Life proceeds much as usual here. We are weeding furiously, harvesting peas daily, eating lots of peas, fava beans, radishes, lettuce, carrots, cabbage and onions, watching the progress of the tomatoes and summer squash with anticipation, tying up loose ends in the blueberry field and tidying the yard with a view to keeping the weeds down and various creepy crawlies at bay. We have harvested honey several times now, I got stung just in front on my ear (OUCH!), we went out with a friend and picked cherries along the roadside, we are working on our firewood stores for next winter, we are making a list of unfinished construction projects to work on over the summer, I am baking weekly and will be resuming Japanese lessons this Saturday (hoorah!). Shuzo turned thirty last week and we cut off his hair. He says it is much cooler now, and his hat fits better.
We are surrounded by rice fields, and at this time of the year, it means we are surrounded by frogs. Millions of them, to judge by the racket they make just as I begin falling asleep at night. They make enough noise that we actually have to talk over them, or turn up the music extra loud in order to hear it. I cover my head with a blanket at night for some peace. The mosquitoes are also coming out, meaning that in the next few weeks we will be setting up the mosquito nets. We have several. On a more fun bug note - the fireflies are out. We sometimes go for evening walks down to the river to see them, but there are nearly always more next to the little stream that runs two meters from the house, so now we are lazy and just stay here. We can see them from the bedroom. In fact, sometimes they just come on in the bedroom (as do the mosquitoes - we have some construction to do).
We are locked in an endless cycle of indecision with regards to the building of our bakery. We go back and forth between wanting it to be a stand-alone building and wanting it to attach to the house (at the moment, it is to stand alone), we can't decide whether to built it ourselves completely, or to have someone else build the foundation and install the possibly-necessary-septic-tank-like-thing to deal with greywater (greywater = non-toilet wastewater), or to have someone else deal with the whole building, top to bottom and to notify us when they have finished. We have this cool book (in Japanese) called "Hyaku Man Ie Zukuri" (or thereabouts), which provides instructions and plans for constructing a small house, foundation to roof, for about $10,000. Every time I look at the book, I get to thinking that we can totally
build the bakery ourselves and that it would be silly to hire someone else to do it, because it would be fun and we would learn lots and all of the knowledge that we have gained through building and making mistakes with the goat house and the shed and the sunroom and in taking down the old shed would be put to good use. Plus, we would get to visit the lumberyard lots, and the people there are very nice and always give us presents (beer, several times, and grapes once). On the other hand, we were approved as foster/adopt parents a few months ago, and I'm pretty sure that I would be all for hiring a professional if we were to meet our mystery child tomorrow. It could be complicated if that happened half way through construction, right? But then, being busy building the bakery would keep my mind off wondering when we will hear about the mystery child. What to do?
In other news (do I use that phrase a lot?): our rice planting time is coming up soon. Most of the neighbors are planting theirs now. We will be planting kodaimai
, ancient rice. Last year a friend gave us seed for several different types (we don't really know what, precisely) - some red rice, some black, some light-green mochi rice and a few others - five in all. The yield will be about half that of the asahi variety we have been growing, but they are really cool looking and not too common. If we take over more fields and grow enough to sell one day, we expect to sell it at about 3 times the price of regular organic rice. For now, though, it is mostly for fun, and an attempt to grow enough to use for seed on a larger scale in the future. We plant in about ten days - I'll be sure to get some pictures up.