Category Archives: Green Living

Wind Farm Cemetery

Recently, I have made several trips to the end of South Point Road to show visitors the Southernmost point in the United States. These remnants of a wind farm make me wonder just how environmentally conscious it is to let these stand. New working turbines have been built to take the place of the old ones, but what will we do with these discarded and useless turbines?

Read more here.

A hui hou!

Solar At Last!

 

Oh, I’m such a happy girl to finally get this done! I’ve been talking with Poncho’s Solar for the longest time. Now that school was out and I could be here, I was able to go ahead.

I want to say that they are gracious, professional, friendly and more than a little helpful in everything they do. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and I can personally recommend them highly!

These pictures of the guys at work may not be especially thrilling to you, but it was exciting for me as I watched the panels come off the truck.

 

These were carefully stacked against the house and sent up to the guys on the roof as they were needed.

 

As each panel was needed, it was handed up. One man on the ground was cutting the struts and passing them up as required, too. Extra struts were put on in case I want to add more panels later (and I will).

 

I’m glad it wasn’t me having to be up on that roof! These guys are fearless!

 

The electricians did their job, too. I apologize for not getting their company name because they did a beautiful job, too. Everyone was wonderful and did perfect work.

 

Under the eaves it was too dark for me to get a good shot of where the power line runs from the electric box to the panels. If you look closely, you can tell where it is.

 

It’s not easy to see the panels from the ground, but here you can see the completed project.

 

Now all that’s left is for HELCO to come do the inspection and turn it on. I’m happy to be doing a little more for the environment.

A hui hou!

Earth and Ocean Fair

 

Last Saturday, on April 24, I was one of many who volunteered at the Earth and Ocean Fair at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort and Kahalu`u Beach, a county park that adjoins the hotel. I even took part in the raffle fun, which consisted of getting your card stamped at specific displays. This card was then entered into a drawing! (I didn’t win anything.)

I was told that this fair began about ten years ago as Coral Awareness Day in an effort to let people know how to protect our fragile reef. It is still one of the primary features of this fair. Volunteers train to monitor the reef that is forming around the Big Island.

 

Information about the Big Island Reef Fund was available.

 

Everyone was there several hours early getting set up for their displays.

 

All the displays gave information on how to protect our natural surroundings here in Hawai`i, especially our giant sea turtles.

 

 

This display of debris found in our ocean is eye-opening.

 

A Mini Cooper and a sailboat were on display. I never did find out if they were being given away or just for show. Both are economical ways to travel.

 

 

This is just one of several displays of solar power businesses.

 

Someone walked around inside this humuhumunukunukuapua`a (our state fish), reminding people to protect our ocean life. I’ll bet you can’t say that name fast (unless you live here on the Big Island)!

 

I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the tide pools and beach area. What a beautiful and restful place to have a gathering of environmental folks.

 

Several culinary students from our West Hawaii campus, led by Chef Betty, prepared a variety of meals so we wouldn’t starve. They offered regular chili, vegetarian chili, chicken Caesar salad, and more.

 

One of the insects that plague us here is the fire ant.

 

Groups of young people who are committed to saving our earth and ocean put up several displays.

 

We take so much for granted. Here is a cost analysis of what our Natural Resource Management puts out to protect plants and animals, and control the weeds and invasive species of plants.

 

A colleague, Betsy Morrigan, volunteered at the “Fish for Knowledge” booth.

 

Much of the work done to protect and monitor the waters that surround our island state is funded through Hawai`i Sea Grant.

 

One area of the hotel was available for local crafts. I love the hand-woven baskets.

 

Several of the local “aunties” were demonstrating how to do the Lauhala weaving. I want one of their hats!

 

 

 

 

I accepted a cup of kava and started to sip it. One of the men standing by said to just knock it down in one gulp – so I did! I can’t say it’s delicious stuff, and it would take me a long time to deliberately include it in my diet.

 

Another Hawai`ian traditional food is poi, or pounded taro. This is another of those “delicacies” for which I haven’t acquired a taste yet. One of my students used to bring fried poi balls to class occasionally, however, and they were absolutely wonderful!

 

These taro roots are ready to be made into poi. In the background, this mother is feeding her child a bit of poi.

 

There were plenty of crafts for children. Betsy is holding a fish for them to add their colored thumbprint to the fish.

 

This is only a sampling of the many local crafts on display.

 

I was delighted (and proud) to see a former student, Ruth, representing the National Park Service.

 

Of course, no Hawai`ian festival is complete without a band and hula dancers.

 

 

 

 

 

It is nearly impossible to show you all the displays. I hope I was able to capture a feel for the day. You might Google this event because there were articles in the newspaper and other places. I love living in Hawai`i. Please do what you can to help preserve this Paradise!

 

A hui hou!

Are you a WWOOFer?

MY ORGANIC BEETS
click here for larger image
MY ORGANIC BEETS

One wonderful aspect of this blogging is all the stuff you learn! Being a college instructor, I love to learn, and especially when it has to do with an activity I love so much, like gardening!

