Versatile almond cookies

These almond cookies are incredibly versatile. This recipe from Jennifer Mchenry at Bake or Break allows for three distinct variations. The first is the classic almond cookie with or without an almond in the center, the second is a thumbprint cookie filled with jam, and finally a thumbprint cookie with almond butter. These cookies are the perfect companion with a cup of tea (or coffee). The not-so-secret flavor? Almond flour. It makes all the difference.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup (75g) almond flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup (50g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • sliced almonds, for topping the cookies

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

2. Whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk and almond extract.

4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

5. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pans, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.

6. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with sliced almonds.

Or use the thumbprint method to create space for a delicious filling. We used jam and almond butter for another batch. Use any sweet filling that works for you!

Almond Cookies

7. Bake, one pan at a time, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned and the tops appear set.

Cool on the pans for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Let us know how your cookies turned out in the comments below! 

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South Kona restaurants: the 5 best places to eat in 2021

Like most of the country the pandemic has caused a number of restaurants on the Big Island to close – some permanently and others just temporarily. Our up-to-date guide for summer 2021 profiles the best of what’s open again in South Kona. From Kainaliu to Captain Cook, these eateries are great places to enjoy a meal along the picturesque Mamalahoa Highway. Whether it’s pizza, tacos, fried fish, burgers or coffee and a sandwich at sunset, it’s all on the Kona Coast.

1. The Coffee Shack

There’s no place better to sit and have a coffee than The Coffee Shack. With a panoramic view over the Kona Coast (26 miles of uninterrupted horizon line) it’s the perfect pit stop on your way to or from Kona. The Coffee Shack serves its very own coffee grown on the slopes below the restaurant, where 85 year old coffee trees produce Kahauloa Estate Coffee.

Menu highlights include the Pan Sautéed Ono Fish sandwich, the Papaya Special (Half Papaya filled with mixed fruit, lilikoi yogurt & coconut, served with two scrambled eggs with cheese, and coconut pound cake). And don’t forget the French Toast (made with homemade Luau Bread and sprinkled with powdered sugar) or the Kona Lime Pie!

Open Thursday through Monday, 7am to sunset. Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

83-5799 Mamalahoa Hwy,
Captain Cook, HI 96704

808-328-9555

https://www.coffeeshack.com

Drive time from Horizon: 15 mins (8.8 miles)

2. Black Rock Pizza

Newly established, Black Rock Pizza has quickly become a popular eatery with both locals and tourists. Pizzas are made with fresh artisan dough (made daily) and gourmet sauces. Dine in or take out, they have a large menu of pizzas and salads, along with local craft beer on tap.

Menu highlights include the Local Boy pizza (Kalua Pork, Ham, Bacon, Red Onions, Mushrooms, Topped w/Smoked Mozzarella) and the Mexican (Refried Bean Base, Mozzarella, Seasoned Taco Meat, Red Onions, Black Olives, Topped with Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Cold Tomato, crushed Crunchy Tortilla and a Spicy Sour Cream Drizzle).

Open Monday through Thursday 11 – 8 pm, Friday and Saturday 11-9pm and Sunday 10-8pm

82-6127 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook, HI 96704

808-731-6162

https://blackrock.pizza

Drive time from Horizon: 18 mins (10.3 miles)

3. Shaka Tacoz

Shaka Tacoz has quickly become the best place to get the tastiest tacos on the Big Island. You can’t miss the big blue sign right on the highway in Captain Cook. Order at the food truck and then eat inside with a great view out over the ocean. The perfect place for a quick stop when the hunger pains hit after a day of snorkeling or relaxing at the beach!

Menu highlights include everything taco! Choose from pork, chicken, beef, veggie or fish. All tacos are served with onion, cilantro, cheese, lettuce, pickled onion, Shaka sauce, and lime crema.

Open Sunday through Thursday 11-8pm and Friday and Saturday 11-9pm

82-6167 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook, HI 96704

(808) 896-7706

https://shakatacoz.com

Drive time from Horizon: 18 mins (10.5 miles)

4. Rebel Kitchen

Rebel Kitchen prides itself on fresh flavors, local ingredients and their very own hot sauce! Hawaiian-inspired burgers and sandwiches are served along with salads. The menu is sourced as much as possible from local farmers, butchers and fishermen.

