Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog #7

March 25, 2023

No company this week, but It has been a busy and productive week with ground leveling work, tulip tree stump removal, gravel delivery, carpentry, a trip to town, and planting.

Bradley on his backhoe removing tulip stump
Daylan reporting for work

Inside shed

The shed walls are now all up. Little holes are cut in the metal siding where they will be cut bigger for the black windows and doors . Hopefully they will arrive mid-April and be installed in May. Chris laid out the boards for the dividing walls and they will go up this next week. Chris is also bringing his tractor to instal the metal sliding door that goes on the tool shed. When the cedar wood patios are on it will be a better look.

I was able to get contacts for two new workers from my friend Erin. Cliff, a tree trimmer, cut the hau bush out of the monkey pod tree. The hau was strangling the tree which is at the entry to the trail to the pool and waterfall. Derek came and we started stacking piles of hau. My goal is to get one more lo’i cleared for planting our beginning coconut project. I will either burn the piles or get a chipper in to finish the job. While up there I peaked under the dense thicket of hau to see another old rock wall just fifteen feet above. I am hoping to work on that next. Cliff is coming today to trim the meringue tree and the Pride of Burma before they get totally out of hand. When Bob and I planted these trees twenty years ago we had no idea just how big they would grow. Now, they have to be trimmed before they get more unmanageable and eventually fall over. A sixty foot Pak Lan and white shower tree will be next.

Monkey pod tree cleaned of hau

I am starting to think of some areas for landscaping. Sunday I followed some chocolate growing farmer friends Bob and Karen to Julie and Alex’s remote nursery an hour away to look at their exotic fragrance plants and hard to find fruit trees. Getting to their place was quite a trip with the last part being a three mile trek on a very bumpy gravel road that included crossing a stream bed which floods and makes impassable during a heavy rain. Julie and Alex are often marooned there.

In addition to a small order I have ordered some native white hibiscus for the driveway and a few more fruit trees. With help we managed to plant a fairly large orange tree and have a lemon, tangerine and another smaller orange to go in the ground this week. The ground has a lot of rocks so planting is a challenge. Chris needs to bring his big machine to dig some holes. Sutton, my neighbor, gave me some Hawaiian purple potato starts and they are now in the ground. Today I am hoping to weed eat an area and plant some of the squash starters for a ground cover.

I decided on a solar package this week and the panels will be delivered in a few weeks. I also looked at and chose flooring-a koa colored laminate and it all has to be trucked out by Bradley. Nothing is easy here, but I am loving this project and the small community.
Mostly nice community. Cliff is in the tree trimming and the neighbor just started screaming that the branches were on his fence so I had to dash up and get my battery extension chain saw and start cutting branches through the fence wiring. Thanks gosh bought bought the best equipment so I was able to do the job. Now we just have to hike down through his pasture and throw the branches back over the fence.

The Jungle Spa last week was a delight after I finally found it. Much to my surprise I had a great haircut from Bobbi. Everybody is settling in and getting very comfortable. I just put a lean to on the greenhouse for shade and rain protection.

Maddy in rafters

Last eve my new friend and neighbor Sutton and I drove into town to listen to Hawaiian music and have pizza. It was pleasant and interesting coming back home on a dark country road and walking back up my gravel driveway.

Haumana is my constant companion and under foot a bit too much. She also likes to sit on the chair next to me at cocktail time. And, she is getting big. She thinks she is a lap dog and loves to sit on my lap. She is great company and so personable.

My Office

Time to sign off for this week and get this published. There will be some major things happening next week. Thanks for tuning in and please leave a comment.



Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog #6

March 17, 2023

Welcome to the news of this week and thanks for checking in.

It has been a beautiful amazing week with lots of sun and heat (almost too much actually) and such a contrast from the cold and rain of previous week. Haumana, my golden doodle and I made it to the beach for a short but lovely swim.

There were quite a few highlights this week. One of them was a two night visit from my young student helpers-Alana, Megan and Eli who arrived on Sunday. I am forever grateful to them for their help on Oahu and helping me get the cats over here. They camped and we had some lovely times together and great dinners around a big bon fire.

