Today, Saturday, Aug 3, is our first full day in IL. Our good friend Bob Easton picked us up from Bradley University in the wee hours of the morning. Mark’s mom Evelyn picked us up from Bob’s place and we went to the Peoria Riverfront Museum to see the Ansel Adams exhibit.

I (Rachel) have never enjoyed an exhibit so much as this one. Mark also says this is one of the best exhibits he has seen. We loved reading all the captions for each photo! We loved how appreciative and supportive Ansel’s dad was. Ansel was bored in school, and his dad allowed him to go to the San Francisco exposition fair daily for a year as a 13 year old boy. Ansel also entertained ideas of being a concert pianist before he latched on to photography. His dad was supportive of both. As a 14 year old, he pleaded with his family to take a family vacation in 1916 to Yosemite. He went back every year of his life.

While at the Museum, we saw the 3D movie “Sea Monsters” about giant prehistoric water creatures. Very interesting!! We also saw 2 planetarium shows: “Perfect Little Planet” and “Night Sky in Peoria”.

Got home to the Singing Woods and greeted the property Mark grew up on. Got to the “Burrow” (the name of our bedroom where we sleep) and uncovered and made the bed. We are in Evelyn’s house now and it is time to make dinner. On TV is black and white big band songs, a fundraiser show. Mark looks asleep in the big mechanical chair. 🙂


Kourkie and Bee dropped us off at the airport 🙂



Here is a good view of the lanai before the visqueen or tarp was put on.



Bee helped stabilize the roof to the North pallet wall.



Michael helped us on his own time to build the roof he is sitting on.  We will help Michael with some of his projects after we get back in October.


We are in CA for a few days, and then on to IL for a month and will post from there.  Our hope is that Kourkie and Bee will keep us updated with what is happening on the property by adding posts on this blog, so we can look forward to their entries!

A few weeks ago, it dawned on us that it would be a good idea to look for a “shed-sitter.” We have been in the process of finding the right fit and yesterday a couple came over and stayed for a couple of hours. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

We have spent the past four days building a rat-proof cupboard/box which conveniently doubles as a countertop!


He will come back in about 90 min with the second load…


Yesterday, we went to the Maku‘u market and filled our food tubs again. Mom, we DID get a dragon fruit, so we look forward to trying it. We didn’t buy everything on the list yesterday (for instance, we bought a couple of soursop fruit last week). Also, we work hard to buy things that are grown as locally as possible and particularly not buy things that came from the mainland.

Fruits On Hand

White Pineapples!!
Dragon fruit!!
“Tree tomatoes”
Honeydew melon
Green bananas

Salad Fixings

Romaine lettuce
Bell peppers
Long beans

Pumpkin seeds
Dried cranberries
Coconuts (young and old)
Cacao pods
Cacao seeds
Sugar cane

The past few weeks, we have been pulling roots and earth out of our driveway, and there is much more work to be done. Today, Jim will deliver 3 loads (30 cu yards each) of rock to smooth some of it out. We are going to have him concentrate on the home pad and the drive closest to it (farthest from the road). We really hope the home pad will be closer to level when he is done!

We have planted approximately 38 planters using small cardboard boxes from our favorite grocery store (Keaa‘u Natural Foods) as well as using some other cardboard and plastic containers.

We now have a pond!! I think I may have referred to a large (300 gallon) water container that we got from Ace. These normally cost $300, but we got ours for $50! It was a returned item–the first owner allowed it to get cracks in the bottom because of misplacement. We used a product (Flex Seal) from Ace to seal the cracks and then recently it started filling with water. I checked it one day and saw the tell tale mosquito larvae! We went into town a few days in a row and Mark fished for mosquito fish and water plants. We also have a 4″ bottom feeder fish! It is fun to look in on the pond and see the fish swimming about. My guess is that we have more than 50 little 1″ fish swimming in our “pond” that is about 5.5 – 6 feet diameter.

Here is the row of “planters”

And this is what our “lanai” (porch) looks like


This past weekend:
Went into Hilo to pick up a permit for collecting tree ferns and take the computer to the Mac store. My 2008 Macbook was having trouble importing CDs; the conclusion-the CDs were a little too old and scratched and the CD drive a little too old to handle such scratches. Their newer computers could import when I couldn’t. We learned that Apple is phasing out having CD drives in its computers at all! That was a surprise to us! We were there for a long time hanging out!

Friday, we helped Mark Hansen for the 3rd week in a row to work on his water catchment tank using Cal Earth building methods. We enjoy helping him, and IF we build a Cal Earth style home, he may help us when we are ready.

Saturday, we collected another load of 10 tree ferns (Hapu‘u) with 3 other people this time. An open air shower around 4:30 pm. Brrr! Wind go away! The best time for a shower is around 3:30, but it is hard to stop work so early!

to Maku‘u to drop off friends, breakfast in the park near church,
met some new friends,
free lunch,
Maku‘u market for shopping
home to pull up some more roots and earth.

So……. We have TWO WEEKS left!!

Below is a list of projects still to be done:

Roots and earth out of driveway
replace earth w/rocks
Paint platform floor w/ water sealer
Finish the composting cube/row
Screen put up around the lanai
Shower room built?
Build long platform for tents
Plant seeds and keikis
Sew Mark’s jacket
Church by laws
Aloha Garden of Peace Vision statement
Gates for our driveway
Strip bark and extra branches
from Ohia trees that were felled for the driveway
Deed change
Explore new paths

Two weeks from today is our plane back to the SF Bay Area for a week and then on to IL to pack our stuff in a month.

Much love and many blessings to all!!!
Aloha and Mahalo for reading!

