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Bananas



I'm writing to you from an island off the coast of Alaska (Petersburg in
Southeast).  We had snow for April Fool's day here too--wet heavy snow
mixed with rain.  Today is nice, 36 degrees and even some blue sky and
they're saying it might get up to 50 by the weekend.  For a rainforest
that is nice weather.

I tell you that to explain why banana growing places have a certain
appeal!  I lived in Hawaii before coming here 25 years ago and we had
bananas in the little valley below our mountain cabin.  Bananas don't
grow on a regular tree with wood.  They are hollow in the middle and you
can chop one down with a rock.  (Do it in your old clothes because the
sap will turn black and never come out.)  Each "tree" grows only one
stalk of bananas.  After it falls or is chopped down "keikis" grow
up--that is the Hawaiian word for children which is what we called the
new banana trees there.  You should not let more than three grow from one
fallen stalk if you want good bananas.

As you can imagine, this process produces a lot of left over banana pulp
and if you aren't cooking luau pig you probably don't have much use for
it, so banana paper is a good idea.  The banana paper I have seen came
from Thailand I think.  It had big chunks of the banana stalks in it.
Sometimes it is dyed very intense colors.  I have used it for book
covers, being careful not to get a big chunk on the edge because it won't
fold.  It is definately a decorative paper, not something to write a
letter on.

Joyce


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