The Mosquito Net Cloak of In-Itchability

“There’s our WWOOFers!” I sing out to the Bearded One as he drives us through the main curve in Highway 132, halfway between Pahoa and the Kapoho farm where we are staying until we can move into the Hippie House on June 2.

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“Is that the Skipper?” The Bearded One checks the rearview mirror and flicks our right blinker, which is on the fritz and buzzes loudly. Rough roads and torrential downpours are notorious in Hawaii for causing car malfunctions and jarrings-loose. We are just returning from helping our friend Tom, who was stuck up in Volcano with a broken brake line.

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“Yes!” I’ve turned around in my seat and add, “And he has practically the whole farm with him!”

The Bearded One waits for cars to pass, makes a U-turn, then drives up behind the Skipper’s car – a Toyota 4-Runner like ours only 3 years newer, and its hood is up. The Skipper, who is 24-years-old and a former Marine and tattoo artist, waves happily and jogs to our window. He and his girlfriend Ginger are transporting 3 of our small web of friends on the island – organic farm workers who work for lodging but no pay (“WWOOFers”) – Gilligan, Thurston Howell III and Mary Ann – into Pahoa, and a hose has busted. Do we have any duct tape?

No, but a plan is hatched to get some at the farm, and then the Bearded One will return the Skipper to his truck. These hardworking, adventurous, optimistic people in their 20s and early 30s are all so nice, I feel like I’m in the right place, doing the right stuff, at least when I’m not going insane with itching from mosquito bites.

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When we are on the road again, I offer the Skipper and Gilligan some Benadryl anti-itch cream, which Tom, who is a former nurse, gave me after I was savagely bitten up in Volcano.

Volcano is the town near the top of 4,090 foot Kilauea, an active volcano just a half hour drive from the Hippie House.

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Tom is building a house there for a lovely woman named Kay who is also a fern expert, and today it was cold and wet and I was reminded of Seattle as Kay and I talked and drank tea in her little temporary shed/house and the men worked on Tom’s truck. Seattle has mosquitoes, too, just not this time of year. Hawaii didn’t have mosquitoes at all until 1832, Kay tells me, as I scratch my ankles into swollen red welts.

The Skipper and Gilligan rub cream on their own bites. The ocean breeze blows across the lava field at Four Corners, the Bearded One turns left onto Highway 137, the bumpy part of the drive, then it’s just a ways down the Mango Tree Road (the sign calls them Exceptional Trees, and they are) to the farm.

P1000181 Gilligan helps me haul groceries and ice to our jungalo, and the Bearded One leaves with the Skipper and the tape. A gecko hitches a ride on the windshield, and the Bearded One opens his window at 55 mph and lovingly encourages the little lizard on his trip across the glass and finally into the car.

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Geckos are on our side in the Mosquito War. They are bug eating lizards, bright green with blue and orange markings, or brown to blend in, and we love them, even when they poop tiny poops from the rafters down onto the bed. No biggie.

I load the ice into the cooler and store the sandwiches, salads, Cokes and cream cheese there, then pack the instant oatmeal, chips, raisin bread and cookies in the ant-proof Tupperware. Well, pretty ant proof.

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Finally, I run cold water over two wash cloths and lie down on the bed, under the white mosquito net of in-itchability which protects our sleep, lay the cool cloths on my ankles and rub more cream on my bites. Bliss.

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28 responses to “The Mosquito Net Cloak of In-Itchability

  1. Wonderful to hear from you, give him my best.

  2. You’ll be relieved to find how, over time, your body finally acclimates to the mosquitos. Not 100%, but the torture diminish significantly. Hang in there!

  3. Ah yes…the rain and damp mosquito heaven…so glad you’ve got that net! I didn’t know they actually work. Aloha!!

  4. Sounds like you’re having a good time!

  5. It’s so awesome that you’ve already met some great new friends. It’s so beautiful there! That’s too bad about the mosquitos. Mosquitos love me too, sister. I bought some stuff I use on my patio so I can sit out there. I bought it from a friend of mine in Dallas but maybe he could ship it. It really works! Here’s his link. http://www.mosquitosteve.com/
    The hippie house will be so perfect. All the best to you two!

    • Thanks for the link, Susan! I’ll definitely look into it. We’ve been using coils and they work okay. Two of the WWoofers are from the Dallas area. Small world in so many ways, eh? Love and hugs back to you!

  6. Alas, even Paradise is not perfect! There is something that you can eat – like garlic – that makes ’em leave you alone – well, too much garlic makes everyone leave you alone! I shall try and remember what it was…. my daughter eats it when she is going to Hawaii; before and during and it helps her avoid being eaten alive……. and she is a tasty morsel apparently for any biting bugs 🙂

    • The Wwoofer I called Gilligan told me that, too. Garlic. Thanks! I’m not cooking so much until I get an actual kitchen, but when I do, more garlic. And yes, even Paradise is not perfect! It’s nice a warm and beautiful, though.:) Love from the Big Island to an even bigger island. 🙂

      • Once you get that garlic into your system and oozing out your pores – and into that hippy house – I’m pretty confident it might come close to perfection! The time will fly by – are you collecting pets yet?

      • lol How amazing you should ask that, Pauline! There is a young stray dog that has adopted the farm and one WWoofer in particular, but we might be the ultimate caretakers of Festus (we were asked to name him:) when we move into the hippy house. We’ll see. 🙂 And we’ll very probably start our chickens with a couple of hens from here. We’ll pass on the pigs, though.

