Coffee beans

Two years ago, we discovered we had the coffee borer beetle on our property.  It was disappointing to say the least.  We have three different areas where we grow our coffee, and one area was way more affected than the other two areas, although all the areas certainly had it.  We debated on the best course of action.  There is an organic fungus you can use to spread over the plants that helps reduce the numbers.  When kept in check, it can really help the amount of viable beans a farm can produce.  One has to also be very vigilant about taking care of and disposing of exposed beans.  By the time we realized our problem, a lot of beans were affected.  We decided after much consideration, to chop all the trees down and start from scratch.  We have about 50 trees, and while a lot for us, it is small when compared to most farms.  The life cycle of a female beetle can be up to 190, so figuring if we got rid of all the trees, and waited a year, we should be good for restarting.  All of the trees with the exception of two, grew back large and green and healthy.  We have lots of beans on them, and will manage the beetle from the very start, which should greatly help our actual coffee bean yield.  We have also started a new area in the pasture.  Those trees won’t be ready for a few more years, but we would like to have more trees, which will end up being quite the hobby in our retirement.  (Retirement is still quite a few years away just in case you’re wondering.). So this year, we hope to have a nice yield of coffee.  I’m excited.  Our coffee is really tasty, and while I may be slightly biased, we’ve heard from others it is quite good as well.

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The coffee borer beetle is in Hamakua.  It’s not going anywhere, so we are going to be more vigilant about managing it than ever before.  It’s a bit of a bummer, to say the least, but we really enjoy the coffee we grow, and it is a fact of life at this point.

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Summer is almost here

It feels like it’s already here as it’s been quite hot lately.  Our lignum vitae tree, also called the Tree of Life, is covered in periwinkle flowers and bees.  It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this many bees.  I’m hoping they’ll migrate over to the lilikoi flowers.

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We’ve seen a few different types of bees on the flowers.  I was able to get some nice shots of two different kinds.  The second one is really small compared to the regular honeybee.

It’s nice to see all the bees, the tree is earning its name, the tree of life.

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In other farm happenings, our last set of duck eggs hatched.  Our white call duck was sitting on two eggs.  Every day we’d check to see if they had progressed, and during our last check found one ducking that had hatched and one egg in the water.  The mama was uninterested in her baby.  At this age and size, if the mama doesn’t take care and keep her baby warm and cared for it won’t make it.  The egg in the water wasn’t viable unfortunately.  We took the other baby duck who was now a loner, and put it in our incubator and kept it in the house.  It started to imprint on my husband and just quacked non stop until he would come by.  We ended up putting a small stuffed animal in the incubator with it to keep it company.  We checked the local farm store to see if they had any baby chicks with the intention of getting one to keep it company, but they had none.  We then called our neighbor, and she had a recent hatch of baby chicks, and she graciously gave us two.  At first we weren’t sure if they would like each other, but it didn’t take too long until we could see they would okay together.

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The chicks are just the perfect size, and as you can see they’re buddies.

Our dragon fruits are starting to flower.  We have two different varieties, one that’s white inside and one that’s dark purple/pink inside.  They taste pretty much the same, although I find the white a little sweeter, and my husband finds the purple one a little sweeter.  Right now the purple ones are starting to flower, although we see a few white flowers coming up too.  The flowers are pretty spectacular.

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You can tell the purple dragon fruit because the leaves surrounding the flower have a purple tinge on the ends like most of the buds above.  The flowers at the top have no purple on the edge so the insides will be white and the one in the middle has some purple.  Last season we didn’t have too many fruit although we did have a lot of flowers.  Hopefully most of the flowers will pollinate and we’ll get a nice batch of dragon fruit this time around.  Dragon fruit is one the fruits we sell.

Today we had a chance to get out on the boat for a bit.  The water was so calm it was like a lake.  We didn’t catch anything trolling, but my husband jumped in and speared some kole we’ll fry up for dinner.  We ended the day with a jump in the pool when we got home.  It was a pretty good weekend.

 

 

Home Again

It’s been a few weeks since my last entry.  We went to Boulder to see my daughter graduate with her Master’s Degree.  We spent about a week and half  there.  The weather was beautiful and warm for most of the trip, but the last two days we got a snow storm.  The snow was beautiful, aesthetically speaking, however practically speaking it was COLD, and we lost power for a bit.  Overall the trip was wonderful.  I’m happy to be home, back to our little homestead.  It’s clear summer is right around the corner, it is has been hot.

So what’s growing right now …

lots of tomatoes (I’m super excited about this!), white mountain apples, Anna apples (we only have about a 10 on all the trees combined), figs, asparagus, blackberries, pumpkins, papayas, lychee (mostly from my in-law’s yard!) and … vanilla!  Our vanilla plant flowered!  I’m not sure how old it is, but we never thought we’d see flowers.  The bug that pollinated vanilla orchids is no longer around, so vanilla has to be hand pollinated.  The flower opens for one day only, so you have to catch it at just the right time.  I’ve hand pollinated about 6 flowers so far.  Let me rephrase that, I’ve attempted to hand pollinate 6 flowers.  I’m not sure if any took, you have to be super gentle.  So here’s the issue, our orchid plant is growing up two royal palm trees we have, and the flowers are really high up.  AND, I’m scared of heights.  Between David and I, I watched the youtube videos of how to pollinate the flower, so the job at this point is mine.  I think I’m doing it right, but it’s a really fragile job, and you can lose the pollen so easily.  We’ll see what happens.  If we get any vanilla beans, I’ll be excited.

Here’s a recent harvest from a quick morning trip to the garden.

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You can see some of the orchid flowers just above the end of the ladder.  That’s a 20 foot ladder although it’s not all the way up.  We didn’t plan for the orchid to grow that way, it just did.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s pretty amazing.