Day 1

Made it! Met with an awesome guy at the airport that was selling a truck. Sold! Loaded up the two suitcases we brought and went to Walmart for tents and camping gear. Did I mention we’re roughing it while we build this thing?

After we got necessary tools/supplies, we went straight to the land! This was Devin’s initial reaction.

After a couple hours of work with the machete, it didn’t look so tough.

Day 2

More clearing of land with machete and shovels. We went exploring and damn, 3 acres seems a lot bigger when it’s loaded with all kinds of trees and ferns and flowers you gotta get through.

Day 3

Can’t remember. More digging I'm sure.

Day 4

Took the day off while we wait for some people with heavy equipment to get back to us. We need an excavator or bobcat to get through a lot of this stuff and make the ground level. The land is all green, but you go down a foot and it’s straight lava rock. But smooth. It’s unreal. Anyways, we got someone who’s gonna check it out in a couple days. We went beach.

Day 5

Checked out all kinds of solar options because this house is going to be off the grid. The parts for the power we want were a lot more expensive than we were planning, but we’re gonna make it work. We’re gonna install it all ourselves when the time comes.

Week Two

Day 6

Went over to Kona side of the island (west-side) and checked out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore where they have all kinds of cheap used or leftover materials from hotels and construction sites. They got doors, windows, cabinets, tools, sinks, tables, toilets, artwork, lights and everything else you need to put a house together. Only thing Devin and I liked though was this big round glass circular tabletop about 4 feet wide that we want to make into a window. Never made a window before, but then again we never did anything we’re planning on doing so might as well yeah?

After that we went to one of the nicest beaches we ever been to and got our truck stuck in some thick gravel.

The first of many tests with this truck and this build I’m sure. Something falls apart on this truck everyday. Everytime we fix something, something else pops off. I think it’s at capacity.

Had to call a tow truck after we popped a tire trying to get unstuck. After 4 hours and a few hundred dollars later, my wallet hurts.

Slept in a Safeway parking lot.

Day 7

Left Kona after loading up on rotisserie chicken at Costco. We’ve been eating saimin. Gotta get back home to get some work done. The forest is calling.

Scouted the land from high and low, then we walked around and marked off exactly where we thought we wanted the house to be.

Also, we tested the percolation rate of our soil for our septic system. Basically you just dig a hole, pour some water in it and then see how quick it drains. This is the type of boring stuff you never think about and shouldn’t ever HAVE to think about. But we want a toilet and running water and can’t afford to pay anyone else to do it so…

Day 8-9

Couldn’t get anything done at all. Everyone we called to come clear our land either didn’t return our calls or wanted $4,000 for less than 8 hours work.

No power or signal at our property means we go to Starbucks a lot. And the closest one is 45 minutes away.

Drove around town to drop off my resume (because our money is going fast) and the truck died. Would not start no matter how many times we turned the key or yelled at it.

We considered setting our 1988 Chevy S-10 on fire because there were no cliffs nearby to push it off of. This truck is teaching us patience. Got it towed again.

Day 10

Bought everything needed to get our solar system in place. I closed my eyes when I swiped my credit card, it was rough. Just over $2,300 for everything we need, but no more electricity bill I guess…

Started to put it together, but forgot to get a fuse. The little bit I know about electricity from doing a few thrown-together sound systems in my trucks tells me I should put a fuse in here before I do anything else.

Day 11

The dozer came. It was like Christmas and Hannukah combined.

Everything that we cleared by hand over those first few days was levelled in about an hour and a half. Makes me wonder why we even bothered.

He's coming back tomorrow to finish up leveling it and scraping as much mud as he can. It's about 2 feet thick right now, so you can't exactly go skipping through it just yet.

Week Zero

This is the first weekly post of many that will document our efforts to build a house in the trees on the Big Island of Hawaii.

My brother and I fly out in a couple of days to begin.

That’s when we’ll see if either:

a) We can actually be successful and build an entire house by ourselves with only the experience of watching youtube videos and reading books. Or…

b) One of us ends up killing the other in the process for food.

Either way, it will be fun.

We spent our first few days stuck home on Maui as we waited for a couple of hurricanes to pass the Big Island that never came. Got a lot of last minute planning and beach-time done. Our dad is a hairstylist, so we decided to go all out and full on Mr. T considering we’re gonna be out in the jungle for the foreseeable future.

Our street.