Sometimes milestones are exciting and sometimes not so much so.

I am awaiting a property inspection for my farm and I fear it will not go smoothly. With the hurricanes and massive rain on top of not having pickers and people available to manage cleanup on the farm, it has been in somewhat of a disrepair. I have hired workers to help but it is still a bit rough. I have an agreement for some guys to remove dead trees and clean out holes for planting but it has not happened yet. I was hoping to get this started before the inspection.

My farm is a leasehold and the lessor performs periodic inspections to ensure the farm is productive and reasonable well kept up. My lease is up and although it is not in jeopardy, they will probably hold off issuing the new lease for a while. The new lease will be for 30 or so years and takes a bit of worry off my back. Although complying with the lease restrictions is a hassle at times, it is less intrusive than many people have on the mainland with neighborhood associations and covenants.

Once the inspection is complete I can start installing my solar panels. I am holding off on that so I can spend all my free time getting the farm ready for inspection.

For many years I have had an account with Woot (a deal a day) site. Then Amazon bought them a number of years ago. Before the sale I had a few times I wanted to buy something and was stopped because of where I live. Now I find nothing I want to buy can be shipped to Hawaii. I just cancelled delivery of their newsletter. You may find items on Woot.Com which are fun and/or cheap, but I will stop looking because it appears, they don’t want me to have any more.

I am transitioning away from my Motorola cellphone. Yes, it was cheap but usable, however it also had its’ share of problems. The first one I bought had ‘ghost keyboard’ issues. That is, it would start opening screens, closing screens, dialing people, etc. I returned it to Costco and got another. It too developed the same problem, but I found if I turned down the screen brightness the problem stopped. That phone ended up in the Pacific due to my standing in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I found a replacement on Amazon that was cheaper as long as I put up with an advertisement on the lock screen. I got that deal and never looked at the screen 🙂 Still, all told those two phones I bought cost a total of about $230, far less than other more expensive phones which might cost $300+ each. Now a friend has loaned me a Galaxy Note 5 but I will have to stop by Costco and get a new SIM as my old one doesn’t fit. This phone is limited in storage but will do until I decide which phone to get next.

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Another Year

Another year has passed and I’m still enjoying Hawaii!

I see the occasional post now of people on the mainland fighting cold weather and snow flurries and ice have started. I feel your pain but like to remind you that I don’t have those worries. Normal temps here go from 65 to 85.

I am getting my share of aches and pains though. My hip hurts when I weed whack because I tend to swing the the thing back and forth to cut through heavy weeds. My wrist hurts today because yesterday I was yanking vines away from some of the coffee trees.

I am trying to get the farm looking better because I have a lease-hold inspection coming. They tell you a few days before the month they will inspect, so unless you contact them quickly, you get anywhere from a few days to a month to prepare. I have some dead coffee trees I want to replace and have some areas where certain fruit trees did not do well and will be planting something else there; probably starting with some finger limes.

I have 20 solar panels I’ll be installing soon. They will be configured to replace as much of the daytime usage as they can without sending any excess power back to the utility. I won’t get paid for any excess power, however I also will not need a contract with the utility for net metering, etc. My 2Kw system cost $3,100 and with a couple hundred dollars of mounting materials, I’ll have them up and running with little hassles. I’ll be mounting them near the ground as I have room for them there without any obstructions.

I am still managing a number of websites for neighbors, friends and relatives. I help out on occasion at another farm; generally drinking coffee and giving my opinion of how things should work. Sometimes I am right and sometimes I’m wrong. They seem to only remember the suggestions that worked 🙂

I am still suggesting people install Voice Over IP (VOIP) to have cheaper phone service at home, however many people just rely upon cellphones.

It is 1:30am at the moment. I went to bed early and then woke up at midnight. I’ll be heading back to bed soon as the alarm is set for 5am. It seems the dogs like an early morning walk.

My day today looks like this: Up at 5am and take the dogs out. Clean out the accumulated items from the truck. I have been working on a few projects lately and taking items around in the truck.

At 7am I’ll be driving to Holualoa to pick up a young worker who will be doing some weed whacking for me today. Meanwhile I’ll be on the tractor re-mowing areas that look crappy (I like to have it looking nice for my inspection). This land inspection will be used as the basis for renewing my lease for 30+ years.

