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House   Farm House
We arrived in Hawaii on March 1, 2005.  That was the first time Valerie and the girls ever saw the place.  Yes, as if quitting my cushy programming job and totally changing my lifestyle wasn't crazy enough, I also moved my family to a house they had never seen, in a place where they had never lived, to start a lifestyle none of us had ever experienced.  Luckily my family trusts me and I seem to have made a good choice.  We all love it here.  The transition is a bit dramatic but after a little adjustment it seems that we'll be able to live here happily ever after.

Flowers We beat our furniture here so we spent the first few days in an empty house.  We had sold most of our furniture before moving and purchased a loveseat and hide-a-bed couch that were already in the house.  That meant that we at least had a place to sleep those first few nights.  The previous owner also left behind some patio furniture, kitchen ware and other stuff we needed.  The cleaning lady had picked a beautiful bouquet of flowers, all from our property.

Emily on ATV ATV Before moving here, I knew I'd be busy but I had a difficult time imagining exactly what I'd be busy doing.  I knew that one of the first things I wanted to do was drive the tractor around the farm. (the farm came with lots of equipment, including a tractor, ATV, diesel riding mower, chainsaw, sprayers, leaf blowers, etc.)  To my dismay, when I got here I discovered that the ATV and mower weren't working.  At least I knew what my first project was going to be.  Most of my tools where still in the cargo container floating their way across the ocean but I had been smart enough to bring a few essential tools with me.  I got started on the ATV right away.  I cleaned the carburetor, replaced the spark plug, starter relay and fuel shut-off gasket.  I knew that being a good farmer would require me to also be a part-time mechanic and I took the ATV to be my first mechanic challenge.  It took several days before I got all the parts but I did finally get the thing working.  I immediately took Valerie and the girls for rides around the property.

Tractor I didn't have time the first day on the farm to ride the tractor like I had planned.  I did find time on the second day.  I took it for a spin around the house then up back along the upper fence.  I was still not too familiar with the layout of the farm and I turned down a hill I shouldn't have.  It looked fine at first but it got narrower and steeper as I went.  The tractor started sliding sideways and I couldn't get it turned or backed up the way I wanted.  I was wedged between the electric fence and a row of coffee trees.  The fence was on but it's no match for the big old tractor tires.  The tractor didn't even notice that the fence was there.  Which is good otherwise I may have never gotten the tractor out.  So my first lesson on the farm was how to get the tractor unstuck.  My second lesson was how to repair the electric fence.

Gardener While I was busy breaking things, Valerie was busy getting familiar with her new garden.  The soil here in Hawaii is very different.  Since it was all lava a few short millennia ago, it's very rocky.  Once broken down, lava makes great soil.  It's rich in nutrients and it's very porous so it drains well.  The soil in Valerie's new garden was in fairly good condition.  Her first task was to remove all the weeds.  Weeds grow fast around here.  Look away for a second and they'll soon be taller than the coffee trees.  But Valerie had her garden whipped into shape in no time.  Emily helped some too.  Emily wanted to plant carrots for her new bunny that we've promising she can have soon.  We've held of for awhile now but there's no way Emily will let us forget our promise.

Sarah has been busy exploring the property too.  She had been looking forward to being able to wear shorts all year long while running around barefoot and climbing trees.  The giant avocado tree out front makes the perfect climbing tree.  Sarah also soon discovered that our neighbors have horses.  We had warned her about the electric fence and she was being very careful to not touch it while trying to pet the horses.  Unfortunately she got a sticker in her shoe and as she bent down to remove it, she reached out to steady herself and KAWAAP.  No permanent damage but she definitely won't touch the fence a second time.

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