Menu highlights include the Blackened Ono sandwich, the Rebel Burger (made with Big Island grass fed meat) and the Thai Steak salad. And don’t forget to try their amazing sauces – Kona Ketchup, Hawaiian Fire Sauce and Mauka Mustard (also available to purchase in-store or online).

Open Tuesday through Saturday 11-8pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday.

79-7399 Mamalahoa Highway, Kealakekua, HI 96750

808-322-0616

https://rebelkitchen.com

Drive time from Horizon: 24 mins (13.8 miles)

5. Teshima’s Restaurant

This Big Island institution is still going strong. Originally a family-owned store, this eatery has been operating as a Japanese/Hawaiian fusion restaurant since 1957. Specialties include shrimp tempura and sukiyaki.

Menu highlights include the Japanese breakfast (fried fish, egg, fish cake and Japanese tea), sukiyaki (thin slices of meat, tofu, and vegetables cooked in soy sauce and sugar) and “Kona Up-Country” Chop Steak! Drop in and find out why Teshima’s continues to be a local favorite.

Open Monday through Sunday – 7-2pm for breakfast and lunch and 5-9pm for dinner.

79-7251 Mamalahoa Hwy
Kealakekua, HI 96750

808-322-9140

https://www.teshimarestaurant.com

Drive time from Horizon: 25 mins (14.5 miles)

All these great restaurants are just a short drive from Horizon Guest House and located along the stunning South Kona Coast section of Mamalahoa Highway. 

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Sunny’s shoes: a visit from the farrier

The rocky terrain in Hawaiian pastures can be tough on horseshoes due to the unforgiving volcanic rock. As a result it’s important that Sunny’s shoes are checked regularly and kept in good shape. When the shoes need attention it’s time to call in the farrier!

Sunny Big Island HGH 10
Sunny waits patiently with Poncho in the background

What does a farrier do?

Farriers are specialists in hoof care for horses, and also donkeys. The profession itself has a long history, dating back hundreds of years.

The word farrier derives from the Latin ‘Ferrarius’, meaning ‘iron’ or ‘blacksmith’. Before there were farriers, who worked almost exclusively with horses, it was the blacksmiths that made and fitted the horseshoes.

The farrier’s job consists of the following key elements:

Observation – they must have a keen eye for when a horse might be injured or about to become lame. They must also be able to identify other illnesses or infection related to a horse’s hooves.

Trimming – it’s important that the length of a horses hooves are properly maintained. A farrier will use rasps and nippers to remove excess hoof material. 

Cleaning – a horse’s hooves need to be kept clean to avoid infection. Farriers need to carefully cut out excess hoof walls, dead sole (dead material in the hoof) and dead frog (a thrush infection, usually a black goo) if present. 

Sunny Big Island HGH 12
1. Cleaning the hooves
2. Using the nippers to clean
Sunny Big Island HGH 8
3. Fitting the new shoe
Sunny Big Island HGH 9
4. Attaching the new shoe

Our local farrier

Every six weeks it’s time for Sunny to get new shoes. Our longtime farrier, Cliff Lorenzo (above), has been doing our horses here at Horizon Guest House for many years. Cliff shoes horses on the Big Island and Maui. Among his clients are the many ranches on the Big Island, including McCandless Ranch which borders the property.

Don't forget the nails!

After the shoe has been fitted it’s time to file down the nails. Cliff uses a custom made horse stand to make it easier for him and the horse.

Where did the horses come from?

Horses were first brought to Hawaii in 1803 as a gift to King Kamehameha I. Soon after, the cattle trade increased and so did the need for horses and experienced cattle handlers. Horses became the standard mode of transport on the growing number of ranches and continue to be used on the ranches today for cattle control.

What about the donkeys?

Donkey’s are best equipped for rocky terrain and usually have sturdy hooves that don’t need shoes. Poncho and Lefty (above) don’t have shoes and the rocky environment tends to wear away any excess material on their hooves. They can even trim their own hooves in the right environment by rubbing their hooves against rocks if they need to!