Eli also constructed a frame around the cat greenhouse. I will put a tarp on the frame and it will give some added protection from the rain and sun. Eventually I will make a little patio there and add some outdoor furniture.

On Monday the three of us hacked our way through the thick hau up to the pool and water fall on the top of the property. Unfortunately some big tulip trees had fallen on the hau and Eli had to looper our way thru in several places. In the next months I am hoping to get this trail opened up and made more direct so pool access is easier and a shorter walk.

Eli and me in pool with waterfall pumping

Some creature comforts were added this week and the hot shower is now working perfectly. I also got a barbecue for the kitchen that will bake as well as grill. My little kitchenette is functioning great for compact cooking. With all the sun the Eco Flow solar generator is performing like a champ and so I decided to add a browning crock pot that arrived yesterday. Looking forward to making some meals in that.

little kitchen

The orange tree I planted eighteen years ago is now twenty feet high and full of oranges. I have the best juicer ever and have big glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice every day. Three oranges make a huge glass.

Work continues on the agriculture shed pretty steadily this week.

A couple days were shortened by issues. Chris’s truck broke down and his main helper Daylan had to take his wife to the doctor and then child care on Friday. Seems like there were also a lot of equipment failures this week. Bradley, who is moving some earth around, had his big backhoe breakdown so I am waiting on him to have a spot to plant taro, potato and fruit trees. He is also flattening a place for a plastic shed that will go next to green house.

Then, yesterday I was hoping to get Cliff to do some clearing on the next lo’i up mauka and he texted me his van broke down on the way here. So, this work is rescheduled for Monday. He did show up last week to trim the breadfruit trees which were way to high for picking. Life moves at a much slower pace here with many delays which I am getting used to. I have had several lunches up in the shed with the building team. Besides being so nice, they are super cooks and bring hot meals and often include me. If there is extra they leave it here for my dinner. Such generosity and they are a fun loving threesome who listen to music, laugh constantly and have a great time while working. It is a joy to have them here.

Chris and Daylan

There is no garbage pick up here. Yesterday I took a truck load of metal scraps to the local dump for the once in every three month metal recycling day. Today I am taking another truck load of trash to the land fill . I am working on keeping things cleaned up and going every week with all the black bags.

Gradually the piles of building materials are moving out of the front yard so things are looking better each week. Besides constant rearranging I am doing a lot of one of my favorite activities-weed eating. I just love it as it is immediate gratification. Speaking of gratitude I watched one of Audrey Katagawa’s zoom on gratitude which I thought was pretty interesting. Here is the zoom link

Other creature comforts was a cat drinking water fountain. It looks like the cats are loving this and drinking more water which prevents kidney disease. I am delighted to see them all drinking.

Casper drinking from fountain

Another plus of the week…Many years ago I found a big metal framed picnic table sitting along side the road. I took it home to Tantalus, bought some new tiles for the top and had it in my garden there for years. Then, when I relocated to Saint Louis Heights I moved it there with the idea of painting, but it was always too windy to spray. Then, It came here in the container of garden materials. Yesterday, I finally got it sanded and painted coconut green, I have four new stacking chairs and am happy to finally have a table for meals or gathering here in the yard.

This is where I am sitting

OK, I thought this week’ blog would be short, but it seems to have grown a little with important happenings. And, I am off to the Jungle Spa to get my hair cut now. 

Thank you for tuning in on Blog # 6 and please leave comments.

Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog #5

Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog #5
March 8, 2023
Welcome to Blog #5
Even though this blog comes out on Saturday I am starting early as today is especially important. Today is International Women’s Day and I am celebrating my gratitude and opportunities. To me this means women going out and doing the work that is in their heart .
Having just weathered a night and early morning with huge amounts of rain and cold wind my purpose is still foremost. Normally this would not be such an unpleasant situation, but the direction is coming straight into my tiny house.

In spite of this I keep the big picture in mind-the reason why I am here??
For me Andy Warhol summed it up with his quote.
The idea is not to live forever, but to create something that will.

