The Last Farmlet

It’s 7am Monday morning, swimming day, and I’m still in bed. Fifteen minutes more. I don’t have to leave for an hour.


Beside me the Bearded One snores and snorts as only a man with a sinus infection can.  It’s going around. The room is light, but not yet bright, and I stare at the cedar wall opposite the bed, the termite damage chiseled out, the puttying half done.


We’ve been working on this old Hippy House for 18 months now. We moved to the wet east side of the Big Island of Hawaii in April, 2014, and into this off-grid 900 square foot cabin on an acre on June 2, 2014.

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Since then, with the help of our friend and contractor Tom, and a pile of money from the sale of the Olalla, WA farmlet, we’ve put in a new water catchment system, a solar electric system, five new windows and six refurbished, a back lanai and sliding door, a new entry staircase, kitchen counter, and painted the upstairs beams and posts brown (Dark Truffle) and the fir floor celadon (Pale Jade).



We landscaped the already mature plantings that were here with five loads of gravel and cinder/soil mix. We’ve harvested jackfruit, lychee, and ginger, passionfruit (lilikoi), papayas, and mangos, coconuts, pineapples —


— and now, after tons of the Bearded One’s careful months of composting, of creating a couple of feet of rot on the lava, we also have actual bananas.


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A big deal.  It’s easy to grow the plants, but hard to get the fruit.

The new composite storage shed out back stays clean, with no rust or rot. Hawaii is a place of minimal storage. In fact, storage is pretty much impossible with the wetness, direct tropical sunrays, rust, and mold. Paper wilts and mildews in days.

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There are no ancient writings in Hawaii. There was no written Hawaiian language until the white missionaries came in the 19th century with their paper and pencils.  It makes sense that ceremony, music, and dance are so important here.  They carry the stories and culture.

I hear our brown tabby cat Nala on the front lanai, jumping down from the railing with a thud, now waiting to come in and eat. She lives outdoors at night, and is a great companion to us during the day. She’s not a lap cat, but likes contact and vicinity.


We have no dog, no chickens, no goats and no desire to get any. We are no longer farmers. Or even gardeners.

I listen to my beloved breathe.

Okay, it’s 7:15. Time to get up, get tea, check my email and Facebook and go pick up Rebecca and NeNe to swim.

A Facebook story floors me. The writing friend who first encouraged me to start Farmlet five years ago, in February, 2011, died peacefully in his sleep from an aneurysm on December 2, five days ago. He was my age, 59, a wonderful mentor and friend and writer.

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Things happen the way they happen. Somehow his passing makes it easier for me to end this blog. To say how grateful I am, to say how the planet-wide friendships I’ve made through Farmlet changed my life.

The Bearded One hears me sobbing and gets out of bed. He hugs me hard and then, bless him, he lets in the cat.

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56 responses to “The Last Farmlet

  1. Thanks you Christi (and Keith) for all your lovely blogs. I’ll still follow you on Facebook and wish you a wonderful life and Christmas season. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend xoxox

  2. Christi, I don’t know what to say . . . I do understand your choosing to stop here, but I will miss you so very much. I have seen many of my online friends struggling with this very issue this year, for some reason. Some have chosen to post less frequently, some have eliminated comments and some have simply decided to head in another direction. I do hope you will leave Farmlet up, but that’s purely my own selfishness.

    I have been unable to post for quite a while now, but I expect to be back once things here resolve. I’d love it if you popped by occasionally, just to stay in touch. Your kindness and generosity, not to mention your writing and the BO’s amazing drawings, have added so much to my life. I will continue to visit here for as long as your posts are available.

    All the best to you and Roger and to your family, too.
    And much love to you. You have been a blessing in my life. ~ Linne

    • Aloha Linne,
      Yes, you put it well. Change comes to all things. Endings are as tricky as beginnings. And blogging requires passion for something, some vision. I truly had that when I started Farmlet, and it’s been such a good thing in my life in so many ways. The BO and I have fun, and I want that to continue, somehow. He delights me, too!

      Farmlet will stay up as long as WordPress allows it! There are 190 posts over almost 5 years. I love the idea of you returning to previous episodes just for the fun of it! That is such a gift to me for you to say that, Linne. 🙂

      All the best to you and your beloveds, Christi

  3. I forgot to say that I’m sorry about your friend. That’s so young, isn’t it? (Well, to me, it is; I’ve worked for and with so many in their 80s and 90s). Bless you, Christi. ~ L

  4. I understand. I wish I wouldn’t be losing Farmlet as well as Brian, but I respect what you need to do, Christi. Please do stay in touch!

