Progress
 
 
 
 
Agroforest Progress

Welcome to our agroforest progress page. This is a timeline, in reverse chronological order, of our agroforestry project from the beginning until the present.

Picture - Trail to one of our proposed campsites.

A plethora of information exists online about the general concepts of agroforesty but few sites explain the steps required to actually make a project like this work. We plan to include our successes and our misguided efforts to make it easier for anyone out there who is thinking of getting involved in this kind of project. We are on a mountain of a learning curve (excuse the pun), which means your comments and constructive criticism are always welcome. Please leave a comment at the bottom of this page or on my Facebook page.
Agroforestry Project Progress
- Today we returned for a second consecutive day trip to dry out the chairs and other camping stuff which was soaked the day before. The huge oak tree close to the parking area was cut and finally all the unsafe oak trees in and around the campsite were out. The weather this year has been crazy resulting in few trips to the mountain.

- This was supposed to be a two day and one night trip but the weather had other ideas. The forecast was for a sunny day with no rain but it ended up raining, sometimes pouring, the entire afternoon. The huge oak trees around the campsite were cut anyway but everything was soaked and was simply not possible to stay overnight. The shelf was slammed for the second time by the oak trees and a few old kitchen pots were damaged. A difficult trip for sure.

- This was overnight trip number 17 and was for four days and three nights. A few more oak and cypress trees were cut with many large pieces of wood used to make more beds for the fruit trees and provide a border for the campsite. The cut wood and canopies from the last few months were moved from the street side of the campsite to the view side. The campsite is now ready to move the fruits trees into their beds and to begin leveling the ground for a future cabin. The campsite is now completely usable. The worst bee and a few mosquitoes showed up this trip. The weather was beautiful with basically sunny days and cool nights.

- This was overnight trip number 16 and was for only two days and one night. This turned out to be a really productive trip as most of the huge oak trees bordering the campsite were removed which amounted to somewhere between 16 and twenty trees. The canopy is wide open now with a great view of the sky and stars at night. This trip was the first time this year to see the worst bee and it was huge. The fruit trees relocated to the mountain seem to be doing good. The bus was moved to the middle of the campsite again. No more sleeping on an angle and sliding on the sleeping bag. The family enjoyed camping again.

- This was overnight trip number 15 and was for three days and two nights. The daytime temperatures were close to 70 degrees with the nighttime temperatures around 60 degrees. There was a really nice breeze and no rain and a beautiful night sky with an almost full moon. This was another productive trip. The fruit trees from the house were brought up to the mountains and put in the metal greenhouse until they are moved to their appropriate places around the campsite. The stuff growing did not do well except for the garlic which seems to be okay. This was the only disappointment and was mostly because of the thick layer of humus which was unable to hold enough moisture for the roots of the leafy greens and radishes. In addition, the previously cut trees were processes and piled together for future use. This was also a trip of interesting stuff. This was actually the first time to see the strange single flower growing, the first multicolored poisonous snake of the year, possibly the first mosquito, the cherry trees in bloom, a very low reservoir, and a bunch of fish hanging around. A bit more and the campsite will be ready for a Summer of fun.

- This was a day trip and the only chance to go up to the mountains thanks to a month of mostly wind, rain, and cold temperatures. The trip was spent picking up the mess and making the campsite more usable.

- This was overnight trip number 14 and was only for two days and one night. The entire trip was spent getting the previously cut oak trees stacked and out of the campsite.

- This was overnight trip number 13 and was only for two days and one night. The entire trip was spent getting the previously cut oak trees off the road and cutting the canopies and stacking the wood neatly off to the side and along the road. It rained a little on the second day but dried out in the afternoon.

- This was a day trip since Akiko had to renew her drivers license. The trip was spent mostly processing the already finished cypress trees which were cut over the last few months. These will be used as firewood and possibly for animal enclosures someday.

- This was overnight trip number 12 with this trip lasting for four days and three nights. The first day was spent cutting the last poison oak trees from around the campsite....somewhere between six and eight trees. The bow saw was used to cut this as opposed to the chain saw to avoid getting the oil from the trees on the chain and in the saw. The trees were then burned with this project lasting into the second day, and after lunch on the same day, oak and cypress trees in the parking area were removed. A bunch of pictures were taken but did not store on the phone. The third day a bunch of cypress trees were removed from the campsite along with the two huge oak trees. This opened up the canopy and let in alot of sunlight. The next day a few trees along the road were removed including a few pretty huge oak trees. After this trip was a bit miserable with poison oak on arms and balls. This was the third time dealing with poison oak rash.

