October 2005 We have been studying and learning about coffee farming since February 2005. We attend a “Small Equipment Seminar” that is lectured by Ken Sheppard. (You can see a photo about this on our “About Us” page.) Ken actually designs and sells some coffee farm equipment and can consult with you and install other equipment. As you might suspect not all coffee equipment is equal. Take a look at his website here: Ken Sheppard’s Coffee Equipment Home Page
November 2005_We meet enthusiastic coffee farmers and we sign to buy the farm.
110505, We attend the Kona Coffee Festival Art Stroll and meet a couple of local coffee farmers that convince us even we can be coffee farmers and be happy. (You can see a photo about this on our “About Us“ page.)
We do find a property and sign an offer which is accepted. Since the farm is located on lease hold land, it takes a while from the time you sign your offer papers to when you actually get possession of your farm! In this case we did not get possession until April 2006.
December 2005_We get a taste of handling sheep...we eventually decided we have much too much to do to also take on
taking care of sheep!
January 2006_The Kona Coffee Council is taken over
We had expected to get a lot of help from the KCC (since we would get our farm several months in the future at this point) -- but what a surprise (great disappointment) when the ballot box got stuffed and the reins were stolen right out from under everybody’s noses. The organization refused to correct what happened, so many people never went back. The good thing is that a new organization arose from this in an outcry, called the Kona Coffee Farmers’ Association. They have organized a number of the members from the KCC and many new recruits and put together a first rate support system -- so all was not lost. Bad timing for us, but in the long view it was not so bad, giving farmers more choice. Politics and trickery, alas coffee farmers are not exempt!
What is the BIG difference? I think you will find hardly any processors are members of the KCFA. You will find more of the small farmers are members of the KCFA. There are a handful of farmers who stay members of both groups. Perhaps if you are new join both and decide from there, other wise if you ask who we would recommend: the KCFA.
01/21/06, Many of the candidates for office are in this shot -- which at the time we did not know would become know as the ”historical takover of the KCC.“
March 2006_We work on the back fields even before we get possession of the farm
This seemed never ending. Of course we were using weed whackers from Home Depot and Lowes (big mistake)...
This picture is from March 19, 2006 -- everywhere overgrown coffee trees!
April 2006_We get possession of the farm
Yes, finally we get possession and it is a long period during which we move from one place to the other and at the same time attempt to get started with clearing out some junk left by the previous owner.
While getting things to the final packing stages at the previous house, we get this house painted on the inside.
We also start getting a new solar water heater system put in.
We continue to try to control weeds all during this time.
We quickly found out the weeds are a BIG chore -- with everything else we can’t seem to keep up.
We look at a SKAG mower that is supposed to make short work of this problem. I wonder???
040606, Back at the farm, Uncle Lawrence has a fruit picker that comes in handy.
Ikaka helped us many days try to weed eat with the residential style whackers...
042306, Unfortunately we discovered loads and loads of trash we needed to haul away...
May 2006_We are packing up to move to the farm...
Lucky sometimes gets in the car whether you want him to or not...
050106, The house has a nice big back yard, but it needed a barrier fence to keep our dogs contained...
050906, The farm house interior before was all one color of -- well, white!
051106, We take the farm truck to the other house, clean it up, change oil, put some new side boards on, change spark plugs and the usual tune up stuff.
The oil came out like sludge..
051806, We don’t even get to really use the truck one time until it throws a bunch of oil -- we take the load from
the truck and put it into the element and a CRV
052406, In the meantime, the painters start work and COLOR comes to the upstairs of the house!
All the windows are out so the glass can be cleaned.
June 2006_Painting is in progress...Ken Sheppard starts doing some work...New Solar Hot Water
060706, This is one of the first days Ken Sheppard was around the farm, here I think he is building a base for the solar water heater to sit on...
061906, Are these invaders from outer space? No, just a crew surveying for Miconia, they did find one or two!
062106, We have a new solar hot water system installed, we can go for two days without sun and still have hot water!
Surprise, when the hot water system is finished and we go to turn on the water, the main valve fails -- no water this night!
062306, Our DR Trimmer arrives...
062306, We put the trimmer into service fairly fast, but unfortunately it does not like lava rocks!
062606, The farm living room in progress
062606, And we continue to clean truck loads of junk!
Eventually this cottage will be leveled, put on a good foundation, and painted..
070206, The washer and dryer are moved to the garage to make way for the utility room to be more versatile. At the same time a utility wash sink is added.
070706, The spiral staircase turned out to be much harder to do than anticipated, it had to be stripped first.
Window Coverings Arrive 070806
August 2006_Drying Deck is built and just about ready for service
Here is the very start of where the main structure of the mill will sit...
081006, We get a second Shindawa Trimmer (the real thing!) from Farm and Home
We also had picked up a truckload of wood for mill construction...
