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August 30, 2010

Mona Is Finally Happy

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Mona was really excited to help in the field the other day, as you can see.

In other news, anyone who wants to come out and try their hand at rice harvesting is welcome in the last two weeks of September. We have a lot to harvest and are lacking hands.

I have a new chicken-coop built for my new little silkies, but just as I finish, I read about Heather's super new high-security facility they have contracted with Haliburton to build. Now I get sick with envy every time I look at mine.

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August 28, 2010

Mountains, Loose Hens, and Corn

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Enormous open sores from popped blisters on the backs of my heels prevent me from entering the rice fields to weed, for fear of something worse than just infection. Other aches and pains prevent me from moving around too much. But I had a great 11 hour hike with a friend the past two days. The second day was only 3.5 hours, but we started at 3 am, so most of it was in the dark on treacherously slippery 10 inch wide trails with cliffs on one side.

To top it off, I was sick, and unable to eat much the first 11-hour day. Not so good for the energy. I have no photos because I was too busy trying to keep up with Ryan, but here is a Google Earth screen shot.

When I got home I found four of the chickens had escaped. Luckily they came running to greet me so I was able to easily catch all but one little one who is much faster than the adults. Eventually though, I found her hiding in a corner and was able to grab her. This was one of our four new ukkoke (Slikies). They are really cute now, but I wonder about when they grow up...

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Unlike our current hens, they will not lay an egg a day, but one egg costs around four-hundred yen, so it will be a nice gift for the neighbors. There are some specialty bakeries in Japan that only use Silkie eggs, so it will aslo be fun for Tomoe to experiment with her cooking.

Finally, at night Tomoe, Mona, and I de-kerneled all the corn Tomoe had harvested because we cant fit all the full cobs in the freezer. As hard as we tried to keep her from "helping", we still found kernels in her poop this morning. (sorry, no photo)

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August 22, 2010

Lofty Goals

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Tomoe's dad and niece dropped by for a few days last week (or was it last last week?). In addition to a wonderful finding of a hidden loft in our house (needs to be built of course), he also brought me four of his old cameras. So far I have only tested one, but not had any film developed yet. Among them was a huge polaroid camera. I know they stopped making film, but I am hoping that either it is still available someplace, or else some entrepreneur has picked up the ball and started making film that will work with it. Also included was a Super Ricohflex. I can't wait to figure out how to use this one.

In addition to that, a friend just gave me a little point and shoot digital camera so I can take movies of Mona. I am not the proud, but overwhelmed owner of eight cameras. I have still not had time to figure out how to use the developing equipment I received earlier this year, and building a loft if a big goal. I don't know how I will find time to learn to use, let alone actually use all of these cameras.

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August 19, 2010

Another Obon, Another Dollar

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it has been a long few weeks since my last post. It is hot. The weeds are filling the rice field. I can't keep up. I have a terrible allergy to rice pollen, and guess what... the flowers are in full pollen output time. And even worse than that it is way too hot to pick weeds most of the day, and the horse flies and mosquitos come out just as it starts to cool down in the evening.

What are my other excuses for not sharing more photos of Mona? Glad you asked. Aside from troubles at home, there was a volunteer high-school student here for ten days who was upset at having to stay at a Japanese host family's house for a few nights (but later thanked me for making him stay). There was a festival, and many many nights of practicing. There were friends visiting from Tokyo. There are still lots of weeds in the rice field. I should have gone there this morning, but "other things" came up.

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The photos are of part of the festival. On the first day we parade through the hamlet and visit each shrine. I have video of this but have not yet figured how to get it off of my new (used) camera (thanks Ryan) onto my mac which has no port for a memory stick.

The next day we walk through the village in sweltering heat and several layers of clothing to visit each house and drive the demons out with our magical flutes and drums, and a guy dressed up as a lion with a sword. As silly as it sounds, it is a lot of fun. Mid-way through the day we take a two hour lunch break. I was not able to nap as long as everyone else. (I don't sleep much these days), so I took lots of photos of them napping. Along the way we gather anywhere from 3,000 yen to 10,000 yen from each household - enough to pay for the (not so) cute "companions" to pour us drinks later that night.

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