I have been cleaning out the storage under the house and will need to fix a few things in the downstairs bathroom. This will give the worker a bathroom without having to interact with the dogs who will be inside during the farm work.

I need to recharge the car battery I mounted on the ARV for my sprayer and need to finish spraying areas of the farm today before the rain.

A neighbor is having garage door issues and I’ll go by and see if I can fix it. I don’t know if it is the electronic opener control I recently fixed or a physical issue.

Since my friends farm is on the way, I’ll pick up the trash bags and put them in the truck bed.

I’ll need to go into Captain Cook at lunchtime and will take the worker with me. He probably won’t have lunch with him. I’ll stop by the post office and get the mail. I have a new pillowcase arriving. It was one of those free-just-pay-shipping deals and supposed to be pretty good. My female Lab, Olena, has a tendency of licking pillows and I hope this may help stop her.

Somewhere around 4 or 5pm I’ll take the worker back to Holualoa. On the way will be a stop at the transfer station to drop off the trash.

One of the workers there has a moped whose lights went out. I offered to bring my tester and see if it is just a bulb or fuse.

The workers are going to be having a get-together after coffee pulping and I may attend. There will be a pool 🙂

Sometime later I’ll head further north into Kailua-Kona itself. Things there have slowed a bit now once the Ironman race was over and people started to leave the island.

My main reason for hitting town before midnight is that I get a free meal at Denny’s for my birthday. I try never to pass up a free meal!

So that is my schedule for this birthday. As you can see, I have a pretty easy day, unlike most days!



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Weathering The Storm

Hawaii’s hurricane season is June to November.
While we have had hurricanes nearby, oftentimes they miss us (although Lane and Iniki were especially bad). Still, people wonder how we ‘weather’ the storm (pun intended).
We are sub-tropical meaning that out weather is pretty much the same all year ’round. Near the ocean it is often 70 and night and 85 during the day but ‘plummets’ to 65 at night and 80 during the day in winter. When you hear someone from Hawaii talk about how it is freezing, it is probably in the 60’s! (We do have actual freezing and blizzards which can happen anytime during the year, but that is at the 14,000 foot elevation).
Because most of our supplies are brought here by boat from the mainland, we do have a tendency of stocking up, not just for hurricanes but for dock strikes here or on the mainland.
Electricity goes out on occasion because all of it is created on the islands and we cannot run a big power line to the mainland. We burn fuel oil, use wind water and Geo-thermal and solar.
Because the weather is warm, we do a lot of cooking outdoors. Many people have a grill or barbecue. In a pinch we could dig a hole and create an imu to cook in. Many of us have gardens, orchards and the like and easily can trade with neighbors. When I moved here I was often invited to weddings, funerals, graduations and holidays. When I wondered why, since many times I didn’t know the people, I was told ‘Because you are single and there will be food!’.
With reasonable weather, available food and friends, we weather the storms quite well.
We know that if we have to, we can power our cellphones in the car, use our tractors to clear the driveway or roads and do what we have to.
It is difficult for us to evacuate so we have to prepare and keep our whits about us.
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What’s The Deal?

So what’s the deal with the weather? This is Hawaii’s 3rd of 4th (I’ve lost count) hurricane in the past few months. A couple of days before the 1st one, the volcano stopped flowing and the majority of earthquakes stopped. This tells me that the hurricane didn’t affect the volcano. The volcanoes here CAN affect hurricanes though, changing their direction and force. They can even stop a hurricane in its tracks.

The last hurricane (Lane) came to our south, then turned northeast and passed my island. Because of its track and location the east side of the island had something like 50 inches of rain. Mt farm got 6/10’s of an inch! Our wind gusts were 6 mph!

This current hurricane (Olivia) is schedule to touch the top of the island and perhaps come southwest and case me issues this time. I should know mid-week but in the meantime, I’ll prepare just in case.

Yes, my hurricane insurance is paid up! It is replacement value by the way.

I have been testing my new solar panels and will create a blog entry just about them. They seem to be a very good deal and came with the best option for me I think.

Many decades ago I signed my Mom up for frequent flier miles with Delta. Mom passed away last year and I wanted to use here remaining miles before Delta realized she died and closed the account. There were not quite enough miles to make a mainland trip last May so I used my own miles. When I recently looked for deal to the mainland, I found a real deal almost 9 months out AND to the town I need to go to, so no long rives from a cheap airport far away! It is unusual for me to find a deal this far out.

