Tag Archives: featured

Escaping The Rain – A Big Island Road Trip

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the rain forest! Let’s be realistic, though… Days on end, trapped inside without the faintest ray of sunshine can really dampen the spirits. Fortunately, we live in a very unique place where a difference of only a few miles can completely change your climate and surroundings.

Our side of the mountain had been under days of torrential rain, so we decided to drive up and over the volcano and dry out for a spell.

First stop: Pahala & The Kau Coffee Mill

Not only is the Pahala countryside breathtaking, but it’s also home to several farms, including macadamia nuts and my life blood – coffee. The winding road to the coffee mill is lined with dense, vine tangled forests and beautiful flowers.

Next stop: Punalu’u Beach

Punalu’u is a gorgeous, black sand beach, perhaps best know for the Honu [Green Sea Turtles] that frequently climb out of the ocean and rest upon the warm sand.

Opposite the ocean lies a lily filled pond and the ruins of an old restaurant that have been swallowed by the jungle.

Naturally, we needed some “us” pictures, too:

After our visit to Punalu’u, we headed up the coast, stopping in the little town of Na’alehu to hit the Punalu’u Bakery for their super delicious malasada sweet rolls. Sadly, it was a busy day and they were sold out. Learn from our mistake and be sure to get there early! You really don’t want to miss out on these. We decided to grab a loaf of their taro sweet bread, anyway, an hit the road again.

We then proceeded to visit our other “lavastead” in HOVE [Hawaiian Ocean View Estates]. Most people would find the vicious a’a wasteland to be ugly and daunting, but we get excited about it, knowing its true potential.

On the way back, we stopped briefly at Whittington Beach Park then hit Punalu’u once more so Izzy could play in the water for a little bit. Then, it was back over the mountain to the rain and drizzle, but feeling happy and recharged.

Thank you for joining us on our adventures!

Aloha!

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Our Weekly Haul From The Local Farmers Market

What a blessing it is to be able to eat, not just plenty, but well. In rural Montana, the availability of truly good produce was extremely limited.

Garden fresh produce was even more scarce, as the growing season was very short and competition with wildlife made it extremely challenging. Because of this, it was very easy to fall into steady diet of processed foods and readily available animal products.

Even as a meat eater, I knew my diet was sorely lacking in nutritive variety. Sherry, on the other hand, needed a whole foods plant based diet, which was pretty much unsustainable.

The fruits available at the store were often gross and devoid of flavor, having been picked green and shipped thousands of miles to reach us. To top it off, selection was horrible, unless you liked lots and lots of apples.

Now, it seems, every week we get to add some new, exotic fruit to the menu. Sherry is pleased as peaches and my need for meats has greatly diminished.

Aloha!

 

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade & ELTs

“ELT?! What is this culinary abomination?!” You may ask.

Well, it’s an eggplant, lettuce, & tomato sandwich. Sounds revolting, right? It’s not bad! Bear with me and I’ll let you in on how we “baconize” the eggplant.

Sherry is really shooting for a “Whole Foods Plant Based” diet and I’m trying my best to be supportive. I’m not completely on board with veganism, but it’s really doing good things for us both.

During our routine trip to the local farmers market, we were gifted with some free Japanese eggplant. Great… I hate eggplant. We politely accepted and Sherry promptly went bout finding ways to make it palatable to the haters [that’d be me].

And then she found it – ELTs! By skinning the eggplant, slicing it into thin strips, and marinating it in a mixture of liquid smoke and our favorite savory spices, then cooking it on low heat until it reaches a slightly crunchy, slightly chewy state, we had successfully made a bacon substitute.

Granted, it’s really nothing like real bacon but the important textures and flavors were all there and once the brain had grasped the fact that this was both tasty and healthy and I could eat a ton without fearing the reaper, well, I was overjoyed.

From there it’s all standard, unless you want to keep with the vegan theme [we did], you can use mustard and Best Foods Vegan mayonnaise, which is a great substitute for Miracle Whip – if that’s your jam.

To ice the cake, we had a pile of lemons that were gifted to us, as they’re quite plentiful here on the Big Island. We made some fresh squeezed lemonade with stevia to replace the sugar, poured it over ice. Whew… Dirt poor in paradise really isn’t so bad. 😉

Aloha!

Lava Farm: First Fruit Trees On The Homestead

After two months of starting seeds, clearing brush and trash from the homestead, and some waiting, we finally get to try sticking some seedlings in the dir-… errr… lava.

We hauled down a rambutan seedling, a papaya, a pineapple, and an old ice cream bean stump that was destined for the dump but decided that it wanted to live and took root in my dad’s driveway, exploding into green foliage.

After scraping together some debris and forming nests on the lava, we decided it was time to transplant and turn our babies over to nature, for better or for worse.

Fortunately, the evening brought a good rain. Hopefully, all is well on the homestead. Hopefully, we’ll have updates within the next week or two.

Aloha!

Our Basic Off Grid Solar Setup

Let’s face it – living without electricity sucks! As a teen, I lived for five years in the mountains of Montana without any form of electricity beyond the batteries in my small AM/FM radio. After a couple of months without power, you get acclimated and realize that it’s totally doable… It still sucks, however, and much more so now that our lives and livelihoods are so intertwined with technology.

I knew that electricity was going to be crucial on the Hawaii homestead, so I invested heavily in our solar setup. Problem is that my knowledge of solar, and electrical in general, is elementary at best. Fortunately, my father is somewhat of a solar buff and I am an eager student, thirsty for knowledge.

I’m still fairly inept at electrical, but this small solar project has really taught me a lot! Thanks, Dad!

Papayas & Rambutan Sprouts!

Look who just popped up! Delicious and nutritious papaya is a daily part of life on the lava.

Being as he is, Rob simply cannot resist the urge to stuff every single fruit seed that he finds into some dirt. Just remember that every tiny, little thing we do now can dramatically shape our future. Let’s not be short-sighted like so many around us. Don’t waste a single day! It may take some time, but one little seed could mean a lifetime of joy and food for you and yours.

Rob’s Worm Farm & The Quest for Awesome Soil

Something odd that I’d long been wanting to try my hand at is vermiculture. Since I was a child, I was fascinated by the process in which those wiggly little beasts turned most any biomass into that wondrous black growing medium we call worm castings. Well… Maybe not the “process” so much, since it’s literally just poop. The point is, it’s AWESOME. It’s a tremendous germination medium as well.

I recently tossed in a mango seed. The worms devoured the excess fruit and within a couple of weeks the seed had already begin to germinate inside of the box. Toss in the scrapings of a single papaya and in short order you’ll have enough sprouts to start an entire farm!

GO WORMS!