I wrote a blog about the home and garden of a friend where I spent a relaxing Thanksgiving with other friends. When I talked with my host later, to make sure I had all of his information correct, he told me about the WWOOFers on his acreage.

No, it’s not a tech part for a stereo system, nor is it related to the Alaskan wolf.

WWOOF means World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It seems there are quite a few people who knew about this – all except me!

There is a specific site about the WWOOFers in Hawai`i as well as the home page of the organization and more information on another page.

One paragraph I read gave other possible interpretations of WWOOF besides the official one. For instance, some call it “World-Wide Orientation on Organic Farms,” and I like the one that refers to it as “Willing Workers on Organic Farms.”

What a superb organization this is – and what a great travel opportunity for those who want to learn more about organic gardening, be of help to those who can’t do all the gardening themselves (like elderly or disabled), and travel around the world at the same time.

WWOOFing is the sort of thing that would have attracted me in my hippie-trippy days – actually, it STILL attracts me! (laughing) But like most of us, I’m too tethered to my property, my job, and my house.

Perhaps in another lifetime!

. . . and not a drop to drink!

The first item to be addressed on our acre of lava was a 15,000 gallon water catchment tank full of algae. The water in the tank was full to the brim, but the color of the green on the sides of this blog! In the toilets, it was almost black.

I found a young man in the area who worked on water tanks http://www.poolbrite.net/. He took one look inside and vowed he’d never seen a tank so green, and definitely didn’t encourage me to use it! Over the next few weeks, he “shocked” the water several times, killed off all the algae, then vacuumed it out. He went through this process several times, before he felt it was useable.

Notice, I didn’t say “drinkable!” Even after a couple of years, I still buy my drinking water, although I’m sure it is fine now. I plan to put in an ultra violet filter that will make it safe for drinking.

The cover on the tank was old, covered in bird sh*t, and a dead bird was in the bottom of the tank. As soon as the water started to look clear, I bought a new cover (see photo above). This keeps the sun off the water and protects it from any outside debris.

The gutters are designed to catch all our rain and pipe it to the tank. We added a gutter on the shed in order to maximize the water we caught. Every drop counts around here! There is a net bag at the end of each pipe to catch leaves and trash before the water enters the tank.

There is a pump under the house that then pumps the tank water back to the house for use. We installed two filters – one to take out the chlorine and the other to catch anything else that might have gotten through. These are replaced about every six weeks, or you end up with the pump clogged and not working.

While suburbanites make an effort to be “green” by buying 50-gallon rain barrels, that wouldn’t go far here on the south end of the Big Island of Hawai`i. We live off catchment water. We love the rainy season, and a drought can hit us hard. By late summer, I may have to buy 4,000 gallons ($150) from a water truck that gets it from the county. They will pump it in, getting us through until the first rain, but it messes up the chemical balance in the tank.

There is a delicate balance to maintain the water. The pH and chlorine levels need to be just right, so I’m constantly checking, then adding whatever is necessary to keep it right. I rigged a “Mark Twain” kind of rope so I can measure the depth. “Conservation” is the constant word of the day. But I lived on my 37′ sailboat (http://lothlorien-lucy.blogspot.com/) so I already knew about conserving water.

There were so many things I wanted to do – plant a garden, make curtains, buy a stove – but our basic need for water came first. I’m pleased with what has been accomplished.

For more “official” information about all this, see the UH Cooperative Extension Service. (http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/ctahr2001/CTAHRInAction/Feb_02/TMacomber.html)

Aloha until next week!

Lucy

In beginning

I admit it! I get jealous when I read my usual gardening magazines and see people digging in rich loam, trying to decide the best landscape design to showcase their home.

I re-locate rocks!

My years of gardening in California and Arizona are proving to be useless here in Hawai`i. One would think it is similar, and that may be true for some parts of Hawai`i. It’s certainly not the case for those of us living on the south end of the Big Island of Hawai`i, and in this particular area.

I came to Hawai`i almost twelve years ago, but lived in an area where there was more decomposed lava, i.e., I had soil. When I bought this land and house two years ago, the only things blooming were ohia trees, which are one of the first things to grow after a lava flow, and wild yellow poppies that were spreading all over the area. (See photo above)

There is a beautiful legend about ohia trees and the lehua blossom that blooms on them.
http://www.americanfolklore.net/folktales/ha2.html

On the surface, it looks like you could rake aside the rocks and find the soil underneath. But when you move a rock, all you find is more rock. Under the ohia trees there is a bit of tree litter starting to decompose, but mostly it’s a matter of finding soil somewhere else

The process involves moving aside enough rocks to get a nice hole (without the rocks rolling back down into the hole), then pouring in a bucket or bag of soil for your plant. Of course, every time it rains or you water, the soil filters down into the cracks between the lava rocks, so of course, you need to pour in more fresh soil.

Still, I’m very happy to be here, so I won’t bore you with what led to the purchase of this acre. This blog will guide you through the ongoing process of converting lava into a more friendly growing place.