As our little ones reached toddlerhood, life became more easeful for the La’akea family, especially the parents.
Adjusting to our routines, they participate in check in and generally delight in their caregivers. A childcare policy was established to assure they are given space and encouragement to have and release their individuality and feelings.
A very well received homeschool for little ones was started one morning a week. This stimulated the growth of a playground that now has a trampoline, slide, jungle gym, and sand box.
The homeschoolers also enjoy the bunnies a project initiated when Ai’ala received a male and female for her 2nd birthday.
While bunnies make great fertilizer, and eat almost anything from our abundant jungle, they also very prolific.
A system was created to manage the population. Eating them was not an option as some community members developed a close relationship.
We were delighted to receive Randy as a new member. He comes from Vancouver Island and brings so many skills. Most important his love and care for our children and gardens. We feel blessed to have him join our family.
Amara moved on to the land this year. She is very happy in her new space and to awaken to the sounds of birds and buzzing bees. The rest of us are happy to have her close.
We experienced a tragedy this Fall when our 9 bee hives suddenly died, from a combination of two new parasites (to Hawaii), the varoca mite and the small hive beetle. We were sad to lose the bees, their love, pollinating and honey. This happened to most of the hives on the Island. Pollination still seems to be happening Wild honeybees and a few domestic bees have survived while beekeeper rally to find solutions to reestablishing our hives.
We were surprised and delighted to receive a grant of approximately 10,000 dollars from the US Department of Agriculture (over three years) to do basically many of the things we wanted to do. The grant sped up mulchingour orchards/gardens, and establishing better forage for our sheep. Part of the grant was a new greenhouse with gutter system which we are in the process of getting up.
Our lawn mowing, weed whacking, sheep, did a great job and were also great reproducers. We sold some. Meat eaters in the community enjoyed luau mutton. We created a system to keep the sheep population at a number beneficial to our orchards. We hand raised a female sheep from birth whose mom decided to abandon her. We’re hoping a tame sheep will do spot weeding and be easy to milk in the future.
Our 3 intern programs were successful, fun and challenging. As we learn to better integrate our teaching, working, and community life the program continues to evolve.
Our seed exchange was an overwhelming success although smaller attendance, those present seemed to be the folks really interested in “Doing it”. Learning about the seeds that were exchanged and actually planting them. Six local farmer/permaculture experts gave a insightful panel on how to grow food, live more sustainably and love their land, soil, and families.
Biko and Tracy who set out to build a mostly natural (Ohia Post) and recycled material house, are almost
finished with a beautiful space including cordwood walls, bamboo, ohia (from dead trees) and quava from our land with a bit of lumber and gear from hardware stores.
Bernie our eldest member who has been transient in the past, made the big move. La’akea is now his permanent residence, he purchased one of the small houses already on the property.
Many educational tours were given including several to University classes. We continue to have a great working relationship with the University and hope to work closer with them in the future.
blessings to all, Dona & Amara