Why did I choose dealing with the winter elements to begin work on a last chapter???Any additional thinking is not needed for me to step out of my comfort zone to pursue a new mission. It was almost two years ago when Bob left me saying, “you will know what to do with this special piece of land-this āina”. He trusted me to do the right thing with the land that once flourished. It was a breadbasket with loi’i kalo and growing other foods under the rule of the Hawaiian kingdom.   During this time the Hawaiians had over a hundred different varieties of coconuts that were all used for special purposes. This knowledge has been forgotten and lost in history.   

A few hundred years later, I have come here with a vision and a mission to reveal the true beauty and the potential of this land that is hidden under an overgrowth of hau, African Tulip, bamboo and other weeds. Centuries-old Kanaka Hawaiian farming methods are still in tact waiting to be reactivated and brought back to use again. ‘Āina that once fed a nation must and should come back to growing food again.
The coconut revitalization project is only one step toward establishing food sovereignty in a land that once was known for abundance-‘āina momona! To me, this is what it meant when Bob looked in my eyes and told me “you will know how to do the right thing with this ‘āina.” 

We have had some beautiful sunny days now and we are all much happier. I got a drinking fountain for the cats and Casper is drinking. They say cats need a lot of water to prevent kidney disease.

Finally, after weeks of waiting all the tankless propane water heater arrived and I had my first hot shower here which was a great event after six weeks.
The lumber arrived to separate the tool shed from the library and the end panels are being put on so it will soon have walls. Yesterday I had lunch in the shed with the builder Chris, his helper Daylan, and Haumana.

My cut corral path to the shower is almost finished. This week I will get some garden edging to put along the sides so the stones stay in place during heavy rains.

I am having some delicious meals here. The Friday farmers market has the freshest mahimahi ever. This was dinner last evening. There are also wonderful baked goods along with home grown vegetables and fruit.

Other than a couple days of bad weather it has been a great week and I look forward to some real progress with this coming week. My young student helper friends, Megan, Alana and Eli, are missing the cats and coming out to visit Sunday and Monday. I have been meeting new and like-minded interesting people and also enjoying the peace and quiet here.

Looking forward to the events of the coming week. Please make comments on Word Press and let me know who is reading these blogs. Stay tuned for Blog #6 next week as I think there will be a lot of progress to report.
With Gratitude and Aloha,

Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog #4

Welcome to Vicky Durand’s Blog #4

March 4, 2023

This week it has been very cold, windy, and rainy here in the mornings and evenings. I think the cats are even cold in the early morning and evenings. Luckily, I am keeping dry but things are a tad damp and dirty. Winds coming from Mauna Kea have made for a chilly situation. The rain is tolerable because it usually pours for ten to fifteen minutes and then the sun comes back out. Yesterday things changed it poured almost like flood conditions. In the pouring rain I had to dig a small trench in front of the green house to divert the muddy water from running through. Luckily it worked, but I got drenched. The catchment water tank was overflowing and it seemed to be raining most of the night. The sun is finally out now and supposedly, we will have some sunny days in front of us.There has not been enough sun to dry up the muddy driveway. So, I just must wait till the rainy season is over to fix the driveway. The cats are hanging in like troopers. When it rains some stay in the green house and many run up under the hau thicket. I am trying to get more cats to go in the cozy greenhouse.

Tuesday, I went to yoga at a beautiful retreat center and met some new people. As time goes on, I am looking forward to getting to know more like minded people in this small community. Tomorrow I am hoping to go to book club with neighbors Beth and Grant. The post office which is only open five days a week from 11- 4, but seems to be a gathering place.

Everything is a drawn-out process living here. And, last week I forgot to tell you about my experience trying to get a mailbox. I bought a nice big black locking mailbox to put at the bottom of the driveway. When I went to the post office and asked about putting it up the women said, “oh you have to get a permit for that.” I asked how to do that and they said, “Oh, you get it from us.” I said OK how to do that? Then they informed me my driveway was in a dangerous place for the mailman to stop and I had to put a box way back down the road with the last box. I don’t want to do this as the main purpose was to designate my address. I have had some groundwork done and I don’t think it is dangerous, but I am not going to argue with them. I will use a PO Box instead where Amazon delivers most mail. If getting shipments from FedEx, they go to the market for pick up where a list is posted outside. It is an interesting system, but it works. Being so far out I get everything from Amazon-even ice cube trays, towels, boots, etc. I know some people don’t like Amazon, but they are a life saver out here where a jar of mayo can be $14.

