We have broken the map of our land into sections so that each part of it can be developed over time independently but ending up all fitting together when all it is done. It will take years but if the plan is solid from the beginning then time will simply make it all better.
Our focus those days is on planting fruit trees, cleaning the overgrown, and building a more welcoming set.
The plan has been to redo the driveway, build a roundabout with a marine touch, a little spot to sip a drink while enjoying the view, and something for the birds to feed on.
The old man table
In my native hometown, there was a table where the elders were gathering in the evening and playing cards or passing teachings to the youngsters passing by. The whole town was less than 2000 people so they knew and everyone. The table was positioned close to a cliff so they had the view when they didn't want to talk to one another and they had the plaza when they want to advise others (bitching)
I have great memories of that gathering spot and I figured that I wanted to recreate that memory in our front yard.
I bought a metal pretty bench, found some logs around the property (an old tree that was cut down) and I modified a table that we had inherited from the previous owner.
I start digging out the weeds and laying down the weed blocker. Just when I start digging the hole my dear friend Eugene started checking on me.
As I was digging I was texting back; at some point, I wasn't sure if it was sitting too low so I asked the question: is it too low?
My debate with too low/too high was presto resolved when I realized that the top of the table was in level with the handle of the bench which from a perspective point of view was the ideal thing to have once seated.
The terrain here is very diverse but there's one key persistent feature. If you want to find a rock just start digging where you want to place a pole and guaranteed that you will find a big one. If you have no use where you want to find a rock, you will never find one. #truestory
The finished work is very pleasing and stargazing from the bench has been a breeze and a joy. I am debating if moving the bench closer but the shade during the summer is more than wanted; is a must to have when there's no wind 😅
I should point out that Eugene reminded me to not torture him with picturesque views or he will start throwing boomerangs at me but in my defense, he was spiritually working with me while building this, so Eugene this one doesn't count 😈
According to the dictionary
a road junction at which traffic moves in one direction around a central island to reach one of the roads converging on it; a traffic circle: turn right at the next roundabout.
According to us:
- it has to be the center of the plaza
- Our awesome UPS driver has to have room to go either around it or easily maneuver it to go in/out.
- It has to have the marine touch (we're on an island...) but it has to have the pillar of the roots we're placing here
- Blue Torpedo (our car) has to be able to circle it in one maneuver. Margot just got her license we want to make sure that when she is here we're not playing "avoid the obstacle" attraction
So the design ended up having a tree shaped like a "V". I like it because when I downhill with my boys in Raging Ridge I play Primo Victoria.
and what a present of a husband to have his wife's initial at the center of the property attraction?!
That should count as the husband of the year award plus brownie points for life! I will let you know which one wins over the other... you can't have it all at any age of your life. #anothertruestory
The first objective was to find the right piece of wood that was trivial in terms of where and how to get it.
Take it from point A to point B was indeed a much harder task... The slope from the bottom of the property to where it was supposed to be placed is really high. When I got an idea of the quest ahead of us, I figured we must have a memory of this because when we're 10 years older we're going to wonder "why" and "how" and as Internet people as we're that will tell for a long time.
So we fired up the drone, enabled the tracking, and start attempting to lift and move that very big V.
It started like this:
- You grab there
- I grab here
- We move together and drop on the wagon
- Then you hold the back and I pull
Yeah, like any government plan, it ended up going very differently... The drone is programmed to avoid trees, I was transporting a tree. That's for a start. Then one of the two branches was heavier than the other and Vickie was getting pulled by one or the other. I tried to pull but the heavier tree was anchoring on the ground and it was too heavy for her to lift. I end up lifting and pushing while my wonder hero was putting all her nano powers at work to pull toward the plaza. Thanks, mom and dad for the strength genes!
Once the big V monster was where we wanted to have it was time to remove the bark, carve out the termite parts, remove the layer between the bark and the core. Then sand and stain. The usual that I have been doing for the last two months since I got this bug of a wood-based theme.
Before that, I played ballerina with the branch because Vickie surveyed the surroundings and telling me which angle looked better from the driveway. As a Russian-infused individual, Anna Pavlova has all my respect!
We had three GoPro runnings. Be warned kids, your mom made me do it!
After the bark was removed, for the most part, we dug the hole in the ground, drilled holes into the base of the tree, and passed rebars through so that it withstands the gust of winds during winter seasons. And then secured with concrete and ropes that would hold it in place while curating.
Like in any Italian dish, parsley is always present, so rocks in any construction on the island. 🤙🏽
So the circle around the tree was built using baby boulders that were painfully transported over the higher (of course) level of the land. Every day I move something heavier I am wondering why before buying the place I didn't purchase an ATV! Like the other millions of things on the list, it's on the list...
Sanding was a major pain in the butt than others because I had to use the ladder and work at 360 degrees given the so many contours of the wood.
As everything else in Moloka'i. You need to take your time and not rush for zero reasons. I am glad that for years this picture below has been my frame next to my desk because given the sense of time here, even for a time nerd like me, it is a very effective way of living.
The final work of polishing and staining has been very rewarding indeed. I got plenty of time to think about other things that I have to find solutions for, time with nature, and appreciation for having acquired over time skills that are making us more and more independent. You know, in case the zombies come...
Weeks ago, I ordered several decor items to create the marine effect. I spent some time on the iPad laying out what and where but ultimately I ended up following the creases of the wood and in moments of despair "honey, can you come out a sec please?" solved all dilemma.
While I was waiting for the parts to use for the decoration my friend Michele in London was visiting a very famous garden and after seeing a few pictures on his Facebook page I was getting demoralized that I wouldn't have been able to pull off what I had in mind.
Clearly the bar there is extremely high and depression had no reason to exist in me, in addition as I started laying them around the structure my whole vision was coming to life, and what a joy it was to see it happening exactly as I had it in my head. From the moment that I passed by that dead branch, I had "seen" its inner potential for a second life.
Naturally, there's no marine theme that doesn't host a net so I complied with that with a mesh that when the wind blows doesn't fling out 😎
When we were welcomed to the airport by local friends we received a Maile Leaf Lei.
It is customary in Hawaii to have a Hawaiian blessing or ceremony when opening a new business, moving to a new home, or starting a new endeavor. Hawaiian leis are presented to those integral to the new venture as good luck and thanks for all they have contributed. If blessing a physical location, the traditional Maile Lei or the Maile-Style Ti Leaf Lei is hung across the entrance or doorway, and gently moved aside after the Hawaiian blessing has been completed. Ti leaves are a very important part of the ceremony as a ti leaf is typically used to sprinkle water during the blessing and chant. Ti leaves may also be used for decoration along with loose flowers on the tables.
Given that this roundabout is the first thing you see when entering the property we had to have it on the tree and linked to the anchor to indicate the roots we are placing here in Moloka'i. As additional remembrance of the value it carries and the tradition it holds.
I waited, patiently, the end of the day to place solar lights that we used back home in Washington for soothing BBQ nights.
When stargazing by the bench, sipping wine, and cuddling, this setup is really inspiring and cuddling. I figured that when I will do something wrong according to the women of the house I am going to use this spot for forgiveness requests. As I tell to colleagues at work when I explain things that, business-wise, are hard to conceive:
it's not question of IF but of WHEN.
So, I am thinking ahead 😇. It's time to eat and Vickie already called twice; before I get in trouble I am going to the dinner table. I will let her tell the story of the birds feeding project for another post.
In the meanwhile, have a bLife moment, every day. 🤙🏽
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