Update 2011 April

La’akea 2010/11

 

As our little ones reached toddlerhood, life became more easeful for the La’akea family, especially the parents.

While two and three year olds are a challenge we mostly experience them as a delight finding joy in their curiosity, learning and humor.

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.

bunniesThe 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

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Update 2010 New Year

Tracy’s 2009 Update!

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!
Can you believe it?  We made it to 2010!!  When I was a kid, I remember calculating how old I would be in the year 2000, now I’ve made it to that mile marker and beyond.  What an amazing year it has been.  So many of my dreams have come true and life’s abundance continues to astound me.  I’d love to share some of this past year with you…

Tracy and Ai'alaFirst of all, Ai’ala and I made it through our first year together.  She lights up my life in the most amazing ways.  I am incredibly grateful.  As the months go by we grow closer, as the hormones lessen and the relationship deepens. We laugh, giggle, smile and cry.  She took her first steps on her birthday and now runs!  Although her spoken vocabulary is still relatively small, she understands so much.

Secondly, as a community, we are bustling!  These last two years saw our core grow. Don’t worry though – there’s still plenty of room for you to join!

In the summer of ’08 we held our first successful internship program.  For this program we invite people to come live with us for a month.  They get to experience community life, living on a farm off the grid in Hawaii.  They also get several permaculture classes and community living skills classes.  The program has become a big hit.  This winter, our 2010 winter program begins Jan. 13th and we have a waiting list and will have to turn people away.  This program gives a way to share our vision of sustainability with others.  My dreams of teaching where I live have actualized.

This past summer we also hosted our first truly successful permaculture course – thanks to Jay Ma of the Living Mandala Group.

Aside from that, I just want to share how blessed I feel to be alive.  I live in a beautiful place.  I have two families – one blood, one chosen.  I feel loved by them both.  On the farm we grow a huge percentage of our own food – so delicious and nutritious is the norm.  If you haven’t had a chance to come visit yet, I highly encourage you to do so.

May this New Year bless every one of you as much as you can stand!  Your hopes and dreams can come true!

Love,
Tracy

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Update in 2008

So much has happened…. here’s a glimpse!
We began an internship program to complement our existing work exchange program in the summer of ’07. That first summer the enrollment wasn’t sufficient to run a full program, but we had a group of folks arrive at the same time anyway as work exchangers. This created a special container which was enjoyed by all. Here’s them in action!
Since then our internship program has grown and blossomed. We now run three programs a year.  At the end of each program the group selects a design project and gets a chance at their own creation. This year the winter interns decided to build upon what the fall program began.

 

Socially, we have been very busy as well. We had some trial members who chose not to join as the trial period is for us all to see whether there is a good fit or not.

We also had two births! Aniko gave birth to Kai’ea in Nov. ’07 and Tracy gave birth to Ai’ala in May ’08.

 

Aniko and Kai’ea

 

Ai’ala, Tracy and Biko

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Starting in 2006

In the beginning in 2006:

That’s Dona walking from the main house to the meadow space. We’re blazing new trails in our 6 acres of Ohia forest to enable us to remove non-native species, plant native, edible and useful species.

 

 

 

Here’s our new fruit tree nursery. We’re propagating species such as: abiu, avocado, cacao (chocolate), mango, jackfruit, rollinia, soursop, mamae zapote, and many more to plant at La’akea and to plant in other landscapes throughout the big island. In addition to maintaining our existing orchard areas, we are preparing to plant hundreds of new fruit trees at La’akea. La’akea began as a lime and guava orchard and over 100 of these trees remain.

 

Here’s us harvesting water weeds (azolla) from the Meadow Pond. We’re clearing more surface area for swimming and using the weeds to mulch and fertilizer our apple bananna grove next to the pond.

 

 

 


Here’s Aniko in our “Marigold Greenhouse.” We’re installing raised beds in the greenhouses to increase soil depth – using harvested peach palm trees which will regrow from the stumps.

 

 

Biko and Tracy enjoying a relaxed weekly business meeting. We have a weekly business meeting and a weekly community gathering to discuss what’s going on for us.

 

 

We’ve revamped our aquaculture tanks which grow plants and fish, and will soon provide nutrient rich water to our gardens and nursery area.

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