Archive for January, 2015

Hawaii 2014

January 26, 2015

After a long and very challenging farming season, I realized I needed a vacation! I was fortunate to get a really good deal on a flight to Honolulu from Moncton that also included a stop-over in Vancouver. So, leaving Will to mind the farm (he’d had his cycling holiday in California last year) I packed my summer clothes and headed out on an adventure. Flying that far only made sense if I was to stay for a while so I booked my return flight three weeks later and, to defray costs and make for a more interesting trip, I joined WWOOF Hawaii and found a host farm for a two week stay. My friend Anne, from way back in grade 11, was also planning a Hawaii vacation so we made sure our dates overlapped and planned a few days together to celebrate the year we both turned 50. Anne lives in San Fransisco now so we don’t get to see each other that often. When we do get together, though, we have a lot of fun and, yes, we did find ourselves at one point up on stage, swinging our hips to hula drums in front of 200 people. We were fueled on mai tais and the “don’t give a care” attitude that comes with age. It was fun!

 Vancouver stop-over on the way to Hawaii: got to visit with John and the puppies

Vancouver stop-over on the way to Hawaii: got to visit with John and the puppies

Met up with Fiddle Chicks, Vivienne and Myrna, too!

Met up with Fiddle Chicks, Vivienne and Myrna, too!

100_0465

Banyan tree

Banyan tree

100_0512

100_0517

I took way too many pictures of big, magnificent trees! Banyans are very common and I learned that “banyan” isn’t a type of tree at all but the habit of extending vines that reach the ground and turn into new tree trunks. Different species of trees do this but the ficus was probably the most common.

House plants grow outdoors in Hawaii!

House plants grow outdoors in Hawaii!

100_0473

Papaya tree

Papaya tree

Pond growing algae which is harvested and used to build soil organic matter

Pond growing algae which is harvested and used to build soil organic matter

My home for two weeks

My home for two weeks

Herb beds mulched with cardboard plus a 12 year old collard plant (note long stem)

Herb beds mulched with cardboard plus a 12 year old collard plant (note long stem)

Friendly farm kitty keeps rats at bay

Friendly farm kitty keeps rats at bay

The tastiest tangerines I've ever had!

The tastiest tangerines I’ve ever had!

A bed being prepared for peppers: farming on volcanic rock

A bed being prepared for peppers: farming on volcanic rock

Pepper seedlings planted into leafy mulch (Christmas berry) and protected from slugs by plastic collars

Pepper seedlings planted into leafy mulch (Christmas berry) and protected from slugs by plastic collars

Pepper bed shared with aloes, volunteer papayas plus ti mulch on pathway

Pepper bed shared with aloes, volunteer papayas plus ti mulch on pathway

Dry rock wall built to keep marauding feral pigs out of the garden

Dry rock wall built to keep marauding feral pigs out of the garden

My charming hosts display freshly harvested apple bananas

My charming hosts display freshly harvested apple bananas

This last group of photos (after the funky trees) are from Old Ways Farm in Honaunau where I spent a lovely two weeks as a WWOOFer. My hosts run a year-round organic herb farm on a small acreage using traditional methods (no power tools) and integrating production into mixed forest land. My accommodations were very comfortable and the work was varied and interesting: weeding, mulching, pruning pigeon pea and Christmas berry to use as mulch, helping with rock wall construction, some transplanting and re-potting. It was the dry season and days were short so things weren’t growing very quickly, however perennial herbs were always available for harvest and sale to a market in Kona. There were also some fruit trees and our neighbours were very generous sharing their avocadoes and bananas. I worked 4-7 hours/day and enjoyed my free time walking around the area, visiting interesting sites (Pu’u honua o honaunau) and eating lots of tropical fruit!

Some of the giant avocadoes from the neighbour's trees as well as papayas and rambutans

Some of the giant avocadoes from the neighbour’s trees as well as papayas and rambutans

Tree loaded with avocadoes

Tree loaded with avocadoes

Breadfruit

Breadfruit

Interior of Painted Church, Honaunau

Interior of Painted Church, Honaunau

Beautiful hibiscus flowers are everywhere

Beautiful hibiscus flowers are everywhere

Coral sands at Pu'u Honua o Honaunau

Coral sands at Pu’u Honua o Honaunau

High surf at Pu'u Honua

High surf at Pu’u Honua

Pu'u Honua or "Place of Refuge"

Pu’u Honua or “Place of Refuge”

Coconut palms growing in lava rock

Coconut palms growing in lava rock

Lava tubes are formed as slow moving lava hardens on the outside and continues flowing through the centre. They come in all different sizes and are all over the island

Lava tubes are formed as slow moving lava hardens on the outside and continues flowing through the centre. They come in all different sizes and are all over the island

Fresh coconuts at the Hilo Farmer's Market

Fresh coconuts at the Hilo Farmer’s Market

Pahoa, in southeastern Hawaii is currently in the path of lava flow from Kilauea volcano

Pahoa, in southeastern Hawaii is currently in the path of lava flow from Kilauea volcano

Power poles insulated against lava flow in Pahoa

Power poles insulated against lava flow in Pahoa

View from Diamondhead crater near Waikiki

View from Diamondhead crater near Waikiki

My friend, Anne, enjoying surf time at Waikiki

My friend, Anne, enjoying surf time at Waikiki

View of Diamondhead crater from Waikiki

View of Diamondhead crater from Waikiki

Anne and I in our party dresses, ready to head to the luau!

Anne and I in our party dresses, ready to head to the luau!

The Last of 2014

January 14, 2015
Will's beautiful sourdough bread

Will’s beautiful sourdough bread

The completed pumphouse

The completed pumphouse

This was a major project of 2014: the old pumphouse was dismantled and rebuilt on a proper insulated cement foundation with well insulated walls and ceiling and a new roof. It is slightly larger than the old one to allow for storage of farm food, liquid fertilizer and a few other frost susceptible items. Hopefully it will greatly reduce our heating costs and keep our water flowing freely all winter long.

Inside the pumphouse: well head, pressure tank, complex pipe network and stored food goodies in behind

Inside the pumphouse: well head, pressure tank, complex pipe network and stored food goodies in behind

Straw-covered garlic, ready for the winter

Straw-covered garlic, ready for the winter

A small stretch of leeks tucked in for the winter

A small stretch of leeks tucked in for the winter

We grew lots of leeks last year and are hoping to have some for early season markets. We’ll see how layers of row cover anchored with straw bales maintains quality through a challenging winter.

Brie cheese going in for aging

Brie cheese going in for aging