Whale Tail
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Happy Birthday, Mo

March 19 is a very special day. It’s Mo’s birthday!

Okay, so it’s my birthday, too. But for several years, I was blessed to share this day with Ms. Moreka Jolar in a magical spot on the island of Moloka’i. When Mo is in residence at Hui Ho’olana Retreat Center, she manages kitchen and garden both. I tag along as a grateful visitor while Stewart goes to work.

beauty at hui ho'olana

Photos: Rik Cooke

We have had adventures. Like this . . .

And this!

Mo, Heidi, Rain

But here it is our birthday again, and we are in two different countries — me here in California, Mo way up north in Vancouver, Canada — and I miss her.

Mo is a master cook and gardener extraordinaire, and I will always be grateful to her because (among many other things) when I went crazy for fruit and preserving, she right away treated me as though I would be a natural at it, which gave me great confidence. Mo profoundly inspires me — treating all the ingredients of her life with such care and creativity that beauty radiates from everything she does.

For example, there’s the matter of this package I got in the mail yesterday. When the postal clerk handed me the envelope, I held it up for everyone standing in line to see, and everybody oohed and aahed . . .

But I didn’t let them eat the chocolate inside . . .

You might want to take note and get some of this.

I didn’t go to Moloka’i this year because I wanted to dig into spring here at home — prepping my garden and building a pigeon aviary. Mo is in Vancouver nurturing two new ventures. She and her fellow travelers in beauty — Heidi and Glenna — have started Cook’s Cooperative, where they cater, cook, and teach folks about fresh, local, seasonal food. (How about a recipe for Thai Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup? Frittata with Roasted Squash and Mushrooms?)

Mo is also a traditional birth attendant to some very lucky babies. I’ll tell you, if I were a baby lining up to come into this world, I’d be pretty nervous. I’d want someone like Mo to be the first to greet me!

It wouldn’t be a birthday without Mighty Mo!

Ya hear me girl?

Two Birthday Cakes

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14 Comments

  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse March 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Happy birthday, Shae (& Mo)! Mo’s Thai Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup looks superb. I will definitely be giving it a try. Enjoy today : )

  • Reply CallieK March 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Happy Birthday! We are almost birthday twins- mine was yesterday!

  • Reply Annie March 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Shae, this is such a sweet tribute to your shared birthday, past and present. I am so lucky to know both of you beautiful women! The best to you both! Yah!

    love and kisses,
    Annie

  • Reply tigress March 19, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Happy Birthday Ladies!

  • Reply Mighty Mo March 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    jaw dropped
    speechless
    verklempt

  • Reply Rosemary R March 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Happy Birthday, Shae. I thought of you when I drove through Fairfax in the driving rain yesterday morning. I know that is your neck of the woods. So beautiful. Isn’t it great to have friends like MO ?!!

  • Reply kaela March 21, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Happy Birthday to you both! Hope it was a lovely weekend of birthday fun.

  • Reply Cyn March 21, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Happy Belated Birthday, Shae! Hope it was just as wonderful as your friendship with Mo.

  • Reply meg March 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Sweetness! Hope it was a wonderful day!

  • Reply Susan March 24, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Happy Birthday! I’m glad both of you were born. Thank you for this heart-filled sharing and for the lovely reminders of beautiful Moloka’i.

  • Reply Leslie March 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Happy Belated Birthday from me too, Shae! I’ll eagerly follow the pigeon progress and you’ll be getting a very belated birthday present when the tart cherries come into season for us midwestern folks. Look out! Meanwhile, keep warm and thanks again.

  • Reply Tom | Tall Clover Farm April 17, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I’m sorry Shae, but I must stand to correct you. Yours is not a blog, but an online work of art. What a lovely site, and no less lovely a soul. How glad I am to make your acquaintance. Happy Birthday indeed!

  • Reply Shae April 17, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I can’t believe I took so long to come back here and thank the whole amazing crew of you for these beautiful comments and birthday wishes. Some of you I know closely, some I’ve just met, and some I look forward to meeting in person one day — but every one of you is dearly appreciated. I hope you all are enjoying your spring. XO, Shae

  • Reply Banana Jam & A Hollyhock Cookbook Giveaway! « Hitchhiking to Heaven April 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

    […] creative women whom I know and respect tremendously – Moreka Jolar and Heidi Scheifley. (I wrote about Mo here once before, because she inspires me no end and we happen to share the same birthday.) They regularly write […]

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