Tag Archives: termite damage

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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