Weeks Thirty, Thirty One, and Thirty Two (25 August – 14 September 2014)
One Step Closer to Self-Sufficiency
Amidst the craziness of these three weeks, this period was marked by the first food production from our property. We have a long way to go before we will produce a respectable amount of our own victuals on this new 10-acre plot (or even approach the amounts we were hauling in from our ¼ acre backyard in Virginia after four years of tender loving care), but through the miracle of Craig’s List, we adopted two Barred Rock and two Rhode Island Red hens, two of which are laying and two of which are gearing up to do so.
Still awaiting construction of our residence here so that we can properly locate and build some on-site storage, all of our agricultural supplies sit in Limbo (which turns out to be somewhere in California), so we had to improvise a coop for the ladies.
The Makeshift Hen House
Free ranged and fed only non-soy, non-GMO supplemental scratch, we are already getting the large, deep-orange yolked beauties that we have long been accustomed to and that represent what a natural egg is supposed to look and taste like.
First Fruits (Can This Go in the Offering Plate?)
Shortly, we will no longer need store-bought eggs for ourselves and one of the girls is gearing up to invest in a small flock that will allow for home delivery and farmer’s market sales.
In the same vein, we planted the family garden with everything from okra to chard. We began clearing a knoll for some permaculture layouts, and the boy (with a little help from Dad and big sis) made good use of a hatchet and our abundant and free local building supplies (wild guava wood and bamboo) to start fashioning fencing to set boundaries in both areas.
Paradise Lost (and Found)
So…from past posts you know that have some beautiful woods, stone, terrain, and soil. We truly could not ask for more. That said, in an effort to fully explore the difficult uncleared corners of our property, the bride and I set out with a machete and our faithful walking partner (the Nubian princess, our goat Zelda), and what we stumbled upon in the far reaches of our little patch of earth was truly a shock. Bananas, edible wild berries, Birds of Paradise, Shampoo Ginger, and more. Better I just show you.
God is good, indeed.
The Breakfast Club
There is nothing like a solid breakfast of buckwheat flapjacks and self-spiced sausage patties cooked on a griddle over the hissing eyes of a Coleman camp stove to forget that you live out of a tent, shower out of a bucket, and rely on plastic baggies made for solid human waste to manage your family’s “output.”
And why such a fancy meal to jump start the day? We had guests. That’s right, as crazy as we are to live this way, there are people even crazier who are willing to drop by for an overnight visit. Both the boy and the girls hosted new friends to a sleepover. Here is the makeshift lean-to tripod that the boys made and stayed in.
As far as we know, nothing happened during these few weeks in our slice of paradise that would draw the attention of a real CSI team, but we have suffered six–count’em SIX–burglaries in our immediate area during these few weeks. In fact, one occurred right next door to us and we phoned in the crime in progress to the local fuzz. (When I made the call, I could swear I heard the bride fumbling for a machete and mumbling something in Mandarin about the legacy of Mulan, but–then again–maybe I was just still groggy.)
By all accounts–including the police–this type of nonviolent property theft comes in waves here in Puna District, even though we live in the very safest nook of the district. Just part of life here, much like when we lived in the Philippines. So…we have had to resort to keeping someone present at our property at all times lest our yurt become a novel lawn ornament in a neighborhood on the other side of the island, and we are researching the typical array of security measures that we have become accustomed to while working abroad (signs, motion detectors, security lights, wireless cameras, lazer trip wires and flares, punji pits).
On the novel side, we are considering mounting an Al Qaida flag on our front gate as a deterrent and I am looking into a bulk purchase of black pajamas and balaclavas that the kids can wear around the property as they do their various farm chores. (In the name of sensitivity, I suppose we could use a “Ninja Training Camp” sign instead.)
The bride outright shot down my first suggestion of a Nazi flag and accompanying Hitler Youth attire as being just down right tacky. A suggestion for mounting gruesome vodoo paraphernalia met with similar rejection. (Where does one legally procure a dehydrated human spleen anyway?) Maybe we should dig up Claire’s skull and put it to some good use.
Fortune Cookie Rules
And that’s how the bride and I found ourselves sitting elbow-to-elbow with the mayor and our district councilman in a Neighborhood Watch meeting, where I was asked to consider standing up a chapter in our corner of the district. Sigh. (You will understand my air of resignation if you recall from one of my very early posts the fortune cookie message that I received during a meal on Chinese New Year, the day of my resignation: “You will become a community leader.”) Lord, help me.
So, I agreed. But I want the right to wear a purple Fez during community meetings. And I want a bullhorn. And a submarine. These are my terms…
To Be Continued…