Saturday, February 8, 2020

OKK Open Air Market

In the past 3 weeks, all my spare time has been devoted to a community service project. You see, I somehow got into the position of being made the market manager for our town's new "farmers market". By the way, since not all the vendors offer farm products, I'm calling this an open air market instead of farmers market, but it's basically the same thing.

The Ace Hardware, who previously allowed the market to set up on their grounds, withdrew the offer. Ace contacted the area's community service non-profit group, O'Ka'u Kakou (OKK for short), who decided to take the market. So the past several weeks has been a mad scramble to assign a manager, design the market, prepare the grounds, do the paperwork, make signs, etc. This turned out to be a lot of time and work. 

The end result made it all worth it. Opening day saw 28 vendors set up, more than the original market. The town's coffee truck was there. A local group provided music. Everyone told me that it felt like a festival and they loved it. 

There were a few glitches that were fixed as the day went on, and the first day revealed a few design flaws. Nothing serious. Just needs a bit of tweaking. 

Wanna try a cup of Ka'u coffee? 

The second day is rapidly approaching. 8 more vendors want to join the fun. I'm looking forward to day 2, and simply hope that it doesn't rain. If you're in the area, you really should stop by. You can enjoy browsing the booths...talking with craftsmen, farmers, artists...sampling the baked goods and lunch fare...getting a drink at the coffee truck. The market will be adding picnic tables, so please take a seat under the shade trees and enjoy the music. Maybe we can convince some more of our talented residents to come out and provide entertainment. Any interested jugglers, mimes, hula dancers, street actors, and others out there?

Numerous flavors of island honey. Free taste testing! 

One of our vegetables ladies. 

Jams made from local Ka'u fruits. 

Fresh baked breads, a local favorite. 

Local grown mushrooms. What a treat! 

What could be better than fresh squeezed orange juice from our own local oranges! 

Fresh Mexican food.

One of the local musicians. They were great! 

Monday, February 3, 2020

No More Tall Banana Trees For Me

I decided to eliminate my really tall banana trees. First of all, they are difficult to tend. As the trunk grows taller, removing dead leaves and killing any banana roller caterpillars becomes impossible. Plus harvesting the bananas becomes dangerous for me. The trunks weight a lot, and I'm not always successful in cutting them down gently. One of these days I can see myself getting hurt while trying to harvest a banana bunch.

The problem that tipped my decision was that the coqui frogs were getting into them. With trees that tall, it was impossible for me to spray the frogs. So these tall bananas have to go. 

With chainsaw in hand, I buzzed the trees down. Cutting the trunks into manageable pieces, I carted off the trunks and leaves to the compost bins. I filled 11 bins!!! Needless to say, I didn't do this all in one day. Nope. It took several days of hard work. 

Digging out the mats would be quite an effort. Rather than doing that, I plan to simply harvest the regrowth for the compost bins. Whenever a banana tree gets too tall, I'll cut it up for biomass. If the whole mat eventually dies, well so be it.

This clump is beside the chicken pen. I also cut down the clump on the far side of the pen too. 

Banana patch along the driveway is regrowing.  

Since deciding to eliminate the tall varieties, I've been making an effort to propagate the dwarf ones. So rather than cutting away unwanted keikis, I've been digging them up and starting new banana patches instead. With the coqui frog invasion, I've shifted to short banana varieties. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Hawaiian Landrace Limas

Just harvested my first beans from the Hawaiian landrace lima bean vines. As you may recall, I planted 11 beans in one of the greenhouses. That was way back on July 7th. Some seeds didn't germinate because they were old, so I ended up with 6 robust plants.

Those 6 plants took ever the entire 10' by 20' greenhouse. You talk about being an aggressive vine! I could have been more attentive and trained the vines better, but after harvesting the other limas on the left hand side of the greenhouse, I took the lazy approach and let the Hawaiian limas on the righthand side just cross over the ceiling and take over the lefthand side as well. 

So it took 6 1/2 months before the first pods dried down for harvest. Wow, that's a heck of a long time.

The pods I harvested contained 2 to 3 beans. 