      • Had a feeling there must be something near by for you 🙂 I myself am sending out messages for a small dog – of the labradoodle or bichon variety as an addition to our small but happy family 🙂

  7. I love the idea of being a WWOOFER! Working holidays that help out people sound really nice as long as your fed and watered and have a clean bed to sleep in 🙂 . Sorry to hear your being eaten alive at the moment Christi. Does Keith get bitten as well or is he like me and the Mosquitos fly over him to get you? I never get bitten and Jason is always a tasty treat for whatever happens to be biting at the time.

    • Poor Jason! Isn’t that weird, how they like some people better?? Keith has always been their favorite, too, especially his little white ankles. I am the un-tasty one, until now.

      Being a WWoofer is a good gig as long as the farm owner is generous. Food is not always in the deal, at least not 3 meals a day. They work 25 hours a week for their rent and water and SOME food, but each farm is different.

  8. Lovely post (in spite of the skeeters). I rarely get bitten and I credit eating quite a lot of nutritional (or Engevita) yeast. My understanding was that low B vitamins attracts ’em, but who knows? Best of luck with acclimatization, though. Nice to see you already forming a circle of friends; so like you, I think. See you soon. ~ Linne

    • Aloha, Linne, and very interesting about the B vitamin. I’m eating such luscious fresh fruit, papaya and bananas mainly, I feel vitamin rich! And yes, I feel friend-rich now, too. It’s an interesting acclimation, though, and I’m grateful I can rest and sit and stare a lot. Love to you, Linne.

  9. Such adventures and with a bite! We have inordinate amounts of mozzies here too. They drive me insane as we can’t sit outside and enjoy a bbq without being surrounded by a persistant halo. I think it is vitamin B that helps to detract them. Imagine living so close to an active volcano…

    • We plan to go see the actual molten lava and crater some day, but the botanical gardens are first on my trip list! It’s not the violent explosive erupting kind of volcano, like Mt. St. Helens which is near Seattle and blew big-time in 1980. I moved to Seattle in 1979 and remember the eruption well. No ash in Seattle, it went east, but it was a mess up there. Mauna Loa and Kilauea are the non-violent type, oozing out forever, opening rifts and flowing out to the ocean over months and years. It’s still destructive, but not like a tsunami. It is an amazing thing to live near new land being created. The lava fields look like hell itself (to me), but there are ferns and other plants starting to grow. Life!

      Oh, and Linne mentioned the Vitamin B idea, too. Mahalo (thank you)!

  10. Now you are making ME itch! How exciting to be living on a mountain…and an active volcano at that! All I know about Hawaii comes from Hawaii 5 O and watching Lilo and Stitch about 60 times. I consider myself to be an expert now :). Those mango trees are magnificent Christi. Oh HOW I wish I could have stood under them. As a tree lovely I want to hug each and every one of them. You will have to do it for me! ;). I love the little community that you are amassing. WOOFers are the bomb aren’t they? People who are willing to work to stay in a stranger’s house to get experience and build community are the salt of the earth :).

    I am stealing that picture of that gorgeous little gecko with impunity :). What gorgeousness you are surrounded by now! I can’t wait to read about your future forays into the jungles/forests (whatever they call wooded areas in Hawaii 😉 ) and see what you are able to find. No monkeys but if the lizards are all this pretty who needs them! 😉

    At least the poops are teeny tiny and not really noticeable unlike dog manure (still smarting after Earl’s poop episode yesterday…mutter…mutter…)

    Nothing like relief to make you grateful for your lot Aloha ma’am and here’s to gorgeous gecko’s, grateful WOOFers and general gregariousness of your new and most amazing home 🙂

  11. Yes, Wwoofers are the bomb, and I’m so glad you love the little geckos, too. I tried to respond to this yesterday but had no internet. A lot of rain, so maybe that messed with it. I am still amazed that I can get the internet in the middle of the Pacific ocean, so can’t be tooooo pissy about missing an afternoon. The lessons of Hawaii. 🙂 Aloha to you and your days next to Brunhilda in your amazing home.

  12. Christine Widman

    I didn’t experience mosquitoes on Oahu but we lived in Honolulu. I bet there were mosquitoes up those gorgeous green Ko’olau mountains though.
    I did experience the geckos. On the screens – on the lanai – on the walls. They were sheer sweet delight.
    Yet, once…a frisson of ooohh nooo… I was picking plumeria blossoms from the tree in the backyard where I lived and something fell onto my long hair. I thought it was some kind of huge bug or spider and tipped my head over in a panic, shaking my hair frantically.
    I can’t describe the relief I felt when a little gecko fell to the grass.
    So…when I say geckos were everywhere…they were.
    Here we have spiny lizards…collared lizards…western banded geckos…so I am in lizard love again.
    Thinking of you under mosquito netting.
    C

    • Ooooo, Christine, a gecko in my hair might make me a big crazier than usual. 🙂 The blossoms everywhere are divine, especially the plumeria. Aloha my Hawaiian girlfriend.

  13. Christine Widman

    PS I forgot – please tell the Bearded One…lolololololol you covered in Mosquito bites – and – ahhh sigh – you under the netting.
    Miss you both.
    OH!
    PPS We use antiperspirant deodorant here for any kind of bug bites. It works instantly!

  14. What a lovely paradise! Hopefully you’ll get used to the mosquitoes soon.

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