- This was overnight trip number 11 with this trip lasting three days and two nights. The weather was beautiful with little wind and moderately warm temperatures for this time of the year. A worst bee was seen at the campsite.  Many trees were removed with the 21 inch bow saw. An oak tree trunk and root ball were removed from the new farm bed. Then the metal frame was constructed around the new farming bed and we began farming in the mountains for the first time. The seeds sown included: bok choy, komatsuna (leafy green), spinach, chingensai (similar to bok choy), carrots, small, medium, and large diakon (white radishes), and the herb dill. Along with all this, over 400 garlic cloves were sown. We also discovered the mountain is covered with a lightweight brown clay soil along with a think layer of humus, which together, should make for some pretty productive farming.

- This was overnight trip number 10 with this trip lasting three days and two nights. This trip was spent processing the numerous cypress trees which were finished and removed during the last couple of months. A worst bee was seen at the campsite. A farm bed was made at the rear portion of the campsite measuring 3 x 7 meters for a total of 21 square meters. A poison oak truck and root ball was removed.  This was the beginning of our agroforest project.

- This was overnight trip number nine with this trip lasting four days and three nights again. The weather was nice but a bit colder from sunset to sunrise and kind of windy. We brought a lot of extra clothes this time. This trip was pretty much spent removing ferns and understory trees from the north section of the campsite in preparation for terraced beds for growing perennial root crops. The worst bees continued to show up. Cooking was a bit more difficult because of the windy conditions.

- This was overnight trip number eight with this trip lasting four days and three nights again. The weather was nice albeit a bit colder from sunset to sunrise. We brought extra clothes but not quite enough. We arrived at the campsite moments before the scheduled rocket launch from the space center. There was practically no noise from the launch and the only evidence was the contrail almost straight up in the sky. No need to watch from the mountains again. Anyway, this first two days was all about the rear portion of the campsite and preparation for growing turmeric in what will be terraced farming beds. The last two days were spent on a trail through our property to the public walking trail leading to the bathroom. This effectively cut out about four minutes walking time, making the total walk to the bathroom now about six minutes. The trail is a bit too steep though and planning to make switchbacks on the next trip. The last day ate too many hot peppers for lunch and had extreme stomach pain for a couple of hours until throwing up and then was in discomfort during the drive home and the entire evening. The worst bees continued to show up. A few Halloween decorations were made on the trees and wood.

- This was overnight trip number seven and except for a little bit of light rain, the trip turned out great. We stayed four days and three nights. The temperatures turned a bit colder the last two days and stayed close to 70 degrees both day and night and the winds were really blowing. Once again we brought a bunch of sweet potatoes and a huge bunch of ice cream (blue java) bananas grown at the house. The bananas did not turn yellow as planned but we barbequed them with the peels until black to take away the stickiness and basically ate them like plantains. They tasted like potatoes, and with a little salt, tasted great. The worst bees continued to be an issue and I moved the pet bottle used for catching them to a spot far from the campsite. The compost pile is now finished and full of leaf litter and potash and should be ready for use next Spring. Much of the trip was spent on the entry to the campsite. All the hinoki and sugi trees cut weeks ago were finally moved to the processing area. The last day was spent taking out more understory trees on the north side of the campsite to take advantage of the view and to prepare the rear slope for a bit of terraced farming next Spring. Really looking forward to the next camping trip.

- This was our sixth overnight trip which was cut short to two days and one night for a couple of reasons....more about those in a bit. The day before leaving we loaded the house picnic table and benches onto the rack on the top of our Toyota Surf (name 4-Runner back in the states) truck. The first day of camping was spent cutting a couple of trees and installing the table to the stumps. Then the benches were converted into trees and connected on top of a couple of nice cypress trees logs that were previously debarked. The entire shelf unit was then connected to a couple of living trees. Was using an old screwdriver as the whereabouts of my new screwdriver were unknown. Anyway, my arthritis and torn bicep kicked in and many screws remained unscrewed all the way. That night it rained a lot but we were okay thanks to the new shelves and a vinyl cover which protected our food. The next day was spent on the parking area and making a kind of an entry gate using old pieces of cypress. The weather forecast for the next day changed from sunny and nice to rain, thanks to a quickly forming tropical storm. We decided to return home in the afternoon. Then, in the afternoon, a worst bee turned up eating some apple pieces in a bowl on the picnic table. I was wearing gloves and took a thick cloth towel and bunched it up and tried to smash the bee in the bowl. A really stupid decision. The bee made this loud and awful sound and then I was stung on the back of the middle finger of my right hand. I yelled out "I got stung" and the bee flew away. Within a matter of seconds the pain was intense. This was by far the worst of any creature bites and stings endured up until now including, several dogs, snakes, lizards, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, spiders, and ants. I quickly used my other hand to cut off the circulation of the stung finger to prevent the venom from spreading. This along with an ice pack possibly made all the difference. I somehow managed the 40 minute drive home. That night drank tons of wine and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night with intense itching on the finger and the top half of my hand and joints. That day my hand swelled up like crazy and the itching continued. Anyway, this was easily the most difficult camping trip to date.

