Today will be just a little photo tour of the farm, with a few present and past photos for comparison.
This weekend we picked the one fruit from our potted Rapoza mango we’ve kept for months in our pig-free courtyard. It hasn’t changed for weeks. The fruit is hard and on the small side. We aren’t sure if it’ll ripen enough so we can taste it. But it’s time to put that tree out in the land to enjoy volcanic soil. With hubby’s always creative pig protection. Fingers crossed.
The Julie mango we planted back in February 2021 now looks like this. It’s known to be a slow grower, which is desirable to us. Hubby put some protection around its trunk so pigs won’t rub or gnaw and damage the bark. More interestingly, it has flowers now. It’s supposed to be three to five months from flower to ripe fruit, and this is supposed to be a summer fruiter. We’ll see how this tree evolves and what kind of fruiting cycle it’ll have.
The two varieties of avocados we planted last year in February got lace bug and lost almost all their leaves by November. The Yamagata one additionally got gnawed upon by pigs. After treating for lace bug, adding pig protection, rain, and more time, they’re doing OK now. When things look bad, we remind ourselves that plants want to live (too bad weeds do, too).
Our “peace with the pigs” attitude has held. Our bucket of rocks on our lanai is still there (guess we aren’t fully committed to peace), but we haven’t thrown any. We still see pigs, but not as frequently, and not as many. They also haven’t been as destructive. Maybe it was just one or a few bad characters. The little coffee trees planted last year have been left alone to grow, some more vigorously than others. Over a month ago I finally got a photo of something I’ve seen a few times: a mynah bird riding a pig. We think it’s hoping to scavenge something that a pig might uproot.
Last but not least, the coffee. We had our first picking of this season last month. A few hundred pounds of cherry. Yikes, that’s low. There’s still more on the trees, but it doesn’t look like much. Less fruit than previous years and smaller. Another farmer who took over a farm with established trees back in the 90’s thinks this year will be his lowest yield since he started. I asked him why he thinks it’s so. The new-ish, problematic coffee leaf rust? Some historically low rainfall months last year followed by heavy rain in late November? He refused to attribute it to any one thing. Shrug. I guess it is what it is. Which this year, is not good.
Maybe we’ll have to offer Airbnb “Experiences” instead. Briefly browsing what’s offered nearby, I found, e.g., an *opportunity* starting from $10 to volunteer for two hours on a farm, and a $43/person tour of a fruit farm. How much would you pay for the opportunity to weed at a Kona coffee farm and build a cool compost mountain? What to do, what to do …