Pig on a Porch


I sit on a lanai (covered porch) in a towering edible forest jungle of mangos, bananas, coconuts, papayas and palms, watching spider webs catch raindrops and listening to the doves and roosters. We are far removed from the tourist stuff here.

The roosters start at around 4am, but it’s not so bad since we go to bed at 7:30pm. In Hawaii it gets dark between 6 and 7pm no matter the season. And like the lava grit in my sandals, the rain comes and goes, an excuse to stop and sit.

We landed in Hawaii eleven days ago and spent six days in luxury at Kalani Retreat Center, electricity and internet in our room and all meals included.


We picked up the truck in Hilo. We considered the real estate in Sea View next door to Kalani, a neighborhood started by retired circus performers, who continue their mission of performing arts in the schools and community.


It’s right on the ocean, but the lots are just lots, and the Bearded One has got to have some kind of acreage. Heck, an acre would do, especially near the ocean. We love hearing the surf crash at night.

Then on Sunday we went to the Maku’u (Ma – koo – oo) Market and met up with Tom and Deborah, our friends and off-the-grid mentors. Tom built the first Farmlet house on the mainland, which we bought in 2006. Deborah has lived in Hawaii for 20 years working at the U of Hawaii, Computational Linguistics, publications. She’s the Professor here on Gilligan’s Island. She makes her barefoot, balmy, high-tech, two-screen graphics world work in a hut.

We drive through their rural neighborhood, stop at the labyrinth on 4th (4/10ths mile from the ocean) just to see it, then swing by the Hippie House on 8th, which entrances us all over again.

Hawaiian Paradise Park House

Less than a mile from the ocean, an acre of glorious jungle landscaping, and an off-the-grid island house with a lot of soul. It’s not for sale anymore. The owner, who may be even more of a hippie and a hermit than the Bearded One, took it off the market because of the hassle…but maybe, we joke, he would be interested in selling if we left him a note? Maybe —

Monday we moved here from Kalani, to this little jungalo on an organic farm on Papaya Farm Road, surrounded by coconut and banana trees. Little bananas called apple bananas. Best we’ve ever had. $1/pound.

The jungalo has no electricity, a communal toilet and shower, and a camp kitchen on the corner of the lanai.


A hen lays an egg on the dish shelf every day.


Internet is usually available on the main farmhouse porch (shared with the enormous black pig Eore)


but it’s been out for a few days, so Tuesday we drive the 10 miles to the town of Pahoa and the bakery. Where we can also get phone reception and call our real estate agent, Glenn, who listed the Hippie House last fall.

Before we moved in here on Monday afternoon, though, we went to Hilo to get the Bearded One his first pair of sandals in maybe three decades. On the way, we decided to drive by the Hippie House again, really slow.

Maybe the owner will spot the Bearded One getting out of the truck and looking at the neighboring property for sale? Maybe the Bearded One will wave and introduce himself and the owner will remember our intense long-distance interest two months ago, before he got tired of all the lookers? Maybe he’ll invite us in and give us a tour? Yeah, right.

Be careful what you imagine, at least on the Big Island. The cause and effect loop is tight here, with instant repercussions. The owner appeared with a huge bulldog, was guarded, then receptive


then gave us an honest and leisurely tour. It needs new solar panels and wiring, new catchment system liner, tenting for termites, kitchen refinement, and an additional lanai — and sent us on our way to try and find anything better.

The bakery is open air and full of locals on laptops. The Bearded One orders a hot chocolate and goes out to the parking area to try and get a phone signal. I get the Wi-Fi password and log on.

“Glenn’s office is right next door!” the Bearded One says when he returns.  Another connection made almost effortlessly.

We spend Thursday with Glenn seeing five houses. I reject the last two before even seeing them, the roads are so atrocious. Borderline impassable. My friends and family would never make it here.


The others that we can afford are either shacks on really rough jungle acreage or pristine Western houses on 2/10 acre lots.

Friday, the Bearded One takes the cell phone over to the corner of the farm where we discovered reception, calls the owner of the Hippie House, and makes an offer. The owner will talk to his wife and the Bearded One will call back on Sunday morning. There’s no way he can send us a message.

Then Easter Sunday morning, I watch from our screened-in cottage as the Bearded One calls. He gives the thumbs up that it is ringing. And then it starts to rain. Hard, torrential, pounding Puna rain. I can’t even see the Bearded One anymore.


