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Aug 15 12 12:51 PM

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Aloha!  I signed up a couple months ago, but hadn't gotten my round tuit to come here until now.

Is everyone here on/from Big Island?  Just curious.

We live up slope from Hilo toward Saddle Road at the 1600 ft elevation, and 150 inch per year rain band.  On a 1/3 acre subdivision house lot I have 3 cats, 2 dogs, 4 laying hens, 1 rooster, and 7 3-month-old straight run chickens.  It's time to cycle the old girls out, and put a couple of cockerels in the oven.

We retired here from Portland, Oregon, in 2009.  I attempted Kanu's Eat Local Challenge that September and it really opened my eyes to the true challenge it is.  There are now sections of the grocery store that I just don't bother with, like USDA meats, etc.  I'm not a complete snob about it, however, I appreciate now important it is for our physical health (hormone and antibiotic-free meats) and for the health of Hawai'i Nei.

We're on-grid and county water. That said, we've just ordered 6 more solar PV panels to add to the 10 we already have.  Solar thermal is next.  Last year we installed a water heater timer and have it set for 3 half-hours during the day.  I'm sure that's saved us loads!

I'm looking forward to getting to know you.


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#1 [url]

Aug 15 12 4:05 PM

Welcome to the forum  Brenda !  We are mostly folks living here on the island but we have a few mainlanders and a few that are here 6 months and there 6 months.

Eating local is especially important here . We need to support all our local farmers
and ranchers. We have 30,000 head of cattle  on this island . Most ranchers send their cattle 
to the mainland to sell.  Several ranchers are trying to sell more and more beef locally.
It is good grass fed meat but you have  to look for it. I know KTA carries some . We buy ours
from a local meat market in Honokaa, Andrades. Good meat and good prices.

Chicken raised  on the island is really expensive, best to raise your own.
Eggs are almost all shipped in, after being "treated". 

Lots of produce exists in the local farmers markets  and is fairly easy to raise your own.

Solar is great . Helco is a vacuum that burns oil and sucks up the local dollar.

It sounds like you are well on your way to  going green. 

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#2 [url]

Aug 16 12 5:45 PM

Aloha Brenda!

E como mai!

Is Hilo very much like Portland?  Seems there is a lot of rain in both locations, although we don't have a Powell's bookstore here.  We do have a few used book stores in Hilo - the biggest one on Leilani Ave as it heads towards the Hilo dump, but not as big as Powell's.

We are trying not to bother with any stores at all if we can help it, but we still end up buying stuff from a few places.  Feed and fabric stores, typically.  There is still the stuff from the grocery as well as flour from Costco, but we try to keep the money as local as possible when we can.

I think we may be in a similar situation to yours although at a slightly lower elevation and rainfall.  We are on a house lot in Honokaa at 1,000 foot elevation and about 80-90 inches of rain a year.  On grid, on pavement, on County water and within walking distance to town - which is a joy.  Mamane Street in Honokaa has lots of little shops, there's a grocery, hardware, couple of banks, restaurants, gas stations, a post office, a small branch of the U of H, a library, swimming pool, police, fire, rodeo arena, etc., etc.   Just about everything you'd need in a small town, it's nice not having to go far to get stuff.  We had been about fifteen miles from Honokaa and 30 miles from Hilo previously which made getting supplies much more of a chore as well as more expensive.

The house we bought came with solar hot water heating and that saves TONS of money in either electric or propane for water heating.  We are also moving the PV system from the old house to the new one, that will lower the Helco bill although we will still have some circuits on Helco, mostly to run the bigger stuff (like the 220 volt jets for the hot tub) as well as the battery charger to charge up the PV system when there are multiple cloudy days.  But the PV system will handle the basic house circuits so that will lower the electrical usage.  

The "new" (1971) house also came with fruit and berry trees so we haven't had to wait for trees to mature and produce.  Avocado, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, mountain peach, cherries, umi plums and raspberries were already planted.  We've since added more trees; oranges, sweet peaches, almonds, red cherries, blackberries and a nectarine.  Also bananas and grapes along with yacon.  There have also been two raised bed gardens installed in the front yard which are all kept fertilized with bunny manure.  Oh, the yard critters are three laying hens, one cat, two border collies and many English angora bunnies.  I don't know how many there are out there at the moment, the number varies.

If you need bunny manure for your garden, bring a bucket and you can fill it up if you like.

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