- This was our fifth overnight camping trip and another four days and three nights stay. This trip was all about the campsite and accessing a bit of the view. The first day was spent taking a few picture of the corner of the property where the access road and walkway meet which will be the growing area for banana trees and turmeric. A bit of work was also done on the campsite. The second day we all got to eat bananas and sweet potatoes for the first time which were grown at home and at the farm respectively. The same night we all had a lot of fun in the tent. The third day was spent making a trail to the ravine which turned out to be quite a mess. Determined the ravine would not be a good place for a huge compost pile since any potash made might pollute the reservoir. This area will now be reserved for hiking trails. The same day the baby wore shoes for the first time and really enjoyed walking along the access road. Then in the afternoon I made a slingshot and a mini figure. The kids collected a bunch of acorns for shooting purposes. The fourth day the compost pile was set up....forgot to take a picture. The pet bottle now collected tons of the worst bee. The weather was fantastic on this trip.

- This was our fourth overnight camping trip and another four days and three nights stay. The first three days were spent almost entirely on the 100 meter section of road from the parking area to the public walkway. A lot of the understory trees along the road were cut and the leaf litter was raked up. The entire pile was burned and the resulting potash was raked back into the forest for fertilization. The last day of the trip saw the exploration of the corner of the land which backs up to the access road and the public walkway. A bit of a surprise as this section actually seems to split with one section covered with weeds and bamboo while the other section is mostly understory trees along with huge oak, sugi, and hinoki trees. The plan is to cut everything in both section. The weedy area will be used for growing native banana trees and wild turmeric, while the other section will be used as the source of wood for our cabins. This will open up the area with even more sunlight and the potential to grow even more there. A few notable happenings on this trip. The pet bottle containing the bug solution actually caught a couple of worst bees which were hanging around the campsite. Another green vine snake was seen close to the access road. A compost pile was made using the leaf litter, humus, and potash obtained while making the campsite. The last night of the trip saw a pretty good amount of rain and loud enough on the top of the bus to preclude being able to watch clips of late night comedy TV. The rain continued the next day but eventually the sun came out and we were able to dry out the tent and other stuff.

- This was our third and longest overnight camping trip....the total stay was four days and three nights. The last night was kind of a last minute decision in order to finish up some work, a plan which quickly changed thanks to rain....more about this later. Anyway, I spent the first and second days raking up leaf litter and cutting brush and understory trees amounting to about a one meter swath along a 100 meter section of the access road. The purpose was to allow more sunlight to hit the road and hopefully dry up faster after a rain. This particular 100 meter section is the path from our campsite to the public bathrooms. The third day began with a light rain which meant being unable to burn the leaf litter previously cut on the access road and the plan changed to finally checking out the other forty percent of our property which was unexplored by us up to this point. I made a trail through the forest stretching over 100 meters and was able to access the two last points extending out into the reservoir. As it turned out, the point where we hoped would be a level, buildable area was not, and lovers point turned out to be perfect for a long rectangular house. the problem is that point receives the most sunlight and needs to be reserved for growing our food. The interesting note is that this section of land was supposed to be bordered on both sides by the reservoir. The south side actually slopes to dry land while the north section does, in fact, meet up with the reservoir. The new plan for lovers point is now a terraced farm on the south facing slope with the north facing slope reserved for animals. The fourth day it rained much more. We quickly had to cover and pack our camping stuff. I decided to spend the entire day working on, and around the campsite. I was able to finally sort out all of the trees during the making of our campsite. The campsite, as it turns out, is the only logical spot for our mountain home. Much more about this in future entries.

