It’s a lockdown life: dispatches from the Big Island

ATV Horizon Kona Hawaii

It’s early spring and like much of the rest of the world we’re adjusting to life in lockdown. Tourists have all but fled and the residents are hunkering down as we all do our best on the Big Island to flatten the curve. Like the rest of you we’ve been grappling with the new normal here at Horizon, so we decided to turn our blog microscope to life behind the scenes at HGH.

On March 25 everyone in Hawaii was required to stay at home or in their place of residence. The next day the state of Hawaii mandated a quarantine period of 14 days for all visitors to the island. Cancellations came thick and fast. But while we might not have any guests due to the lockdown it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of chores and projects to work on.

Coffee Clem HGH
The day always starts better with coffee!

Then on April 1, all persons traveling between any of the islands in the state of Hawaii became subject to mandatory self-quarantine.

Arrived just in time...

Meanwhile, thousands of miles to the south in New Zealand, Clem’s partner Angus was trying to get to Hawaii having just had his immigrant visa approved. After many flight changes, and frantic packing, Angus caught one of the last flights out of New Zealand before the government announced the country was going into lockdown.

Almost exactly four years after they first met, and after time spent in both countries, Angus arrived in Hawaii as a newly-minted permanent resident. 

Finally! It was time to get on with their lives together. Unfortunately, Angus arrived just before the lockdown was enforced. After careful deliberation it was decided it was sensible to quarantine, just to be on the safe side (luckily he was fine).

Clem & Angus
Angus and Clem, New Zealand, 2019

With contact not allowed (not even a hug!) and social distance mandated at all times, Clem whisked Angus back to Horizon and into 14 day quarantine.

Alone together was the new normal. At least for the following two weeks! But spring was in the air, the weather was good, and it was perfect timing for some landscape gardening. 

Around the house

Before After

First up, landscaping and weeding around the guest rooms. Garden maintenance is always done on a regular basis but with more time it was a great opportunity to tackle the bigger jobs.

Datura HGH Big Island Hawaii

Angus works on cutting back the overgrown datura to the level of the rock wall in front of the guest rooms. Hedges between the guest rooms are trimmed and sculpted. 

Datura Big Island Hawaii

After mowing the lawns it’s time to rake up the clippings.

Pro tip: use grass clippings to cover any sections of your lawn that are struggling.

Grass clippings are good for your lawn because they act like a natural fertilizer since they contain water and nutrients (like nitrogen) – all the good things to keep your lawn in a healthy state. Left on the lawn the clippings decompose and release water and nutrients back into the soil.

Pond Life

Pond Horizon Guest House B&B Hawaii HGH

Overgrown weeds cleared, and ferns cut back. The garden around the pond is weeded and the red anthuirums once again emerge, taking pride of place! 

Garden Hawaii Big Island Horizon HGH

Pineapples and lizards

Next, the pineapple grove. A good crop of pineapples has grown well in this part of the garden and with a harvest not to far away it was time to clear the dead branches from the papaya tree and get to pulling weeds.

Joining the gardening team was this little lizard. At first suspicious, it soon appeared to like hanging out with (and on) Clem! 

A visit to the upper pastures...

Sunny Horizon Guest House
Poncho and Sunny

Poncho & Lefty (the donkeys) and Sunny (the horse) were curious onlookers to all of this activity. A midday break for lunch and a visit with the gang was in order.

Next on the agenda, a change of pace – down the driveway to the warehouse.

Cleaning up around the warehouse

Rubbish run Horizon Guest House Hawaii B&B

Everyone accumulates clutter and Horizon is no different. The warehouse, on the lower slopes of the property, was in need of a spring clean and then a run to the refuse station down the highway for a rubbish drop off.

Recycling was also sorted. Cans, bottles and cardboard were put aside for a separate trip to the recycling plant in Kona.

Rubbish cleared. Check. Progress made. Check. Staying hydrated in the heat? Check.

Mowing and more mowing...

