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Andy James
Click here to watch a movie (4MB)
of the mower in action.

I'm going to start a new tradition.  Every time somebody visits, I'll take a picture of them on the mower.  There is always plenty of mowing to be done so every visitor will have ample opportunity to have their picture taken.

Pets Our first visitors were my Uncle Andy and Aunt Mary Lynn.  They had been watching our dog and two cats for the past two and a half months.  Hawaii has very strict rules about importing animals and we couldn't bring our pets until after the required quarantine period.  We are very grateful for my aunt and uncle.  Not only did they take excellent care of the pets, they also took them to all the required veterinarian visits and handled all the paperwork and hassle at the airport.  We probably wouldn't have been able to bring our pets at all if it weren't for their help.  The pets weren't too happy about the trip but when they finally got here we could tell that they were happy to see us again.  It didn't take the pets long to adapt to their new lives on the farm.

We enjoyed showing off the farm to my aunt and uncle.  My uncle and I spent a couple days getting the sprayer working, we staked up a dozen or so trees that were falling over and of course we also did some mowing.  Their time here wasn't all chores though, we managed to spend some time at the beach.  We also drove down to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach (the sand is crushed lava rock) and to South Point which is the southern-most point in the United States.  We all enjoyed their visit.

Cheesy Our next visitor was my brother James.  He was so hungry from his flight here that the first thing he did was eat an entire bucket of Cheese Balls.  No, not really.  This is a picture that he and some of his goofy friends took.  He is a very creative person and always doing something interesting.  For this trip he brought a fancy video camera with him to take some footage of our lives on the farm.  Some of his video footage will probably make it into future posts.

Of course, we gave my brother some chores to do too.  We mowed and did more spraying.  He helped me move a fence gate and we did a little planting.  He even volunteered to do a little extra mowing.  Between chores we found time to go scuba diving at a nearby lava tube cave.

My brother had been to South Point before but he hadn't ever been up to the Mauna Kea observatories.  It's about a two hour drive each way but it's worth it.  The observatories are at nearly 14,000 feet so altitude sickness is a concern.  We waited a couple days after scuba diving and spent a little time at the visitor center to get acclimated to the thin air before heading to the summit.  We made it to the top just in time for the sunset.  Sunsets from 14,000 feet can be quite dramatic.  It's a good thing we still have our winter clothes from New Hampshire because 14,000' is cold, there was still some snow at the summit.  We would have had to watch the sunset from inside the truck if we didn't have heavy jackets.

After sunset, we went back down to the visitor center (which is still way up at 9,200 feet).  They set up telescopes the public can look through and a volunteer gives a tour of the night sky.  After talking to the ranger for quite awhile and helping the volunteer with a fact or two, I was convinced to sign up as a volunteer.  It's a long drive but having the opportunity to show off all my astronomy trivia will be worth it.


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