Our wonderful clients Noel and Bryan live in a Sustainable Hardwood Home in the town of Glenwood tucked away in the rain forest on the East side of the Big Island. Situated at 2,500 feet above sea level, Glenwood sits between Mountain View and the town of Volcano not far from the Kilauea Volcano.
The Hawaiian born couple grew up on Oahu and came over to the Big Island seeking a living situation that would offer them the opportunity to live on more acreage. Oahu land prices are quite expensive and it is difficult to find large plots of land there. On the other hand, the Big Island is blessed with lots of open spaces which are affordable and readily available throughout much of the Island. Their thinking was prudent, more land would make it simpler to live a sustainable life style making their dream of having a Hawaii Sustainable Home achievable. You can see the warm and inviting residence they designed and contracted with Teak Bali by visiting our Finalized Projects pages and looking for Project “F”.
The couple’s vision for a sustainable lifestyle is a living dynamic as they learn more and their path continues to take lots of interesting twists and turns along the way. They currently live on a 3 Acre square plot which receives 150 inches of rain per year. Their location sits on top of a Pahoehoe lava flow that is about 2,700 years old. The only native items growing naturally on the land are Ohia trees and lots of weeds and other ground cover. Their current soil environment is not prime for growing fruits and veggies so they had to get creative to make their land sustainable.
One of the key elements of their sustainability initiative is enriching the soil by making their own Biochar. To quote from the Bio Char International website. “Sustainable Biochar is a powerfully simple tool to fight global warming. This 2,000 year-old practice converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and discourage deforestation. Sustainable Biochar is one of the few technologies that is relatively inexpensive, widely applicable, and quickly scalable.” Noel and Bryan are creating their own char out of Rabbit, Goat and Chicken Poo, burnt bones, Basolt and Kelp. They built a simple green house covered with translucent plastic and they created raised beds in and outside of the green house for planting. The ingenuous couple are growing non-colonized Eucalyptus for the making of Shitake Mushrooms. Some of the other fruits and veggies they are growing for consumption (limited by their high altitude) are:
- Brown beer (Legal)
In terms of animals on the property, they have 3 lovely dogs named Chai, Kai & Pono. They also have goats who eat the weeds and invasive species and produce cheese, milk & yogurt. They have chickens who provide fresh eggs and also eat weeds and they are raising rabbits for meat. They have planted Top-Bar Bee Hives to further their sustainability concept. Noel has an informative blog site Viking In Paradise that discusses the couple’s sustainability thrust in more detail. Some of the many interesting and informative sustainable oriented blog topics Noel has written about include:
- Dairy Goats
- Making Soil
- Cultivator’s Meeting
- Sustainable Island Living
- Volunteering in Volcano’s National Park
Noel figures that roughly 20% of their current sustenance is derived from the land and they are angling to raise this percentage to over 50% in the foreseeable future. They prefer to purchase local then from big corporations spending most of their time at the local Farmer’s Market. They envision being part of a small crop cooperative in their immediate environs on the rainy side of the Big Island. Bryan and Noel also spend time working with the local Hawaiian Kahunas. They are learning many things about the land including which weeds growing on their property are medicinal. They recently found out the Wandering Jew (‘Tradescantia Zebrine’) which is abundant on the Big Island can be used to help stop bleeding. As Noel mentions in one of her blogs, “It is a lesson that we gardeners do not control nature but just tend to it”. We at Teak Bali really appreciate folks that are truly working and living ‘with’ the land and ‘off of’ the land. Bryan & Noel are a shining example of a couple clearly walking the “Sustainable Style Living” walk experimenting, expanding and sharing as they go..….