Owl Be Back…

He lost it a month or so ago now, when I first mopped the dining room floor with orange oil. I moved our inflatable bed and there was the little green tail, maybe 2 inches long and still wiggling.


Since then I’ve been able to easily identify Jeffrey, my pet gecko, amongst the dozens of geckos that live at our place. I believe he lost his tail in a gecko skirmish, of which there are many. It’s growing back now.


Jeffrey has spent lots of time with me in the kitchen this last week as we prepared for Hurricane Ana – which swung south and missed us but gave us lots of rain and a reason to cook and clean.

We have no cat yet – inflatable beds and the responsibility for a domesticated animal are my reasons.   Still, oddly enough, I don’t feel pet-less. When I moved half of a plastic Home Depot shelving unit into the middle of the kitchen as a work island,


Jeffrey hopped on and looked right at me, his little throat pulsing. Time to bake again, he said. It’s been so long. I’d like a brownie to go with my Coke, thank you very much.

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I baked brownies, and they were good.

So it’s Sunday morning, and I’m baking again. Cookies this time. The Bearded One sits at our little table and reads the newspaper. I woke him early when I thought the water pump might be on fire. It bangs and thumps like a dragon under the house, which is normal, but the smoke smell isn’t.


Turns out it was vog and smoke from the Pahoa lava flow 10 miles away. All the rain on the lava and burning forest.

I smelled it earlier on our walk, too, though it was beginning to dissipate. The air was saturated and there were three dead Cane Toads on the road, lured out by all the water and squished by cars.

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They’re big toads, the size of a baseball glove, and I considered having one as a pet. Lizards, dragons, toads — what’s next? It’s starting to feel a bit like Harry Potter around here.

Jeffrey isn’t around as I get out the baking supplies, so I call for him. The Bearded One laughs from his chair.

Just then I look up and see the flash of a giant wing out the kitchen window. “Look there!” I say. “I can’t believe it!”

The bird is very large and has settled in an ohia tree 20 yards from the window. I can’t see its face, but there are feathers flying everywhere as it jams its beak into the prey. Which I see is another bird.

“Is it a hawk?” The Bearded One sees the beak now, which looks like an eagle to me. And the head is white.


“It’s mid-morning, how could it be an owl?” I say, but I grab the camera and race outside.


I circle around and snap numerous pictures, but I’m not sure it’s an owl until she looks straight at me.

It is an owl. She continues to eat her dove as I watch. I talk to her. She lets me take her picture straight on. She is wild and she is no pet but she is happy to see me, too.


There are only two kinds of owls in Hawaii, the Barn Owl and the Pueo or the Hawaiian Owl which is endangered. About a week ago what I guess to be this very owl flew right in front of us on an early dusk walk, flapped once and took a right turn.

Whatever kind this owl is, I hope she comes again.


27 responses to “Owl Be Back…

  1. It is beginning to sound like you are becoming the White Witch of the Big Island – toads and lizards and Owls……. ‘Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble….’ the rest escapes me now but Will S would be proud!! I am so glad you have a pet, a gecko called Jeffrey no less. Maybe the white owl is a messenger – they are in Harry P right? [I only read the first book and that was way back when it was first published and my students were all mad for him – the details are hazy] I also hope it is a Pueo and will befriend you and not eat Jeffrey! You sound like you are having FUN!!

    • Oh, Pauline, I’m going to look up that section of MacBeth and have a go at memorizing a few lines! lol I loved the Harry Potter books. I waited until they were all published and then read them all one winter. And yes, owls are the messengers. Surely this beautiful owl won’t eat Jeffrey…I feel sure a cat would, though. 🙂 Love and hugs!! xxoo

      • Okay, Pauline, my cohort in poems, here is Shakespeare’s “Song of the Witches” from MACBETH:

        Double, double toil and trouble;
        Fire burn and caldron bubble.
        Fillet of a fenny snake,
        In the caldron boil and bake;
        Eye of newt and toe of frog,
        Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
        Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
        Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
        For a charm of powerful trouble,
        Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

        Double, double toil and trouble;
        Fire burn and caldron bubble.
        Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
        Then the charm is firm and good.

        Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38

      • Those witches aren’t white though – but it is a most satisfying bit to learn 🙂 So no cat as long as Jeffrey is your kitchen helper I guess. I like the thought of you having Jeffrey even if he isn’t fluffy and furry. Arohanui xoxo

  2. Oh how I love Jeffrey 😍 I love little geckos and lizards, and big ones too. Did you figure out what your owl was Christi? Glad you missed out on the hurricane winds too.

    • Mahalo, Cathy…and I just noticed you have an owl on your blog header, too! I haven’t found out yet what kinds she is, but I hope to. Your idea of the ornithological society is a good one and I have to follow through!! I’ll let you know. Aloha 🙂 xxoo

  3. Gorgeous photos…tragic toad illustration (complete with guts)…Love this! And all your pets – who are free and wild and take care of themselves, “thank you very much.” (The only part I’ve read from the Harry Potter books – first chapter, first book…I know, I know. I shouldn’t be allowed to call myself a citizen of this planet because of it.)

    • The Bearded One can’t read them, either. He read the first one out loud to His Majesty back in the 90s when it came out, and that was all he could take. He liked the movies better. I thought it was all brilliant. Remember kids standing in line to buy an 800 page book!? Unbelievable. I liked the Burrow, where the Weasleys lived. Harry’s home away from Hogwarts. I felt a bit like Molly Weasley (Ron Weasley’s mum) with an owl flying up to my kitchen window. lol xxoo

  4. Beware of cane toads as pets, or…at least understand what you are getting into 😉 This from the Wikipedia entry: “Bufotenin, one of the chemicals excreted by the cane toad, is classified as a class 1 drug under Australian law, alongside heroin and cannabis. The effects of bufotenin are thought to be similar to those of mild poisoning; the stimulation, which includes mild hallucinations, lasts for less than an hour.”