I also got a deal on a set of wired/wireless noise-cancelling headphones. I have an old set that I use often and when traveling, but they are getting old and the foam on the headband (along with many other products) have a tendency to fall apart due to our weather here.

I love Uni-ball .5mm pens and recently found a box of 36 on another deal.

I love deals and search them out to save money.


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Honoring Our Heroes

I am irritated and I’ll make enemies with this statement but here goes…
I have no problem with Senator McCain being honored, but the only reason I see him being honored is that he was a politician. Pure and simple as that.
Some will try to convince us that his military service is the reason. Many serviceman have died and are not accorded the honor such as McCain has received. Can you name any serviceman who died this week? Probably not.
Was it because he was a prisoner of war? No, because other prisoners of war have not been honored as such. By the way, most Americans cannot name any POWs.
So that leaves him being honored because he was a Senator. Senators, members of the House, the President and perhaps a Supreme Court Justice or a Governor would be honored this way. Think about a Senator. Although he/she are said to represent “the people” they really only represent their own party. Few politicians actually bend to the will of the people unless they are also fulfilling their party’s objectives. If you don’t think that is true, the why do ballots have a party listed? Why do votes on the Senate floor often split down party lines? Because they are representing perhaps 1/2 the public, not all.
A serviceman does not die protecting his own party, he dies protecting every American. A POW is a serviceman who was captured but still protects his fellow Americans.
So when we lower flags and have people wind their way past a casket to honor someone, let us not forget all of the others who served all of us and are not recognized for their contribution.
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Oils Well That Ends Well

I was just reading a consumer forum posting from a guy with a driveway problem. A truck was delivering new kitchen appliances and materials and the truck blew a gasket and leaked oil all over the concrete driveway. The damage is a discoloration. The company quickly did what they could to clean it up and remove the stain, but some remains. He is wondering how much compensation to ask for.

Reading this, I am reminded why I love living in Hawaii.

I live on a farm. My driveway is actually a road through the grass (and weeds) based upon rock. It is not paved and has some pretty good bumps in it. At one point there is a small hill which is better traversed if you kick on 4-wheel drive for a minute. It is too costly to pave the 1400 foot length, so it stays as it is. If I let the grass and weeds grow some before cutting them down, I end up with a bit of soil that helps fill on the gaps.

I also don’t worry about putting my water pipes below ground. It is very expensive to cut through rock and makes no sense doing so. We here just leave things like water lines above ground. It is not uncommon to see white PVC or black HDPE pipe along the side of the road carrying water to houses.

Some houses and farms use catchment tanks where rainwater is harvested and used for irrigation or household use. Although with proper filtering and treatment catchment water can be used for cooking and drinking, many people just buy water for that purpose. However toilets work fine with catchment water. I believe onboard some ships they use the readily-available salt water for toilets.

With our weather as it is (70 and night and 85 during the day). we don’t worry too much about air conditioning or lots of bulky clothes. We have many outdoor activities and can cook outdoors all year round. That helps if we lose electric for any period of time. Many of us have grills too.

Solar electric panels work quite well here and well as solar water heating.

So although I live in one of the most remote places on earth, it actually is a nice place to live with few reasons to “keep up with the Jones’s”.


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It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

3 or 4 years ago my neighbor and I were looking for someone to do some farm work. We had a Craigslist ad posted and we got a phone call from a kid who was working as a waiter on the inter-island cruise ship. He had decided it was not what he wanted to be doing and left the ship when it was docked in Kona.

Not knowing anyone here nor having any place to stay, he slept outdoors that first night. I went into town and met him on Thursday and he was ready and able to do the job we needed. He mentioned that he could get a tent and sleep on the farm, but we had a better solution. There was a cottage (a tiny house of sorts) and he stayed there. So within a day, he had a job and a place to stay.

As the months went on, he became a bit restless, as teenagers do and he went on to take a couple jobs here on island and then on to Oahu. Finally he moved back to the mainland. He took some programming classes and all of a sudden ended up on Oahu again.

