I’ve had a devil of a time formatting this post, and finally gave up until I can find some help. I’ll leave it this way, in the interests of just getting it out there.
I am in Hawai’i, visiting my son David and his family at their home, Palaka Moon Farm. It’s located on the Windward side of the island of O’ahu. Most of the population of Hawai’i lives on O’ahu, which is also the State Capital.
When they purchased the five-acre property in 1999, it was an orchid farm, supplying blossoms to the lei-makers of Maunakea Street in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Disease and marauding birds took a toll–farming is not an easy life. Ultimately, it was cheap pesticide-drenched orchids from Thailand that put an end to the orchid business. The farm then became a horse boarding facility. Most of the boarded horses are gone, as the farm is moving back to agriculture — raising tropical plants for sale to landscapers.Raising landscaping plants under shadecloth.
The farm sits at the foot of the dramatic Ko’olau mountain range. The photo below in no way captures their dramatic grace and beauty, but is the best I have been able to do so far. The large two-story house belongs to neighbors. In the left foreground is the remains of a water flume system, which carried irrigation water to the former Waimanalo Sugar Plantation (in existence 1881-1947). The farm snuggles up against the Ko’olau mountain range.
The house is in the simple old single-wall style, which was most common in pre-Statehood Hawai’i. The green color harkens back to company-housing for sugar plantation workers. It looks a bit ramshackle from the exterior, but that’s misleading. The interior is pretty and inviting, with clean lines and a spacious Great Room flowing onto a huge deck, geared for casual Hawai’i-style living. A spanking new kitchen was recently completed. This home has an inviting old-Hawaii feel, open to the surrounding natural beauty.
Here’s the rear corner of the main house, including the separate bedroom-bath guest quarters that opens to the deck. They quadrupled the size of the deck last year, and it’s a favorite place to relax and enjoy the views. The dining portion of the deck is walled on three sides and roofed. Just steps from the new kitchen, a big barbecue and and outdoor fridge come in handy for entertaining.Out back: deck and guest quarters.
There is tropical foliage everywhere you look. Here, it’s a riot of monstera, ferns and orchids next to the back entrance to the main house. It’s a hybrid lifestyle: the setting is rural, but daily life takes them over the mountains to Honolulu for work and school. Taylor has just begun courses at the University of Hawaii in Manoa Valley, on “town side”. Lexi is a sophomore at a private school here on the Windward side. David has worked as the Brewmaster for Big Aloha Brewery the past 16 years. It’s also over the mountains, on Nimitz Hwy which is the main road between the Honolulu Airport and Waikiki. Michelle works in the Downtown business district, with a stunning view of Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor.Kitchen entry.
This modest cottage has sheltered many–first David and Michelle and the girls, age two and six when they first moved to the farm in 1999. Later, Michelle’s cousin and her son and then Michelle’s mother called it home. That’s the avocado tree looming behind the cottage.Cottage.
Under the cottage: surfboards. David grew up in Hawa’i and has a passion for ocean sports: surfing, ocean kayaking and competitive paddling. His job as a Brewmaster, renovating my North Shore rental house and his own, farm maintenance and being the Papa part of the family support-system keep him terribly busy. We’d like to see him get out on the water more. MIchelle works full-time in downtown Honolulu, manages my vacation rental on the North Shore, does the cooking and paperwork of daily living and is a super Mama to two teenage girls. Wish she could get out riding her horse more often.Under the cottage.
Miscellaneous Views around the Farm, sans commentary
This is an overview of Palaka Moon Farm. Stay tuned for particulars of the farm in later posts.