In addition, this variety to big on growing leaves and vine, but very skimpy on producing pods. There's not many pods on these monster sized plants, at least not what one would expect as compared to other lima varieties. 

But the variety is unique. The lima beans are very interesting to look at. Large. Not all that plump. Longer than wide. Beautifully marked with black and white. It's the color and markings that I find intriguing. 

So pretty! 

If I were growing this to be a staple crop, I'd need to grow acres of them because of the poor yield. Other limas are far more productive. But I still like this variety. I think that I'll continue to grow it. It will be a novelty crop, rather than a staple. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Equipment Shed

Life has been busy lately. One of my emergency projects was fixing the equipment shed.

First a little background. Fifteen years ago we cobbled together a simple open shed for temporary use. We needed a place to stash stuff out of the weather. We had cut down a bunch of ohia trees in order to open up an area for the solar panels, so we had all those poles and opted to use them for the roughly built shelter. We figured on using this shed for 2, perhaps 3 years at most, therefore we used the poles green (freshly cut) and didn't bother to debark them. Nor did we set them on a foundation of any sort. They sat right on the ground. 

Then life happened, and we never did anything about making a proper open shed. We continued to use this one. It's absolutely amazing that it lasted 15 years! 

In the last storm which dumped 7 inches of rain and blew some serious windy gusts, several of the upright support poles gave up the ghost and snapped. They were so dry rotted that I'm puzzled that they hadn't broken earlier. Not just little sections here and there, but the entire lower half of all the poles were dry rotted right through. Sitting right in the ground had allowed both moisture and fungus to creep up the poles. 

I took a before photo of the damage in order to show you, but I accidently deleted it. But things looked bad. Just imagine 5 of the poles in the front were snapped off at various heights, plus one in the back corner. The roof never fully collapsed but it sure was a wavy, wonky mess. When I came out one morning and saw the damage, my immediate task was to get the dogs out from under the collapsing roof. They have a 10' x 30' kennel pen there. Next was to remove the equipment that I could. 

Hubby was all for pulling out the remaining poles and bringing the whole mess down. David took a look, checked all the horizontal poles and found them to be sound. He suggested replacing all the upright poles with 4"x4"s, thus saving the structure. I gave him the go ahead to try. 

First task was to brace things so that it didn't totally collapse. Next was to acquire a bunch of 4"x4"s. Then by using two hydraulic jacks, David coaxed the roof up one spot at a time, replacing the upright poles, this time making sure that they rested atop concrete.

Using just two of these jacks, David was able to jack up and support the roof while replacing each upright pole. 

Amazing. He made it look easy and simple. 

So after a day and a half, we now have a repaired open shed which should have many years of life left in it.

With the broken poles replaced, the roof is back in position. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

How Wet Is It?

I met "F" in town at the coffee truck today and she asked if I was getting lots of rain where I am. Rain? Gosh, do I have rain? You betcha!! It's been raining a awful lot for the past five years. And recently it's been wet almost every day. This past couple months have been the worst so far.

Here's a photo to show how wet it's been recently. This pipinola is still on the vine......and it's sprouting! Not only is it sprouting, but it's growing roots too. And this is not the only one doing it. I'd estimate that 50% of the mature pipinolas are sprouting right on the vine. Yup, things are wet here.
Green sprouts and roots while still on the vine. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Guess what just came out of the woods.

I had no idea that a hen has been sitting on a clutch of eggs. Looks like she has 6 chicks. 

Sometimes around here I get surprised. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Cat condo #2 - second work day

Rain moved in before much got accomplished. But there's a bit added to the condo, enough to make me satisfied. Little steps are fine with me.

So, the plywood got put up on the walls. The first two pieces of fencing got nailed in place. Then a steady stream of water fell from the sky, resulting in a mad dash for cover. So I....not some cat....became the first to occupy the first cat condo. I can vouch for the roof being watertight. 

The rain never stopped, though it lessened considerably. But progress on the cat pen halted for the day. It's not that I don't work in the rain....I do!!!....but the hammer tends to slip off the nail and fence staple heads when it's wet. So I opted to go harvest the excess plants from the ponds and gather other material for composting, thus filling another compost bin before calling it quits. Time to move indoors where it's drier.