The Big Island’s ranch culture has meant that farriers continue to be in demand today, making sure that horses like Sunny are kept shoed and able to comfortably graze the rocky pastures.

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Bees on the Big Island

Big Island Bees
Photo credit: hawaiimagazine.com

Bees are big business on the Big Island. It’s where 90% of all hives in the Hawaiian Islands are located. Beekeeping happens year round. Between November and January there is a reduction in the available nectar but soon after January the Macadamia nut trees flower, the nectar is plentiful again, and the bee populations increase!

Kona Queen Hawaii Photo by Ronit Fahl
Kelly O’Day, Kona Queen Hawaii. Photo credit: Ronit Fahl

Did you know

European bees were introduced to the islands in the late 1800s. 80% of food production on the Big Island requires bee pollination. Producers of coffee and macadamia nuts need the help of honey bees. Those who supply avocados, lilikoi and other crops to farmers markets are also reliant on bees for helping propagation.

  • Sales from bee-pollinated crops in Hawaii are more than $200 million.
  • There are approximately 15,000 hives in Hawaii.
  • Hawaii’s honey production was $3.2 million in 2018.
  • Hawaii supplies 25% of the queen bees on the Mainland and 75% of those in Canada.
bees3 Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House
Photo credit: HomesteadinHawaii.com

Queen bees are exported from Hawaii to the rest of the world. Hawaii exports more than $10 million a year in queen bees. Because of the climate Hawaii is able to supply queen bees all year round. 

Queen bee shipping cage. Photo credit: Ronit Fahl

The majority of the queen bee producers are here on the Big Island. These include Kona Queen Hawaii. While Kona itself provides the perfect weather for cultivating queen bees – warm weather, not much rain – Hilo, with its high annual rainfall is less ideal. However, this environment still produces some unique nectar flows.

Photo credit: Big Island Beekeepers Association

Plants that help the bees

The Big Island’s many climatic zones create numerous areas for beekeeping to take place.The amazing variety of flowers means there are a large number of specific nectar flows, resulting in some amazing honey varieties. There are a number of artisan honey producers that supply these type of niche flavors, including those produced from the Ohia Lehua and Christmas Berry trees.

Varroa Mites

In the 2000s varroa mites almost completely destroyed the beekeeping industry on the Big Island and Oahu. As a result, importing bees into Hawaii is now illegal.

Bee Culture Big Island Hawaii
Photo credit: beeculture.com

What do bees need in the tropics?

Bees need the morning sun and then later in the day they need some shade. If bees are grown at slightly higher altitudes, then full sun may be suitable since the overall temperature may be cooler. Bees also need easy access to water. This might be as simple as a bird bath or a shallow dish of water. Shelter from the wind is also needed, since wind can cause rain to be driven into the hives, disrupting the temperature of the hive. Bees also like their privacy, and flourish when kept away from heavy foot traffic or other human activity.

Big Island Bees Hawaii Horizon Guest House
Photo credit: manoahoney.com

Types of honey

Pure Honey: This means it’s 100% honey, no other ingredients (such as corn syrup).

Raw honey: Is pure honey that has not been heated to the point of pasteurization – retaining all the extra goodness of honey, such as the natural enzymes and vitamins.

Organic honey: Organic honey is produced using pollen from only organically grown plants (no pesticides).

Unfiltered honey: Is honey that has not been filtered – the process by which very small particles are removed. This makes the honey close to the honey that is removed directly from the hive.

Where to get it!

Big Island Bees
Photo credit: Jeffsetter.com

The Big Island Bees honey farm is only a short drive from Horizon Guest House. Visit the farm and experience a beekeeping tour, visit the museum and enjoy a free honey tasting! 

The Big Island is the home of Hawaiian honey, so make sure you try some of Hawaii’s best kept secret!

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Off the beaten track: Ho’okena Beach Park

South Kona has many hidden treasures and one of them is Ho’okena Beach Park. Tucked away at the end of a winding road through ranch land and quietly grazing horses, this hidden beach is an understated local favorite.

