Sunshower Farms

Family Owned Kona Coffee Farm and Event Venue

Lately

I am jumping on the blogging bandwagon here with a "lately" post because lately things are great at Sunshower Farms and there is a lot to talk about! First, I built another table! A console table for our front door entry-way. We had an awkward amount of space next to the walkway at the front door and nothing to put there. We had been putting dog bowls and sometimes shoes, but it looked sloppy. We also needed a place to store our growing collection of games (I don't think we can go to a thrift store or garage sale without coming home with at least one game!).

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I built it with Aly's help in about a day following these plans pretty much exactly. The cost of the table came out to about $60 in materials, which is great! Once we had it built, we stained it using the same oxidation stain from the coffee table and the dining room table so that everything would match nicely. The interesting thing about that stain though, is that every piece of wood stains differently. So the 1"x12" boards came out very light even after the staining.

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Here is how it looked when the staining and waxing were complete.

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And here it is all set up in our entry-way!

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Isn't she pretty? I am so happy with how it turned out!

The next exciting update is that we bought a hammock! Ashley and I were at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, looking for tables for the vanity in the barn bathroom, when we stumbled along this beauty. We actually saw the employees unloading this hammock into the store before the store opened and we waited to make sure no one else could buy it.

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It was in great shape and only $150 (it would be at least $300 new) so we quickly agreed to get it. In fact, we beat out another lady who arrived at the store just minutes after us. Here it is all set up in the front yard in a nice secluded spot.

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Also lately everyone on the farm has been working very, very hard to get the field ready for planting. Originally, we were just going spread soil and compost on the entire field, till it and plant right into the field. However, soil in Hawaii is not easy or cheap to obtain - at least not the amount we would need for growing veggies. We have some soil already on the property but it isn't thick enough - we need 6-12" everywhere.

To get enough soil, one option is to have it delivered from a soil company. However, that can run $100+ per cubic yard - and we needed about 80 yards! So obviously that option was out. Also once we got that soil, we would need to spread it which requires a tractor or a TON of backbreaking work. Since we have decided to save up for a tractor, we are trying to be creative in how we can make do without one. 

What we ended up deciding was that we will use a mix of compost and the soil we already have in raised beds on the entire 2 acres (that's a lot of raised beds!). There is a truck you can rent in Kona for about $130/ day that fit 20 yards of compost so we rented it for two days. Mike and Joey drove that truck four hours round trip to Hamakua Heritage Farm in Laupāhoehoe to pick up loads of compost and bring them back to the farm.

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They could get two trips done each day and they went Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday night, we had 80 cubic yards of compost - SO MUCH COMPOST! Imagine a cube a football field long on each side and imagine it filled up 80% of the way - that is how much compost we transported and shoveled in two days!

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The first night, we had to unload the compost in the dark (although we did have some lights to use) because it took a long time to get the second load back.

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Unloading in the dark was kinda crazy because it was so steamy! Compost is filled with aerobic bacteria that are helping to decompose the plant matter. The bacteria give off heat making the compost HOT in some spots and certainly very steamy. Sam, who wears glasses, kept having to wipe them off because the steam was so much that he couldn't see!

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Thankfully the 80 yards is enough compost for the near future, so we won't have to go back too soon to get another load.

But once we had our compost, we still had to get it onto the field. So we have been building terraced, raised beds using the volcanic rocks that are everywhere on our property as the sides. Then we fill the beds in with a mixture of soil and compost and plant our baby plants in the beds.

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Bed building is hard work that is done all by hand - Little House on the Prairie Style. Thankfully our WWOOFers are badasses who are really putting in a ton of effort without complaint! We love them!

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When a couple of beds were done, we planted some lettuce starts that were more than ready to get in the ground.

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How beautiful will it be when this whole field is terraced beds?! It is going to be a lot of hard work but it is going to be great when it is all done!

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There is one other VERY exciting thing happening at the farm but it will be in the next post. Here's a hint though...