Whale Tail

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

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • 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,

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

    Happy Birthday Ladies!

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

    jaw dropped

  • 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 –Β 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 […]

  • Leave a Reply