I finally made a map of the property, and we got brushed by another hurricane.  Welcome to The Hippie Geeks, let’s check out what has happened on our off-grid property on the Big Island of Hawaii in August of 2023.

The first thing I want to take a look at is a map of the property that is going to show the different areas, and also gives away something that I haven’t really talked about yet. Starting from the road, our driveway goes almost all of the way to the back of our lots, which are a little over 600 feet deep by seventy feet wide. You can see that our driveway wanders around a bit, and when we get to the meadow area it suddenly hooks over all the way across the next lot. You can see why getting that second lot was a priority for us, but that is going to be a story for its own video in the future.

The first area is the space we are going to call the garden, and that is because we are pretty sure this was a garden space that was put in here by a previous owner of the lot, and from what we can see on the archival satellite photos was probably put in somewhere between 2005 and 2010. Lindsay started clearing this out a few weeks ago as she could see a few of the plants from the driveway, and she ended up finding a lot more than we expected when she started. It is a really neat area in between a couple of lava ledges, and all the way in the back of the space is the largest rosemary plant that we have ever seen. This thing is an absolute monster now that it is out in the open, and you can tell that it has been there for a very long time. To the right of that is a Sago Palm which is pretty monstrous in its own right, and below that are a couple of different bromeliads. These folks really liked the bromeliads, as we have found a ton of them on the property. Next to those is a good-sized cardboard palm, and you can see some of the eucalyptus fronds that are in this area as well. Lastly there are a couple of straggly roses in here that we cleared out as well, and this whole area was completely choked off with invasive grasses and Christmas berry bush.

The next space is just a little way down the driveway, and this is neighbor hill. Our neighbor is up on top of this hill, but the flat area below that is where we are pretty sure that the living structure for the folks that planted the garden was right here, which makes sense as it is super close to that spot, and there may have actually been a back path thru the wooded area in between them. You can see that dry grasses have mostly taken over this space, and we have our pile of dead ohia snags piled here for now as well. We will be getting in there to knock down the grasses so that we can harvest it for biomass, but we are also trying to clear out the overgrown grasses and Christmas berry plants to hopefully help to slow the spread of any wildfires that we may have to endure in the future.

Next up is the area that we are calling the firepit, as someone in the past had stacked a rather large stone ring here on the Pahoehoe, and all that we can figure is that it was a large firepit at some point in the past as there is no soil in there to make us think that it was a garden bed. We have a large stretch of Pahoehoe in this area, which is the smoother and often more flat lava fields that you seeon the property. If you look over on the other side of the driveway you can see this end of what I have called the flats, though it is a rather large and undefined are as we haven’t explored too far into it at this point. From what I can tell though it is fairly flat back thru here with some interesting outcroppings of lava, and of course the ohia trees that are all over this property. We will definitely be getting back into this area to check it out more in the future, but we have our hands mostly fill right now with the back of the property where camp is.

As we continue walking up the driveway, we are going to come up on the center tree that is next to the meadow area that we mentioned in the last walkthrough video that we did. The center tree has a built-up rock wall around it as well, though we will likely be removing that in the future to make more room here so that we can turn the vehicles around more easily. It is a beautiful ohia tree though, and we will definitely be leaving this one in place. Over by the meadow there are some really interesting plants, like this huge aloe plant that is growing here at the beginning off that small rock wall. I have looked at the satellite images that I have of the property, and this rock wall is definitely in the wrong place. Lindsay was talking to the neighbor the other day, and he acknowledged that the wall may not be in the right place after all, and that should make it easier for him once we have this property line staked out properly. It is a really pretty area, and we would love to be able to use it for garden space or perhaps an outdoor kitchen in the future.

Continuing towards the back of the property, you can see that the driveway is starting to get pretty torn up on this big hill as we are now using it every day, and the layer of cinder on here was pretty thin so the truck tires are starting to pull the larger rocks up and move them around. We will need to get a load of gravel for this before winter hits, and make sure that we are able to get up and down thru here without issues. It is fine for now, but it is definitely going to need some work. You may have also noticed when we headed this way from the center tree that the driveway curves pretty hard to the right, and what we have come to realize is that the edge of our first lot is actually right next to the center tree, and this entire run of driveway cut almost all the way across the second lot, which is why we ended up having to work out a deal for that lot as well. If someone else bought the second lot and started building on it, we would have lost the use of this driveway and it would have cut off the back of the lot completely. Again, we will go over that whole mess in another video, but we were able to make a deal for the second lot so the driveway up here to the home site is ours.

As we come up to the top of the hill, you can see that everything up here has completely changed, as out plans for what to do up here changed so we moved everything around. Up on the left where the van used to be is a large flat space with a huge brush pile on it currently, and this is where we are going to be building our house now. If you look straight out and down the driveway, you can actually see the ocean from our lot, and we wanted to have that view from the house. We have a huge brush pile here that needs to get turned into wood chips, and we will be using the Champion woodchipper that we look at last week to do all of this. This all came off of the ridge area that is straight ahead of us from here, and we cleared all of this brush from up there this weekend, so lets peek up there next to see what that space looks like.