Ho’okena Beach Park is located in South Kona on the west side of the Big Island. Camping, swimming, snorkeling or boogie boarding – Ho’okena has it all. Nestled at the end of Kauhako Bay near the cliffs, the beach consists of a mix of black and white sand. The sand can get hot so make sure you pack your flip flops. A line of large trees along the beach edge creates an oasis of shade, making it the perfect spot to spread a blanket and have a picnic.

Where is it?

Hoʻokena Beach Park is located 20 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Highway 11.

Directions from Kailua Kona

Turn right onto Hoʻokena Beach Road just after the 102 mile marker. Follow the road down to the beach park (approximately 2.5 miles). When you reach the end make sure you take a left down a narrow road to the parking lot.

Directions from Hilo & Volcano

Head north on Highway 11. Continue past the 101 mile marker and Kealia Ranch Store. The next left will be Ho’okena Beach Road. Look for the big green road sign.

Amenities

Concession stand with ice, food, cold drinks, ice cream, camping and beach supplies (credit cards accepted)
. Outdoor showers, county restroom facilities, 
camping
 parking
 and picnic tables. 
No pets allowed.

There are sites available on the beach for tent camping. A permit is required. For more information, check out Camp Ho’okena.

The History of Ho'okena

In the 1880s Ho’okena Beach Park was the location of a steamship mooring site. At the time Ho’okena village was a vibrant port, with trade bringing prosperity to the area. There was a wharf, school, courthouse, livery stable and jail. Robert Louis Stevenson stayed a week in Ho’okena when he visited the Big Island in 1889. He mentions Ho’okena in ‘Travels in Hawaii’.

In the early 20th century Ho’okena village began to decline as steamship visits were reduced. By the late 1920s the wharf was receiving so little in the way of regular freight that stores as well as the local post office were forced to close. Storms in the 1930s permanently damaged the landing at Ho’okena and gradually the town’s population dwindled as residents moved further inland to be closer to the highway.

Termites and then an earthquake in 1951 caused the Puka’ana Church to collapse. Take a hike north along the beach to view the old church ruins, stone house platforms and what remains of the old wharf.

Support Ho’okena

The Friends of Ho’okena Beach Park (FOHBP) was formed with the express purpose of preserving the cultural integrity of the beach. Part of this objective is developing sustainable business opportunities that both enhance the beach and provide employment to the local community.

Ho’okena Beach Park is steeped in local history. The site of a once important commercial port as well as the site of one of the last Hawaiian canoe fishing villages in Hawaii. The beach itself offers great swimming as well as snorkeling without the crowds seen at nearby Two Steps. Bring your lunch and make a day of it or camp out overnight – sunsets at Ho’okena Beach Park are worth getting off the beaten track for!

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Chocolate brownie pecan tart

Chocolate brownies are the best, so why not turn them into a fabulous tart! One of the best things about this easy recipe is the homemade pastry crust. Don’t worry if you’ve never made pastry before, it’s a straight-forward recipe and easy to make (and a lot better than store-bought). Perfect for the holiday season!

Make the pastry

Put the flour, cocoa, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add butter and pulse again, until you have a sandy texture and the butter has disappeared into the mixture. Pour mixture into a bowl. Add ice-cold water (1 tbsp at a time) mixing in between until the pastry comes together in clumps. Don’t over work the pastry or it will become too tough. Tip onto a sheet of plastic wrap and draw up on all sides – gently press the pastry into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes (you can also freeze for up to 3 months).

Heat oven to 350F. Roll out the pastry and use to line a 9.5-inch tart tin. Chill for 15 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the fridge. Line with baking paper and baking beans and bake for 10 minutes. Take out the beans and paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Let sit while you make the filling.

Make the filling

Melt the butter and chocolate in a large glass or metal bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Remove bowl from heat. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla, then the flour. Stir in the pecans, pour into the tart case and bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool and then serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Let us know how your tart turned out in the comments below! 

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Easy to make cinnamon & raisin bagels

This is our very own hybrid bagel recipe. A combination of what we’ve found works best and results in the most delicious, chewy bagels. Bagels have a reputation for being time-consuming and difficult for beginners. We disagree! This easy to make recipe for cinnamon and raisin bagels couldn’t be easier, and don’t let the boiling part put you off, it’s not as hard as it looks –  in fact, it’s a lot of fun.

