asazuke

Life in Japan, food, music, whatever…

Farmlog May 2012 4 September, 2012

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 2:32 pm
Tags: , ,

5th~7th

  • Our last customer leaves a bit early so we set out at ~11PM Saturday night.
  • Coming up our road, a medium-sized animal jumps out and gets hit by the car. Tanuki? Arai-guma?
  • About 2AM there’s a thunder and tornado warning on the radio. Lightning nearby but no tornadoes.
  • On Sunday the unstable atmosphere continues, with rain till late afternoon. There’s been big tornado damage in Shizuoka prefecture.
  • Do some weed-slashing and get a big leech on my thigh. Ugh. Luckily it hadn’t started sucking blood, but still quite a job to get it off. Those things are really tough, as if they were made of rubber.
  • A bit too chilly to have dinner outside. A nice full moon though.
  • Monday is beautiful with hot sun and a fresh breeze. (lots of UV)
  • All through Golden Week we hear of mountain accidents on the radio, with numerous fatalities, mostly people over 60.
  • I get the weed-cutter out – first time of the year, and I have to clean the air filter to get it to start. Still, after 25 years it’s not doing too badly.The new growth is soft and lush and my boots get well spattered with green debris.
  • Bamboo shoots are coming up – I can make some pickle and curry.
  • Min. temp. 4°C, max. 24°C

13th~14th

  • Leave Nagoya late on a gorgeous day, spoilt somewhat for me by a stinking cold.
  • Only “new” onions in the supermarkets now. Delicious in salads, but too watery for making sauces.
  • Swallows’ numbers are decreasing apparently – modern buildings don’t have the shape they want for their nests – but there are a couple of families under the eaves of one of the shops we call at.
  • A big gang of aging bikers pass the other way. Once they retire they won’t be restricted to Sundays for their outings.
  • A perfect evening to eat outside, but with my cold I don’t want to inhale wood smoke so we pass. Ah well. It turns out to be quite chilly anyway, and the house is still nice and dry. When the Rainy Season hits it’ll be good and damp.
  • Monday morning is paradisiacal (except for my cold) with a clear sky,fresh breeze, new green leaves everywhere, the buzz of an occasional insect and the call of the uguisu.
  • Myoga shoots are coming up.
  • In this dry weather the leeches seem to be keeping a low profile and I can do some weed-slashing without loss of blood.
  • It’s nice weather for lizards – they’ve been around a while now already.
  • We dig out a couple more bamboo shoots.
  • Min. temp. 6°C, max. 21°C

20th~21st

  • A hazy warm day. I got up late so we leave Nagoya after 1 PM. At time like this you notice how long it takes to get out of town, even heading northwards which is the shortest way to the countryside. Finally after a good hour, passing Inuyama we are suddenly surrounded by greenery. The fresh pale spring leaves are already getting their full colour.
  • Even so, we get to the house in time to do a bit of digging before it gets dark. The chillies will start being planted in a couple of weeks.
  • I don’t get up at 6 AM to see the annular eclipse of the sun.
  • Monday is scorching hot, but the breeze is still fresh.
  • The remaining bamboo shoots have all been eaten – wild boar?
  • The ojisan from down the road has taken out his deer trap – no luck?
  • Min. temp. 6°C, max. 23°C

27th~28th

  • It’s hot!! Summer is on its way.
  • We stop at the “road station” and buy baby turnips (these are delicious), a bag of red radishes, 2 big white radishes and some bamboo shoots. The leaves are wilting but after an hour in cold water they plump up incredibly – even more the next day.
  • Rice planting is well under way in fields we pass.
  • Open the front door, and inside the house is nice and cool – not damp or mouldy at all. This will change soon enough…
  • There’s some thunder at the end of the day, but it clears and we have dinner under the stars. Thai squid salad, whole new potatoes deep-fried with soy dressing, crispy “age” tofu fried slowly in a little oil and eaten with grated ginger, and some of that bamboo shoot, stewed and topped with dried fish flakes. Accompanied by a cheap but enjoyable Chilean white wine. A feast. I feel lucky.
  • Monday starts out nice – shorts and T-shirt weather – but at 1:00 we’re visited by big clouds and thunder. We hurry to put away the futons which have been airing outside, and T quickly finishes planting out the goya seedlings she’d brough from Nagoya. At 1:30 it starts raining, there’s lightning, then heavy rain. The temperature suddenly drops some 10°C and my T-shirt feels ridiculously inadequate. The rain changes to hail, which gets bigger, maybe fingertip size. At 1:32 there’s a tornado warning on the radio! At 1:45 the hail stops, leaving our valley full of cold mist. At 1:55 the sun comes out, but it’s still quite a bit colder than before. T’s freshly planted goya seedlings have had all their leaves ripped off. Apparently in the USA they get hail the size of baseballs in some places, but this was a first for us.
  • Min. temp. 8°C, max. 25°C

 

Advertisements
 

Farmlog March 2012 20 June, 2012

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 2:24 pm
Tags: , , , ,

4th~5th

  • Rain all the weekend – cloudy and depressing just like back in Britain but… it’s getting warmer. Spring is coming.
  • While the plumber is round fixing those burst pipes we discover that our boiler is leaking. It’s 26 years old so it’s not all that surprising, but the new eco-boiler will set us back some ¥250,000…
  • Yamada san drops in. You might have an image of the Japanese as incredibly smartly dressed at all times, but he’s an exception to that stereotype. Today’s attire is a pair of nondescript slacks, what look like old carpet slippers and a down jacket that’s stuck all over with little bits of black insulating tape. (Presumably there were holes underneath.) He’s a great guy.
  • Min. temp. -4°C, max. 11°C

