Kauai: Visiting the Venturas

view from August's

Hillside homestead

Dave was going to get a lesson in wooden bowl-making from one of his in-laws, and we decided to tag along to see the place where Stephanie grew up. The story is that years and years ago the Ventura clan moved to a place in the hills above Kalaheo. Over time, more and more of the extended family clustered around so that now they have a veritable subdivision of their own with houses all right next door to each other.

Our visit started at the house where Stephanie grew up, and August gave us the grand tour. The man is a gardener extraordinaire. I mean, how many people do you know who grow their own coffee beans and macadamia nuts? Or keep a topiary banyan tree? It boggled the mind.

Then we walked down to Les' house, where Dave was taking Bowl-Making 101. It seems that Les is a master craftsman who makes artistic, gallery-quality bowls and other objets, often from discarded chunks of wood. Then we learned he is a champion archer with a huge college of Robin-hood arrows, which is what you call it when one arrow hits precisely in the center of the shaft of another arrow sticking out of the target. Les, too, keeps a huge garden — if he offers you a 'miracle berry', take it! — and, by the way, he fancies himself a musician.

We had to tear ourselves away! The slideshow gives you a flavor of the visit (sidebar).