Monday, March 5, 2018

More Questions Answered

Here's some more questions coming from "J", "E", and "C".......

>>>>>"Why can't you grow Breadfruit, mango, rambutan, and lychee? I would have thought they would thrive there."

My main farm is located at 2400' elevation. The nights are cool or chilly. So the location is not suitable for all tropical plants. While all these four trees will grow on my farm, they won't fruit. They need lower elevation to produce fruits. 

There are plenty of places on the island where these fruit trees thrive. Thank heavens because I wouldn't want to live without mangos! Love the things. It's just that it's important to try to grow things thrives at your own location, rather than fighting with Mother Nature. I can always trade my win excess for things that I can't grow for myself. 

>>>>>"What sort of livestock do well in Hawaii? I know you have pigs, ducks, chickens, and sheep."

Again, elevation has a bearing. Plus climate factors. On my farm, most livestock found on the mainland will do ok. Exceptions include buffalo, wooly sheep, and ostrich. It's either too wet and/or cold for them where I am. Yes, these exist on Big Island, but in drier or warmer locations. I've successfully had hair sheep, horse, donkey, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, rabbits, and guinea pigs. A neighbor has alpaca and guinea hens. I don't know how some of the other exotics, like Scottish Highland cattle or water buffalo would fare at my farm. I don't know of any of the former on the island, and I think the last water buffalo here has died. 

Big Island has ranches that have large herds of horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. Plus small herds of donkey. They all thrive here. Most piggeries tend to be small or moderate in size, basically because the cost of feed is expensive and there is not a huge demand right now for local pork. We had a couple of large chicken farms on this island, but for economic reasons they have shut down. So commercial flocks now are small to medium sized. A couple of alpaca farms have 20+ animals. Most alpaca farms are smaller. All of these sorts of animals do well here at just about any location. 

>>>>>"What kind of hardwoods do you have for firewood?"

First of all, where I'm located I don't often need wood that burns for a long period of time. Most of my fires are short duration. Having said that, this past month I've been having much longer fires in the wood stove to heat the house, so the wood I'm using is chosen for that task. 

The best hardwood on the farm is ohia. That's what I've been primarily burning this past month. Hawaii can't grow the hardwoods that most mainlanders are familiar with -- oak, ash, black cherry, maple, etc. Those trees need a chill during winter. But ohia is a good hardwood for here. 

Other than ohia, I burn just about everything that will grow here-- avocado, citrus, guava, and a multitude of others. And I don't restrict myself to just big wood. Depending upon the need, I'll burn stuff down to 1/2" diameter. 

>>>>>"Can you get permits to cut wood in the state forests?" 

I don't know. I haven't heard of people saying that they do that. I have 20 acres that had been basically unattended for decades, so I have plenty of deadwood, dead trees, and trash trees to harvest for firewood. Other people who aren't so fortunate get permission to take out deadwood from other people's properties. There's plenty of it to go around. 

>>>>>"I'm surprised to hear that you need a woodburning stove in Hawaii. Why is that?" 

On Big Island, there are residential locations that can get quite chilly at night. Some areas routinely see temps in the 40s and 50s on winter nights, 50s during the summer. Since most tropical houses are designed for airflow, it gets cold in the houses at night. Thus the desire for heat. 

Not everywhere needs heat. Most locations in Hawaii have warm nights. But the higher one goes in elevation, the colder it gets. Once you get over 2000' elevation, you better have some way to deal with the chill......warm clothing, warm throws or blankets (bed quilts are big sellers here), or a heat source. 

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