There are often cows on the road and on my way to the post office the other day I encountered a man in the road herding a cow. Turned out to be Brandon who I had met at the farm store many months ago right after I purchased fencing. I told him my fencing plan to bring in helpers Edwin and Silipei and he proceeded to tell me why that would not work. Scared me, but air tickets were bought and they were coming the next morning. Thank gosh I didn’t listen to him and went ahead and it turned out perfectly. This week Brandon told me “Hana eats people up and spits them out”. He always has something great to say.

Today my builder called in sick, so I am patiently waiting for he and his two helpers to put up the siding. They seem to get sick every few weeks, so am not sure, but need to stay diplomatic which is often a challenge for me. And, my daughter once told me that I am not diplomatic. Maybe that was from spending so much time in Waianae. On the positive side, the project is progressing as they have laid the metal pieces along the foundation and the metal sides are next…. and hopefully soon. Without the right attitude this could be a frustrating situation.

Friday is the weekly Farmers market where there are lots of greens, fruit, homemade bread and fish if the seas are fishable. On these days I check mail at the post office and do banking. Interestingly, the only bank- the Bank of Hawaii is open five days a week from 3-4:30. The bank is attached to the post office and is the smallest bank I have ever seen but, it does seem to function.

The days pass by quickly here as there is always so much to do-future projects and just keeping things semi clean and organized. I am washing in buckets with a toilet plunger to swish the clothes around just like I saw some homesteaders do on You Tube.  I rinse them in another bucket and then take then up to the greenhouse where I have a clothesline for drying. Luckily there is no shortage of water. Makes me think and appreciate what my great grandparents must have gone through as they were crossing the plains in a covered wagon heading for Salt Lake City with little or no water trying to keep clothes clean.

In between the rains I am making a cut coral path to the bathroom and shower houses. These coral pavers have been sitting in storage in Kahului for at least eight years. Next I must figure out what to put in between the paver gaps.

Next week I will tell you more about this week, show you the finished paver project and more pictures of the cats like a reader suggested. Meantime here is one of a cat buffet.

Time to sign off for this week and wait for rains to stop. Thanks for reading Adventure Blog # 4 and please leave a comment on WordPress if you feel like it.

Aloha Nui


Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog Post #3

Welcome to Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blob Post #3

February 25,2023

This week starting Monday morning has been very exciting… My friend Indrajit Gunasekara, a coconut scholar came to visit for the weekend. We planted a green ti leaf hedge at the entrance to the driveway and planned our project to rejuvenate and revitalize the disappearing varieties of Hawaiian coconuts here on this property. Along with other farming projects we plan to have a coconut gene bank, a library, a nursery and possibly an educational center. The next big job is to clear the hau on the next lo’I as this is where we will plant the first coconuts. As the weeks move on I will tell you all about the planting. This is the hau which over the last sixty years has covered beautiful pasture land. We will take it on one lo’i at a time.

Monday morning Indrajit took part in a panel discussion following the film Niu Now-Reconnecting To The Tree of Life. The film documents the last two years of Niu Now under the guidance of Dr. Manu Meyer and Indrajit. When you have an extra hour, this is an excellent film showing some important work here in Hawaii. In a way, it leads up to what we will be doing here.

Here is a link to the film

The big news of the week is the ag shed roof is now on. So, no matter what kind of weather we have the work can move on. We have had a lot of rain which has delayed the roof construction.

My shower is finally connected, and I would have a hot shower if the shop where I bought the tankless propane water had not sold me someone else’s shower without the hook up. We didn’t realize this until Chris, my builder, opened the box and was all ready to set it up. I called him and, of course, he said he is out of heaters but had a shipment coming in a few weeks. This is not what I wanted to hear. But meanwhile I ordered a heater on amazon which will also take a few weeks. And a cold shower in this cold weather is not appealing. I do have neighbors who have offered.