In a mixer bowl sprinkle the yeast over 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water. Add 1/4 tsp of sugar and stir gently. Allow to sit in a warm room until the yeast dissolves and is foamy (about 5 minutes). 

Sift together the flour and then add to the bowl along with salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla. 

Mix until combined by hand.

Kneading by hand

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes by hand.

Add the raisins and cinnamon, fold in until combined. The dough should form into a ball easily and be smooth and not too sticky to handle. Add additional flour if necessary.

Place the dough in a bowl which has been lightly greased with oil, cover and allow to rise (about an hour in a warm room or until doubled in size).

After your dough has doubled, punch it down and allow it to rest for 1 to 2 minutes. While it’s resting, preheat your over to 400F and cover 2 cookie sheets or baking pans with parchment paper. 

Whisk together the egg and 1 1/2 teaspoon water to make an egg wash.

Turn your dough onto a floured surface and divide it into the number of bagels you require (makes 8 large bagels).

Shape each piece into a ball and using your thumb make a whole in the middle (or roll out each piece and then join to make a doughnut shape). Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place.

Time to boil the bagels!

Bring a large pot 2/3-full with water to a boil and add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the baking soda.

Place 3-4 bagels in the water at time. Cook for 1 minute and the flip to boil the other side for 1 minute. Remove from boiling water using a slotted spoon or a strainer.

Place the bagels on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the sheet with cornmeal (so your bagels won’t stick).

Brush bagels with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Cut in half before freezing – this makes it easier to place straight into the toaster 

Happy bagel making! Let us know how your bagels turned out in the comments below! 

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Making Paul Hollywood’s rainbow bagels

The British Baking Show (aka The Great British Bake Off) is on constant rotation here at Horizon Guest House. In one of the TV show’s latest episodes the contestants were asked to bake rainbow-colored bagels for their technical challenge. This recipe is a little more work than the average bagel recipe but the vibrant results are well worth the effort. Have fun and celebrate all things Pride! (don’t worry, the food coloring doesn’t change the great bagel flavor!).

You will need five mixing bowls (one for each colored dough), two baking sheets (greased and lined with baking paper) and two proving bags. 

Place flour in a mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side and the sugar and salt to the other. 

Add three-quarters of the water and, using your fingers, mix together. Add the remaining water, bit by bit, until all the flour is incorporated. This should give you a rough dough.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5–10 minutes.

Once you have a soft, smooth dough, divide into 5 equal pieces. 

Cover the pieces of dough with a damp tea towel. Working with one piece of dough at a time, turn each into a different colour.

Add 3 pea-sized drops of food coloring onto the dough, then fold up and over the colouring. Knead to an even colour. You may need to add more coloring to achieve the correct level of brightness. Add additional drops one at a time. Place the coloured dough into a greased bowl.

Repeat the process with the other four pieces of dough until you have five brightly coloured pieces of dough. Cover each bowl and leave to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size. 

Turn out each piece of colored dough, one by one, onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out each piece to a 8″x 5″ rectangle. Set each piece aside.

Place the orange rectangle of dough neatly on top of the red. Add the yellow, green and blue rectangles, until you have a stack of five layers of dough – red at the bottom, then orange, yellow, green and blue. 

Cut the stacked dough into six 8″ x 2″ wide slices, slicing down through the layers, so each strip has five layers of colour. 

To shape the bagels, lay one of the stacked dough strips on your board and place the palm of your hands at either end.

At the same time, move your right hand forwards and your left hand backwards to twist the dough into a rope about 10 inches long. Pinch the ends together to form a circle and gently roll the join back and forth to seal. Repeat with all the pieces of dough.

Place the bagels on the lined baking sheets, then into the proving bags. Leave to prove for about 20 minutes, until risen and puffy.

While you wait, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) / 350°F (180°C) fan / Gas 6.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the baking soda (this will help give the bagels a shiny, chewy crust).

Plunge the bagels into the boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time depending on the size of your pan. Cook for 30 seconds on each side, until the bagels puff up and the shape sets. Allow the water to reach boiling point again between each batch of bagels you plunge.

