jeri and I came very close to a major incident.  Only God knows how much longer that wheel would have stayed on if I had ignored the warning signs. 

What scares me even more is that Andy and Leslie had used the car several times while they were here the week before and then Tom and Judie had used it the week before that.   So God's protection extended to all of us.  

The weird thing is that I have had this happen three other times with cars and a pick-up after having tire work done, and know what it sounds and feels like, and this did not feel like or sound like a loose wheel.  I had also washed the car two or three weeks ago and I know the lug bolts were there then.  I had to scrub brake dust off of both front wheels and I dried the rims, so I know they were there.  And that was after Cotta had worked on it.

I view this as another feeble attempt by Satan to derail us from what ever God has planned for our remaining days.   It also gives me fodder for another story of how God fulfills his promises to guard and protect his children.  It allows me to give testimony of the legion of guardian angels that work overtime protecting Jeri and me.   And it, hopefully, gives hope to those that read this that God is working in their lives also when they trust in Jesus for protection and guidance.  I think we will be amazed in Heaven when it is revealed how many times angels interceded for us and protected us when we were unaware of anything happening.   Today, Jeri an I dodged another bullet because God was faithful in fulfilling his promise to guard and protect us until that time when he decides that it is time to come home to Him. 

And Yes, we had a wonderfull visit with Les and Cathy.  Wish it could have been longer.  Les played his first 18 holes of golf, didn't do too bad,  we found more balls than he lost, almost had his first birdie (missed a peacock by inches with a drive).   He taught me how to fly a kite (one of those canopy type that you can control) and I was able to fly it reasonably well and managed not to hit anyone with it. 

Cathy and Les heading for the ocean with wave board and kite
 We were experiencing some strong winds that afternoon on the A beach and saw a wind surfer take off across the bay and went way out in the ocean.   Les then gets this idea of taking one of my wave boards and seeing if his kite will pull him across the water.  The wind is blowing about 20-25 knots so Cathy takes the board down to the water, Les attempts to get on it while trying to control the kite and, well, the wind does sorta pull him and the half sumerged wave board a little ways in the water.  I think if we
Preparing for boarding
Obviously over weight.  
had had a surf board or a paddle board, the venture would have been successful.  As it was there was just too much drag.  Probably too much lead in Les' hind quarters.   

But we had a great time and then went to the Hilton and watched the free dolphin show.  

Despite the over loaded conditions some progress was made.


But the end result was crash and burn. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Visting a live volcano

Steam plume from  Kilauea Volcano
Last week it was doing the Zip line, this week it was standing on the edge of a live volcano.  Yes, folks, it is never dull living on the Big Island of Hawai'i.  There is always something going on every weekend and this week it has been the Kona Coffee festival and the Big Island Farm Show, what ever that is.  We will have to check that out.

We were first privileged to view this phenomena of nature, a live erupting volcano,  back in 1989 and were able to walk on top of week old lava flows and had access to fresh flows virtually within feet of us, the limits being determined by how much heat you could stand.  It is something that was the most exciting thing we have ever seen and is only topped by being able to walk on the temple steps in Jerusalem where Jesus walked.  

A group of fishermen narrowly escape in their vehicle as lava covers a section of Highway 130 in Kalapana, on 17 July 2010
 group of fishermen narrowly escape in their vehicle as lava covers a section of Highway 130 in Kalapana, on 17 July 2010 (picture from volcano web site)
Lava enters Gary Sleik's back garden, burning trees and shrubbery

erupting since 1983

Lava enters Gary Sleik's back garden, burning trees and shrubbery(picture from Volcano web site)
    The current eruption of Kilauea (known as the Pu`u `O`o Eruption) started in Jan. 1983 and as of January 2000, had produced 1.9 km3of lava, had covered 102 km2, and had added 205 hectares to Kilauea's southern shore. In the process, lava flows unfortunately destroyed 181 houses and resurfaced 13 km of highway with as much as 25 m of lava. It has also destroyed the National Park visitor center and a 700 year-old Hawaiian temple ("Waha'ula heiau"). There are no signs that the current eruption is slowing or will come to an end anytime soon.  Hawaii, nicknamed BIG ISLAND because of it's 8 major volcanoes, is currently 4038 square miles (approx. 6 500 square km ) and grows around 42 acres every year thanks to all of mount Kilauea's eruptions.  Since 1983 it has grown approximately 1290 acres.

