Tag Archives: Lava Pioneers

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!

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Big Island Hawaii: A Stroll Through The Volcano

Sure, strolling around an active volcano sounds pretty daring, but Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is largely benign and full of intriguing flora and fauna.

When we arrived at Devastation Trail, we were met by this friendly little Nene – Hawaii’s state bird, endemic to the Hawaiian islands. Over the past couple of centuries the population of the rare Nene had been decimated by hunting and the introduction of predatory animals. Through conservation efforts, the nearly extinct bird has been making a comeback.

Nene

At first, the meandering trail did not seem to live up to its name. It was a lovely, paved pathway through green forests of hapu’u fern and ohia trees adorned with red lehua.

Rather abruptly, however, the trail ahead opened to reveal the true desolation beyond.

In spite of the harsh conditions, numerous interesting plants had made a home of the dry, foreboding cinderscape.

As we continued along, the trail once again dipped into green forests, which ultimately deposited us at the Byron Ledge trail head. Proceeding onward, the paved pathway gave way to trails of crunchy, glassy cinder. As we continued along the pocked cinder terrain, the trail suddenly turned steep, dipping over the crater rim into another unexpectedly green forest some ways below, standing in contrast against the barren floor of the distant caldera.

Approaching the base of the hill, the trail once again entered the forest canopy. We continued walking trail for some time until we reached the Kilauea Iki trail head which would take us deep down into the bottom of the crater. Unfortunately, that hike would have to wait for another day, as we were running out of daylight and had a long walk back.

Even so, the journey continued to yield beautiful vistas and very interesting flora.

I’d best wrap this up until our next journey! I hope you enjoyed following along.

Thank you and 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!

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!