Mango Season

Mango season is here! We have been eating ripe mangoes for a few weeks now. Mango on ceral, mango smoothies, and a whole dryer load packed up and sent to my mango loving mother in Oregon.

For some reason the fruit on our big tree seems to have come from two different sets, with the first fruit ripening almost a month ago and the majority of the fruit just coming on now after a lull.

Not a huge crop this year, but plenty for our needs. We will be eating mango for a while longer.

A breakfast of granola topped with plenty of fresh mango
A breakfast of granola topped with plenty of fresh mango


Being home for a while has let me finish up the ongoing landscaping project in the back yard. The last earth moving is in process with the area taking on the final configuration, just stacking rocks and some more planting to do.

Also need to get more mulch from the county green waste facility, at least three trailer loads.

New landscaping in the back yard begins to look complete...
New landscaping in the back yard begins to look complete…

More Vehicle Maintenance

Along with the sway bar links there was an EGR valve in that box of parts that arrived a couple weeks ago. This weekend that valve was replaced.

Replacing an EGR valve on the 2006 Explorer
Replacing an EGR valve on the 2006 Explorer

Again I hit the YouTube auto manual before doing the job in order to size up exactly what would be needed. Ouch! That does not look fun. Indeed the videos made it look like a real knuckle buster to get out.

In one video the mechanic has to pound away with a mallet and breaks a 10mm socket in the process of removing the valve body bolts.

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Banana Destruction

Unfortunately I have had to destroy my banana patch.

The back yard banana patch has been leveled
The back yard banana patch has been leveled

The patch of plants in my backyard was a venerable Keck lineage, starts passed down from one employee to another over the decades. They were the treasured apple bananas so popular in the islands.

I long ago lost count of how many bunches this patch produced, so many small bananas eaten or shared. The little tart tasting apple bananas are an island delicacy. From fresh to dried, or in smoothies we enjoyed this tropical treat from our own yard.

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Vehicle Maintenance

Given the rather high cost of auto service in the islands I tend to do the basic and easy stuff myself. Oil changes, brake pads, even the occasional wheel bearing.

The vehicle up on axle stands while replacing the sway bar links
The vehicle up on axle stands while replacing the sway bar links

When I did that bearing I noted the brakes were just fine and the new brake pads ordered at the same time had remained sitting on the shelf.

There the pads have sat for over two years. So a week ago I inspect the brakes again and find out the brakes are fine.

The sway bar links?

Not so much.

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Stacking Stone

The wall building project is now well along, with sections of completed wall and the outline what it will look like when I am done now apparent.

Tools ready to hand as work continues in the backyard
Tools ready to hand as work continues in the backyard

At this point there is 18 ft of completed wall, another 52 lineal feet of various height walls in various stages of completion from first course laid to nearly topped out. Another 11 feet will be started shortly to complete the first phase of wall building.

To create this much wall over five tons of rock has been loaded, driven 19 miles, unloaded, and hauled to the back yard. Twelve wheelbarrow loads per ton. About 70% of that rock has been stacked into the walls, the remainder in piles awaiting use.

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A Wake-Up Quake

This one woke up everyone in the house, cats included.

A plot of the magnitude 3.1 in North Kohala on the morning of Nov 9, 2019
A plot of the magnitude 3.1 in North Kohala on the morning of Nov 9, 2019

While the eruption of 2018 had the island shaking, 2019 has had seemingly few felt earthquakes. I have gone several months without feeling a quake.

It was something of a surprise when the house rattled this morning just before 6am.

Deb asked me, “Was that a quake?”


From the short, sharp rattle I guessed it was close… I was right, a magnitude 3.1 in North Kohala. It was also deep, a bit over 14 miles down. This was a classic settling quake as the weight of the island presses into the ocean crust.

On a Saturday morning we did not stay awake for long, cats included.

Update: The quake was later upgraded to a 3.4 after review by the USGS.

Building More Walls

With the big wall completed along the driveway, and a bit of a break over a hot muggy summer, I am again building walls.

Back Yard Wall Excavation
Excavating for a series of terrace walls in the back yard.

This is not the sort of wall between people, I detest those, but rather a real rock wall, terracing the backyard to make the space available for landscaping and other projects. This puts into action a plan that has been brewing for years.

Part of the impetus is that I have a source of rock secured, a very large pile of very nice rock found in a Waimea backyard. One of my co-workers casually mentioned he needed to rid himself of a pile of rock, to which I quickly asked… How much rock?

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Laboring on Labor Day

The labor day weekend project? Replacing a few more rotten boards in the lanai.

Replacing a few more boards in the lanai
Replacing a few more boards in the lanai

This has been an ongoing project for years, including a few more boards to replace this summer. Over the last few weeks I have replaced half a dozen boards in the lanai.

I write this as I wait for paint to dry. There are three more big gaps in the lanai waiting for new boards. Those boards have been cut to size, drilled, and are almost ready to screw into place. Deb bought me another box of decking screws last time she was in Kona, should have this done shortly.

Unfortunately the original builders scrimped a bit when building the lanai. No paint on the ends of the boards, no paint underneath, and no paint on the joists. Where the lanai is undercover that has not been a problem, where it is exposed to the weather that has resulted in a fair amount of damage.

Unlike the carpenters who did the original work, I am painting each board on all surfaces before installation. I also clean and paint the top edges of the joists underneath while they are exposed. This should slow down the damage due to exposure.

The last challenge is to get the gaps right. Much of the lanai is nicely spaced between the boards. There is a zone where the gaps are all wrong, the boards right against each other. This is also right where the drip line is from the roof and most of the damage is. The result is a lot of careful measurement and ripping the boards to get the gaps looking good again.

I have two or three more boards identified as needing replacement, but not in any great hurry. They can wait for another weekend. Just need to wait for the latest round of paint to dry and I can screw the next three boards into place.