Using a slotted spoon, remove each bagel from the water and place back on the baking sheet (note: if you like you can sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheet to ensure the bagels don’t stick to the sheet).

Bake the bagels for 25–30 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

rainbow bagel Hawaii Horizon B&B

Serve with your favorite bagel toppings!

Bagels are best enjoyed fresh so if you’re not going to eat them soon after baking it’s best to freeze them. The best way to do this is to make sure to cut them in half first – that way you can put them straight into the toaster from the refrigerator when you want to (no need to hurt yourself trying to saw a frozen bagel in half!).

We hope you enjoyed Paul Hollywood’s bagels. How did your rainbow bagels turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Integrating solar hot water on the Big Island

Solar hot water Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii

The Big Island is known for sun, surf and adventure. Here on the Kona Coast we have an abundance of sunny days that make it the perfect location to install solar panels. Horizon B&B has integrated solar hot water to help reduce the cost of heating water by electricity. This system is simple to implement and low-maintenance.

Domestic solar hot water supply

The Horizon Guest House domestic hot water supply is supplemented by a separate solar system. First installed over twenty-five years ago, the solar panels are all located in positions to best maximize the power of the sun.

There are two solar panels located next to the vegetable garden. Water is pumped from the house to the solar panels whenever the sensors on the panels detect that the temperature of the panels is greater than the temperature of the hot water heater in the house. When this occurs the pump system is activated. The water is circulated out to the panels, heated, and then sent back to the house.

Delta-T thermostat on the hot water heater

Swimming pool solar hot water

The solar system is also used to heat the swimming pool water. A larger bank of panels is located on the hillside below the pool. On sunny days, the sun heats a sensor near the pool. This sensor compares the temperature of the water in the pool with that of the temperature of the panels. When there’s enough temperature difference between the two, a valve opens and water is sent to the solar panels to heat the pool. When the sun goes away, the sensor cools and it automatically shuts the valve.

Solar hot water Horizon

Guest wing solar hot water supply

There is a separate bank of solar panels to heat the domestic water supply for the guest wing. These panels are located on the hillside below guest room number 4. When the sensor heats to a certain level, the water is circulated to the panels.  

The sensor on all three banks of solar panels will activate the circulation of water when the temperature difference reaches 15 degrees. For example, if the temperature in the hot water heater is 127 degrees then the temperature in the solar panels needs to reach 142 degrees before the valve will open and the water is sent out. We have set the hot water heater to switch to electric only when it goes below 110 degrees. As a safety precaution the temperature shut-off is 160 degrees. This is to avoid sending water that would simply be too hot back to the water heater. The water sent to the water heater remains at temperature for 2-3 days due to the water heater being well-insulated.

Solar hot water helps heat our outside shower

The solar hot water system has been a great way to utilize the power of the sun to help heat the water needed to run the bed and breakfast. These systems are relatively easy to install and the differential temperature thermostat is key to integrating solar panels with a standard electric hot water heater.

Further reading:

In 2010 it was mandated that solar water heaters be complusory on all new single-family homes constructed in Hawaii.

https://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-news/solar-hot-water-heaters-mandatory-in-hawaii

 

 

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It’s a lockdown life: dispatches from the Big Island

ATV Horizon Kona Hawaii

It’s early spring and like much of the rest of the world we’re adjusting to life in lockdown. Tourists have all but fled and the residents are hunkering down as we all do our best on the Big Island to flatten the curve. Like the rest of you we’ve been grappling with the new normal here at Horizon, so we decided to turn our blog microscope to life behind the scenes at HGH.

On March 25 everyone in Hawaii was required to stay at home or in their place of residence. The next day the state of Hawaii mandated a quarantine period of 14 days for all visitors to the island. Cancellations came thick and fast. But while we might not have any guests due to the lockdown it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of chores and projects to work on.

Coffee Clem HGH
The day always starts better with coffee!

Then on April 1, all persons traveling between any of the islands in the state of Hawaii became subject to mandatory self-quarantine.

Arrived just in time...

Meanwhile, thousands of miles to the south in New Zealand, Clem’s partner Angus was trying to get to Hawaii having just had his immigrant visa approved. After many flight changes, and frantic packing, Angus caught one of the last flights out of New Zealand before the government announced the country was going into lockdown.