    • I will stay in touch, J.K. I love your FB posts. And some day I may blog again. Got to give it some space. Aloha! ps. and sorry about the double-whammy.

      • Not a worry, Christi. I understand and respect the decision. Instead of bleating about ‘writer’s block,’ you have the intellectual integrity to admit that you just don’t want to write nowadays. When you again do, I’ll look forward to it.

  5. My heart just cracked a little bit – life has moved you to a different path and I will be forever grateful to have known you for these past years through your blog and through some ephemeral connection that exists without us doing much of anything at all about it. I met Fran through you, while you were still Farmletting in Olalla – I’ve watched this slow transition to the inevitable but still feel sad not to be able to read any more of your adventures. Your little house is looking so homely – of course I love the colour you have painted your bedroom floor – and the two of you are deserving of a life that gives you some ease and comfort and growth in the directions you wish for. I shall just have to search you out on facebook now and again to catch up. Go well my dear friend – Arohanui! xoxo

    • Thank you, Pauline. I cherish our connection, too. Your word “inevitable” fits, and so does the sadness. That floor is your colour, no doubt about it! And I will be in touch on your blog and FB, but also, hey, I might blog again, with a new angle. Somehow. I’m giving it room to grow. The Bearded One says he’ll draw his little pictures whenever I tell him, “Draw!” Aloha dear friend. xo

  6. My heart breaks of news of one taken so young (and for us over 60, 59 is very young). On a happier note, we’ve enjoyed all the thoughts and antics via Farmlet. It had a good run, as is said in the biz. I know many new adventures and rainbows will take its place in your life. Keep us posted.

  7. Christi, I’m pretty sleep-deprived; was just visiting Wendy and Roger in NZ. I do know the BO is Keith. Do forgive me, will you? ~ L

  8. I’m sorry about the loss of your friend, Christi. And I am sad about Farmlet, but I understand. It has run its course, and now you are on to other, different things. And yes, endings are just as tricky as beginnings,and often more so.
    You have been a kind and encouraging supporter of my blog, and for that I am grateful. I only wish we’d been able to meet ‘in real life’ before your big move. But I have enjoyed following your progress as you and BO have made such a lovely homestead. I know you will enjoy it for many years, Pele willing.
    I’ll miss Farmlet and you. But maybe at some point you’ll be working on your next novel!
    And by the way — congratulations on the bananas! They look fabulous! xoxoB

  9. Mahalo, Christi & B.O! for your wonderful illustrated episodes of Farmlet. To share your lives so openly like this/that has made a difference in mine. I’m wishing you both a fabulous holiday time and many rich – and safe – adventures ahead. Love, Pierr

  10. Enjoy your new adventures. I’m happy I’ve gotten to know you a little in the intertubes. Perhaps someday in real life. All the best to you! Aloha.

    • I hope to physically meet you some day, too, Lisa! In the meantime, it’s cyber, which is all I ever was with my writer friend who died. Soooo weird how we never met or even spoke on the phone, yet my tears were so dang real. All the best to you, too!

  11. As usual you inspire me! The changes in your life are made with a kind of thrilling certainty, heart wide open. And always there is Keith and love and now bananas. So glad you are in my life. Hugs.

    • The certainty was a long time coming, or at least it felt so to moi! I couldn’t end it when we left Washington for some reason. Or reasons. So I focused in close until enough of the big picture accumulated and I saw that I was no longer planting stuff or raising and tending animals! Love you, too, Betty. xo

  12. Christine Widman

    Dearest Christi, I have just walked in the door after a full day driving with Terri to Flagstaff to see Ruby at her violin recital and to give her a birthday kiss. As of this moment 9 years ago she was 20 seconds old.
    Yes and yes again to the changes, set backs, and growth of life.
    You are on to something new…Curiously, Terri and I have begun a new idea of creating a kind of psychic bridge for our words.
    Reading your words about your life on the Farmlet and on the Big Island expanded my life here in the desert.
    Your words have brought me laughter and tears and joys and fears and most of all your words have brought the fullness of life lived.
    Sending every kind of love from every kind of place on this planet and beyond.
    This is for the Bearded One also. I shall carry his drawings, his wisdom, his quiet compassion and his humor in my heart forever.