A few minutes later the Bearded One emerges from the jungle, smiling. I greet him at the hut door. “We have a deal,” he says.

I squeal with delight. “I can’t believe the phone connection held through that storm,” I say.

“That banana tree was real good cover,” he says.

Suddenly, Eore comes screaming out of the jungle. A smaller wild pig has chomped down on the base of Eore’s tail and is hitching a high-speed recreational romp around the place – both of his front hooves riding high on Eore’s butt while his back legs churn furiously to keep up with Eore’s long panicked strides. It seems plain to me there’s a huge grin on the wild pig’s face.

A good day for all. Well, maybe not Eore.

28 responses to “Pig on a Porch

  1. Wow! Sounds like the karma is still working!!

  2. This is sooo cool!! Aloha oy! Wow – magic keeps happening. Welcome home.

  3. Ooooooooh Christi!! How are you feeling – is it all on? Is this hippie house to be the centre of the second Farmlet? I remember when you first heard of it because I was reminded of my own last house-hunting expedition when I spent an entire weekend with a new and very keen agent and saw every house in my price range on the market and then bought the first house I had looked at.

    And what a totally different living experience you are having, all that fresh fruit dripping from trees and an open air bakery! -But what happens to the buns when the downpour comes? I did not know about the darkness arriving all year round at the same time – that seems rather odd to me – but explains all those happy night time photos that seem to exude from Hawaii.

    Can’t wait to hear the next installment! xoxo

    • Isn’t that the way, Pauline? You know you’ve found it, but you just have to be sure. And as to how I’m feeling?? Connected. Comfortable. Interested. Warm. Happy. Healthy. Occasionally overwhelmed. GRATEFUL. Since we don’t move into the Hippie House until June 2, we have some weeks to explore. Every plant is new here, and so much of it smells good or tastes good. A good way to learn. Love you.

  4. Whooot! What wonderful news! I pray all goes well for the buying of the hippie house. I love the pig stories and look forward to your ongoing adventures in the tropics. Oh and how gnarly to have the chooks laying directly onto the plate shelf 😀

    • Ha! Yes, gnarly. And she looks like a rooster! I see your house remodel continues to produce beautiful results…and here’s hoping your foot/toe surgery heals up perfectly. Facebook keeps me in your loop. 🙂

      • Hi Christi 🙂 my foot is starting to feel better and able to be walked on. Such excitement at your end with the new house move! We all look forward to what happens with you and Keith next. Xoxox

  5. What an interesting life you lead! If only I were 30 years younger I might entertain thoughts of off-grid living. Best of luck to you and Bearded One on your jungle endeavors. I look forward to the next chapter with great anticipation.

    • Thank you, Robbyn. There are several WOOFERS here at the farm (world organization for organic farmers or something like that) and they are in their 20s and early 30s. But there are also old people like us living off-grid all over the place. I’m learning a lot. Hugs from Hawaii! xxo

  6. Christine Widman

    Ahhhh – apple bananas – scrumptious!
    How big are your stars at night?
    The sound of waves…for me the best going to sleep sound that exists.
    I’d say the Universe wants you on the Big Island.
    So fun to hear your blog voice again.
    Big big hugs forever.

    • The sky is huge, Christine. The constellations are still there, even Orion, which I thought might not be since we are so close to the Equator. But that’s about all I understand about all that. Did you see the red full lunar eclipse? It felt so Hawaiian to me, since we’re staying just off the Red Road (cinder road from volcanic rock), in Hawaii where the state flower is red. Big hugs forever to you, too. xxoo

  7. Christine Widman

    You know how stupendous I think it is that you will be living in the Hippie House. Your Hawaiian dream house come true.
    I love it!

  8. Not for sale anymore is right! CONGRATULATIONS!! In the space of New Year’s to Easter you’ve done a 180°. Please send some of that seamless transition ju-ju my way.

    Anyone out there, a bit less adventurous, interested in a 400sq. ft. condo centrally located in Honolulu in a very retro, mostly original 1957 pink palace? It will come available for sale in August when I make my final move to permanently join Tom in our HPP haven.

    p.s. ***30*** years in Hawai‘i; 20 of them in the pink palace, a.k.a “The Terrazza.”

