Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A tour, flowers, & battle bamboo...

   So everyone keeps asking if we sleep in the cooking pavilion, so we thought a brief tour was in order to allay fears and show you what our accommodations were like.  So, here it goes: This is the facility where we live and sleep.  A.k.a. the woolshed.
  The front half is our actual living quarters, while the rear half is a tool shed/workshop/gardening prep area.  We have an auxillary cooking area on our front porch to use when the wind and rain get a bit too intense to use the pavilion.  Like last night... Whew!  There is plenty of light and space has not been an issue thus far.  We'll try to post some pictures of the interior at a later date.  It also has proven to be relatively comfortable as well except for this odd phenomenon where it's actually warmer outside than inside in the morning...  Hmmmm.....  Thermodynamics anyone?

This is a shot from the pavilion looking out over the upper garden bed.  On left you see the geodesic greenhouse we use to start our starts... heh.  On the right is our holding tank for all the water we use with a glimpse of the composting toilet in the background.  Amazingly enough, completely smell and fly free.  Humanure is a fledgling idea that is being entertained here.  I'm still a bit leery, but Lizzy seems down with it.

Here we have one of the best features on the farm in my opinion.  An outdoor shower complete with solar water heating system.  This isn't your black bag hanging in the sun all afternoon for a 30 second spit bath.  This bad boy will not only get hot enough to scald you, it's that temperature at 7 am when the sun hasn't come over the hill yet.  Plus, I've taken a 20 minute shower and still had enough hot water to do dishes after!  Hooray for science!

    Above is a collection of some of the flowers in bloom right now.  Take into account that it IS winter here folks!  The first one is a passion fruit blossom, the second is a day lily I think, the third are snap dragons, and last, but not least, we have an "I have no clue".  I'm sure we shall see much more of those as the year progresses...  Ha!

    This brings us to our latest adventure here at Uma Rapiti.  We do quite a bit of something called sourcing here.  This is just a fancy way of saying we grab as much free stuff as we can when it's available, then discover a use or, "McGyver" the heck out of things.  Which happens to be my second favorite thing behind piping hot solar showers!
    We found in the local paper a woman whom wanted a small cropping of bamboo cut down in her back yard.  We were delighted to find this since bamboo is a great building material and we've been trying to source some clumping variety to plant here on the farm.  Of which this fit the bill.  As you can see, it was quite large in diameter and about 20 ft. (7 m.) tall.  Hooray!  Till it came time to cut.  Of course it was raining.  And of course the wind was gusting up to about 30 mph. toward the backyard neighbors house.  To make matters even more entertaining, my dang chainsaw, which just came out of the shop, wanted to die after every single cut!!!
    Plus the condition and arrangement of the woman's backyard added to the fun.  Obstacles abounded and a narrow path to the loading area were there to help us on our way.  Unfortunately we have yet to get to the digging up of the bamboo.  I'm sure this is going to prove to be just as entertaining if not more.  We'll let you know how that turns out in a future post.

    But, through all the wind and rain, Lizzy and I were victorious!!!  Nothing a little tenacity, verve, and a sprinkle of sheer stupidity to get you through the day.  Cutting down bamboo is a whole lot harder than it looks.  We know!

 For the feint of heart or queasy of stomach, please stop reading here.  This next part is not very pretty.  The cutting down of the bamboo took place yesterday, Tuesday the 5th of June.  Today, Wednesday the 6th of June I was tasked with defoliating,(yes it is a word), the bamboo for drying and usage.  I spent the better part of 2 hrs. swinging a machete with all my might, hacking away the leaves and stems.  All the while I had this nagging daydream of me lopping off a finger or two.  Miraculously my dream was not realized.  Until I put the machete down on top of the pile I was working with in order to go take an outdoor bath under the moon and stars.  Somehow I stepped on a shaft of bamboo, springing the machete up into the air towards me.  Of course I put out a hand to deflect the blow, and this is the result:

    Notice the little dribble of blood still on the offending weapon.  I think it was mocking me a bit.  I knew it was too good to be true that I managed a few hours of swinging a sharp blade without harm to myself.  In hindsight, I almost wish I had not just sharpened Mr. Machete.


  1. Great update till the bloody pics - TMI Chad! Get better soon

    1. That was one of the most captivating parts about your post. I enjoyed it.

    2. Well Julie, I DID put a disclaimer in there... HA HA! Trust me, I think Lizzy was even less enthused when I hunted her down for some assistance trailing blood like a murder scene escapee...

  2. Nice work! Boy winter looks pretty rough there... Are you certain you will be able to maintain? I watched a documentary on the Donner party last night. I can only hope that with such harsh surroundings you will not succumb to the same fate as the Donner's did near Truckee Lake in 1846. That said your spirit rivals those that braved the great wagon trains of the Oregon Trail westward emmigration. I love you both and cannot wait to hear of the next adventure.

    Be sure to get some Omega Fatty Acids in your diet. This may require a trip to the mainland to scout and capture an unsuspecting Salmo trutta. Let me know what you find out...

    Iti noa ana, he pito mata

    haere ra


    1. Since I'm convalescing with some cut fingers, I think this would be a great time to plan my hunt. Now if only I could sneak away....