Aloha, I have been using permies and gleaning information for a while now, and never introduced myself or posted anything. My wife, daughter and I, until recently, lived near Kapoho on Hawaiʻi Island. We had searched for land on-island for years, that we could afford, and was in the right spot for what we wanted to grow and do. We finally found what we were looking for early last year and bought it, after doing the "mobile permaculture" thing for a long time, so it was great to have a place of our own and not have to move again. It was on the flank of Kilauea volcano, which we knew was a concern, but affordable properties are hard to come by here, and all of the other things were what we wanted, so we took a chance. We lived in a 20x20 tarp tent on the property for a year, learning and observing, setting things up, growing trees, and generally having a great time getting ready to build our homestead. We were 2 weeks away from having a friend come with a bulldozer and start putting in earthworks and clear a space in the jungle for a cabin. I had the materials ready to go and it was going to happen...then Tūtū Pele decided to pack up where she was at Puʻu Oʻo and come down to Keahialaka, a place not too far above ours, and then flow downhill and consume Kapoho and fill up the bay-at least that is the traditional Hawaiʻian perspective on the recent lava flow that is continuing in lower Puna district. We have left to live with family in town and have only been back to pick up things since early May when things started. Right now there are active flows on both sides of the property, cutting off road access to our property. We are fortunate in that our property was not covered by lava, but most of the vegetation there is dead or dying. Lots of our friends and neighbors were not so fortunate. One of the things we liked about the area was that it was a homesteading community, at least for a lot of people. Lots of people doing permaculture, and even if they wereʻnt, nearly everyone was doing some level of homesteading or agriculture. Lots of beatiful, functioning homesteads no longer exist, or they now belong to Tūtū Pele. We are also fortunate to have family here that is helping us out with somewhere to stay, and we were able to move our tree nursery and some of the building materials. For now we are just waiting to see what happens, if we can ever get back there and make a new start, or we may end up getting a new start somewhere else.
It has definitely put a lot of things into perspective for us. I donʻt have any observations or insight to share right now, it is still hard to get my thoughts in any kind of order about what is going on and what we will do. But this will do for an introduction, I guess.
Warmest Aloha to everyone that has posted on permies, I have learned tons from it and always appreciated your time!
How disappointing for you and your family! I had been wondering if any permie members had been affected. My mom used to live in that area years ago and loved it there. Hoping for all the best with whatever direction you choose to take.
Thank you, Tina. Yes there was quite a few people into permaculture in this area. There was also a lot of commercial ag, mostly of tropical fruit for export, and a lot of subsistence and local-scale ag going on, that is now mostly gone or disrupted. The government agencies, as far as agriculture is concerned, are mostly worried about the economic loss to the guys that grow for the export market, but the losses to the local food supply here on our island with the damage to the community will have much more direct impacts to the health of the the area.
Aloha Joe. Sorry about your loss. It's a bummer. But it could have been worse, you could have already built your cabin. That doesn't help mitigate the tragedy, I know, but there's not much else to be said about it.
I'm over in Ka'u by Naalehu, so I'm safe from the lava (at least until Mauna Loa erupts). But I have been dealing with ash in my livestock pastures, vog (which has lessened since Halema'uma'u drained), and acid rain. Not nearly as bad as your situation though. We've seen a number of Puna refuges come to Ka'u looking to rent or buy homes. I talked story with one nice women who was looking for a few acres in order to restart a homestead. As you know land is pretty pricy but I heard that one of the locals here is thinking of selling her 8 acres at a very fair price, well below what the real estate agents are pushing.
I watch and read the daily updates about the eruption. It's impossible not to. I watch with a mixture of horror & grief, and awe & excitement. As much as I am dismayed at the loss of homes and properties, I am fascinated by the lava fountains, the lava river, the entire eruption.
I hope you'll be able to find a spot to restart your dream, though Kapoho was special and will be hard to replicate. Or better yet....with luck the eruption will stop in the next few weeks, then after a couple months you'll be able to return to your land. Your adventure then will a real testament to permaculture as you bring your kipuka land back to health and production. If you do get back to your land, it would be one great and inspiring story to tell!!!
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Aloha Su, yes we are grateful for our situation, we know lots of friends and families that have nothing left. We have come to like our neighbors in Puna even more, with the way the community has come together to support each other. We are trying to help when we can, but we are staying in Hilo now and are a little far to be down there all the time. I think we miss the people as much as the place. I hope if you have animals, they are doing OK. I know of lots of people in lower Puna that were not in the path of the flow that have had to get rid of animals they couldn’t support when all the plants died from volcanic gas. We are thinking of the possibilities if we are left with a kipuka-or the possibilities if we end up with fresh lava. There are permaculture solutions for that too! Thanks for the support.
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! And this tiny ad too!
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda