Land Bids and Granola Tendencies (Week Five)

In limbo, and buried in packing boxes, we remain. Our offer on a piece of land was countered with a reduced, yet not quite market-fair price. We made an offer on a second property; that seller stood firm on their initial price. Negotiations continue.

Let me take a minute to inform you, good reader, about the peculiarities of buying land in Hawaii. It is a process that I shall call “unique” when compared to securing land in suburban areas on the East Coast. For starters, cesspools are still a common and legal means for managing human waste on plots. Rain water catchment (supplying all in-house water needs) is common, as are solar water heaters and photovoltaic electrical supply. Land completely out of range of any municipal utilities is common. Property contracts include disclosures on singing tree frogs, stinging red ants, wild pigs, mongoose, unexploded ordinance, and unpredictable volcanic activity. Terroir often exchanges hands absent a survey or the confirmation of boundary pins. If there is still a “Wild West” in these united states, it is to be found on the Big Island. (We love it.)

Waiting and timing uncertainty, total lack of schedules and deadlines, is integral to our ongoing process and very alien to us, who have been nurtured for two decades on a regimen of daily meetings, weekly gatherings, monthly quotas, annual deadlines. So…let me take the time to update you on how we progress on other fronts.

First, my lovely bride continues to work out the minutia of our future domicile. Will it be a single yurt with a loft, roll up futon beds, and hammocks? Will we land in a muti-faceted red wood abode, something like a Deltec? Or…will it be a more traditional looking log cabin…or maybe a Southeast Asian looking structure with single-wall construction and coregated metal roof? Outdoor shower? Outdoor kitchen? Only time will tell, but the midnight oil continues to burn as she labors with pin-point sharpened graphite stylus over graph paper.

Meanwhile, our lifestyle journey progresses. What, pray tell, do I mean? Well…let me start by saying that many of those who have long known us in our professional lives (close cropped hair, cuff links, ties, executive pens…high heels, suit skirts, lady’s executive bags) have remained ignorant of our maturing granola tendencies over the years. (To the more observant, this will come as no surprise.) Let me begin by saying that, this week, I completed a book on solar-powered homes, finished cooking with the last batch of sweet potato shoots that we grew (and preserved) two years ago, dried a large batch of bananas as snacks (the fresh ones were on sale and our dehydrator was in need of some excercise), fully transitioned the teenage kids to natural acne remedies (witch hazel root will give any chemical company a run for its money), and I finally retrieved the last batch of laundry that I ever hope to deposit at a dry cleaners (the remnants of my last days in an office some five weeks ago).

This week too, building on a long-time habit of making our own yogurt, we began making our own kefir. Our high esteem for probiotics long ago made us fans of this drink, having even more beneficial microbes than yogurt, given that the live cultures include yeasts as well as bacteria. Using store bought organic, grass fed milk and a store bought starter culture that can be perpetuated batch after batch, the results were sublime and many fold cheaper than what you can buy in stores. I highly recommend having a go at making your own (kefir and yogurt) and setting aside the high cost, commercialized probiotic pills that are becoming ever so popular.

On other fronts, we continued to chart the waters of Obamacare. Recently separated from federal service (after years of frozen cost of living increases in salary and a federal furlough), with no jobs or income and living on life savings, and in the process of moving from one state to another, we have experienced in our dealings with healthcare and local government officials everything from ignorance to mis-information to disappointing tyrannical stipulations that, despite no income, our life savings would be viewed as income and we would be charged the same as a computer chip magnate in Silicon Valley to meet the requirements of the new federally stipulated healthcare requirements. (I must have slept through most of my classes in public school here in Virginia—part of the cradle of the revolution—that covered the concepts of democracy, freedom, and equality. What would Mister Jefferson say?)

On lighter matters, after realizing that we had an uninvited guest in our home in the form of a common mouse, my wily son endeavored to construct a trap from an old wooden wine display box, and he captured said creature live. (A lovely brown coat, striking white underbelly, and pea sized eyes of coal to complement a tail that stretched twice the length of its body…evidence of good feeding at the clumsy hands of my untidy offspring). We housed the terrified pup in a hamster cage for a few days until it became clear that no measure of fresh fruit, hay, or classical music would bring him out of his funk (he looked truly depressed). Our furry friend is now a resident of our late winter, and dwindling, wood pile and the boy is looking forward to trapping wild pigs on the island.

On that note, I’ll leave you with this banner link to explore and some words from former president, Vice President, Secretary of State, and U.S. ambassador John Adams…

Great Deals on Greenhouses -


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