Wallabi's Farm: The English Hototogisu Bakery and Farm Blog

Hello, my name is Sara. In 2005 my husband and I bought an old farmhouse in Okayama, borrowed a few fields and set to building ourselves a pleasant rural life. Now, several years on, we have fields a-plenty, what was until the end of 2012 a wheaty bread bakery and is now prepping to be a gluten-free space, and have incorporated our efforts into the Hototogisu Bakery and Farm. Welcome!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

first batch of rice is up!

We planted five varieties of rice this year, which may well mean five separate harvest days. With a little luck we may be able to combine the akamai (red rice) and kaorimai (fragrant rice), to have but four harvest days, but either way it looks to be an ongoing event. Last wednesday we (and by we, sadly, I do mostly mean shuzo) harvested the kuromai (black rice). It is the wildest looking of the varieties we planted, quite wide leafed and shorter than the others. We harvest with a binder now-a-days (the first year we did it by hand, but the kindly next door neighbor dug out his not-used-in-ten-years binder for us the second year. such a very very kind man.) that cuts the rice and neatly binds it in to bundles. Then, we go around and pick up the bundles (I did help with this part!) and put them on poles to begin drying. Like this: 

Next week, or when we get around to it, we will run the bundles through a harvester (also a very old machine, on, as my mom says, 99 year loan from another kind farmer) that strips the grain from the straw. Yay! The first two years we did this manually as well, with an ashi-bumi-dakokuki, a foot powered threshing thing-a-ma-bob, basically a spinning barrel with lots of horse-shoe nails that pull the grains off. This is a fun
 job, but it is a lot of work. 

Sometime in the next week or so the egoma harvest will begin (incidentally - I think someone was asking about the egoma association in the comments and I don't remember if I managed to reply - I will check that shortly, but in the meantime, here is the egoma association address: www.egoma.jp). We have a nice new and incredibly large (30 meters long!) greenhouse under which we will be able to dry the egoma, the sesam
e seeds and, in a few more weeks, the soybeans. No more rushing out with tarps every time we see a threatening sky. 

In other major-purchases news, we have...a new car! or a new-to-us-car, at any rate. one of the neighbors has a small used car sales business, and while out hunting for cars he came across a very lightly used delivery truck for a very light price and picked it up, figuring that we could use it, and if not, that he could find a way to use it. it was to
o good a deal to pass up, so we are now a two person, three car household. and a two person, three car household that cannot see any way to reduce the number of cars. we still need the regular truck for agricultural purposes, and the wagon-r (a very, very small family car) is the only car that seats more than two. the lovely new delivery truck is truly lovely - it made the (miserably rainy) morning market last weekend so easy, so now we just have to decide what to do with it. set up more deliveries? do some fancy carpenting and fit it out to be a mobile market? hmmmm....

new car near: 

new car afar: