May the Land and Water Nourish Us

More notes from the backyard farmer. Spent 9 hours today hula-hoeing, transplanting, watering, sowing and tilling, got home in time for a short bath then took little big Rosa to a keiki Hula class at the Coconut Marketplace to see if she'd be interested in it. Youngest kid in the class was 3, so we have a half year to wait and watch. Afterwards we had our pumpkin ice cream then we followed the soccer mom and surfer dad trail to a local chicken and noodle joint. By sunset I felt like a dad of two worlds... the quiet, far off in the field hard working kind of man, and the after work drive 'em to dance class, grab a quick bite to eat and get home to brush teeth and go to bed father. I can't even imagine what it's like to be in Rosa's... I would say shoes, but she hardly wears them, so feet, Rosa's bare feet.

A big change we value as a family is eating local and organic. Maybe the ice cream and chicken we had today wasn't all that organic, albeit a treat for attending first hula dance class, but the meals and drinks that come before are progressively being hand harvested and hunted from the land around us. That's the idea of sustainable living; living in a way that preserves adequate and equal natural resources for the future generations to come. Instead of soda or canned coconut or bottled juice, we're relying more on cracking open a coconut. 

The 7 ol' hens give us 7 eggs a day by 4 PM. We're starting to give them more of what we eat, like papayas and corn, in hopes that they with live long lives and make tasty eggs, which we are so thankful for. 

The big topic for this decade is oil it seems like, but really, it's wildfires and water. Fresh water is something that many don't have. I remember in Thailand having only bottled water to drink in 2005, the same with Honduras in 2003, and Mexico way back in 2000, and sadly, even here, with the wettest spot on Earth just 25 miles northwest by the seagull's flight, imported bottled water is in high demand here. 

Rosa's drawing named 'Jellyfish' showing a Portuguese Man O' War that rides the swells when the Kona arrives.  

Each time I turn on a sprinkler I thank the water. It comes from this island, from a reserve not too far away. I believe in taking back our water as a simple farmer. I see resorts filling pools with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water right next to the ocean, car washes mixing fresh water with chemicals, big time seed research companies using millions of gallons of water per a year to do research and I'm told to conserve water as an organic farmer and pay a high price for it? Excuse me? How am I supposed to feed the community? At the pow wow two weeks ago the tribal council announced that they were bottling their own local water straight from the tap and only offering that as a way to bring awareness about the water we drink. If we can't drink our own tap water, then dig a well, and if that is dry... then it's time to change.

In the Amazon jungle in Peru I undertook lessons on Inca migration patterns. During times of drought the communities below the mountains struggled with agriculture. Some would move to higher ground in search of rain, and learn how to preserve their foods better, like storing potatoes in cave-like dwellings. Drought periods became mystical. During extreme hunger those times escalated to human sacrifices to please the Gods and Goddesses responsible for giving water, and food. We're not that yet, but there are thousands of children dying each day due to lack of clean and plentiful fresh water. When one bomb goes off in the Middle East and kills 100, it makes headlines, or when there are wildfires destroying mansions in California, it makes headlines, but somehow, the mainstream media has yet to cover the most important discussions... food, water and shelter. No wonder so much news is fear driven, they haven't covered the baseline of the hierarchy of needs, physical necessities. And thus, I will do a rain dance and ask the night owl for rain at night, because the more it rains, the less I need to rely upon our reserve of water.

I regress... or progress... however you view it... to a loaf a hearty bread fresh baked at sunrise and cooling on a rack on passenger seat. Bread and water. Done right, it can feed you for eternity.

An update from the world of lettuces. After pulling out a half ton of rocks and roots from the beds in field one, teaching Rosa not to walk across the beds and scaring away the chickens with a dancing penguin doll... the pigs came, and they had a party as you can see in the picture below. The heat takes a few dozen heads of lettuce, and so will heavy winds on the young ones. Between the weather and the animals and the current soil conditions, I have my bucket full. Despite the challenges the lettuce is growing.

The first attempt to make the wild hogs aware of the lettuce is to hunt. On the eve of the Harvest Moon I heard a few gun shots down the hill and drove down quickly only to find a spotted hog lying on the road. My heart started pounding and I grabbed my dirty serrated sickle and pruners in order to clean it and harvest food. I later upgraded to a clean chefs knife, and YouTubed how to properly slaughter a pig. Now, I have a portable slaughter dress kit in the back of the jeep. Since that night, no pig has walked across the lettuce patch and I have a greater appreciation of where honey glazed ham comes from.

We had a few biologists on site and they took a few samples for genome testing.

Kids, pigs, heat, rocks, no rain, roots, a dog the other day and then this... a goat, dancing across the lettuce. Well, can't win them all, can't lose them all. It's a cute little goat after all, maybe she'll share milk with us one day so we can make some butter or cheese.

Today... 12,000 heads of lettuce are in the ground. Over the next few days, 6,000 will sowed and transplanted in three weeks. I max out around 20,000 heads with the land space available. That's a lot of lettuce.

It doesn't end there. Most garlic in mainland USA was harvested last month. I requested a few dozen lbs. of garlic from mainland that we're being put into winter cellars and am gonna try growing garlic to sell to the local market. All of Kauai's garlic comes from mainland and costs a fair amount. Whether it's root beer or garlic or water, I want and need to do it right here, right now. I'm tired of hearing about sustainable this and that, it's up to individuals to make the change.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.