Return to Paradise (Week Four)

Aloha! (Not sure I got the accent right on that, but I’m working on it.)

As noted in my last update, the bride and I returned to the Big Island this week for our second 7-day exploratory and land hunting trip. (I’ll recapture the events of our first foray in a later post; it occurred before I began keeping this log.)

The weather was favorable (only a little seasonal rain and mostly in the 80s), our B&B was quaint (allowed us to lodge under the strictures of solar-heated showers and rain-provided drinking water for the first time), and our new realtor proved to be a knowledgeable fellow and a true gentleman (thoughtful, patient, proactive). Our B&B host turned out to have some background in horticulture and to be a cultivator and food grower–a ready source of great local information in support of our planned endeavors. The island itself continued to demonstrate a remarkable ability to provide of free food (there was a fallen coconut sitting behind our rental car when we picked it up, we gathered passion fruit out of the front yard of our B&B, we picked wild guava and berries while looking at properties, and had one land caretaker give us tangerines right off of the tree in his yard as we inspected the acreage).

This trip, like the last, was executed very much on the cheap and in a deliberate and well calculated manner. In fact, it was more like work than anything. Frequent flier miles, a simple guest room rented from within a typical Hawaiin home, meetings with a realtor and visits to more than a dozen properties. Those visits, by the way, sometimes turned into hikes and we would have benefitted from the aid of a machete on at least one of these strolls. (There is nothing quite like dealing with a wife who is force marched through several inches of mud in open toed shoes just after having done her nails.) Mongoose and native pheasant made themselves known during our wanderings and there were plenty of signs of wild pigs; the song of the coqui frog was ever resonant during the eve. Here are some images to give a sense of what I’m talking about.

Wild orchid on one property…

Wild guava on another property…

Wall-like forested coverage on one plot…

Wild pig wallow (and good soil) on yet another piece of land…

This visit also included time spent with generous new friends, met on this trip and the last at the church where we will attend services after our move. These patient souls, many of whom are themselves transplants to the island, are trying to educate us. Unique building methodologies in this tropical environ, tax breaks on homesteads, tips on solar powered living, the inside scoop on local beekeeping, which food producing plants grow best at what elevations….lots to learn.

We shared a meal with the pastor, called a “Kahu” in these parts, to learn more about the church and the congregation and, as often happens when in the company of a man of the cloth, benefit from a few sage words. The highlight of the trip was a feast of grilled rabbit and fresh vegetables (and a touch of goat’s milk collected just that day) while sitting near a crackling fire in a small wood stove and listening to soft dinner music in the rustic, off-grid cabin and homestead of a couple that has helped us better understand homeschooling on the island.

We continue to assume that the island has some tourist attractions, to include ocean and beaches, but we have not yet had time to take a peek. This said, our last day included a lunch (our meal with the pastor) of mahi mahi, poi, and haupia in a cafe overlooking the smoldering Kilauea Caldera. I cannot say that I’ve ever had such a culinary-geological experience before. (Throw in the words of the Kahu and you could easily say it was a unique culinary-geological-theological convergence.)

So…where do we stand? The good news is that we found several properties that meet our needs and price range, and we have made an offer on our top choice with the assistance and insight our new and commendable realtor. For those of faith, keep us in your prayers. The rest of you can cross your fingers (or your toes) dance an Irish jig or do whatever it is that you feel may send some good ju-ju our way. I’ll save details and pictures of the property until we have actually secured something.

Returning to Washington to face cold winds and snow quickly snapped us back into logistics and transition mode. Today, jet lagged, we resumed the virtual yard sale and box packing in preparation for our move, as we wait to hear from our realtor on the status of our offer. Meanwhile, many of you have asked me to start some supplemental postings (recipe for the homemade toothpaste, musings on the intangibles of this huge life change process (emotions, stresses, challenges), etcetera) and I will start to do that shortly.

To those who have asked how they can be part of this life journey, how they can help or support us and live vicariously through our craziness, I will try to come up with something on that front as well.

For those of you out there casually following the blog, please consider clicking on the “follow” button so I can get a more consistent sense of how many of you there are and to allow you to receive notification whenever I post something new. Also, please feel free to ping me with suggestions or questions to flesh out the details of this life story that may be of interest to others.

On that note, I’ll leave you with another great banner link (see below) to explore resources that can help you move toward a greater sense of sustainable living as you track our progress.

Buy green, save energy & lower your bills. Shop Eartheasy.com

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