During my stint in Hawai’i, one question I got a lot was, “So, what exactly are you doing?” I think that is a legitimate question for a number of reasons. Those reasons include: 1. I was not doing ‘normal’ Hawaii things. 2. Many people (understandably) are unaware about what happens day-to-day on a farm. Here is my official answer to that question!
I was working with a lot of food crops — planting, fertilizing, pruning, weeding, harvesting. One thing that I was not doing was watering. You do not often need to water plants on the eastern side of Hawai’i — check out how much rain the area gets in a year! Below are images of the main garden, as well as lilikois (Hawaiian passionfruit), avocados, lemons, and Hawaiian Hot Peppers, all crops that I dealt with on a regular basis.
I also became a wheelbarrow aficionado. Below are big loads of cassava and sweet potato that would have been no fun to carry by hand. Wheelbarrows are so useful!
I cooked and preserved the crops I harvested. Below are images of bananas being dehydrated and the banana stand from where I picked them, my typical haul of fruits in any given day, and guava jam I processed and ate over oatmeal.
I handled lots of flowers and leaves. Below are images of the hydrangeas I picked weekly to put on my windowsill, and a bundle of eucalyptus that I dried and brought home.
I cared for a number of animals, including this donkey named Gina.
In addition to these tasks, I hauled manure and wood, removed invasive plants from grazing lots, and worked on small construction projects. My days started at 6am and ended before 10pm. It was a quiet life filled with many hours outdoors, in both the sun and the rain. A life of Aloha.