Below is a letter from one of our readers, maybe our farthest away, who left Bethlehem Connecticut about 10 years ago. He is a master carpenter, a close friend who pulled up stakes, sold his house and some land on the Cape, and bought 16 acres on the big island of Hawaii. It sounds like paradise but the idea of leaving family and friends and starting from scratch while daunting, is an American dream, little different from those who crossed the prairie 150 years ago.
Time does have a way of getting away from us. I just turned 68 and can’t believe we have been here 9 years already. So much has happened I am not sure quite where to begin. First of all, I want to thank you for your newsletter. Though we are far away and I am still curious about NY/ New England and enjoy the history you present.
I am sitting here on our lanai enjoying a cup of own coffee eating a fresh papaya looking out over the ocean and it is 71 degrees. Sounds ideal doesn’t it. In so many ways it is, no heating or air conditioning, incredible fresh air, views of whales breaching, the sky so amazing with it’s display of clouds and colors. A night sky with the Milky Way , satellites and often viewing the ISS. From our home in CT with just a tiny hole in the tree canopy above house, to this Big Sky country, it is awesome.
We love the people here, such a mix of races and nationalities with a good dash of Aloha spirit. We know twenty times more people here now then we did in the thirty years of living in Bethlehem. So many of us are transplants with families on the mainland that we have connected here in many different social circles. One curious note is that many are pilots, retired or active, who have traveled the world and finally “landed” here.
The bad or tough news is that 16 acres here is not the same as 16 acres in Clove Valley. It is a lot of work. It is a constant battle to grow the things you want and keep back the things you don’t. Even chickens, we have a bunch that is s free range ( with a rooster named Grandma, a story in it’s self ) and a five in a coop. I am fighting mongoose everyday to keep them out of the coop. Those hens don’t have any street smarts and wouldn’t last a day if I let them out. We have 3 acres around the house that is fenced in to keep the feral pigs out and the dogs in. We have a small orchard of various tropical fruits, a pineapple patch and of course, coffee trees. This acreage has to be mowed all year round. If we let it grow it, the grass would be 7-8 feet tall. The other 13 acres is pasture and we broke down and bought cattle. Just five to start, two heifers and three steers. They are slowly making a dent in the tall grasses. The first few weeks we couldn’t even see them. I did train them to come to my whistle so we know they are still in the pasture. ( I had to learn how to whistle all over again. )
I had just the one colony of bees that I lost to the Small Hive beetle. The honey was so good ! I hated to run out it. Even some life long bee keepers here have given up. Just to frustrating trying to fight the pests. There are pockets of successful beekeeping. I might try again once I have a better understanding on how to cope with the pests. For a couple of years we didn’t see any bees on the coffee trees and now we are starting to see more.”