Ohia Tree Blossom Pictures/Photographs - Barren Lava - Cleaning Out The Leaves And Moss That Clog The Rain Gutters - Redwood Catchment Tank Nearly Empty - Need More Rain - Little Precipitation in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Which Lies In The Rain Shadow Of Mauna Loa Volcano

Personal Minutiae - December 26, 1998

1998.12.26.  Saturday, 7 a.m. 

I had a very productive day on the 24th.  I am not generally disposed to do gardening or maintenance about the house, but I did some nonetheless.  I cut down several plants that were in a sorry state. Ocean View is in the rain shadow of Mauna Loa, so all plants grown here must either be well-adapted to desert-like conditions or supplemented with irrigated water. I don't have much time for the yard, so I cut down some papaya plants and small flowering shrubs. They were in bad shape. As my water tank is low, I could not afford to water them anyway. The papayas that I've tried to eat from the yard were of poor quality. 2200 feet is definitely not an optimal elevation for them. I find myself, however, liking the ohia trees more and more. They are a hardy, robust plant, that is adapted to make the best of this climate. No other plant, aside from a handful of weeds, can match its tenacity -- and even those weeds cannot grow among the soil-less lava flows as the ohia trees can. (I believe ohias are nitrogen-fixing.) Plus, they are tall, and provide a home for the many birds in the area. On a level of biological output on a square foot basis, no other plant can touch them.

I also scrubbed the gutters. Which meant that I had to make a pilgrimage to my neighbor Bernie's house to borrow a ladder and a garden hose. At his house I gave my regards to his ailing wife, was sniffed non-stop by their poodle, and was given a tour of his latest work on a suped-up race car. He had recently modified the rear axel so that it could take a pair of 3-foot wide tires. I got stuck in a work room with him and a helper friend of his, with strong fumes from cigarettes and auto paint piercing my brain. He's a good neighbor, just quite a bit different from me. 

But back to the gutters.  An ohia tree stretches its limbs across the northwest portion of the roof. Leaves had collected in the gutter, clogging the drain pipe that funnels into the larger pipe that leads to the catchment tank.  About half of my house's roof top water catchment surface was therefore inoperable. For the past month or two I have noticed that rain spills over the side of the 40-foot-long gutter, whereas the other gutters rarely lost even a drop. It was obvious that the gutter was clogged.  My water tank has less than 2 feet before it gets to the bottom. It is at the lowest point since my moving in last June and may not last me another 6 weeks. I need all the rain I can get. I've budgeted $110 for a 4,000 gallon water delivery next month, but hopefully the increased gutter functioning will capture enough rain that I will not need to buy any. Up in the gutters there were mounds of leaves, sediment, and moss. I scraped it all clean with a large spoon, followed by a scrub brush and a hose that swished the water down into the redwood catchment tank. I am happy now that my house has returned toa state of readiness for the next rain. A healthy, happy, rain-ready home is a good home.

Pics of ohia trees, o'hia blossoms, and the barren lava in which they grow in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates on the Big Island.



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