We have a small pathway started that will head up there, and this is enough to be able to walk up the hill without falling into one of the crevices that are all over the property. As we continue up the trail, you can see that there is a lot of solid lava up here, though the vegetation has also covered up quite a bit of it and this entire area was really, really overgrown. We have cleared this area out except for the ohia trees, and we are going to be leaving most of the grass up here to compost in place and help make soil to feed the trees. We want to put a deck up here for stargazing, as it gets really dark here at night. It is not the darkest skies I have seen, but it is dark enough that you can see the milky way with the naked eye, and that is a pretty amazing feeling.

Back over at the campsite, you can see the tarp structure that I had to make after the last hurricane to cover up Noah’s tent.  The winds were too much for the decade old spine of the rainfly, and it broke the metal support and ripped the rainfly. This has worked out really great though and has been super solid thru the last several rainstorms. You can also see where the van has moved, and we have a ton of plans going in various containers now as well. We have a couple of chayote that are doing really well in broken 5-gallon water jugs, along with several aloe plants that we have found around the property and relocated up here. We brought this entire basil setup with us from Eugene, and the olla is working amazing to keep them watered. Next to the basil we have four ice cream bean tree seedlings that we sprouted from one of the pods we bought at a farmers’ market, and they are looking pretty great.

We sprouted a loofah seed to see what it would do, and it is loving the sun here and is climbing the tripod that we put over its tub and is already flowering. We are super late in the season to be trying this, but pretty much all of these plants are experiments anyways so if it doesn’t work out, we haven’t really lost anything. Next to the loofah you can see the lava stack that Lindsay built out of some of the chunks from around the property, and she made a bird bath from a sink that was on the back of the lot when we got here. As we pan around you can see several bromeliads that we found around the property, and you can even see one of our compost piles before we cover it up with some of the grass from the ridge.

To the right of that compost pile Lindsay dry stacked a rock wall to help separate the areas, and also to protect that small Māmane tree that is right there. We have several wind chimes scattered around up here, though several of them are going to get moved further out as it gets pretty loud when there is a big wind, which happens fairly regularly. In the background you may have also seen our fly bag, and we love having it there because it has brought in our resident Jacksons Chameleon that Noah has named Bob. You can tell he is a male because of his horns, and there are also two females as well which is pretty cool.

Back over near the bromeliads you can see our camp shower that has been working like a champ, and out past that is the space that we are calling the clearing, which is the first area that we cleaned up when we got here. There are a couple of pathways heading out into this area, and there are a lot of small Māmane trees growing here as well. We have a couple of tomato plants that we have started to see what they will do, and though they got really beat up in the last hurricane they actually survived, so we will just have to see what they do. Further out in the clearing you can see a metal trash can that we salvaged to be another container for a plant, and this one has a bird house gourd in it. Out past that are the barrens, which is super jagged with ah ah lava and we haven’t done much out there yet either.

Heading back in thru camp, you can see that we have a few more tables set up and have rearranged the setup here quite a bit, with a lot more plants over here. This wash tub came with us from Eugene as well, and it has a few different herbs planted in it. Over next to the van are a lot of our fruits and veggies that we eat, and a lot of different plant cuttings that Lindsay is getting to root in water jars.

Heading back around towards the back end of the lot, you can see the bird nest that Lindsay built as a planter recently all from various sticks just woven together like you see it. There are three cucumbers in there currently, though they are not looking great and may not make it. The sun here is pretty intense, and they haven’t done much after they were transplanted here. Lindsay also put a lot more of the random aloe that we have found around the property here in front of the nest, with our prayer kitty statue right in the middle.

Next up is our laundry station, and currently it is just two tubs for water. We soak the laundry and have been wringing it out by hand, and then hanging it to dry. We will have a pretty big upgrade to this setup soon, and you will see that as soon as it arrives. It should save us a lot of time, and we are really excited about it. Panning over from there, you can see the screen house that is being used for storage, and you can see the tear in the front right where the hurricane collapsed it and ripped that side. We will be taking this down pretty soon, well as soon as we have a place to put these things out of the rain anyways. Next to the screen house is our current solar panel setup, and this has been kind of cobbled together, but it works for now. I will need to do something more permanent soon, but for now this is getting the job done. The panels are currently facing south at about a 15-degree angle, which is perfect for this time of year here.

Finally, to the left of the solar panels is the current project, a twelve-foot by twenty-foot platform that we are building out of pallets. I still need four more pallets to complete it, but once they are in place and supported, I will skin over it with half inch plywood to make a very sturdy platform. We have another, larger tent that we want to se up on here for Noah, and that will let us use the other structure for storage so that we can pull down the screen house.

Well, there is the property as it stands at the end of August, and as you can see a lot has changed around here, with a lot of it involving clearing some sections of the property. After the wildfires on Maui, we really want to clear out some of the grasses and brush on the property, especially up around the back of the property where we currently are to make it more fire safe. If you have any questions or comments make sure to let us know, and we will get them answered for you.

If you enjoyed this video, make sure to click on whatever other videos google is showing on the screen right now, as you will probably enjoy that one as well. Thanks for taking the time to watch the video, and we will see you on the next one.

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