081406, Christine and Ken Sheppard work diligently on the mill, even when it rains which it did a lot...
082306, The Mill Progresses
083006, The Mill Progresses...The rain is unrelenting...
Later when the floor is down, it is treated to help preserve it.
September 2006_Picking Season
We are a bit late getting started but there is plenty to pick. Much of our cherry is very nice size.
September 7th -- we get things we need, like a moisture meter, a scale, and a plastic shovel (like a snow shovel) that
works well on decks to scoop parchment.
Here Christine and Ken Sheppard get the hoops ready to go on top of the sun drying deck...
September 13th -- we take some of our coffee to Rick Funk to get it pulped while our deck gets to it’s finishing point.
091506, The nursery is about ready, we have the plastic bags with soil and they are all set up in the shade house..
091407, Hoops Up!
091706, We get the greenhouse cover (hoshidana cover) fully erected -- yeah!!
October 2006_We have roasted and it is GOOD!
We have roasted a sample batch of our coffee and boy it is good!
On October 5th our pulper was put into place temporarily on the drying deck...
This is an Estrada pulper from Columbia.
101506, EARTHQUAKE, for us just a few things throw and a few wall board seams broken. We had power back in about 40 minutes while Kailua town was out for 4 or 5 hours. We sat at home and watched the national news coverage (and put it on the DVR machine)...
November 2006_We get a Honda ATV from a yard sale
Believe it or not -- we find amazing things at yard sales, in this case a hardly used almost a year old ATV...
December 2006_Climate Controlled Coffee Storage Room Project starts; Get our coffee logo completed!
12/11/06 Getting it into the final planning and design stages. It will involve some moving of soil, building the frame, determining
what type of dehumidifier or air conditioner or a combo unit will be used. How to monitor the humidity in the room, etc.
121306, We attend a coffee workshop about drying methods. This is a coffee dryer!
121306, Bob Nelson shows his custom made coffee rake!
12/15/06 Our logo is finished...
Joachim did a fine job!
Give Joachim Oster a call today at 808-328-1401, or [click here] to email Joachim and get the ball rolling — what you waiting for?
January 2007_Seminars and work on the mill continues...
We go to a coffee tree trimming seminar January 6 2007, with featured speaker Bob Smith
January 12th 2007, the parchment storage room is in progress (it is at the very back)...The forward area is the dry mill section where the roaster, huller, etc. go.
February 2007_“Spencer” the dog appears!
022007, Spencer comes to our home. We had seen him at a yard sale and the lady said she was looking for a good home for him. We took her number and later called her back, three days later we went and got him!
June 2007_Kitchen Makeover Time and “Happy” the dog appears!
060407, Happy appears after he insists on sitting in the middle of the coffeeland road...not the best place cause sometimes people speed down and might not be able to stop -- he did not seem to want to move! Since he had a dog tag, we turned him into the Humane Society so they could try to locate his owner. They never responded, so about 10 days later we picked him up and brought him back home.
We take some time to get in kitchen cabinets and have them “mostly” installed. The installer turned out not to be so
talented at finish cabinetry. But it is still 1000 times better than before!
061507, the cabinet top has not been put on yet here!
Outside, we seem to be graced by some of the neighborhood peacocks!
July 2007_Wet Mill is done
Besides having a climate controlled room put into operation quite some time ago, we also now have a wet mill to take the pulper portion of the equipment (taking it off the sundeck).
August 2007_Picking season
We don’t get started as late as last year!
September 2007_We sell our building in St. Louis, after having owned it for 18 years. I mention it because having a Kona
Coffee farm like ours (almost 12 acres) is pretty much a full time hobby. So other distractions you have that take your
energy and time cannot “help” you with focusing on your farm. This transition is a welcome turn.
At the farm, we had a family that had moved in and they were supposedly to help, primarily with weeds. After slacking for almost a year they take a 3 week vacation in the middle of our heavy weed season -- after being asked to leave a few weeks prior. Amazing.
So we have been picking, weed whacking (although that chore was supposed to be “gone” surprise it is not gone), and winding up some old distractions.
October 2007_About to get all the pieces together. We have bags supposedly on the way. We got a sealer and a nice
weight scale at yard sales (did you know we are yard sale fanatics?). The huller got here from India last month and it should
get installed after the Kona Coffee Festival activities in early November.
November 29, 2007_Yes the huller did finally get to the mill and here is a picture of all the fanfare...later a guard is added but the machine is operational at this point...
January 25, 2008_We get a sorter/grader ... this means we can separate out the PEABERRY!
It is an interesting device, if you get in closer and above the screens it makes more sense. As the beans shake across the screens they are sorted into the buckets below.
Depending upon what you want to grade or sort out and the nature of your beans you could use any combination of these screens. The unit comes with a full set!