We moved to Hawaii knowing full well that Pele the volcano goddess could impact our life in many ways. Currently she is sending her flow of lava to the nearest town. While our home is not in danger of being hit by lava, there is a strong possibility that the lava will cross the highway soon and when this happens it could cut phone and power and maybe even water to our area of the island. When the highway and possibly our nearest town is hit by lava our drive to the nearest town will increase from 30 minutes to an hour or two on two alternate routes that they are constructing now.....and if the lava continues to the ocean which it usually does, it will destroy the alternate routes forcing them to make a 3rd very long route around the flow zone to town. In the worst case, a boat could be required to reach civilization.
Know that we are safe, and that is why we feel comfortable to stay put. Many are leaving, but that has to do with the fact they need easy access to town for whatever reason. We often talk about how much we enjoy the homesteading life away from town and being stustainable, but we still go to town weekly to buy supplies. The question is, can we generate our own resources if we don't have access to town? Now its time to put that idea to the test. I've been a fan of the local food movement for a long time and always have aspired to live "off grid" in as many ways as possible. This lava situation is the perfect motivation to dive into the sustainable value system that we talk about.
We have a good start, we're already growing some food, collecting our own water, and generating our own solar power. But we're far from independent. We would like to replace as many as possible of the items we buy from town with things on our property or available within 5-10 miles.
Over the past 3 years, we have been working towards the things we need to be sustainable. Until now there hasn't been a hurry. Its been slow to make each step, and this has been just fine. But now there's a push to get some of this stuff done while there is still easy access to town. This is where we could use some help financially: to make some of these improvements in the next month or two.
We will have what we need however this fundraiser turns out...but we thought hey, why not ask. Maybe people would like to be part of our adventure in the form of a donation. This is not a test of your love or friendship....we want you involved an any way that feels good whether it is with money, or your comments on facebook, or your thoughts. We are hoping you may enjoy living vicariously through the path we are choosing, and help us demonstrate a sustainable life is possible.
In order to get rid of dependency on town, heres what we need:
Soil to grow our own food! There is very little soil on our part of the big island. In addition to generating our own, we need to import mulch, compost, and cinder to plant.
Water to grown our own food! While it is lush and green where we live, it does get dry at times. We can go a month or even two without significant rain. Given we catch our water from our roofs, we have to be prepared for these dry spells. Since we're growning food, we use even more water when its dry to keep our veggies alive. Our backup system now is calling a water truck...but the water distribution system to our area may get cut off and the trucks may not be able to be filled. Our current catchment system is sufficient for our household needs, but to irrigate all the stuff we want to grow, we need another catchment tank and more catchment area, upgraded pump, etc.
More solar panels to offset fossel fuel usage. We currently have 900W of solar panels and are self sufficient on sunny days, but have to run the generator in bad weather...this uses gas which needs to be brought from town. We also cook with propane which needs to be brought from town. 1000W more solar panels will allow us to cook with electricity during the day as well as almost eliminate the amount of time we need to run the generator.
Solar water heat to offset propane usage. Currently we heat hot water with propane. Upgrading to solar hot water will offset the amount of propane we need to buy in town.
Chickens and Ducks. For eggs, fertilizer, pest control, and possibly meat.
Other miscellaneous things we need are: Fertilizer. Small trailer to load up with stuff on the infrequent days we do go to town. Extra propane and gas tanks for the propane and gas we do use. Rocket stove to efficiently cook with dead wood from the forest next door. Pressure cooker for shorter cooking times which will save gas. Clothes washer and a shed to put it in since we wont have easy access to a laundrymat. Vehicle with higher clearance to make it over improvised roads as the lava changes direction. Money to hire a laborer for some of the heavy lifting.
Any contribution will help. We have a high goal, but don't let that stop you from contributing any amount. Even $20 is helpful. One of the first things we will buy is a 30 yard dump truck full of mulch which costs $200. It would only take 10 people contributing $20 to get such a great improvement to the fertility of our land.
What do you get for your donation you ask? You get the opportunity to follow along with us on this adventure. We will be posting our progress on a weekly basis. We'll be showing pictures of the infrastructure we install, harvest reports, stories of our adventures along the way, and photos. For anyone implementing similar systems, I am happy to share technical details outside the blog. You also get the pleasure of helping out a friend.
Connecting with friends and family from far away is a hugely rewarding part of this adventure. Whether you donate or not, we'd love to have you in our facebook group. Its a private page that only members can see, so send us a message if you want to be added to the group. [email redacted] or [email redacted]
What if the lava covers our house and all your donations go to waste? Well, there is a possibility this will happen but we think it is unlikely. It is almost impossible for the lava to get to us from the current eruption site (Pu'u O'o). The only way lava could get to us is if it started from a new source. The current eruption from Pu'u O'o has been going since 1983 and it has been very stable. The reason why it is going in a different direction now is because the Pu'u O'o cinder cone clasped on the opposite side of the old flow, but as I said it is very unlikely it could get here from there.
This is an invitation to participate in our adventure in sustainability, not a plea for sympathy. Come share the adventure with us. Please tell any friends that are interested in off grid living, the local food movement, or just supporting some adventurous spirits.
Here is a partial list of what your donations will go for in approximate order of priority:
Soil and Amendments -- $1470
60 Yards Mulch $400
16 Yards Black Cinder $440
6 Yards Mac Nut Compost $300
500 pounds pelletized chicken manure - $130
Other Amendments - $200
Chickens and Ducks -- $350
Materials for Pen, Pond, Fencing, Feeders, Chickens, Ducks, Feed.
Solar Electric Upgrade-- $1750
4 * 250W Solar Panels - $1100
Mounting Rack and Hardware - $200
Wire, breaker, etc - $200
Electric Tea Kettle, Toaster Oven, Crock Pot, Rice Cooker -- $250
Water Infrastructure -- $4300
Drip Irrigation Supplies - $500
Larger Pump and Pressure Tank - $600
Water Tank(s?) - $2500
Carport, gutters, etc for more catchment area - $700
Misc -- $1360
Hired labor to help my back - $500
Emergency Radio - $40
Pet Carriers -$80
Propane Tanks and Gas Cans - $160
Pressure Cooker - $80
Garbage Cans - $70
Trailer - $500
Solar Water Heating -- $3000 - $5000
100G Storage Tank
If we really want to dream (not included in fundraiser total)....
Car with higher clearance and more cargo capacity - $10,000
1/5 Acre lot next door for more growing area - $20,000
(We are sending this fundraiser to our friends and family on the mainland....if it gets forwarded to any of our community in Puna, we are not asking you to contribute because we know you are in the same situation, have your own preparations to make and may need support of your own.)
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