While all of this is going on, just off the coast of Hawaii there is a new island being formed 

The island of Hawaii, showing Loihi's position southeast of the main landmassʻihi Seamount is an active submarine volcano located around 35 km (22 mi) off the southeast coast of the island of Hawaiʻi[6] about 975 m (3,000 ft) below sea level. This seamount lies on the flank of Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano on Earth. Lōʻihi means "long" in Hawaiian.[4]
ʻihi Seamount is the newest volcano in the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, a string of volcanoes that stretches over 5,800 km (3,600 mi) northwest of Lōʻihi and the island of Hawaiʻi. Unlike most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean that make up the active plate margins on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Lōʻihi and the other volcanoes of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain are hotspot volcanoes and formed well away from the nearest plate boundary. Volcanoes in the Hawaiian Islands arise from the Hawaiʻi hotspot, and as the youngest volcano in the chain, Lōʻihi is the only Hawaiian volcano in the deep submarine preshield stage of development.

ʻihi Seamount
Yellow rocks underwater with a few red and green regions
Yellow iron oxide-covered lava rock on the flank of Lōʻihi

Last house standing, Jack Thompson's place in 2010
I took this picture of Jack Thompson's place while on a helicopter tour of the volcano in 2010.  The following year the Lava finally took out his place.

There are consequences for living on a live volcano.  Ask Jack Thompson and he will give you testimony of thirty years of watching lava trying to burn him and his house alive.  For those thirty years he watched the lava flow on either side of him, but in 2011 the lava had built up so that it finally flowed right over his house. 

Lave flow encroaching on Jack Thompson's place. (2011 News Photo)
taken in 2010 from helicopter tour

The amazing thing is that people who lost their homes in a previous lava flow have had their property resurveyed and rebuilt homes on top of the lava covering their original property. 

Hiker on trail of Kilauea Caldera with steam vents


 We took in the walk through a lava tube. 

Light at the end of the tunnel

We hung around until dusk hoping to get pictures of the lava glow in the steam plume.  Unfortunately it was also raining which provide some really neat rainbows but not so good for the glow.  Maybe next time.  

Double rainbow over Kilauea Calder

Turtles of Hawaii Lizards of Hawaii Snakes of Hawaii Frogs of Hawaii

In 1972, the Jackson's Chameleon (Chamaeloeo jacksonii) was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands from its native land of Kenya and Tanzania. In the last 30 + years, these species have multiplied and formed a large breeding population on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii. In particular they can be found on the Koolau range, Oahu. Their abundance may be underestimated based on the fact that these chameleon's are difficult to see unless you happen to look right at one.

Judie and Jeri caught sight of this one walking on the neighbors power line and I went out and took several photos of it.   
 The longer I live the more amazed I am with this planet we occupy.  I am a died in the wool creationist because of the evidence that surrounds me no matter what part of this earth I happen to be on.  There is such a diversity of plant, animal, insect, fish and bird life that I find it very difficult to entertain the idea that all this happened by chance by evolution.  The colors in the landscape, the sunsets, rainbows, the vast number of animals that make me laugh, all of this created by a God who loves us and provided a world that stimulates creativity and wild emotions.  He could have just as easily provide a boring world that lacked the colors and variety of plants and animals.  I believe it would be a world much like that if it were left to chance.   Since returning to the Island we have been continually entertained by the environment through just being alive everyday and  observing what is happening all around us.  We have been a witness to the creativity of God on a daily basis and daily we thank him.  We were privileged to have lived on the ranch on Pumpkin Ridge for 37 years and saw the beauty he created in Eastern Oregon, and now we are privilege to see and enjoy a totally different part of his world.  What an awesome God we serve!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little of everything

Jeri's sister and brother-in-law, Judie and Tom, have been visiting since the 9th of October and we have had a great time.  Mostly because Tom is hopelessly addicted to Golf as am I and we have played three times a week no matter what the weather is like.  Which is always great here.  Although we did play the Makalai course one day in the clouds and we had to wait on several holes for the clouds to blow by so we could get a bearing on where to hit the ball.  Was like playing in a fog.  But we were able to fight through the adversity and continue on like the dedicated golfers we are.