  5. You have cane toads as well? Which fool decided to export them to sugar fields around the world without first checking that they are poisonous, inedible to native wildlife and thus immune to being held in check by anything other than napalm and that they breed like wildfire and are as tenacious as heck! All I can say is don’t believe the hype, don’t lick them or you might end up in hospital ;). Sounds like your owl is local and lives nearby so my guess is that you will keep getting visits. I love your nature and your flora Christi. I love reading about your tropical paradise. How very different from your old home! Cheers for sharing it all with us so that we can live vicariously through your adventures. By the way, I am in love with Jeffrey. He is one gorgeous little sexy gecko and he appears to be really fond of you 😉

    • We will not lick any cane toads, I swear. Nor will be adopt one. I thought of them as frogs until I looked them up and read about their unsavory qualities. Importing flora and fauna is a tricky business! I’m learning so much here, and you’re so right, it couldn’t be much more different than Seattle. Baghdad perhaps would be more different. One of the parts I like best is the fluidity between indoors and outdoors. Single wall construction, windows always open. Washing machines and showers often outside. And I so agree about Jeffrey, his attentiveness is noticeable. He has the run of the place. Mahalo for the compliments on the blog, too. I’m so glad we met. 🙂

      • Me too Christi girl, love you to bits 🙂 I have a soft spot for Jeffrey now. I get the feeling that the photo of him on his glass is going to go viral. He is a most handsome little green fellow, reminds me of another green fellow who everyone loved back when I was a kid. One K. Frog. Mr J. Gecko might be the next greatest thing of 2015 methinks and if not, he certainly deserves to be 🙂

  6. I love lizards – especially iguanas, chameleons, and geckos. Jeffrey is a great name for that personable little fellow. How fortunate for him to have found a friend in you! That owl is a beaut. A new friend! Sounds like you’re making friends all over the place. xoxoB

  7. It sounds like the setttlers have settled. Peace and love (already seems like there is more than one can say of it over there), Royal

  8. Cute gecko and very photogenic! The photos of the owl are beautiful too. Glad you missed out on the wind from the hurricane 😀

  9. Oh I meant to add that having lived “up North”, where you had to be alert to fires, I always get nervous when I smell smoke now.

  10. Christine Widman

    “Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and caldron bubble.”
    Halloween Time. Witch Time.
    Your Bufo frogs fit right into that bubbling caldron image.
    We have them here also. One used to live in our oasis fountain which has a deep water well. Our first summer I was skimming the fountain water and something enormous and dark lunged toward me.
    I understood for the first time what it would be like to be scared to death. When I could finally stop my frantically thumping heart and breathe again, I saw this HUGE dark dark green toad sitting along the fountain wall.
    Once I realized my monster was only an immense toad, I too thought, “Wow, an oasis pet.” I googled and found out what kind of toad it was – Bufo alvarius – found out it was one of the largest toads in North America – found out it was extremely poisonous – named it Bufo but never ever attempted to touch it.
    Bufo lived in (or around) that fountain for about a year and then disappeared from sight.
    I think I will choose the sweet lizards that at times come indoors here and are always scurrying around our desert property as my wild pets.
    I am always amazed at the similar occurrences there/here.
    PS Is that saltillo tile I see on your kitchen floor? It looks identical to our tile here.

    • Yes, they are Saltillo tiles. They feel so good under bare feet, don’t they! 🙂 The first owner/builder of this house was an artisan and he was very proud of the kitchen floor, and some of the other wood flooring in the house, too. They are beautiful. The Saltillo tiles might have had a finish on them at one time, but it’s worn off. I just mop it occasionally with water. How do you care for yours?

      Great toad story, btw! “Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog.” xxoo

  11. Christine Widman

    Hi, We just wash the tiles with water also. They are indestructible.
    And YES – so cool on bare feet in 90 degree weather.

  12. Susan Blankenbecler

    Wow, Deborah,
    I was just going through my phone, doing some housekeeping and ran across your blog, and your ongoing story with sweet drawings. It was just interesting enough to keep me going:-), then the Owl eating the dove!! Amazing pictures. Pretty entertaining, since I can relate to most all your adventures so far.
    Love your shares.
    Best Aloha,
    Susan from game night

    • Christi, I didn’t know this was your site, ahh cyber space. Anyway, I saw your comment regarding Saltillo tiles. We installed them in our kitchen in the mainland and the first thing I did was drop a blob of guacamole and the oil penetrated the surface. I freaked out a little ( is that possible?) and found an old tile master who told me Saltillos are meant to last for hundreds of years and they get a patina and more beautiful as they age. This helped me relax but I still sealed them but lived with them for about 10 years and indeed they did get a patina after three kids, dogs, and lots more Gucamole. I also lived the feeling on bare feet:-)

      • Aloha Susan! Yes, this is my blog. I’ve been writing it and the Bearded One has been drawing it for almost 4 years now! It changes with us. I’m behind since the “kids” were here, but will write another soon. I love that you found it and enjoyed it.

        I know what you mean about wanting to care for the Saltillos! Surely there is something that must be done. 🙂 I put lemon oil on the hardwood floor that connects to the kitchen Saltillos and inevitably some slightly oily footprint appears on the tile, but it doesn’t hurt it. Like you say, it soaks in. This house was built in 1990, so there’s some patina I think…or perhaps they used a seal, too, which is still there around the edges of the kitchen.

        The owl blew me away, too. 🙂 Mahalo for your kind words. Hugs and love, Christi

  13. Susan, Hah! Funny thing is I DO have a house building blog, if you are interested: laaupaina.wordpress.com

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