Winter on the Farm. January 2021

Winter on the farm. It’s a cool 63 degrees most mornings around 6am. Afternoons might reach 80 if the sun is out. Today (Monday, Jan. 25) at 4pm it’s lightly raining and only 70 degrees. The hubby is watching the World Cup cross-country skiing competition streamed from a Norwegian TV channel. Who woulda thunk he’d be living so far in distance and lifestyle from Norway. During daylight saving time, there’s a 12 hour time difference between Hawaii and Norway (11 hours in winter). That’s pretty much the worse jet lag conditions you can experience. Today, instead of being surrounded by snow, he has Kona snow.

It’s not unusual for mornings to be overcast, or there might be dark clouds over the ocean. The shoreline is about 1.75 miles away “as the crow flies.” If we’re looking at the ocean, the sun rises from behind us, lighting up the dark, grey ocean. It provides favorable whale watching conditions. You can see whale spouts with your naked eye, and then you might see a dark spot disturb the water, the whale breaking the surface. That’s an indication to get out the binoculars.

After a month where it rained only two times, two weeks apart, we’ve had a run of seven straight days with rain every late afternoon. After a few dry days, today is an odd day, where it started raining about 5am and has continued off and on and no blue sky seen all day. The flower buds have been opening, and it’ll be about seven months until we see ripe fruit. It’s a light/medium amount of blossoms. It’s not yet the days of glorious, fragrant Kona snow on almost every tree everywhere at all the farms. That’ll be a future round of blossoms.

We haven’t seen or heard them, but the pua’a, the wild pigs, the bane of many coffee farmers, are rooting around, rototilling the area. We see evidence of their destruction. The best solution seems to be really good fencing. We’ll probably never do that though.

On another note, we’re nurturing some coffee keiki (kids), volunteer seedlings, also called pulapulas (pulled from the ground). That’s how Grandpa would add new trees. Pulapulas would often come up near rock walls, where seeds and water would tend to accumulate.

However, for at least two decades root-knot nematodes have been a serious problem in Kona Typica trees, seriously impacting tree health, viability, and fruit yield. In 2002 the university estimated that 85% of Kona Typica trees were impacted by nematodes. And pulapulas might be one way nematodes are spread. Nowadays, farmers prefer to plant young grafted coffee trees using nematode-resistant root stock. Still, we’re considering experimenting with planting some of our own pulapulas to see what happens. It’s not like we’re moving plant material from one farm to another, but it will likely be from one area of the farm to another. We’re nursing the keiki for now, and we have time to read/learn more about what the risks are.

Volunteer coffee seedlings (pulapula) in pots

One thought on “Winter on the Farm. January 2021

  1. Some nice lyrical phrasing here, as well as coffee info for the uninformed, like me. I especially liked the foreshadowing of Kona snow at the end of paragraph #1, resolved at the end of paragraph #3. Good writing, Sharlene.

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