    • Aloha dearest Christine, and many mahalos for your heart comments over all these 190 posts! And, if you’ll recall, you are the one who thought of Farmlet as the title. A title that said it all, and a word I’d never heard before. 🙂
      Grandson Cyrus is now 5 months old, and I relish the notion of watching him grow to age 9, like Ruby. So much change in so little time. Our words can do magic, I believe that, too. Big love to you from both the Bearded One and me! Christi

  13. Happy journey into the future. I have thoroughly enjoyed your wirtings and the bearded ones awesome drawings. Take care of one another.

  14. I have enjoyed reading your adventures (and misadventures) over the last few years and I will miss your blog. I hope you and yours stay healthy, happy and entertained. Be well, Pamela

  15. Aloha Seestor! Mahalo for your exquisite writing and storytelling in the Farmlet. You’ve created a loving community sharing your human experience. Mahalo to the Bearded One for his captivating drawings and your photos have been wonderful windows into your Olalla and Puna worlds. My heart aches for you grieving the loss of Brian. May his gift of mentorship live on in you and may you unfold your next writing venue with joy and excitement! Gentle days ahead. Love you.

    • Thank you so much, Seestor! Wow, this is such a lovely comment. I especially like, “May his gift of mentorship live on in you and may you unfold your next writing venue with joy and excitement!” Perfect. The Bearded One and I say, “Aloha nui loa!”

  16. Oh NO!!! I will miss your stories so much! I have enjoyed and looked forward to them for a long time and felt like I reconnected with my friend, Keith and now, you! I think you two are amazing adventurous people and I admire your courage to pick up and go to new places and make them home! Take care and thanks. Linda

    • It’s been so wonderful for me to get to know you and Susan F. via Farmlet and also FB posts. Your grandchildren are precious, and you look so healthy and vibrant. I wonder if the two are connected? 😉 I seem to feel better since Cyrus was born. Love and hugs to you, from Keith, too! xo

  17. Another candle flickers out but has been replaced with natural light, green futures and a life that is lived in the real world, not inside your mind. I knew that the days of Farmlet were slowly ticking to an end when you moved to Hawaii. Your whole life changed and you found new focus and direction. It couldn’t stay the same and Farmlet was about Olalla, not Hawaii. As sad as I am to see this space fade into the ether, I know that we can stay connected and that life goes on regardless. Thank you for being such an amazing earth mother Christi and to the B.O. for his stoic and sentient love for you. I have sincerely loved every one of your posts and several of them have been tucked into pdf’s to be stored and re-read at my leisure. I found you through Farmlet and it seems only fitting that I bid you “mahalo” and Aloha nui from narf7 your sister from another mister. Love you Ms Christi. Have an amazing and most happy life 🙂

    • Yes, you said it exactly. Farmlet was about Olalla! As I said earlier in these comments, I couldn’t end it when we left Washington. Who knows why. It doesn’t matter so much now, but I, too, knew that it was ending. It took awhile to recognize that I wasn’t planting anything of the vegetative sort. I could say it was an acre so that was a farmlet, or I could say that had lots of edibles growing here so that made it a farmlet, but the truth of what I was actually DOING was not creating a farmlet anymore. Other elements kept me going. Like the Bearded One’s drawings. And the fun we have had. I don’t want that to end. And the connection with YOU! And Pauline! God, what a boon to my life you’ve been. The latitudes of love. 🙂 We spin onward! Your fo’eva sista, Christi xxoo

      • We just switched it over to Facebook Ms Christi so we are never far from each others thoughts and we can send waftings of whatever is needed whenever they are needed. Blogging needs you to be dedicated to your content. If you are no longer dedicated to the content, and your heart isn’t in it, it is right and proper to stop. BIG hugs to you both and I am really sorry about Brian. I know how much he meant to you 😦

      • Yes, yes, and yes, Fran! Dedication to my content, exactly. I do feel more HERE now — I think you’re right that Farmlet was/is an Olalla phenomenon. And a timing one, too. When I started it in 2011, blogs were still so new. Self-publishing itself is so new and liberating. Facebook and your blog is our meeting ground for now. Thanks for the kind words about Brian. It was a shock, for sure. Big love to you and Steve xxoo

      • Right back atcha Christi and Keith 🙂 XXOOXX 🙂

  18. Oh Christi I will miss this window into your world so much. Your 5 years worth of posts should be a book. Thank you for sharing your quirky unique transcendent view. My love to you and the BO. I look forward to catching up with you in person soon!
    My love–Nancy

    • Mahalo, Nancy, and about making a book of the posts, I’ve certainly thought about it! I made the first year into an ebook and found out that with all the art and photos, it’s too expensive to print as a CreateSpace book. So I’m fine with it as a ‘book’ on line. I think of you often, your courage and grace, and wonder about your own writing adventures. Big love and hope to see you soon, too. Christi