One of the things Judie wanted to do over here was the Zip line at Hawi(pronounced Ha ve).  Tom and I agreed to go with her(Jeri had already done it) so she made the reservations and then last Thursday we took off in the yellow car and headed up the north coast of the Island.  We first stopped at the Macadamia nut factory for all the samples they put out and a chance to see the production line working.  We purchased a couple of items to snack on in the car.  Had lunch at a little deli cafe in Hawi.   Great pastrami sandwiches. 
Our group consisted of 10 people, two from North Dakota, two from New York, one from L.A., two from the San Francisco bay area, two from Santa Paula and one local yokel, Me and two guides, who were excellent.  One was native Hawaiian and the other was a transplant from Portland, Oregon.  Had a great time with everyone.

The Zip line course took over 8 months to construct and several of the lines required the use of a helicopter to get the lines over the canyon. 

The course consisted of eight Zip lines and one suspension bridge.  The lines ranged in distance from 800 ft. to over 1800 ft with drops in elevation of 60 ft to over 100 ft.  The course is on land that belongs to one of the heirs of the Campbell soup family and the tour group leases the use. 

I went along as chauffeur, tour guide, chief photographer and cheap entertainment. 

Tom, trying to fly with no hands but can't quite turn loose.


I believe this is a Russian troop carrier.  Purchased from someone in Arkansas
North East Big Island coast line
Afterwards we went to the Pololu Valley view area and took in all the beauty that God had made.  It is amazing to see such lush growth come out of lava rock. 
Black sand beach, Pololu Valley

Several of us commented that we were not sure if we had ever seen this many warning signs for anything. 
Tom, Jeralyn and Judie, at Jeri's 72nd birthday
Mike, Jeri and Judy at Bubba Gump Shrimp company

Today was Jeri's birthday and she decided that she wanted shrimp so we went to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for her birthday dinner. 


Judie and I had the Shrimper's Heaven, consisting of coconut shrimp, chilly shrimp, fried shrimp and tempura shrimp with double cooked fries.  Jeri had the Mama Blue's southern charmed fried shrimp and Tom had the shrimp scampi on a bed of linguine.  We had a table on the deck over looking the ocean with just a gentle breeze.  Perfect evening topped off with the waiting crew singing happy birthday and providing a birthday chocolate sundae with a  candle on it.  We all ate wayyyyy to much, but it was sooooooo good.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's happening with the Query's??

It has been exactly a month since I last posted and a few of you have questioned whether we have dropped off into the ocean or what.  Fact is since returning to the Island paradise we have been busy busy busy.   The first week was spent shopping to restock the kitchen and house with supplies and cleaning the lanai and yard from four months of neglect.  We had a yard service that took care of most everything but it was due for mowing when we returned.  The lanai took me a day and a half to wash and scrub down getting all the volcanic dust and bird droppings off.  

My first project goal on returning was to have a solar water heater installed, so I spent a couple of afternoons visiting different dealers and researching on the Internet.  There are basically two types: a passive system which has no cycling pump and has it's own insulated storage tank, and an active system which uses the house water heater for storage and has a cycling pump that comes on when the water temperature reaches a certain level in the solar panels. I elected to go with the passive system, less electric use and it freed up storage space where the old tank set.   There are state and federal tax incentives that recoup about 65% of the cost and the electricity savings pay back the rest in 2 years or less.  We are anxiously waiting to see what our first full months electric bill will be, although it may not show us our full savings since we have Jeri's sister and brother-in-law, Judie and Tom, visiting with us for almost a month.  What we have noticed is there has not been any lack of hot water for showers for four people, and that has got to be saving us a ton of money.  We have also been running the dish washer more since they've been here,  and the washing machine which all takes hot water, so while we won't be able to compare apples to apples, we will still be able to compare bills to months when it was just the two of us here.  

You may ask why solar heating is so attractive here.  The yearly use estimate on the old water heater was 4692 kw hours per year.  It was a 10 year old unit and the annual estimate at 8 cents per kWh was $375, a joke in this state.  Here, where the cost is 45 cents or more per kWh, and the annual cost jumps to an eye popping $2,111 per year.  Took me about a nano second to make that decision. 
With Tom and Judie arriving about three weeks after our return, we started looking at the guest bedroom double bed that came with the house that had very little use by the former owners.  Our bed was a queen but we(well, I) wanted a king with a memory foam mattress.  I looked on Craig's list and there were a LOT of mattress' for sale but I decided that was probably not the direction we wanted to go.  But I did put the double bed on there thinking we would give it a try.  Besides, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sold it the very next day, could have sold it four or five times.  Go figure!

