Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You would not believe the shit I was doing today.

No, really. Shit. And the better you know me, the harder it's going to be for you to believe it.

First, yesterday: finally finished the varnishing project and it looks great. I'll post some pictures of the trim installed so you can see the final result. At some point yesterday, this pretty cool Hawaiian named Ben came over and introduced himself. He's in his seventies, has lived here all his life, and used to work on the sugar plantation. This whole area was a cluster of seven sugar plantations, each with it's own workers' camp. The plantations were all shut down by 1975, people bought up the land slowly, and the workers' camps became the little main street areas. Here's a picture of our town Hawi (pronounced Ha-vee), population 750 or so:

Ben was telling me all about it and you know how I love talking to the old-timers. Anyway, he also said he had tons of lemons at home and would be happy to bring some by.

Today we moved directly into more farm-y duties: making compost. I had sort of been looking forward to this, since I'm always into the stuff that I feel like I'll need to know how to do later. This, however, was crazy. First, Liu Zhi and I had to dig a trench 12 feet by 4 feet and a foot deep. Then we had to collect weeds from all over the property. Then we had to go to the pasture and collect cow shit. That's right. You read it here. We dragged a wheelbarrow around the pasture, looking for cow shit. When we spotted it, we took the pitchfork and scooped it into the wheelbarrow. Then we looked for more.

At some point during the cow shit-scooping, I lost it. I started mumbling to myself, and wondering aloud what had happened to my life that I now found myself LOOKING FOR COW SHIT AND SCOOPING IT INTO A WHEELBARROW?? It was good that Liu Zhi couldn't understand me, because I was not ok. He did understand my gags of disgust and tried to explain to me that because the cows were grass-fed it was not gross. His English has gotten a lot better. In the standard way things happen here, as I was wheeling the shit down the pasture I saw that Ben had come, with the promised bag of lemons. That brightened me right up. I'm going to make lemon meringue(sp?) pie for cratchmach.

Back to the compost: one layer weeds, one layer cow shit, two different kinds of sand, then dirt. In between the layers we spray compost starter. We were supposed to make this pile four feet high, but we quit at about two feet, because we'd already been working on it for about four hours.

After that, Karen and I went to the church rummage sale, which is once a week and has tons of clothes for NOTHING. To illustrate, I bought: two long-sleeved t-shirts, one short-sleeved t-shirt, one pair of shorts, and a paper back book for $1.35. Jessie met me there and we picked up Kate and went to the beach. The were some surf warnings and the waves were pretty crazy, but we got far enough out to swim and had a great time. Which almost made up for the shit-shoveling. Almost.

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