Wednesday I drove two hours to town to do errands and pick up the last of my cats. Lelo boy who had managed to escape prior attempts of being caught and had been up at the house on Saint Louis Heights for a month hanging out by himself with little food. I hired Kristi, a cat trapper par excellence and he arrived this week via Kamaka Air. Happily, we are all united now and hopefully he settles in with the rest of the gang.

Another “biggie” for this week is I now have a refrigerator with a small freezer on top. It is electric and runs off the solar generator. It is great to be out of the cooler phase dealing with water getting in the food and buying ice every other day. And, I can now get some ice cream.

Before starting this post, I wanted to tell you why, at this stage in life, this adventure is all so meaningful.  In my youth I unknowingly left a very exciting , adventurous, and challenging life surfing at Makaha to enter a very mundane and rather boring life In California. California was not for me but I became stuck there for many years with the only reward being my daughters Marcie and Rennie.

Just now, and so many years later, and for my last chapter of life I feike I am reconnecting to an exciting and adventurous life living close tonature with the ability to farm. A few days Before Bob passed, he toldme “I am leaving these five acres to you because I think you will know the best thing to do with this land.” This is a gorgeous place and I feelso grateful to be here starting a new chapter and doing something meaningful. Among other things, I am looking forward to joiningthe Farmer’s Union Hana division as I was a 4 H member in my youth.And, the gardening is fun as things grow fast. Here are my squash starters that seeded in ten days.

A little side note….. Each night it is not raining I make a fire and eat a delicious dinner in front of the fire with my goldendoodle Haumana at my side. Since there is no trash pickup, I separate all the trash and start the fire with all the day’s paper.

This is it for this week…..We’ll see what the coming week brings. Hopefully some sun to dry up the mud that the dogs and I have been wadding through.

Thanks for joining in. Please leave comments and let’s stay connected and we will see this coming week’s adventures.

Aloha Vicky

Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog Post #2

February 18,2023

It is now the four-week mark here in paradise and I love each day more than the one before. One highlight of the day is a nightly bon fire if  it is not raining. A nightly fire is reminiscent of our early and best days at Makaha when we were camping and surfing in the mid-1950’s. It was such a great time sitting around the beach fire and telling stories with the early great big wave surfers such as Buzzy Trent, Peter Cole, Fred Van Dyke, Pat Curren, Pete Peterson and Tom Carlin to name a few of our lifelong friends.

This week half of the roof went on the Ohana steel kit agriculture shed building. We were hoping to finish the other side but, the weather became drizzly and too slippery for roof work.  Hopefully this next week will see completion so Chris can move on to framing the walls. Unfortunately, we will be waiting till April for the windows and doors, and this will delay some wall framing. Every step of the way out here takes time and patience.

The 5,000-gallon green plastic water catchment tank was delivered. When the roof is guttered this tank will catch rainwater off the roof for watering plants, taking showers and general needs.

Right now, I am waiting for Bradley to come and finish a car parking space at the bottom of the driveway. Currently four-wheel drive is needed to get up the driveway. He will also push some dirt around to even up a place so I can start planting fruit trees. He is a very busy man, so I must wait my turn, wait for the weather, and wait for his machine repairs. It is the waiting game, but he is dependable and always eventually shows up to do a good job.

During the last few weeks, I have made many four hour round trips to town to pick up the last of the animals left behind. On Monday I picked up one of my sweetest tiger cats named Jimmy. He has settled in beautifully and I can tell he his happy to be reunited after 3 weeks alone. It takes a whole day with errands thrown in, but I cannot leave anyone behind. The road is windy with lots of tourists slowing travel down as they gaze at the beautiful scenery. Ironically the only radio station I get is reggae. This is so perfect for the many turns and switchbacks. The drive is almost like a meditation-or at least that is the way I think about it.

Amazingly, the cats are relaxing and finding their places. Many stay up in their greenhouse but quite a few of them have their way here in the tiny house with me. They have beds on the rafters and sleep on my bed. Last night there was even a large white aloof cat named Frosty eating on the ledge. After being confined for five months this is cat heaven with the huge yard with so many branches and trees to climb.