So Thursday evening I get a text message that he is on his way to the mainland for an extended trip, but is stuck at our airport. Seems he had a flight from Honolulu to Kona to the mainland and missed a connection. That meant stuck in Kona for the night. I was unable to drive up to the airport that night but met him in the morning for breakfast. Since he had a 9:40pm flight, we did a bit of driving around while I picked up some supplies. He met a friend on a jobsite and made some programming contacts at a local farm. Then I took him to the farm where he lived before and he was able to shower. I heated up some chili and we headed down to Two Step to the Friday night pot luck. There he visited with many people he knew when he was here 2 years ago.

At dusk I drove him back to the airport and as I write this, he is back in California.

The deja vu part of this story is that while we were driving from the airport and doing that shopping, he mentioned that he had a job prospect on the mainland but was not sure if and when it would start. I took him by the limo company here and they were ready to him him for a couple week project where they are short drivers.

Twice now he has visited this island unexpectedly, and twice, within 24 hours he has found a job and friends.

I guess it can’t be all that bad living the the middle of the Pacific after all, is it?

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The End Of The World

There are things in this world which are difficult to understand, especially in a place where violent crime is not the norm.

In the past week, a man has a run-in with police and shoots and kills an officer. He flees and, enlisting help from acquaintances along the way, puts a county on alert. Another run-in and another and soon, with literally nowhere else to go, he is shot dead.

When he killed the officer and fled, he sealed his fate. He would have hours left to live. Had he given up at that point, he would have gone to jail for life, but that was not to be.

At one point, he was sighted within a mile or so of my house. For the first time in my life I stayed up all night worried, watching my surveillance cameras in the off chance he might cross my path. I am not known to violence, but would have shot him on sight knowing that a man who would shoot a police officer would have no qualms of shooting a citizen thought to be unarmed.

So after helicopter searches, most police in the county after him and 3 separate departments put a total of $30,000 reward on him, he is found in the trunk of a vehicle. As he is confronted, he fires a shot but is killed. Today he was out of places to run is accurate as he was killed at South Point, the most southern point of the United States with just the Pacific and Antarctica ahead.

You have to wonder what kind of friend would help you evade police, knowing that they too will likely spend most of the rest of their lives in prison.

At what point does a man start down the wrong path and end up like this, taking himself and others along?

I feel for the rest of the island residents and for the visitors who came here for some peace and quiet. It is sad enough that we have rivers of lava taking out a development and closing a National Park, perhaps forever, then added to that, a killer on the run with local and Federal officer in pursuit. It will take a while to recover here.

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The Long And The Short Of It

When I moved here from the mainland, I didn’t ship a TV. I bought one and initially used the VCR I shipped along with a tremendous number of VCR tapes.

The last people in the house had cable TV and internet, but I only wanted internet at the time. When I hooked up the router to the cable, I also tried connecting the cable to the TV antenna connection on the TV and scanned for channels. I was surprised to find 20 or more channels. Because of the filtering they used on the cable, these were general low tier channels and many were noisy of dropped out. Still, there was enough to watch if I cared to.

The cable company is in the process of changing over to all digital, so these channels are disappearing.

I have multiple Roku devices and a TV with Roku built in. My viewing consists of a combination of free streaming channels and Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

My house is around the way from where I could pick up broadcast channels from Maui, so streaming it is.

Many decades ago I had a big satellite dish and had many channels for very little money. You could subscribe to ‘packages’ of channels, however you also could just pick and choose Ala-carte. For less than $400 a year I had HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, WTBS, WGN, the weather channel and so on totaling perhaps 30 channels. My signal came from the same satellites that the networks used, unlike Dish and others that take these same signals and redirect them back up to another satellite and back to viewers. You have no idea how clear the original signals were before people like Dish and the cable companies get hold of them and compress the signals.

So in any event, I recently lost a bunch of channels, but I’ll get by. 13 years of no cable TV bill was a great run.


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Putting The Cart Before The Horses Ass

Does any of this make sense to you? Is this what our country has become?

Note the following: 2 boys lift and toss a shopping cart over a railing and seriously injure a woman.

The court decides that the kids are 10% responsible, the security company 25% responsible and the mall 65% responsible.

So the security company should have foreseen that kids might drop a shopping car on unsuspecting people? Worse is that the mall should have foreseen that the company they hired for security should have procedures in place to ensure kids don’t drop shopping carts on people?

The kids should be in prison and 100% responsible.

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LavaRock Farm, Captain Cook, HI

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