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Dairy or no? ‘Marmalade, instead?’

We woke to the deluge of rain last week, the same as many in our community. Lying safe and dry while listening to the torrential downpour, my thoughts drifted to the lands sloping toward Mahaulepu — what might happen there if the proposed dairy manages to vault all the common sense and legal hurdles placed in the way of its establishment.

I had a mental picture of tons of kikuyu grass cow patties softening into slush and sliding streamward and oceanward to sully the waters and bring all the environmental warnings out of the realm of prophecy into the realm of reality.

To be sure, I lost some shut-eye in view of a nightmare that could somehow bypass every decent obstacle set in its path, much as did the disgusting slush of my vision.

This was some hours before the phone rang, delivering the county’s message warning of potential flash floods. I struggled out of a hazy dream state, the words of an old childhood poem repeating, “I only want a little bit of butter for my bread.”

Hmm. Where did that come from? I wondered as the rain continued to hammer down. This time my mind went through the normal household checklist, reviewing closed louvers, especially windows near upholstered furniture and beds, and near electronic equipment. Sure that all was high and dry, I returned to my introspection about the Dairy Maid quotations — Aha! That was it. My thoughts about the dairy had activated some long-forgotten corner of gray matter. There was a correlation.

Or maybe it was a non-correlation, because there won’t be “a little bit of butter for (our) bread,” as A.A. Milne wrote in this rhythmic child’s poem. I revisited this the next day, re-reading how the King character desired butter while being assured by the Dairy Maid that “many people like marmalade, instead.” (And “thickly spread.”)

From my experience, marmalade just doesn’t top the list of wants on Kauai, and neither does milk. Actually, a good percentage of our population, being of Asian or mixed Asian descent, is known to be lactose intolerant.

Discounting the local popularity of other calcium-rich food products, and also ignoring what many dietitians and physicians now teach regarding the fact that milk is a highly over-rated food, I focus on the fact that if the proposed dairy manages to hurdle into production, all the milk from the eventual 2,000 dairy cows will be shipped off isle. There won’t be milk or butter or cheese or any other milk product coming to us directly.

Funny how the mind works. This snippet of practically forgotten verse that sneaked into my sleep connected me to when I used to enjoy reading aloud “The King’s Breakfast” to my mother from Milne’s “Now We Are Six.” The dreamed phrase prompted me to find and read the complete poem, understand it on a deeper level, sans English Alderney cows, Royals and their wishes, and — yes — marmalade. It’s definitely about not getting what one wants — and having that altered.

Within 48 hours of that rain-stormy night, the TGI headline appeared bold and affirming in the lead place of page A1: “Another step back for dairy.” Hooray, I thought as I read reporter Jessica Else’s article. There’s hope for the future of our South Shore here as Hawaii Dairy Farms revisits its environmental impact statement because of the position taken by the state’s Department of Health.

However, reading further, I sense a re-trenching position being taken for yet another onslaught to force the dairy’s plan through until it takes hold in the Mahaulepu Valley — this regardless of what negative impact upon the environment the Friends of Mahaulepu have addressed, point by point, regarding earth science flaws in the overall dairy land management plan, and also Surfrider Kauai’s Blue Water Task Force projections after systematic testing of the area’s water to date.

I doubt that any private citizen or regular visitor would dispute that the preservation of our land and our waters, and especially within this Mahaulepu region of Kauai is important. Don’t wait to speak out and take any action that will help toward this goal. Also, watch carefully regarding the HDF’s spokeswoman’s reported quote that addresses their company’s evaluation of the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “more rigorous guidance on responses to comments” having “far reaching consequences to all future development projects that require an EIS.” Or maybe this writer is ultra-sensitive to the iron-hand-in-the-velvet-glove approach that may or may not be a threat regarding any further big-bucks agricultural business showing interest on this isle.

•••

Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author and poet, made her home on Kauai in the 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live with books, music and birds in Wailua Homesteads. Shared passions are travel and golf. The writer’s books may be found in local outlets and on Amazon. For further information, www.kauaiweddingsandbooks.com.

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