  19. Thanks for the wonderful ride, Christi. Blogs do seem to have a lifespan, don’t they? I don’t quite feel mine winding down yet, but I can imagine that day will come. Please know I’ve appreciated not only the work you shared, but also your interest in and generosity toward mine. Peace and best, John

  20. Oh my. Brian and I had lost touch but he was a large part of getting me going on the self-publishing path. I enjoyed his quick mind, and his optimism about humanity. I’m sad to hear the news. And you, my sister in all but blood — have been part of that journey too and I thank you. I’ve enjoyed Farmlet immensely and will always be cheering you and the bearded one on. May your adventures continue and the joy keep on coming.

    • Brian introduced us, Sherrie! I remember him emailing me and saying, “I think this is a person you’d really like.” And he was right. 🙂 I consider you a sister, too, Sherrie, and love your optimism and clear focus on peace and the capacity of humans to be extraordinary! I look forward to following your Carolina adventures for many years. Hugs and love, Christi xo

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  22. I too will miss you x , those drawings and your take on life in Hawaii, A fond fairwell and thanks for all the wonderful stories x

  23. I saved reading your last entry as my Christmas present to myself. Happy sad. I will always admire your courage. Thank you for sharing the ride with all of us. I’ll stay in touch through your incredible sis. Ross

  24. Oh, Christi! I can’t believe I’m just now reading this and I can’t believe Farmlet has come to an end. Your Blog was straight from the heart so I feel like I know you now. I have felt as though I’ve known you somewhat much longer than we when we connected on Facebook because your B.O. allowed me to read a draft of “Pining”. Anyway, what I’d like to say is that I would love to continue our connection and continue to get to know you better via Facebook or letters. I would really love that. You inspire me to be more brave and authentic publicly. You are an amazing woman. I feel like we have a lot in common. I hope you take that as a compliment. 😄. I would feel so vulnerable. I cannot fathom having a blog. I am so very sorry about the loss of your friend Brian. 😥. How devastating. My heart goes out to you. What I love most about you is the fact that you take care of yourself and in brave fashion sometimes. (The MOVE!!!). I’m glad you are taking the time and space you need. Thank you for sharing your life with us while you did. Our birthday is coming up soon my sister from another mister! I hope you’ve had a beautiful Christmas! Hugs and Mahalo and give my best to the B.O.

    Hugs and love Christi,

    • Wow, thank you so much, Susan! Our connection is very special to me, too, and I also hope to stay in touch.

      “Pining” is in a box upstairs. It made the big cut of stuff when we moved to Hawaii, but who knows how long it will last in this tropical climate. Paper and books disintegrate before your very eyes. I don’t know if the B.O. and I would have made it if we’d married back in 1977…what I do know is that without Bill in my life, I wouldn’t have Molly, Annie, and Austin. It worked out.

      Thank you again for your loving comments on Farmlet and your friendship. And Happy Birthday!! Love you, Christi

  25. Oh Christi, our connection is special, thank you so much for saying that! Everything plays out just the way it’s supposed to. I am in love with a man today whom I’ve been on and off with for 6 years. We both had a lot to work out. I do know that I do things like you do like watch him breathe at night. I just adore him. If he and I hadn’t had our struggles with his sobriety (we met in AA) and if me learning to trust him again hadn’t been such a struggle, it wouldn’t be as precious as it is now. One day I will write you and tell you some stories if you’d like. I love getting to know you. Early Happy Birthday to you too Christi! I love you too, Susan

  26. Truly sorry for the loss of your friend, as well as for this blog. We have had a piece of land in Puna for a few years now, and as we finally begin to start the process of realizing our visions for it, we have often turned to your postings, with their personal touches and perfect illustrations, for inspiration and guidance.
    Mahalo, and continued happiness.

    • MAHALO, David! What a delight to see this comment from you! It feels great to know that the blog continues its work, even as I go on to other projects…as yet undefined. 🙂 May you have great fun realizing your vision. Aloha, Christi

  27. Just in from a large contract, life back on track. Will write a letter soon. Hugs to the man and kisses for you.

    • Aloha Clay! Never knew you were off the track. 🙂 Hugs and kisses back. We’re going to Sitka, Alaska this summer (May-Septmeber) to help with grandson Cyrus when his parents work fish. Friends are housesitting here. We’ll be back to Hawaii, but loved the chance to help out. You know how Keith feels about Alaska! 🙂 Look forward to hearing from you. Do you have our email? Phone? xo

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