    • Ah, 30 years! I was 35 in Seattle, and now we both are heading to the Big Island for the next stretch. Here’s huge hopes and imaginings for your Honolulu pink palace to be snapped up by the perfect new person. It’ll happen. 🙂

    • We can move in on June 2. But yes, we are home. Yesterday I was remembering that poem I wrote back in 1989 or 1990 — “Air Conditioning.” I haven’t lived in heat and humidity for 35 years. It’s bringing back my childhood, the good parts…no AC! And the ohia tree blossom (Hawaii state flower) looks just like a mimosa. Love you, Sheila. 🙂

  9. Oh, I’m so, so happy for you two! Karma, indeed!! And a Hippie House . . . what more could one want? Something wonderful is going on in the world just now, I think . . . You sure made me laugh with your description of that wee pig hanging onto Eore’s tail . . . I felt sorry for Eore, but still laughed . . .
    I’m so looking forward to seeing the first picturers, then the transformation!
    Lots of hugs, my friends. ~ Linne

    • Mahalo, Linne. It’s been a whirlwind here, although it feels pretty laid back. I felt sorry for Eore, too. Everyone did, and he was soon rescued. He weighs at least 300 pounds and was totally done in by that runty little pig. Lots of hugs back to you. xxoo

  10. !!!!!!! Perfect! Congrats! I wish I knew how to say karma or kismet in Hawaiian!

  11. What a great story! I can only imagine the disappointment you felt when the hippie house was pulled off the market so your elation must be overflowing! It took nothing more than a little eye-contact and chit-chat to bring the owner back around. I had to have a closer look at the pic of the hen on the dish shelf. She looks like a painting!

  12. I always saw the hippy house as the Hawaiian Farmlet. It looks like Farmlets twin sister. Sometimes you just know that you are going to end up somewhere whether it involves a bit (lot) of work or not and the hippy house is just “you” 🙂

    I LOVE the jungalo and I adore that chook. I want to feed her peanut butter sandwiches as she lays her eggs. That’s about as rural as you can get ;).

    Coconuts! And bananas 🙂

    I love that the hippy houses owner was honest with you from the start. Always wonderful to know all of the problems up front rather than having to discover them somewhere down the line. I didn’t know that termites in Hawaii need little tents. We just let them eat our houses whole here…

    “WOOT!” For the hippy house and LOL for poor old eyore and the little wild piglet. Sounds to me like Eyore was trying to pinch the piglets food ;). SO happy for you guys and can’t wait to read about your new hippy farmlet out in the jungle surrounded by pigs, bananas and COCONUTS! 🙂

    • Ha! Yes, the little termite tents. 🙂 We just heard today from our friend Tom about a different way, injecting orange oil into the wood. Anyway, more localized and not tenting the whole house with insecticide. Ug. The owner is a good guy, a member of the Hawaii Palm Society, and has focused on the plantings for 20 years. I’m going to ask him to go around the grounds with me to label everything, including the COCONUTS! It’s been rainy here today, but such a different kind of rain from Seattle. It rains hard and then stops. And it stays so warm, none of this icy rain drops stuff. It seems impossible we’ve just been here for 2-1/2 weeks. Hugs to you, Steve, Bezial, and Earl…in that order. 🙂

      • That’s it…I am going to have to write a pdf for you all about the wonders of coconuts and give you some awesome recipes to boot :). I guess Hawaii is in the tropics? Have you seen Dog the bounty hunter yet? If so, I hope it wasn’t because he was hauling the B.O. off to jail! At least he could defend himself when he got to court 😉 What’s the opposite of Aloha? That’s what I am sending your way 🙂

      • I looked it up and yes, Hawaii is in the tropics! The Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are the boundaries at 23 degrees N and S respectively, and Puna, Hawaii is 19 degrees north. No “seasons,” but lots and lots of weather. lol And no, I haven’t ever seen Dog the Bounty Hunter. Aloha means love and hello and goodbye, an all-purpose love word, coming and going. 🙂

      • Aloha!!! (I love a good multi-purpose word…no more wrestling the vernacular for me, it’s “Aloha!” all the way! 😉 )

  13. Oh so good to hear that you are there safely and learning and exploring and finding your way! Continuing to cheer you on from my front porch in muggy Texas and looking forward to the next installment…..

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