The project that has consumed my weekends for several months is complete. The wall is finished. I poured the last bags of concrete this weekend, I stacked the last rocks into place.
It is done!
Thus I have spent many a weekend digging, more digging, hauling soil and rock, then pouring concrete. I found that about ten bags of concrete was a good work session, about as much as I could do in one go. It is also as much as I wanted to load in the vehicle, 600 pounds a heavy while safe load for the Explorer.
Other work sessions were simply fitting rocks. Selecting likely rocks, spinning them about and finding reasonable fits, tossing aside those that did not fit. With a single layer added to ten or twenty feet of wall I could then spend the next work session pouring concrete and cementing that layer of fitted stone into place. Rinse and repeat.
Two days in Bellingham, not the original travel plan, but that is what happened. Not that Bellingham is a bad place to be stuck, quite the opposite. This is all the better as I have relatives in Bellingham. Thus I am spending a couple nights at my uncle’s place, actually pretty nice.
What to do for the day? Several possibilities were considered, but practical matters needed to be the priority. My uncle has a beautiful backyard, a yard and garden of stone terraces, raised vegetable beds, a stream running through the middle. It had been neglected a bit while he journeyed with us along the Inside Passage.
Thus I agree to help deal with that situation. What needs to be done?
Mow the lawns? I can do that.
It is then I make a realization… I have not mown a lawn for a dozen years. Not since we sold the house in Tucson. When moving I had given away the lawnmower. Our Hawaiian hale has no sod, the yard is gravel, shrubs and fruit trees. If I find a blade of grass I pull it up by the roots, it is a weed.
Late last fall I put a new vegetable bed into use. After several years of accumulating compost and shoveling cinder soil I actually have something like real soil in a large enough quantity to call a vegetable garden.
One of the first things planted were sweet potatoes. Deb and I love the local purple sweet potatoes. The Okinawan variety is a favorite through the islands and has become a staple on our table as well, usually purchased from local growers at the farmers market.
Knowing that these are pretty easy to grow I gave it a try. I planted a ten by ten area with half a dozen slips and arranged a soaker hose that runs on the automatic drip system. It was not long before I had green foliage popping up. The potato patch certainly looks healthy enough, the plants thriving in the Waikoloa sunlight. The patch quickly became a heavy tangle of vines with pretty white and purple flowers.
This weekend I finally decided to do a trial run at digging up a plant to see what I have… To my stunned amazement I have not a pile of little tubers, but one giant tuber right underneath the main plant. What the heck is this?
This thing was huge, six inches long and five inches in diameter, weighing several pounds. There was enough in this single tuber for several meals!
Consider the usual Okinawan sweet potato is an inch or two in diameter and four or five inches long. Why is this so different? The starting stock for my potato patch was quite typical, just a few Okinawans I had bought at the farmers market and set aside for planting. I expected to get much the same out of the ground, not this giant.
Several hours without transportation. My vehicle is in the transmission shop for a checkout, have been having some rough shifts. Stranded for the morning without wheels in the old industrial area I had no intention of sitting in the shop’s waiting area for a few hours.
Just up the coast from the old industrial area is a large beach park. Called Old-A’s or Old Airport, it is the site of the original landing strip just north of town. Abandoned when the jet age rendered this airstrip far too small. The area was used for a while as a drag-strip, the old airport was eventually converted to a park. The old terminal building was renovated into a multi-use pavilion. The old runway is still there, now an enormous parking lot that fronts the rocky shoreline along one side and a community garden on the other.