Atop the valley

A great view from the top of the Pololu Valley. (Kendra Powers/Community contributor)

Island Life: Bitter but beautiful

A bitter melon (Momordica charantia) seen on the Walua Trail on Sept. 11. When this gourd turns orange, it is poisonous. (Bob Viggers/Community contributor)

How a praying mantis says ‘boo!’

From a distance, the dead leaf praying mantis resembles its namesake: brown, crispy and still. Inch a little closer and it looks the same. But go even closer — too close — and a transformation occurs. The mantis whirls around, spreads its black-patterned wings and puts its arms behind its head in a pose reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” showing off shocking red undersides.

Researchers predict location of candidate for mysterious dark energy

Astronomers have known for two decades that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, but the physics of this expansion remains a mystery. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has made a novel prediction — the dark energy responsible for this accelerating growth comes from a vast sea of compact objects spread throughout the voids between galaxies. This conclusion is part of a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Gretchen’s table: Barbecued pork pierogies

Pierogies are pretty easy to make at home because dumpling dough is softer and more pliable than pasta dough and therefore easier to roll out. There’s no yeast or rising time — just a brief resting period. Another plus: Making your own dumplings puts you in the driver’s seat with the fillings. The classic mashed potato and cheese ‘rogi is but one option.

Busy back-to-school season calls for easy sheet-pan suppers

If you are a teacher or a parent, back-to-school season can mean a ramped-up schedule with less time to cook. If you’re a college student in your first apartment or dorm room, you might be cooking for yourself for the first time. And no matter who you are, the pandemic means you’re probably cooking at home more than you used to.

The cucumber that ate Kona is back again!

Way back in 1995, a mysterious vine began to pop up all over the lowlands of West Hawaii. It also showed up on Oahu about the same time. The University of Hawaii Agricultural Extension offices began to get calls that Kudzu Vine was sprouting up all over and covering shrubs and trees.

Island Life: Rat snack

A hawk perches in a Captain Cook monkeypod tree with its rodent meal. (Clint Zavodny/Community contributor)