This narrow five-acre property was a taro farming breadbasket in early (and maybe ancient) Hawaii. The Hawaiians lived down in a nearby valley by the ocean and hiked up here to build multiple stone walls to hold in the water for lo’i to grow their staple food-taro. Over the years the wild cows knocked some of the stones out so I will be working on fixing the walls. I love to work with these stones-built centuries ago that have not been touched by western hands. I also love to weed eat the hono hono grass that has been hiding the beauty of these walls near the tiny house. Plans are to slowly work up to the freshwater pool and waterfall at the top of the property. By the way in 1970 Bob loved to tell the story on how he turned down a million dollars from George Harrison as he wanted this pool and waterfall.

After cutting our way through hau and bamboo I jumped in

Maybe enough for this week. Next week I will tell you about my interesting experience with the bank, the post office, and more here in the land of adventurous living.

Thanks for tuning in.

Aloha Vicky

Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog, Post #1

Welcome to Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog  Post #1 where every day is an adventure living here in the heart of old Hawaii

I have been here exactly three weeks today. The days have all been happily filled with settling the animals and getting myself comfy. It took a week to set up my Ecoflow solar generator for power, the internet, and a beginning place to put things.  Each day I have wanted to sit down long enough to recount my exciting journey, but life became filled with must dos.

The motivation to follow my dream for this major complicated move was a yearlong project which I will backtrack and recount over future blogs. The whys and the hows of the crazy people and the many varieties of human nature. I helped create a modernist home foundation that became untenable.

After an amazing send-off my dramatic arrival on January 28th in the middle of a huge rainstorm was videoed and now can be viewed on YouTube.

Unloading the Cat and Dogs Airdrop

I have been camping here in a mostly open tiny house that Bob and I constructed twenty years ago. The building was prefabbed on Oahu to take to Wailau Valley on the backside of Molokai where Bob was going to camp on his lot. But, after an hour out of the harbor it became clear there was not enough fuel. So, the materials were taken back to Oahu where we later shipped here.

Since it is the rainy season, we have had quite a bit of rain which makes a lot of mud with building material delivery trucks coming in and out chewing up the lawn, but that is what keeps all the vegetation so green and lush. Luckily, I have my Lands’ End fleece lined rubber boots which I wear from morning to bedtime. And my daughter Marcie sent me a box of dark pants that I am slowing working my way through. With no available washing machine.

Several months ago, I put a metal roof on this tiny gazebo like camp house and the rain feeds a 1,500-gallon green plastic catchment water tank that supplies cold water through a garden hose. I am trying to solve the problem of laundry since the closest laundromat is in two hours away.

The rain is intermittent with bright sunshine making life pleasant and perfect for gardening. On my last trip to town, I bought arugula, beets, green beans, radish seeds to plant in a raised container. Sutton, my neighbor gave me two delicious squashes from her garden, and I am going to plant the seeds. She says they will cover a bank and grow over bamboo which is just what I need. I am hoping to grow a lot of my food.

The rain and wind are slowing construction of the Ohana steel kit agriculture shed. My amazing builder, Chris, cannot put the roof on until there are only sunny days and he said this could be another month. So, I sit with a framed 20 x 50-foot steel framed building. They say living here teaches one patience.

Bob and I spent years clearing brush and guava trees on an acre plus of grassy yard. My goldendoodle Haumana and chihuahua terrier mix Ehu are having a ball running and chasing each other around their huge new yard. They are also barking at the cows in the adjoining pasture and unfortunately also chasing the cats. I have just bought some training collars because this must stop.

I am now at the airport waiting for the commuter plane to land with Edwin and Silipei who are flying in from Honolulu to fence the back of the property. Several evening’s ago, a neighbor’s big dog ran through at feeding time chasing the cats up into the hau forest. The cats don’t need this scare. I sent out an SOS and luckily the help is on it’s way.

This airport is classic as there is an office, but no one occupies it. To go to the bathroom, you squat out behind one of the small buildings scattered around. There is no internet reception here so impossible to find out how late the arrival is going to be.

These are the amazing people that helped make my move a reality.

Stay tuned for Blog Post #2 next Saturday that will be on my web site To see the post click on the heading Vicky Durand’s Adventure Blog on the top left.