Happy 4th of July! I am very proud to announce that my cousin, Cami Iwanaga, is one of the six grand marshals for this evening’s parade! She is so modest, humble and uncomfortable about this honor, that we learned about it just on Saturday in our local paper! The theme is “A Salute to our Hometown Heroes,” and the grand marshals played a critical role in keeping the community safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She is one of two teachers chosen; the other four are in the civil service and medical professions. Cami, who’s been with the Hawaii State Teachers Association for 31 years, was nominated “for outstanding service over the years.”
The parade hasn’t taken place since 2019, and really, the fireworks haven’t either. Last year the fireworks were supposed to happen, but everyone must have thought they noted the time wrong. 8:00? No, maybe it was 8:30? 9:00? By 9:12, people were leaving. There was no official web page or twitter feed for the fireworks in the first place, so there wasn’t anywhere to keep people informed about what was happening. So the general public was just left confused. The next day word was out online that there had been a technical issue, and the fireworks were rescheduled for that day, July 5th. We had already gone to our 4th of July party the evening-of; the 5th just didn’t appeal.
This year the parade started exactly on time at 6:00pm, and the fireworks started exactly at 8:00.
Other July happenings … lychee picking. This year we only have fruit on less than a fourth of the tree umbrella. To me, it seems that many of the areas where we had fruit last year, didn’t bear fruit this year. The fruit that is there is big, beautiful, and red right now. Perfect to harvest. We went out to do that, but first we had to prune low hanging branches that are leaning on tall shade-coffee (the ones growing under the lychee). The lychee tree looks beautiful and it’s huge, but its pruning has been neglected for years. We didn’t do a thorough job even at the umbrella bottom. But even what we did helped open up that pig haven.
I’ve mentioned before that Bea would always prune the lychee when the fruit was ripe. She’d climb the tree in her Crocs and saw off branches, and then Dad would clean up the fallen branches and separate out the fruit. And I’m happy to say that Bea announced a few years ago that she can no longer climb that tree. She doesn’t feel she has the strength anymore to both climb and saw. We and the neighbors are very happy that the tomboy-at-heart will stay earth-bound.
Well, hubby and I aren’t tree climbers. Our technique won’t suffice for pruning and maintaining such a large tree, but we can get fruit hanging about 20 feet and below. Unfortunately, for our lychee tree, most of the fruit is well above that. We use an extendable pole with a saw and pruner that you control with a long rope and handle. Hubby does that job, and I scurry around for dropped branches and fruit (Dad’s former job). After a few splats of fruit on the ground, this year I was told to catch the falling fruit! We must look hilarious. We’re always looking up at the huge tree, then something red drops or rains down, and the lady runs around with a box trying to catch them, or gathers them off the ground. I caught some in the crook of my elbow instead of the box. Many rained on my back or head. Probably 1/3-1/2 of the beautiful fruit cracked upon contact with me or the ground. Boo hoo. If Bea saw us, I bet she wouldn’t be able to stand it, and she’d be climbing up the tree with her hand saw.
Post-picking tasks are to trim the fruit off the little branches, with as little stem as possible, or stems might puncture other fruit when they’re altogether. Sort the fruit into a box of cracked fruit vs. intact fruit. We soak them in a bucket with a little bit of dish detergent, rinse them, drain them in our largest colander, then lay them out in shallow boxes to dry. The cracked fruit get immediately peeled and de-seeded and frozen. The rest we share with others and/or eat.