Friday, May 17, 2013

House Blog

We are starting to crave certain things now that we're staying in one place for more than a week or a month such as a home that won't potentially crash into the shore line when we go to the store for some iced creams or a home that isn't like a Three Stooges episode where everyone just bumps into each other the whole time. 

Our current address is still the ocean but we've basically had enough. Sylvie is blowing up like a balloon, Chichi only comes to the boat because we feed him there (and pull him by a rope around his neck), and I want to hang up my hammock for a while. So to land we go for a good old fashion settle-down.

We spent most of March looking for a little slice of land to call our own. We searched high and low, from sea level to volcano top, from the pristine Hamakua Coast to the beaches of Kailua-Kona. And then we found our area; the Puna District. Wikipedia describes Puna as follows "Puna contains nearly 45% of HawaiĘ»i Island's total subdivided lots, a low build-out percentage, and the highest growth rate, all on a landscape that is exposed to the highest risk of volcanic and seismic activity..... Puna has been known to be populated by "hippies" or people who are into the "counter-culture". There is a significant cannabis movement in Puna. There are a few communities who practice communal lifestyle habits and there is a significantly large vegetarian or vegan community". Yup.... vegans.

In summary it as a district full of hippies, lost soul, organic farmers, grow-ops and cock fighters. The land is almost completely recent lava flow.  Some areas haven't seen fresh lava in a few hundred years, others are recently destroyed towns such as Kapoho in 1960 and Kalapana in 1990. So, any guess what real estate prices are like???

Eventually we found a lot that we loved in a subdivision called Orchidland Estates, naturally covered in wild orchids. The guy who decided how to subdivide the lots here must have been on some serious narcotics because most lots are 125 feet by 1,045 feet! It is 3 acres, but to get to the back of your lot can take up a full afternoon of machete slashing. We bought one of these spaghetti lots, as they're locally known, and have started the process of building a land yacht, I mean a house.

Here are some instructions on how to build a house:

Task the 1st was to figure out where the lot lines were so as not to incur legal disputes with future litigious neighbors. This was a ridiculous exercise that always yielded different results. We eventually figured it out, and avoided hiring a surveyor, woo hoo!

Task the 2nd was to clear a path through the forest, which is what our land looked like when we bought it, and find a place to put the driveway and house pad. This was accomplished by machete slashing and a gas powered weed-wacker, and eventually an axe. That only took us like 3 weeks.

Task the 3rd was to find a guy to bulldoze the crap out of our land. This guy turned about half an acre of our land from forest to mud. We lay all or most of our forest destruction guilt on this guy and slept just fine at night.

Task the fourth, design and build a house. This is an ongoing process that is very frustrating. We are close to completion of the house but every weeks it seems to evolve a bit more, generally for the better. Once our plans are finalized we'll submit them for permitting.

Task 5, build a metal shed. Done, good job!

Task 6, build a gate at the foot of our driveway to keep the local child molester out.

And that's how you build a house.

 See pictures below for visual confirmation.

Popping bubbly to celebrate the purchase of our land, the fact that we're having a boy and that some other friends also bought land in Puna.  This is not our boat,

What our land looked like before we raped it.

This is what hand clearing looks like.  Chichi bit roots sometime which technically did help.

The day the bulldozer showed up there was literally a horse grazing by our property.  This horse represented all that was natural.  After the bulldozing it was gone.

Sylvie's future fruit tree area.

Wild orchids.

A D-9 bulldozer next to our wheels.  

Bulldozing after 3 minutes.

Sylvie enjoying the show.  Meanwhile I was running in front of the bulldozer to show him where our property line was to avoid said litigious neighbors..  I felt like Ice-T in Surviving the Game.

After the guy left I climbed up.  Every 6 year old boys dream.

Final bulldozing product. 

The new driveway.

There's a really beautiful Banyan Tree on our lot.  Sweet.


Our temp house.  


The shed.  I'm concerned about putting valuables in there, you can basically just lift up the sides and take what you want.