This afternoon, Mark and I watched “Malama i Ka ‘Aina, Caring for the Land, One Island’s Struggle With Illegal Dumping”, a Public Education Video (PEV). (In the Hawaii library system, when you check out a video, unless it is a PEV, you have to pay $1 per video for 1 week checkout.)

We watched the video and were inspired to pick up trash along the road and take it to the Keaa’u Transfer Center. We filled our truck bed with

a big, heavy rug w/plenty of weeds growing up through it
2 TVs
4 tires
Rotten old palette
1 box spring
and a bunch of small trash.

It is 6 PM and we have arrived at the community center and there is a HACA (Hawaiian Acres Community Association) member’s meeting tonight. We rushed here to learn that it starts at 6:30 :). Great time to wash hands and make our dinner: PB&J sandwiches!

On the agenda for tonight’s meeting is a discussion about starting up a farmer’s market again in our community –it is zoned agricultural after all!! For some reason, it is a contentious issue and some people are filled with fear. So we thank you for your prayers and support tonight (if you are still up :), knowing that LOVE, PRINCIPLE, and divine MIND govern, not fear or anxiety.

Much love to all!!

More pictures

Below are two more pics
The first is of Mark Hansen and the frame of the center room his home that he is going to build using Cal Earth’s Super-adobe building techniques. His design is a groined vault, where two vaults meet and make an X. We helped him work on stabilizing the walls of his water catchment for about 3 hours. Then he gave us a tour of his garden.

On our way home, we stopped at a lovely farmer’s market. When we got home, Mark and I worked on our composting system that will be the length of the North wall.



Below are pictures of our breakfast the past two days (soursop), and one of our new drive from the street. You can see pretty far in!

Soursop is tangy and sweet. It is tasty and a lot of work to eat, similar to jackfruit in that respect but the taste and texture is totally different. To eat soursop, the fruit is cut in half and then with a spoon, scrape or separate a piece, put in mouth and chew. That sounds pretty self explanatory, but each bite is chewy, like a natural fruit chewing gum. Some bites have a seed inside the fruit, inside a thin sack.




On Tuesday, the long awaited driveway was put in on our property. We have recovered from the huge amount of work required to prepare for it (see last post). On Monday and Tuesday mornings, we cut 50-100 Ohia trees that were in the path of the driveway or on the home site. The diameter of the largest trees was 4-6 inches and length about 30 feet. We saved every tree we cut and made 4 piles/stacks in different places. The tallest pile is about 4 1/5 feet tall. We will use the Ohias for building. On Monday afternoon, a 16’x 8′ platform was built for Max, so our porch is approximately 8’x 8. Today, we organized our front porch and put the tarp up. We also did errands (laundry, Keaau Transfer station,
pallets, grocery shopping, & Walmart).

Our new driveway is fairly flat but full of large and small rocks, which make it very difficult to walk on. As or when it settles, we will need a couple of loads of 2 inch rock to even things out.

ANOTHER big day!

Yesterday was Sunday. We had a nice church service and our friend Glenn Johnson from 13th Church in LA was there at the Hilo Society. Below is a list in order of where we went/what we did on Sunday:
KTA (laundry soap)
Laundromat (4 loads)
Credit Union
Bike store (unplanned stop to see what they carried)
Home Depot (4 plywood, 13 8′ 2x4s, 2 16′ 2×4, 2 kinds of nails)
O’Reilly’s (tye rod ends for our truck)
Keaau Natural Foods (veggies)
Kurtistown PO
Kurtistown General Store (fruit)

We got home around 4 pm. We did some work trying to level the pallets that we put in place on Saturday but realized that the pallets were not supporting the 2x4s. We met a contractor, Rob, in Home Depot who lives 2 blocks away. We called him at 8:40 pm and he happily agreed to come help with the project.

Up at 5:30 am. Began work right away cutting Ohia trees. Stopped for breakfast at 7 or 8 am. Later stopped for lunch around 11:30/12. We had finished cutting the Ohias from the drive (but they all still need to be moved).

Rob showed up just as we had finished our salad. As discussed the night before, on his way to our place, Rob stopped at Home Depot and picked up 6 80lb support piers and 2 8’4x4s. He helped us build a solid 8’x 16′ platform for 3 hours (12:30-3:30 pm).

The third major project of today was the migration of “Max” and the rest of our “camp” to the new area. While the platform was getting built and nailed down, my job was to empty Max out except for the full size plywood box/bed that Mark built in ’06. While waiting for help to move the bed, we dismantled Max. Our very good neighbor friend named Andrew helped us move the bed and reassemble the structure in the dark!! After many thanks and Andrew left, Mark and I worked quickly to put the food and tool boxes, chairs, and other things on the platform under the tarp. JUST AS WE WERE DOING SO, it started to sprinkle! The precipitation lasted only a few seconds, but still, we were amazed and grateful that it never sprinkled or rained during the building of the platform or migration of Max. The tarp went on and I checked the phone for the time and it was dead. We have taken to eating meals in the truck (comfortable chairs, the armrest/console serves as a fine table for our salad bowl, windows, mosquito protection, etc). So I plugged in at 9:25 and the phone resuscitated at 9:28 pm. We ate our delicious spinach, mung bean sprouts, sprouted lentils and other legumes, dried cranberries, raisins, and sunflower seeds salad. We have just now reached 100% charge on our phone and it is 11:29 pm. Time to brush teeth. Tomorrow, Rod will be here between 8-9 am w/ his machine to clear our drive. Love you all!

Ps. A big thank you to Andy McVey for the headlamp and flashlight–we use them both EVERY night! Thanks also to Jennifer for the care package! We are so grateful!!