Sunday, May 17, 2015

Answers for TresJoile

Questions are always welcome! Since I don't know if TresJolie knows how to have replies to her comments emailed to her, I've opted to make this post. 

1- Obamacare? I've read in the newspapers that many people in Hawaii signed up under Obamacare. So for some people, the new system was a benefit. For many people though, their medical premiums skyrocketed (often doubled!) while at the same time the coverage plummeted. Not so good then. 
2- Are goats good for clearing land? Yes and no. There is a lot of vegetation here that is too tough or inedible for goats. But many people use them to help keep the brush and coarse grasses from growing back. 
3- Do you suffer actual hate? Racial prejudice occurs in Hawaii, and some regions are worse than others. Ka'u has a reputation for being a spot where everybody fits in, meaning that were all a bit odd....some more so than others, plus we are pretty tolerant of the oddness in others. And while some Hawaiian and local types may flair into a flurry of racial slurs during an emotional outburst, generally most people in Ka'u are willing to let live. 
4-Solar electric installation. Frankly, the vast majority of off grid systems are installed without permits nor licensed electricians. Nor licensed contractors. People either do their own, have the solar guys do it, or have a knowledgable neighbor do it. 
5- Straw bale gardening. Straw around here is imported from the mainland and thus is very expensive. Expect to pay $35 a bale or more. So straw bale gardening isn't practiced here. 
6- We are both 64. You're just a tad younger than us. Many people arrive here in their mid sixties. 
7- The challenge of gardening. Soil, wind, and weather conditions can change here every few miles. Some areas are better for gardening than others. Regardless of where one gardened before, new gardeners here need to learn the local quirks, pests, and diseases. While it's not a whole new ball game, there is plenty of things that are different. 
8- How to stop abandoning pets. That's a big question. Animal welfare groups here push for neutering and microchipping. The goal is to stop the glut of excess animals and to have permanent ID. There is no SPCA in Ka'u, nor any plans to build one. So abandonment is a problem. 


  1. Su Ba, thank you so much! I mean Mahalo! I'm so honored to have a blog for all my questions to be answered! Thank you for taking the time to do so. Your blog is a gold mine for people contemplating a move to The Big Island and I'm sure to a degree for other islands. As I've said we've visited many times and yet I've learned new things. Like cane toads, roof rats, cinder driveways and rust! I'm going to continue reading.

    We're not moving anytime soon. We need to figure out what to do with my husband's house in Southern CA (probably rent it as it's not selling) and make sure my daughter is OK with us moving so far away. These little anchors have kept us from being rash and just selling everything and hopping on a plane. I take it as nature's way of making us do it more right than not right and for that I am grateful. Again thank you and I promise not to pepper you with questions on a daily basis. It's the work week and we're repairing our barn that got blown half to smithereens in a recent wind storm. Aloha! - Renee and Marty

  2. I always forget to check the "Notify Me" box. It's checked this time.

  3. Su Ba, I think your replies to TresJolie are spot on. I would add that even for those who feel very strongly about relocating to Hawaii, it would be very akamai to rent a home for a while, keeping all the furniture and other stuff in storage on the mainland (PODS works very well for that). Keep track of the cost of living on whatever island you choose, and take side trips if you want to see the others, to compare and contrast. I hoped all my preparation and study, including history, culture, language, et cetera, would have made it possible to stay. Auwe! For us, no can. On the mainland again, with only vacations to the islands. (And I was born and raised in the Caribbean!)

    1. Since I lived on Oahu for a while I think I have sense of what Island life is like. And to be completely forthcoming we don't really intend to farm. But I would like to have my own garden all the same. I am a writer. I intend to continue to make supplemental income by writing. Seems like every where I go gardening is a challenge except back in old Iowa and there it was a snap. But then Iowa has all that glaciated soil and (usually) plentiful water. Soil is where it's at! I remember reading articles about how the amazon jungle is slashed and burned, farmed for one season and then it's kaput. I'm pretty sure that while it has a lot of organic matter Hawaiian soil is actually very poorly mineralized for the most part. N'est ce-pas? Or did the sugar cane ruin it?

      Yes, if this all works out we plan to put everything in storage. Life has a way of throwing curve balls and we want to be prepared as we can be.

      We have been to all the islands and the Big Island is it. It's big, (duh) and has the cowboy culture that my husband really enjoys being a horseman himself. We had a nice visit with Wayne Miranda and his wife (Miranda Country Store in Hilo - you must know it) last time we were there. I know the other islands have horse culture but the big island just has more space and geographical diversity and less populated areas. The congestion around Hilo and Kailua is a sacrifice we are willing to make for the weather.

      Barry, what made you throw in the beach towel? What turned out to be your achilles heel if I may ask?

  4. and Hawaii was one, too. One of our long-time friends there sold their property in Kauai, with somewhat similar reasons. The islands have really changed over the past 30 years. Who knows - maybe they will evolve again. Good luck, but be willing to change if necessary. Life's too short to be too serious...

    1. What were the reasons? Maybe you can save us from making big costly detour in the road.

  5. Auwe! I somehow lost the whole first paragraph - lots of things happened at the same time, including those Su Ba mentioned. I lived in several nice areas of our great nation, and we may move yet again, by choice.

  6. I'm finding there are lots of reasons why people move away from Hawaii. Heck, people move all the time on the mainland too, so Hawaii isn't unique. I'll list a few that have been reasons given by people that I knew that moved back to "home".

    ... Homesick.
    ... Lack of distinct seasons here.
    ... No snow or cold weather.
    ... Culture too different.
    ... Not accepted by locals.
    ... Lost their job.
    ... Could not find a job.
    ... Missed their family.
    ... Wanted to see their grandchildren grow up.
    ... Illness. Or needed better medical care.
    ... Lack of cultural things to do.
    ... Lack of shopping, dining, etc.
    ... House foreclosed on.
    ... Old age or dementia. Returning for care-tending.
    ... Returning to care-give a family member or close friend.
    ... The activities they enjoy don't exist here (eg- skiing, dog showing, etc)
    ... They wanted to travel.
    ... They habitually move every few years.
    ... Wanted to experience another lifestyle.

    So there are lots of reasons. It's not always a failure to adapt. And of course, it is often a case of multiple reasons that pile up and eventually initiate the move.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to list all these things. Is medical care on the Big Island substandard? I think you mean the medical care is fine. I think you mean - or I hope you mean - that some people just need an even higher level than what is available on the Big Island and they might move to Oahu or completely away.

      I know it takes about $150 to fly round trip over to Honolulu and back. Honolulu has great medical care (My elderly aunt and cousin live in Honolulu.)

      Reading it over I think our only issue is going to be finances because we have a dependable income but it's not a lot. So we're researching first how much it would take to buy and develop a property and then we'll work up a budget to see if we can "make it".

      here's the one unique thing about Hawaii that I can see that there's no getting around: You can't just pack up the car and move to the next state if you decide you want to.

      Mahalo nui loa!