Thursday, December 7, 2017

Driveway and house pad layout

Standing on the spot where our house will be built

Mission accomplished for this weekend. We have successfully mapped the layout of our 300ft (91.5m) long driveway and 80ft X 80ft (24m X 24m) house pad. 
Clearing the area for our house pad

We rented a brush cutter, cleared the underbrush along the driveway and marked it by tying red marker tape onto the bushes lining it. This involved intensive labor on the part of Dreadknot who handled the brush cutter while I swept up the foliage behind him, clearing the debris and tying the tags. 
Gathering the cuttings

....and tossing them to the side of the clearing

Along the way we also marked all the well-established trees we want to save with green tape.
Marking the mature trees we want to protect

In addition we cleared a path along one of the boundary lines to enable us to establish how far from the boundary our driveway and house pad would be set. There are legal requirements as to the set backs from the borders you can develop.
Cutting and marking the driveway

It took a full morning just to mark halfway on one side of the property border which we also did with red tags. When we had the land surveyed and staked, we opted for 6 stakes, ( 4 Corners and 2 midpoints). In retrospect I would have gone for 8 or 10 stakes, it would have made establishing our boundary line much easier.
King of our jungle

Once we had cleared and marked off exactly how we would like the layout to be, it was time to get quotes from a  couple of excavation companies to bulldoze and excavate the hard volcanic rock which lies beneath a thin layer of topsoil. 
Beautiful ohia lehua blossom

We feel that we have chosen a very professional company who will do the job right. Everything is set in place for dozing and grading and soon we'll actually be able to drive onto our land which is so exciting! 
Standing in the middle of the house pad area

Green taping the trees we want to keep

The plan is taking shape and things are moving forward one step at a time. We are believing in ourselves, going for our dream and doing whatever it takes.

Dream it. See it. Be it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Cutting in the first trail

Hard at work blazing a trail onto our property

What an exciting weekend! We had our 3 acres of land staked and this has been our first opportunity to actually access the land by cutting a trail through the dense underbrush with a machete, a shovel and a pair of loppers. The vegetation is thick and lush but fortunately is accessible with a bit of hard work. Dreadknot went ahead with the machete to cut a trail and I followed on behind with the loppers, trimming back branches that stuck out into the trail.

Enjoy our drone video of our land in the raw, only a trail is visible.

We are thrilled with the piece of land we bought and plan to keep the majority of the beautiful indigenous trees intact. The ohia lehua trees are gorgeous and well established along with a few other species we have yet to learn about.

Beautiful ferns abound as well as the invasive mountain strawberry guava which are delicious but pose an ecological threat to indigenous forests as it crowds out the other plant species. So we'll have to work hard on curbing the spread of this plant, originally brought to Hawaii from Brazil.

This weekend we succeeded in establishing a trail so that we can access the 4 corners of the property and we made a clearing that we can camp on whilst working. A true feeling of satisfaction has engulfed us and we are motivated!

Next step is grading the driveway and house pad. Tune in again to see our progress.

 Dream it. See it. Be it.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Dream it. See it. Be it.~ Step 2: We bought the land!

We're celebrating! Our offer for 3 acres of land was accepted and we have the title!

As I mentioned in my last blog post the first 2 steps to successfully achieving our dream are completed:

First step: Have an inspired dream: Our dream is to build our own energy efficient round house on property large enough to grow fruits and vegetables and start a sustainable lifestyle, mostly off-grid and self-sufficient.

Second step: Figure out where you want to live and buy property:After multiple trips to the Big Island of Hawaii and countless hours of research on different areas we found a property which suited our situation. We figured out where we wanted to live, placed an offer which was accepted and now we are ready to move onto the very long-term third phase.... The bonus factor is that we managed to buy 3 acres instead of the 1 acre we originally visualized.

Third Step: Create a sustainable house design and draw up plans: Now comes the hard labor as we intend to design and build everything ourselves. The land is raw and untouched, with beautiful Ohia lehua trees, endemic to the Hawaiian islands, which we intend to keep as they are, medium sized brush and bushes and shorter ferns and grasses.

Once we've had the property surveyed and staked we plan to cut our way into it with machetes to get an idea of the lay of the land. After we've done this initial exploration, we'll be able to envision how we'd like the driveway and house pad to be positioned. Once we've made that assessment we'll create a plot layout plan and do the clearing with a grader.

Baby foot in front of the other but we're stoked, the dream is morphing into reality.