Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Light Eruption Humor

Captured this off of Facebook yesterday. Yes, it's funny. But it's also revealing. Yes folks, the Big Island isn't being covered in lava. Most of us are doing ok. 


Kilauea Summit Explosion Photo

No, there hasn't been a second big explosion. But I came upon this really cool photo of the explosion that had occurred. Everybody is posting photos taken from the ground, but this one was taken from the observatories atop Mauna Kea. 


One of the Keck engineers captured this totally awe inspiring image. Wow! 

Ash and the Farm

Without a good daily rain ..... Oh heavens, am I really longing for rain?.....the light ash is starting to build up. Most of the plants have either a smooth waxy surface to their leaves or have leaves that droop or hang at a slant enough for a light rain to wash them off. Below shows what happens to most of the taro varieties. A light rain creates gray water droplets that build up to large drops, carrying the ash away. 


But some plants have leaves where the ash builds up because the small rain droplets get blocked from flowing off the leaf. Or they are not waxy enough to easily shed the rain. Below is an example of banana leaves. Older leaves are droop readily in rain, thus shedding their ash. Younger leaves are more vertical or horizontal. The whitish grey ash gets caught along the little leaf ridges. I suspect that a  good rain should wash this away. 


Many of my veggie plants have horizontal leaves. Not all veggies, but several. The ash is tending to build up on them and become noticeable. Once the ash has been wet by a light rain, it seems to become plastered to the leaves. I tried hosing the ash deposit off, but most still adheres to the leaves. 


I'm not sure how this will damage the plants, but I can say that it will definitely interfere with photosynthesis. The ash is blocking the sunlight. Plants will grow slower. Thus the plant will be smaller. In turn, the crop will be significantly diminished. Not the sort of news I'm happy about. 

I'm also noticing that the ash is difficult to remove from leaves I wish to eat. Washing the mamaki leaves was more challenging. Getting the ash off the fresh greens, like those sweet potato leaves above, takes more time and effort. 

With the ash sticking to things, I'm more concerned about my livestock. None of the sheep are pregnant right now, but two of the dairy goats might be. So I'm out to purchase hay and haycubes this week for the goats. I'll try to entice them away from eating the ashy browse, 



Volcano Update

Once again we awoke to the smell of sulfur outdoors. Plus the air is as still as a dead cow, so it will be a half hour or so before the sun warms the morning breeze and moves the sulfur out. So I suppose we sit still and suffer the sulfur in soothing silence. (Wow, after all these years I still remember what alliteration is from my high school days!) 

The volcano continues on as it has been. Fissures erupting. Lava flows. Noxious gas. Earthquakes from time to time. New ground cracks. The summit having ashy emissions due to small rockfalls. People suffering the woes of an eruption. Nothing new, just the same old misery. 

 On the farm I am seeing daily ashfalls. Small ash coverings, just enough to be noticeable. I've also been getting a light smattering of rain, the kind that plasters the ash to everything but doesn't really easily wash it off. Just lovely, drats. 


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Piglets

I thought my pig raising days were over. Wrong. These two little guys showed up needing a home. Since I still had the set up for piglets and Adam was interested in playing with piglets again, I opened the farm to two new additions. They're about 9 weeks old. One boy. One girl. The black one is the boy and he's been named Lava. The spotted one is the girl. Adam decided to call her Shelly, short for shelly pahoehoe lava, a type a lava found around the Pu'u O'o vent. When you try to walk in it you leave deep black holes behind. 


They're wild as all heck, but I don't suspect it will take Adam long to tame them down. Adam has learned the power of food when it comes to an animal. Within just a couple days the piglets are coming out of hiding when we "peeeeg, peeeeg, peeeeg". And they will allow us to watch them eat as long as we don't move or talk. That will change after a few more days. 

So what's in that food pan? Yummy food. Milk. Dog food kibbles. Tomatoes. Bananas. Papaya. Scrambled eggs. Cooked rice. Cooked potatoes. A couple of slices of cheese. Every day it will be different. I like to expose them to variety when they are babies so that they will flexible as adults. I don't use commercial pig chow, so they need to eat what the farm produces. They're already nibbling grass too. Good piggies! 

More Ash

Awoke yet again to the fresh smell of volcano in the air. Checking the vehicles and solar panels, it's evident that there was another summit explosion. Yup........8 pm and 3:45 am. Two! 

Looks like this morning's job will be to mop down the solar panels. Just hosing them off doesn't work. Now I'm really thankful that the panels are ground mounted, as opposed to being atop the roof. I surely don't want to be up on a roof stretching to reach panels with a mop! 

This is a good trial for us.....how to maintain clean panels in the future. Our plan called for eventually installing the panels atop the future carport. We will mostly likely still do that but the mounting pattern may be different. Plus importantly, a catwalk will need to be added to the construction so that it will be safe and easy to reach the panels for cleaning. In all the photos I see in books and magazines, no consideration is given to cieaning the panels other than with a hose from long distance. That won't work here with this fine volcanic ash. So we need to come up with a better idea. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Excessive Sphagnum Moss

I'm seeing an explosion in the spaghnum moss growing around the farm. I'm not sure if it's influenced by the constant moisture or the more acidic rain. But the day & night temperatures are conducive for mosses and molds right now, and I'm seeing plenty of both. Out mowing the grass in an area where I've seen small patches of spaghnum moss before, I was surprised to discover that this moss had grown to cover the entire area around the base of the grasses. It was section of pasture about 100' by 150'. 


There's actually enough moss to consider harvesting it. But I'm not sure what to use it for other than mulch or a compost ingredient. And I don't know how this moss will effect the pasture grasses. Should I leave it or take it up? For now I guess I'll leave it and see what Mother Nature does.