Monday, January 5, 2015

Moving in


I finally, FINALLY, found a decent free connection for uploading tons of photos, so...... Friends and family, here we are.
Luckily Renee found us an obnoxiously crappy pickup to rent, because we certainly brought lots of stuff.
Much of the stuff is the "wrong" stuff, but it needs to be stored, nonetheless. TV remote, but no tv (no power here, so that stuff is all gone now..... Yay!).... Strange discoveries, like the contents of our kitchen "junk" drawer, but not a rubber band to be found anywhere.... Weird! Dead batteries......
Screws. I had a great Oregon source for awesome stainless steel deck screws, so I brought, oh....20 lbs or so. Sounds great, right?
Big, long screws are a PITA without a powered screwdrivers. Not even I want to drive a 3" screw by hand. How did I forget this?!..... Nails. Nails are good.
So, I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I did something similar to this "Living in the wild" thing, about 25 years ago. Similar, in that it was a rough piece of land (20 acres) with no power, running water, nothing, although by the end second year I strangely had a phone and internet. I remember at the time, chatting with some folks in New Zealand and how they found it quite amusing that I had access to the internet, but no toilet.
There are a few distinct differences this time, however. The first time, the property was located deep in the wilds of the Montana mountains. There were regular chores that needed to be accomplished, things like cutting firewood, that would result in death, if neglected. Many times I woke in the morning to find that my glass of water had frozen solid. I used insulated coolers to keep the beer from freezing..... Priorities! (I was brewing my own beer, as if things weren't interesting enough. Good beer was rare then... Now I can't choose, there are so many different varieties!). Freezing to death would be highly unlikely, here in Hawaii.
The main difference is that back then, I was desperately poor. Right now we are FAR from rich, but at least we have money for food. We can afford to buy whatever we need, and Renee will still be working. A regular income does wonders for maintaining a marriage.
The second big thing is that now the internet has developed into being the world's largest library. Way back in the day, that was the big dream for many of us, and..... Here we are. Lots of crap, but also also phenomenal amounts of pure gold, all thanks to the many, many wackos who want to share their interests with like-minded crazies. The knowledge base is growing exponentially.
The actual enclosed area is 8' x 10', plenty of room for storing my tools, but Renee needs to find a new place to sleep.
The lizards (Anoles, mostly) sleep up in the rafters......
.... But sometimes they favor your leg as a resting spot.
Renee decided to clear out the space under the cabin.
She LOVES her tent!
Ellie is finding new things daily.

Lava tubes.



The tiniest, newly hatched frog imaginable.




There is one cleared area that has been planted in Cocoa trees.

The other cleared spots are still in the rough.
Bare lava and lots (LOTS!!) of down timber, all ready for salvage.
Most of the timber is Guava, an invasive species that tends to out-compete the Hawaiian trees, smothering the native Ohia forest. The Guava here is tall, fairly straight, moderately strong, and light in weight. Great for building in "stick" fashion, lashings, pegs, and notches.
We are outside the tiny town of Mountain View, but 10 miles away is the slightly larger town of Keaau.

Bulk foods.



Ace Hardware.....

...... sells real Japanese tools!





I held out for a few days, but I couldn't resist these two.

The small blade is serrated, and has become my go-to tool for tall grass. $7 USD.
The Kama is hand forged, laminated steel. Not the finest work, but these are meant to be nearly disposable. This one was $32 USD.

There were at least 12 different kama at the store, but only some of the blades are hand worked. Most were factory made, and a few were stainless steel. Prices ranged from $4 - $48 USD.

Having cool tools for sale in the hardware store is great, but by far the coolest thing about this place? On the big island it's ok to be poor, or just to live a simple lifestyle.

There are public water taps all over the place where people can get safe, free drinking water. Many/most people collect the rainwater that falls on the tin roofs, using it for most household duties, but here is where you get your cooking and drinking water. This tap is at the park, 4 in a row, and they get used all day long, by all kinds of people.
The dump is free, too, and very busy.
It drives me crazy, to go to the dump and see all off the stuff that we discard, that gets thrown away. Back in the day, you could scrounge around and often come home with more than you originally brought, but now that is strictly forbidden. Legal reasons, ya know.
Here, they have gone one better. They have made the incredibly intelligent decision to make a combined recycling center/trash dump/thrift store. Donate the usable stuff, recycle what you can, and trash what you must.
Bins of clothing (free on Thursday!), household goods, building supplies.
More clothes, books, electronics and kitchen things.

Most stuff is $1.


I LOVE this place!




  1. Ya man! I and I bless your new life. Wait, that's another island.

    Looks wonderful. Cocoa trees need a few years, no? What kind of soil you have? did you already find volcanic sharpening stones? What about an axe, do you have one? Man, I have 3000 more questions like that.

    I guess the large saw is getting some use no? If you need some greenwood pattern let me know.

    The stones look like a nice building material. Forge building material I mean.

    I'm seriously thinking of just resign and go there to lend you a hand. Looks freakin fun! I'm jealous.

    1. Good damn this stupid POS iPad!!!


      No significant soil at all. It gets brought in by truck, or made on-site via composting. My compost has always be crap, so that's just another needed avenue of exploration, haha.

      I am pouring together a post about the tools that we are REALLY using, but since you asked....I really want a big rip-saw, a oga maebiki nokogiri, right?

      And a flamethrower!

    2. the shipping would be a bit too much to send a whalenoko all over the world... will have to wait till I set up a forge in chile and make them myself.

      and no wonder your compost is not working, if you turn everything ashes first :P

    3. Hahaha! Between the weedburner and the charcoal making...... You're right! I've gotten good at making things black, but not so good at making them green, haha.

      I've much to learn.

  2. Where's the photo of the weed burner in action? Keep those updates coming. Love you guys.

    1. Haha! Brandon! ..... Still no flamethrower, but....

      Actually, I bought one at Ace Hardware, but at $82 USD, I expect piezoelectric lighting, a high burn rate valve, etc. I came to my senses and returned it! Harbor Freight, here I come.


Like all of us, I am figuring this out as I go, so when you see something that is incorrect or flat out wrong (and you will!), let me know. This is a learning process. Real people and names, please. Constructive comments and questions are very welcome, but hate speak/politics are not! Life (get one!) is too short.

Thanks, Jason