So we then spent an afternoon looking at beds and found a nice memory foam mattress that we both liked.  While I was on Craig's list before, I discovered a guy in Hilo that made wood bed frames that were not elaborate and at a reasonable price so I ordered one of those.  I knew the Camaro was going to be arriving in Hilo any day so I asked if they could have it ready in a couple of days.  That was on a Wednesday.  Thursday Matson Shipping Lines calls and says the car is here, got three days to pick it up before storage fees start kicking in, and oh, by the way, we are closed Saturday and Sunday. I call the frame maker and he said he would try and have it done by Friday afternoon so we would not have to make a second trip. Thursday was an all day affair with the solar heater guy and his crew installing the new system.  And I mean all day, like until 7 that evening which is dark here.

Ah, yes, no more gravel roads.   sigh   
We left home mid-morning Friday to pick up the Camaro figuring two plus hours driving to Hilo, finding the right terminal, and then eating lunch since the afternoon hours for picking up vehicles is 1:30 to 4.  Good thing I allowed plenty of time because somewhere I missed a turn and ended up in the Hilo suburbs somewhere.  The Volvo doesn't have GPS and my Ipad map program refused to show me my location for some reason.  Being a former navigator I knew the harbor was on the edge of the ocean (duh), the ocean was east of us, I could see it, so we kept heading in that direction.  Unfortunately, the county of Hawaii has little concept of laying out streets and roads in an orderly fashion.  Streets will head out in directions but won't connect to other main streets.  Once we finally made it to a main thruway we were fine, but getting there was like going through a maze.  

 After lunch, a late lunch, we went to Matson and picked up the car, which took all of 15 minutes, if that.  Car was as clean as I had left it in Seattle, not a scratch on it, could not tell that it had been on a boat for 14 days.  I will highly recommend Matson to anyone contemplating shipping a car.  Their check-in and check-out procedures are quick and to the point, no hassles, very efficient, very nice people to work with.  

Unfortunately the bed frame wasn't ready until 5:30, so that meant we would be driving two cars home in the dark, which is difficult for Jeri.  But being the trooper that she is, she made it but was exhausted by the time we arrived back home.  

I spent the next two days priming and painting the bed frame, Sunday they came and picked up the double bed, Monday we moved the queen bed into the guest bedroom, assembled the king bed frame and Tuesday they delivered the king mattress.  And yes it is very comfy.   Then went out and bought a workbench and another set of storage shelves and assembled all of that.  

By then I was getting behind on bill paying and book work and spent two or three days getting caught up on that.  In between I managed to get in about two rounds of golf a week.  Hey, lighten up.  There are priorities you know.  Besides, every day here is a gorgeous day for golf and I start having withdrawals if I don't play every few days.   

I am sure you are all curious about the church situation here.  Well, I am happy to report that it is improving, we are two weeks into a four week discovery/membership class with the pastor and 5 other people and that is going well.  We are meeting new people every week, even had lunch with two other couples two Sunday's ago and that went well.  As soon as the membership class is over we will start looking into a care group and get plugged into that.  In the mean time we are encouraged and are thankful for all that have been praying about that situation.  

Jeri heard about a volunteer program to be an after school  homework helper to  kids at the Ulu Wini Community Center.  The church had made an announcement seeking people to volunteer an afternoon or so each week to help kids with their homework.  She called the director to make an appointment to check it out and have him answer any questions.  So she pulls into the parking lot in the Camero and is immediately swamped by 15 kids who are going ballistic over the "Bumble bee".  To say she was an instant hit is an understatement.  One girl said she had 11 cents and  asked if she could have a ride.  Jeri said yes but refused the 11 cents.  Three days later, Tom was getting into the passenger seat and noticed 11cents in the door tray.  We both got a laugh out of that.  

For all you bug lovers, we spotted a new one the other day and have no idea what it is.  It has six legs, wings, and is at least six inches long.  If any one can identify this creature we would be grateful.  Unfortunately we can't find him now and that makes us just a tad uncomfortable. 

All in all, we are thankful for all the blessings that God has given us, we are in good health, feel good, staying active and trying to get involved.  Looking forward to family and friends that will be visiting over the next few months, and the return of my sister and brother-in-law to their house in January.  Miss their company and the time we spend together.  We will continue to pray for all of you and welcome your prayers for us.  

Mahalo and Aloha.