Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Hale O Laau Hua - vacation rental house

This is Hale O Laau Ola (house of fruit trees), a (my) vacation rental house in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, lower Kaumana, about 3 miles uphill from Downtown Hilo.
It is the house where I fixed the sink drain that I wrote an earlier blog post about and the louvre windows, and there is still some work left to be done.
Behind the house (in the picture) you can see the 3 lychee trees. There also are a few volunteer Surinam cherry trees in the front yard, but I think those are going to go in the long run because there is a really pretty one in the back yard that was full of fruit just a few weeks ago. In the back yard there also are some tangerine trees, jaboticaba (aka jabuticaba) and a bit further up some banana plants.
There may be others that I haven't found yet as a large part of the back yard is still well over knee-deep in weeds and some of those weeds are pretty vicious. The ti plants obviously are not weeds, but that gives some idea of the size of the weeds.
Longer term I'm planning on adding a mountain apple tree, avocado and quite possibly a starfruit. And I hope to be able to grow papayas again.

You can find Hale O Laau Hua on Facebook (only so far)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Redoing louvre windows - and: this is a vacation rental in the works

At the house I just bought some of the louvre windows were missing the glass panels - and some were also missing rails.
I started with the bathroom window because it at least had both rails, but they were both stuck. With some WD40 and a hammer I got them both going, and thanks again to Wailana Herbst I got at least frosted glass - where I have to say that I would prefer the upper half to be clear, just for light. Part way through:
and at the end open:
and closed

Then came the kitchen windows which were missing 3 of 4 rails, there are 2 windows side by side:

. Calling around and going places to check and none of the re-use or recycling places having any of those I sent out email on a not work related email list at work and somebody (thanks John!) replied "Did you try Alumside?" I had not but as the pandemic, while not quite cured me off it, made it much easier to deal with my phone phobia (dialing, not answering, if caller ID doesn't work on your phone and I don't know who you are by phone number or you have a blocked number you're not very likely to get me to answer the phone, it's all robo calls anyway). I did a web search first, said "Wow those are expensive", called Alumside and found that not only did they have them in stock in just the size I needed but they are also less expensive than buying them online (for once, there's something available cheaper locally than online - and you can bet that I saved them the credit card processing fees). One rail half in it now looks like this:
Unfortunately I only found frosted 28" glass panels at the re-use center at the dump on Saturday, and while I can see doing the lower half frosted I'd prefer to have all of it clear, so I guess I'll call Alumside again tomorrow (they don't only have the rails, they have the glass too).

While the house and yard are not fully functional at this time, I do have a short term vacation rental permit for it that I just applied for renewal for, and a this time I would rent it at a discount. There are 4 bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms upstairs (which is the vacation rental as the downstairs is only permitted as an unfinished basement because the ceiling height is too low for legal living quarters, but there is another 1/2 bathroom downstairs too). Cable TV and broadband internet is in the works,i.e. I haven't connected everything yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

What happened to my fridge

No pictures in this one, sorry.

A day after I was told that I may have been exposed to COVID I realised that my fridge was getting close to room temperature. However, the freezer was working.
Hilo is not well stocked for refrigerators, I already knew that because I had researched it for the other house (see the blog post about the sink drain). However, I did manage to find a small fridge/freezer (with separate doors for fridge part od freezer part) in stock which my line manager at work got for me and delivered to my house. I found a spot outside that's perfect for it and while it is definitely not ideal it could be made to work, especially as the freezer of the old one was still working.

Got through quarantine with no symptoms (and a negative test), got busy doing other stuff (work, among them - of course I also worked through quarantine as well as we have been working from home since March) and finally remembered to call about maintenance for the fridge (it is on a Sears maintenance contract) earlier this week and got an appointment for Christmas Eve.
The technician called and I had just about unpacked the freezer when he came, so this worked out well. He took the drawer out and found that there was a lot of ice int he pack - the result of something falling behind one of the drawers and the drawer not shutting completely until I noticed that it had done that and got what had fallen behind out and closed it. As it is auto-defrosting I thought it would eventually get the frost and ice out but it didn't, and instead the fridge part failed.

The ice inside had clogged it to the point that the fan that blows the cold air up to the fridge part was completely blocked and the fan blade had fallen off. The technician blew out the ice, put the fan blade back on, then found that a relay had failed, so he replaced that too. And I have a working fridge again.

A thank you to Emil from Sears Maintenance, you made my Christmas.

I can now buy yogurt in 2 lb tubs again and make popsicles rather than having to give away all the lilikoi.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Some advice I just gave to a clove seed customer

(yes, I do have some clove seeds but I don't really have time to deal with them so if I have other orders that need to be insepected I list some on Etsy towards the end of the week. I currently tend to ship on Fridays - except for the next two which are holidays and ag inspection will be closed, so I will ship on the Thursdays preceding those)

The following is from 2 message I sent tonight:

You should first see the seed (cotyledons, really) lift off the ground, supported by the root. They always grow roots first, so going into the ground is good. Scooting a little soil up against the sides sounds like a good idea. Yes, they are a bit slow, they're trees after all, not beans. Once they are maybe 1" off the ground something will at some point start poking out upwards. I don't know anything about grow lights, I have never used one. I would make sure that they don't dry out too much.

