Friday, February 26, 2016

"Are You A Farmer?"

I was a passenger in a small Cessna airplane today, which was taxiing for take off from Kona Airport heading for Maui. As is often the case, the tourist passengers awaiting take off asked one another where they were from and what they were doing next. When I answered that I'm a local, I'm always asked questions. Usually things like what's is like to live in paradise, how expensive is it to live in Hawaii, where's the best restaurant, what's a great activity to do. But the sweet lady behind me asked, "Are you a farmer?" It made pause. Uh, how did she know? Lucky guess? Could it be the stained hands and dirt under the finger nails? Worn clothing and work shoes? Sun exposed skin and baseball cap? I wasn't wearing my Ka'u Farm Girl shirt, so that couldn't have been the giveaway. Nor did I have seed catalogs in my backpack pocket. 

My hands surely show that they engage physical labor. Abused. Scars and cuts. Perpetual dirt under the nails. Puffy joints. Crooked fingers. Complete with sturdy, sensible wristwatch. Definitely not the hands of a lady of leisure. 

It turned out that during her vacation trip the woman had met a few other people from down South Point way and every one had been a farmer of some sort. Ha. So in her view, if a person is from Ka'u, then of course they have to be a farmer.    :)

I often wonder about what impression tourists get of Ka'u. This particular woman had good, all kinds. Ka'u = country. She seemed quite happy to think of Ka'u as rolling farmland full of pleasant farmers. And you know, it pleased me too!.....even though I know it's not quite the paradise that this tourist envisions. 


  1. I thought with your veterinary work you would have access to a medical scrub brush. That is what I use when I have to get my hands ready to see clients and I have been out working in the diret.

    1. I have dozens of medical scrub brushes laying about, and I agree that they do a pretty good job on hands and nails. But even they have a tough time cleaning a farmer's rough skin because of the black lava soil here. This soil is amazing. It stains not only my clothing and nails, but even the skins of the sweet potatoes I grow. A tidbit that's interesting, there is a business here on the island that produces lava t-shirts, stained blackish by using the lava soil as the dye. That's how nasty this lava soil can be. The one way I've discovered to clean my hands, nails, and feet is to go swimming for half an hour. The ocean water does wonders on working the lava stain out of the skin.

      In my previous life, having clean nails and hands was paramount. Now, I really don't care if they are stained. Many of my friends also have stained hands from working in the soil, so nobody frowns upon it. They know that I've washed my hands, but I haven't scrubbed them raw nor tried soaking them in bleach. Naw, it's just time to go to the beach for a swim. ;)

  2. I agree when I was a child I was not allowed to go swim in the salt water until I had weeded 100 feet of row. When I was on Oahu the winter of 60-61 I swam almost every day but here the water is often too cold even in the summer. We can't all live in Hawaii but thank you fro taking care of it for us. See you on