- This was now our second overnight trip, and once again, for three days and two nights. The first day was spent removing a couple of very unsafe, dry and termite infested, oak trees. While removing one of the largest sections, was almost hit by some branches which fell off the top. Today was also all about smoothing out the tent area and raking up more leaf litter. The second day was spent making a play pen which connects to the tent entry. I used construction quality bamboo which is growing along the access road. We made a nice broom out of the leaves. Then the last section of the access road leading to the bathrooms was widened and raked up. That night the kids played with glow sticks. Me and the older boys went for a nighttime walk. Then on the way back to the campsite we saw a nocturnal snake roaming around. The third day was spent working on the other end of the access road....the entry. Many understory trees were removed and the road was widened and the trash was burned and raked to the side. A possible plan to stay an additional night went away when huge thunderstorms formed just off the coast. Came home and apparently got chigger or mite bites all around my ankles....incredibly itchy.

- We went camping for the first time on our mountain. The stay was for three days and two nights. Day one was all about getting set up. All of us drove up in the truck except Akiko who drove our recently converted brown farm bus which will now serve as a tent and storage space. We set up the tent and small table and enjoyed our first night at the mountains. The second day was spent removing all the trees we cut to make room for the campsite. The third day was spent mostly on the parking area and repositioning the bus. We put up all the keep out notices. Still getting over the second round of poison oak and stubbed my little toe on a small tree chunk. The kids had a really good time and all of us are making plans to move up there.

- Today was all about making an access road from the parking area to the campsite in order to move the bus up there. A lot of trees were removed and now we are ready for camping.

- Much of today was spent working on the campsite. Possibly first day to see a worst bee. Yuk.

- Another soaked day up in the mountains. Spent a few hours with a hand hoe and rake and got rid of the weeds on the city road from the agroforest entry to the public walking road. Now easy access to the public bathroom from the campsite. A bit more work on the campsite and the parking area. Found a bird nest and was able to listen to deer sounds. Was a very tiring day though.

- Today was all about the campsite close to the entry. The mountain was soaked from a week of rain and burning the leaves was difficult but worked out okay. Getting much closer to being able to camp up there and finish up with the day trips. Walked to the public bathroom which took about ten minutes each way. The road to get there is full of weeds though.

- The tropical storm was now north of the island and we decided to head up to the mountains once again. The forecast was for a lot of wind but there was a moderate breeze at best. A partly cloudy beautiful day. We spent the entire day working on the parking area and the adjacent campsite.

- A crazy day up in the mountains. We were in between a couple of tropical storms and the weather forecast called for cloudy skies and a 25% chance of rain which they changed to 40% later in the day. Anyway, looking at the radar map and being the weather geek that I am, I was sure it was going to rain....and it did, a lot. The family was huddled in the back of the truck for a couple of hours while I was out cutting understory trees in the pouring rain. Anyway, we really thinned out the original campsite close to the parking area. We are planning to move the brown farm bus up to this campsite to be used for sleeping and for storage of things we would need to continuously bring up there like the tent, sleeping bags, BBQ equipment, and tools.

- A lot of work on the campsite today. More soil removed from the tent area and another fire over an unwanted tree stump using termite infested wood. Another attempt at making a trail to the public walkway which leads to a bathroom and found a huge boulder. A large piece was split off (forgot to take a picture) and rolled it all the way to the campsite. Makes a great chair. A bit more work on the parking area.

- Came up with a crazy idea today. The campsite is going to double as a kind of amphitheater for small concerts with an audience of up to 50 people. We began taking out understory trees for this purpose. The natural slope of the terrain is perfect for this. Work at the campsite once again included burning a lot of previously cut understory trees. A fire was made over the proposed tent site to get rid of roots and any ant colonies. The banana tree and the sweet potato vines were untouched by the deer.

- Worked at the campsite basically burning a lot of understory trees cut during previous trips. Got a visit from the manager of the adjacent park who was wondering who was working on land he thought was publicly owned. The banana tree was untouched by the deer. We put a bunch of sweet potato vines, unplanted, to see if the deer would eat them.

- A general update for the month. We apparently came in contact with some type of poison oak within the last couple of weeks. A lot of scratching and lotions and took about two weeks for this to get better. We put in a call to the city about maintain the public access road to the property and to pick up trash which we collected and put at the beginning of the city road. The answer was okay about picking up the trash but a no about maintaining the road which currently can only be accessed using a four wheel drive vehicle. A week after the call and still the trash was not picked up....typical island procrastination.