You're not the only one who has ever contacted me several times, I can understand that you're concerned. Cloves are difficult to grow, yet, believe it or not, somewhat invasive (here). You may also have noticed that while the listing was for 10 seeds I sent you 20. That's because I never know how many die in transport, and you can believe me that I threw out another 50 or so to get together those 20. However, if you have a full grown tree it will produce thousands - when it does, which is somewhat unpredictable. I remember a time when I didn't get any in 2 years as well as a time when I got 2 harvests in one year. And, right now it is raining buckets and has been all day and I won't go to the bottom of the yard when it does that, so the seeds will drop anyway (if there are any left to drop) and sprout in place. Heads up on that: clove plants are difficult to transplant and they have tap roots too, so whenever you think that one of your plants is getting roots near the bottom of the planter, let it dry out a little bit and lift it out of the planter with as much of the dirt as will stick, disturbing the root ball as little as possible and plant into something that is deep rather than wide.

(FYI, Google: I am unable to add labels)

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Adventures in rebuilding a sink drain (or "was nicht passt wird passend gemacht")

First, here is a "before" picture
that was taken by my Realtor, Wailana Herbst, who was very helpful in the last 2 years of my house-hunt (I didn't have my phone charged). It was leaking where the tailpipe (metal) is (was) connected ot the plastic parts.

Taking it all apart, which took a bench vise for 2 of the nuts (don't have a wrench that opens far enough), I figured out that the sink was misaligned with the drain by on the order of 1/16", so the existing parts couldn't be made to fit (unless, afterthought here, I might have been able to heat one of the part to soften it enough to make it fit). OK, says me, this calls for one of those flex tubes, but that has to be vertical otherwise you get too much buildup. For that the tail pipe had to come off.

Easier said than done, this is where I had to actually tighten the bench vise (glad I only have a small one) around the nut just under the sink, and that's the nut that broke. You can see the deposits on the pipe (the pipe is otherwise OK and I'll save it with the rest of my pumbing parts), and that's probably why the nut was held in place so firmly.

Next I connected the flex pipe I had bought in the meantime where the tailpipe had been and found

2 threaded parts next to one another. Take a short piece of pipe and 2 nuts and connect the two (there is a purpose to saving otherwise pretty useless plumbing parts - and keeping all your plumbing parts in one place together with the plumbing tools that have no other use, like e.g. a faucet seat wrench and your supply of teflon tape). As this made the part below the sink before the trap way too long I cut off part of what goes towards the sink. I have a Dremel that has a bit stuck in it to attach cut-off wheels to, which most of the time I find annoying, but in this case it came in handy because I didn't have to think about that part. I cut off just the right amount for the nut and slip joint washer to fit and the rest of the pipe to fully go into the sink part.
However, this still had the part coming down from the sink too long.
after which I decided I could just cut off a piece of the downward end of the slip joint tee where the second sink's drain connects and after a bit of fiddling, ogt all of it connected.
And while I left a bowl under it for the time being, I didn't see any dripping and I tested both sinks. - And, well, by the discoloration of the two (formerly white) nuts where I had to connect the two threaded parts, you can see that saved plumbing parts can be quite useful, and the piece of pipe inside in that area was a left over part as well.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Coffee seeds are starting

The coffee seeds are a bit slow this year but they are starting to come in and I have some listed. Depending on the order volume and the seeds coming in at any particular time I may run out at times. Somebody asked whether I wasn't selling seeds anymore, but I sold out of coffee seeds, the parking lot where I get most of the tiare seeds is still closed, I'm not sure I'm going to have time for clove seeds (I make about $3/hour on clove seeds, they are that much work and spoil that quickly - now you know why nobody else sells them and I sometimes don't list them even when I have them). I do have new seeds for yellow lilikoi and I'm not sure whether I'm going to get seeds from/for purple ones any time soon.

Friday, August 28, 2020

In these days of COVID-19

Due to the pandemic I am working from home (I'm lucky to still have a job) and one of the few reasons I leave home is to go to agriculture inspection, which I tend to do once a week unless people need things sooner and pay for (USPS) priority shipping. I usually go to have things inspected on Fridays because mail moves on weekends unless things get much worse (Oahu, where all mail goes through is bad right now). I have had orders mailed out and not getting scanned between when they left Hilo and when they arrived at the destinatong post office, like August 28, 2020, 8:03 am Arrived at Post Office LINCOLN, NE 68506 August 24, 2020 In Transit to Next Facility August 20, 2020, 5:29 pm Departed Post Office HILO, HI 96720 One of the things I receive a lot of messages about are seeds, I usually get those from a public facilities' parking lot. As the facility is closed, so is the parking lot. I check my secondary locations every so often but didn't find any ripe ones since May. It looks like I will have some clove seeds unless we get a "really stay at home" order and won't be able to go to ag inspection (HDOA for domestic orders, USDA for foreign ones (I don't do phytosanitary certificates other than for orders to Pjerto Rico and if needed to the USVI, so if you are in a country that doesn't allow shipping in, please don't even ask). FYI: I make about 1/3 of minimum wage on those. They are a lot of work and most end up not being shippablebecause they are really plantlets rather than seeds - or already dead. (Google, we need a spell checker here???)