Rideon mower Horizon Guest House Hawaii HGH

Staying on top of all the mowing that needs to be done on the property is almost a full-time job. However, it’s made significantly easier by the use of both a ride-on mower and a tractor with a mower attachment – to tackle the rocky pastures that need to be cleared.

Fun fact: Wild Pigs. Normally cute, especially the piglets, wild pigs can cause havoc on the property. Whether rooting about in the garden devastating crops of bananas or pineapples – or anything remotely edible – pigs are tough to keep out (finding ingenious ways to dig under the boundary fences to get in). By keeping the pastures clear of long grass it makes it easier to hunt the pigs and protect the Horizon crops from being plundered.

Tractor closeup Horizon Guest House Hawaii B&B
Clem about to mow on the lower pastures

Whether with guests or without, a day at Horizon wouldn’t be complete without another sunset. Tools down, gloves off, and dinner watching the sun disappear over the Pacific Ocean on the Kona Coast. A pretty good reward for a day’s work keeping Horizon Guest House in shape. Look out for details on our spring planting in the vegetable and herb gardens in the next lockdown dispatch.

Sunset Horizon Guest House Kona Hawaii HGH
How have you been spending the lockdown? In the garden? Spring cleaning the house? Keeping busy with arts and crafts? Baking? Let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Authored by

Please follow and like us:


  1. Liko Luc Therrien says:

    Hello Clem and same welcoming to Angus! Merci for offering this exchange with us and therefore, fanning all the beauties surrounding you together. Each day, I must remind myself of our stay at the Horizon and your spirit flowing everywhere in all pastures. I do know there’s paradise on our beautiful earth and god bless you dear Clem for creating your Hawaiian chunk of Paradise.
    You both have my love, French-Canadian style! Bisous bisous.

    • Clem says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Liko! We look forward to seeing you at Horizon again someday soon. Warm hugs from both of us here on the Big Island.

  2. Karlene Classen says:

    I so loved hearing about your lockdown life at the Horizon Guesthouse and your photos bring back wonderful memories of our stay there! Our life in Nebraska has not changed much with me being the Laboratory Manager at our small hospital and Kent a rural mail carrier and farmer/rancher. Stay safe and I hope in the future we can meet Angus and visit the beautiful Horizon Guesthouse again!

  3. Marley Reilly says:

    Yes, yes, yes!!! A virtual Horizon! We miss you terribly and would rather be in lockdown with you and Angus on the Big Island, but alas… at the soonest opportunity, we will pay a visit. Xx, the Reilly 3

  4. Roy Socolow says:

    Dear Clem and Angus,
    Thank you so much for providing this newsletter and update on Horizon Guest House during this unfortunate and unforeseen pandemic. You’ve reminded my wife and me why we miss HGH. We hope to return someday soon to bask in your hospitality, your sunsets, your breakfasts, and your warmth.

    • Clem says:

      Thanks Roy. So glad you enjoyed the newsletter! The sunsets and breakfasts await your next visit to us – hopefully in the not to distant future.

  5. Patti Valdes Magnuson says:

    Oh my gosh! Thank you for the great revival of memories. My husband, Greig, and I visited there February 2009. (I had to looke through precious photos to remember the date). We have a great photo you took of us with your dog, DB, along with the cow next door, and many of the beautiful sunsets reflected in your infinity pool.
    I see you are making the most of lockdown…we are here in Albuquerque, NM and taking our dog on more hikes and walks than she ever dreamed of!
    Thank you for the memories! Welcome Angus! Be safe and happy. Patti Valdes Magnuson

    • Clem says:

      Hi Patti, thank you! Glad we helped revive some great memories! Really good to hear from you and that you are doing well in Albuquerque.

  6. Terry larson says:

    Clem and Angus
    I really enjoy the news letter. I hope it remains as fun for you to do as it is for us to read. Lots of wonderful memories and more to come.
    Hope to return soon.
    Terry and nora

    • Clem says:

      Hi Terry and Nora, we had lots of fun with the newsletter – so glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing you here again soon.

  7. Diane Baldwin says:

    I love what you’ve done with the newsletter, pictures, website!
    Thanks for including me in so many years of wonderful memories.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *