Posted by: littlehouseonthebigisland | January 19, 2015

Home for the Holidays: Part II – Our Annual Letter

Every year my husband James writes a holiday letter.  The intention is to have it ready at the beginning of December, but in reality, it is usually composed and sent out at the end of the month.  This time, it was finished two days before I ended up leaving to see my daughter on the Mainland.  The day before I went, James was busily printing and preparing them, with packages of our far-grown macadamia nuts, coffee, and dried fruits, to be shipped to family and friends…Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 2.05.30 PM

Beloveds,
Holiday Season December 2014: snow in Hawai`i.  Time to look back over the year gone by, and look forward in hope to the year to come.  The date 12/13/14, the last one of its kind that most of us will see in our lives, reminds us that the year which is passing also will not happen again.

For us, 2014 was kind of a routine year.  After some years of struggle with legal battles, farm messes, daily life filled with the current emergency, we saw things slow down a bit, giving us a little more time to enjoy the flowers. We didn’t do any big travels, didn’t have a flurry of family visits, didn’t have any major catastrophes.  Whew!  Finally! 

We did continue to grow; moving further with establishing our community of residents and helpers, producing tons of good food, and continuing to work in education, both in and out of school.  Our new residents Vanya and Lola have settled in, and transformed the upper level of our packing house into a lovely apartment. Contractors repaired part of the roof, and James had help from wwoofers* to improve more of it.

Trees which Sarah and I planted after our marriage have begun to give fruit.  Sarah’s pineapples were amazing this year; so were the exotic greens she cares for.  Avocados never stopped, and we had oranges or tangerines every month of the year.  It is incredible how productive this land is; keeping up with the harvesting and distribution is quite the challenge.  We are thankful for the bounty and the opportunity to share it.

Our family / mainland friend visits were minimal in 2014.  Tom and Nancy were on island visiting from New York, but due to time and circumstance we only met in town.  Brother Aaron was on island for a couple of hours; he didn’t make it out of the airport.  Keith was here from the Bay area, and he was actually able to visit us at home.  Helps that his property here is a quarter mile away from us!  The downside of this dearth of visits is that there are so many of you we wish we could see.

James’ job situation improved greatly in November, with a return to teaching computer classes, his favorite venue in which to work.  Instead of being ready to retire right now, there are thoughts of working another year.  Sarah has been maintaining her farm blog (Little House on the Big Island) and has a retinue of readers.  She is also doing much of the day to day management of the farm as well as working to ensure that all of our people are provided for.

Daughter Christina is doing quite well in her Master in Fine Arts program at Yale.  In addition to the distinction of being the first in the entire extended family to attend Yale, she is becoming quite the distinguished artist.  Northeast winters are not her favorite, but she and partner Alyssa are braving the climate quite well.  They do like the down vests Sarah sent.

We lost our dog Shep in July.  He had been having seizures every few weeks, but on this one day, the seizures started and continued in episodes until he died almost 20 hours afterward.  That was probably our hardest day of the year.  After a few months, we did adopt another dog, Duke,  from the Humane Society.  Milo is so happy she has a pal. 

We have been fortunate to maintain good health, though with the usual aches and pains.  We have been saddened by some losses and illness among our family and friends.  As with the cycle of planting, growth and harvest, these events are reminders of the temporary nature of our existence and the importance of making the most of every moment.

We live here in this peaceful, bountiful place; we work very hard but otherwise could be considered among the most fortunate people on earth.  We are so often saddened by news of conflict, violence, oppression, poverty and disease; it’s easy to consider this world a crazy place.  For you who receive our thoughts, we hope and pray for health, love, peace and prosperity.  We maintain the belief that if we live steadfastly in the light, we can help make the world a better place.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
James & Sarah
Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 2.31.58 PM

Painted Church, c. 2008 by S. A. Jones

* workers on organic farms

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