Almost exactly four years after they first met, and after time spent in both countries, Angus arrived in Hawaii as a newly-minted permanent resident. 

Finally! It was time to get on with their lives together. Unfortunately, Angus arrived just before the lockdown was enforced. After careful deliberation it was decided it was sensible to quarantine, just to be on the safe side (luckily he was fine).

Clem & Angus
Angus and Clem, New Zealand, 2019

With contact not allowed (not even a hug!) and social distance mandated at all times, Clem whisked Angus back to Horizon and into 14 day quarantine.

Alone together was the new normal. At least for the following two weeks! But spring was in the air, the weather was good, and it was perfect timing for some landscape gardening. 

Around the house

Before After

First up, landscaping and weeding around the guest rooms. Garden maintenance is always done on a regular basis but with more time it was a great opportunity to tackle the bigger jobs.

Datura HGH Big Island Hawaii

Angus works on cutting back the overgrown datura to the level of the rock wall in front of the guest rooms. Hedges between the guest rooms are trimmed and sculpted. 

Datura Big Island Hawaii

After mowing the lawns it’s time to rake up the clippings.

Pro tip: use grass clippings to cover any sections of your lawn that are struggling.

Grass clippings are good for your lawn because they act like a natural fertilizer since they contain water and nutrients (like nitrogen) – all the good things to keep your lawn in a healthy state. Left on the lawn the clippings decompose and release water and nutrients back into the soil.

Pond Life

Pond Horizon Guest House B&B Hawaii HGH

Overgrown weeds cleared, and ferns cut back. The garden around the pond is weeded and the red anthuirums once again emerge, taking pride of place! 

Garden Hawaii Big Island Horizon HGH

Pineapples and lizards

Next, the pineapple grove. A good crop of pineapples has grown well in this part of the garden and with a harvest not to far away it was time to clear the dead branches from the papaya tree and get to pulling weeds.

Joining the gardening team was this little lizard. At first suspicious, it soon appeared to like hanging out with (and on) Clem! 

A visit to the upper pastures...

Sunny Horizon Guest House
Poncho and Sunny

Poncho & Lefty (the donkeys) and Sunny (the horse) were curious onlookers to all of this activity. A midday break for lunch and a visit with the gang was in order.

Next on the agenda, a change of pace – down the driveway to the warehouse.

Cleaning up around the warehouse

Rubbish run Horizon Guest House Hawaii B&B

Everyone accumulates clutter and Horizon is no different. The warehouse, on the lower slopes of the property, was in need of a spring clean and then a run to the refuse station down the highway for a rubbish drop off.

Recycling was also sorted. Cans, bottles and cardboard were put aside for a separate trip to the recycling plant in Kona.

Rubbish cleared. Check. Progress made. Check. Staying hydrated in the heat? Check.

Mowing and more mowing...

Rideon mower Horizon Guest House Hawaii HGH

Staying on top of all the mowing that needs to be done on the property is almost a full-time job. However, it’s made significantly easier by the use of both a ride-on mower and a tractor with a mower attachment – to tackle the rocky pastures that need to be cleared.

Fun fact: Wild Pigs. Normally cute, especially the piglets, wild pigs can cause havoc on the property. Whether rooting about in the garden devastating crops of bananas or pineapples – or anything remotely edible – pigs are tough to keep out (finding ingenious ways to dig under the boundary fences to get in). By keeping the pastures clear of long grass it makes it easier to hunt the pigs and protect the Horizon crops from being plundered.

Tractor closeup Horizon Guest House Hawaii B&B
Clem about to mow on the lower pastures

Whether with guests or without, a day at Horizon wouldn’t be complete without another sunset. Tools down, gloves off, and dinner watching the sun disappear over the Pacific Ocean on the Kona Coast. A pretty good reward for a day’s work keeping Horizon Guest House in shape. Look out for details on our spring planting in the vegetable and herb gardens in the next lockdown dispatch.

Sunset Horizon Guest House Kona Hawaii HGH
How have you been spending the lockdown? In the garden? Spring cleaning the house? Keeping busy with arts and crafts? Baking? Let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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