The Transformation Begins…

September 2004: It Begins to Take Shape

Key elements have been established around the place by now: we have our veggie garden feeding us now, hot water coming in from the solar panels, plants starting in the new nursery, and the formation of a master plan for the house refurb.

The veggie garden receives quite a lot of our care and attention— of course!— as we are highly motivated to eat our own vegetables. At this early stage, we are buying our compost and amendments, but as the soil condition improves and our own compost comes available, we will be more self-sustaining.

Here we have the first glimmers of a veggie patch, taken last June.

By now, we are getting most of our raw foods from the garden, plus herbs and chilis:

Things have filled in quite nicely here. The corn has come and gone, lettuce and arrugula is being harvested, and we have plenty of fragrant herbs. Small trees at far end of the garden plot are our papaya, which are just bearing fruit here… we will be harvesting fruit from them in a few months.

The green fence is to keep out the wild chickens and most importantly a pea-hen that has been gobbling up our salad greens. That can’t be allowed!

Photo taken in September.

The weekend of September 25th brought our good friends Rich and Virginia from Kipahulu here for an energetic work party. Several giant steps were made towards completing our first phase— loosely defined as the house refurb and establishing our agricultural foundation.

Lisa and Virginia prepare the veggie garden for the next planting.

There were four major projects for the weekend: new planting in the garden, create the nursery from a rickety old outbuilding, build a temporary toilet facility, and install the solar hot water panels. Rich has a pretty impressively wide range of skills, and solar energy is among them… we decided to get our solar up and running right away since he would be here to set that up.

Here, Rich is prepping the plumbing on one of the panels for a pressure test. This was necessary because while the panels were awaiting installation, the front glass was broken on one of them. We replaced the glass with a sheet of plexiglas due to the expense of getting the tempered glass to the island.

In the foreground is our temporary hot water array under construction.

Rich was able to get 90% of the installation complete, I finished it off, replacing the glass in the broken panel, completing the support structure and fastening of the panels. We got these panels for a good price from an appliance recycler on the island. It is our intention to use recycled and salvaged materials wherever possible. This is a temporary set up until a new roof is put over the carport— the panels will then go up there permanently.

Rich, Lisa and Jonathan take a moment to asses the framing of the temporary loo.

We needed to build a temporary toilet facility for use while the house bathroom is being remodeled. This will contain a composting toilet and a wash basin, and actually has a rather nice view of the garden and citrus trees. As of this writing, this little room is still under construction.

Virginia brought a wide array of plant cuttings from their place in Kipahulu. Here some of them are in our newly-created nursery. It’s so nice to have all the agricultural stuff organized and centrally located— on the left is a dry storage area for implements, supplies and amendments. The floor is covered in a tough, weed proof fabric, overhead is shade cloth.

Virginia brought us coffee, yacon, edible hibiscus, lemon grass, comfrey, sunchokes, black and white awa (kava kava), and gliricidia. What a great selection of useful and beautiful plants!