- Today was once again all about the campsite. Moved the processed wood and stored it above ground basically stuck between trees. All this work since another poisonous snake was seen, this time, the multicolored variety. Processed a lot of wood from previously cut trees. Made a campfire over a couple of the same tree stumps and cooked potatoes wrapped in aluminum again. Brought an ice cream banana seedling and planted it at the campsite to see if the deer would eat it. Update next trip.

- Today was all about the campsite. Processed a lot of wood from previously cut trees. Made a campfire for the first time over four tree stumps in order to remove them. Cooked potatoes wrapped in aluminum.

- This was actually our first trip up to the mountains as owners. Much of today was spent working on Sunrise campsite. A bit of leveling and removing slightly larger trees. Many understory trees were removed towards the goal of a panoramic view of the reservoir. A green snake was seen roaming around. The setback today was a deer ate all the sweet potato vines. The vines were a test to see if the deer were around and now we got our answer.

- The Japanese equivalent of escrow for the mountain property closed today. We are now the official owners of this incredible piece of real estate.

- The parking area is getting closer to being usable but still needs to be graded. Now Sunrise campsite is basically usable but still needs grading to accommodate a tent. The small trees on about half of the west facing slope were removed and the leaves raked. A cloudy, windless, and very humid day.

- A bit more work on the parking and a lot more work on Sunrise campsite with more small trees removed and a ton of leaves raked. The first Mamushi snake was found and finished. Another very humid day.

- What better way to spend Independence Day (means nothing in Japan of course) then to head up to our, soon to be, mountain property. This trip was spent mostly expanding the parking area and putting up gates using the old trees we cut. Then in the afternoon a bit more work on Sunrise Campsite, including cutting a few more trees and raking tons of leaves.

- We could not find the property post for the southwest corner of our property. A bit of a disappointment since this the location of this border is the only one on the property we are unsure of. Removed half of six termite infested cedar trees using a hand saw in order to increase the size of the parking area. Made a trail to one of the four planned campsites and began cutting small trees to ready the spot for camping. BTW, the deer did not eat the dill.

- We worked on the city access road, which was total mess. Tree branches and bushes where making tons of scratches on our truck. We cut many tree branches and raked up old wood and leaves from the road. We also made a better turnaround for the truck. Before returning home, we put some dill stems and leaves on the trail to see if any deer might end up eating them.

- We decided to purchase the property and were now in negotiations with the owner through the listing agent. We headed up to the mountains with a different feeling this time now that the decision to purchase was made. Although we did not own the property, we decided to do a little work up there anyway. There was a pile of very old trash on the side of the road somebody dumped off presumably many years before. We connected a rope to the truck and dragged a soaked mattress loaded up with other trash to the side entry of the access road. We made a parking area off to the side of the access road. We then made an approximately 40 meter trail to what we thought might be a good spot for a temporary campsite.

- With our farms well under control, and now supplying 100% of our fresh veggie, fruit, herb, and beverage needs, it was time to move on to another project. The mountain property came up in a conversation between my wife and myself. We checked online and it was still available, albeit at a price we were not willing to pay. Anyway, today we packed up the truck, loaded up the kids and headed up to the mountain for a look. We parked on the city owned dirt access road and made a makeshift hiking trail and found a few property posts along the way.

- We are guessing this is about the time we first saw this property for sale online. We were still getting used to farming on approximately a total of a quarter of an acre and the thought of purchasing a 4.5 acre mountain was much too daunting a project.
After you finish reading this page, please consider visiting these other pages which contain more detailed information about our agroforest.
  • About agroforestry - general information about agroforestry and how it relates to our specific project.
  • History of our forest - our forest has a very long and interesting history. Learn how this land transferred from famous Japanese clans of the past and eventually became the property of the Hayman clan.
  • Agroforest flora - the beginning of a list of flora found in the forest.
  • Agroforest fauna - the beginning of a list of fauna found in the forest.
  • Our mission - the main goals we are trying to achieve through our agroforestry project.
  • Agroforest plan - proposed plan for the agroforest including trails, campsite locations, and what we plan to grow.
  • Agroforest agriculture - a continuously updated list of things we plan to grow.
  • Agroforest camping - visit one of our 4 planned campsites and Lover's Point.
  • Agroforest challenges - A few of the challenges which need to be met in order for our agroforestry project to succeed.
  • Agroforest products - a collection of very unique products you can purchase from our agroforest. 100% organic from our forest....a land untouched for thousands of years.
  • Agroforest equipment - a review of work and camping equipment which is contributing to the success of our project.
  • Please consider becoming a sponsor - for those of you who believe in our mission, please consider sponsoring this very important project.