11th~12th

  • The Japanese like marathons! To me running is something you do if being pursued by a large dangerous animal, and not otherwise, but amazingly there seem to be people who actually enjoy it, and there are many events here involving this kind of self-torture. Apparently the pain causes the body to release endorphins, which give you a high… Anyway, Sunday this week is the date of yet another Nagoya Marathon of some kind and to avoid the traffic jams we head out of town on Saturday evening after Raffles closes. As we leave at 11:00PM the temperature is 9°C but while we’re driving through Nagoya it soon drops to 6.5. The town looks different from its usual Sunday midday mode of course, and there are long queues in front of the ramen shops. Only the ramen shops though. We arrive at our place in the hills at 1:00AM and -2°C. While sleeping, try to stay in the warm zone of the futon.
  • Sunday is beautiful with a clear blue sky but a cold, going on icy, wind. Spring starts suddenly here and though all we have so far are a few daffodil and tulip shoots (will the deer eat them?) it’s as if it’s taking a deep breath before bursting into full bloom. Later in the afternoon it clouds over as the weather forecast promised, and at 3:30PM it starts snowing. We wrote off the Winter too soon.
  • Of course Sunday is 3/11, one year after the Tohoku disaster which killed nearly 20,000 people and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands. There are still more than 300,000 people in temporary accommodation, many without work and unemployment benefit running out. (It’s only paid for a limited period here.) There are some 23 million tons of debris still to be disposed of, although some of it floated out to sea and is now reaching Hawaii.
  • The emperor is barely out of hospital for a cancer operation, but went up to Tohoku to give a speech. I’m sure it was appreciated. Now, records show that the showa emperor (the current emperor’s father) shared some responsibility for the conduct of the last war, but basically since the Meiji era the emperor has been a figurehead, living relatively simply on a public budget, and still quite popular.
  • It snowed again on Sunday night and Monday morning is white. A bit less cold though.
  • The new boiler came with a 38 page instruction manual.
  • I’m busy clipping our tea bushes – not so much because we plan to pick and sell tea, but because if you leave tea bushes alone they grow into trees several metres high. If we ever wanted to sell the property it might possibly be better to have the tea bushes in working order, so to speak.
  • Min. temp. -2°C, max. 12°C

18th~19th

  • A gloomy wet Sunday, but at least it’s warm. It’s been a long cold winter but this seems to be Spring at last.
  • Nakagawa-san the plumber calls and has time for a chat. It seems local businesses are even off than in Nagoya, if anything. A beautiful thatch-roofed building on the main road is due to be demolished. It was a drive-in restaurant, but the new motorway to Takayama has drained off all the business. (Minshukus in Shirakawa are feeling the pinch too, because the new highway means there’s no longer any need to stop overnight.) Nakagawa-san gives us our key back, and his bill. It’s 300,000 yen. This isn’t great news, to be honest…
  • Do some more tea-clipping. The shears need oiling and the squeak seems to be getting responses from a nearby bird.
  • Monday is cold again and I’m getting numb fingers – spring’s like this – but the cherry blossom will be out in two weeks or so!
  • There are flags out in front of the shrine at the bottom of the hill, ready for the matsuri tomorrow. It’s usually on a nice spring day, but this year’s might be chilly. We’ll miss this one, but sometimes it’s on a Sunday so we can catch it.
  • Min. temp. -5°C, max. 10°C

25th~26th

  • Yet another unpleasant Sunday! The Winter’s back and the wind in Nagoya is biting. Rain and sun alternate all day and as we get near the house there’s snow on the ground in places! Inside, and it starts snowing again. This is very late – usually the cherry blossom is coming out in Nagaoya around this time.
  • No fukinoto? Too cold? Taken by someone/something?
  • A little bit of tea clipping before leaving early to see “The Iron Lady” back in town.
  • A van drives past selling laundry poles – two for ¥1000 – the same price as 20 years ago. The fact is, everything is the same price as 20 years ago. Or cheaper.
  • Min. temp. -2°C, max. 10°C

 

Farmlog February 2012 18 May, 2012

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 3:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been jotting down notes each weekend on bits of paper, so they just need to be typed up and posted on the blog. So why is it May already? I could have just kept these notes and used them next year I suppose… Anyway:

5th~6th

The recent fierce cold lets up a little bit and we have a regular grey winter day. Our bit of Gifu missed the blizzards and most of the snow on the road has melted. We get to our house, relieved that it’s not as freezing cold as last week, and find that there’s no water.

Of course we drained off the system before leaving last week, but somewhere in some corner a bit of water was left and froze solid. We’ve got a fairly powerful oil fan heater that I move to the outhouse where the pipes come in from the well to the boiler, and in an hour everything is warm to the touch, but there’s still no water. Last week’s hard freeze must have got down further into the ground than usual. I hope the pump that fetches the water from the well isn’t broken.

Give up and go back to Nagoya? I’m somewhat inclined that way, but we decide, having come this far, to brave it out with water from the stream for cooking and washing. There’ll be no bath though – we can call at the onsen on our way home again.

Monday brings rain, but not enough to melt the blockage. The forecast says it’ll be cold again in a couple of days, so maybe we won’t make it up next week. Fingers crossed. We leave early and go to see a film in Nagoya.

Min temp. -10°C max. 2°C


26th~27th

(2 weeks have been skipped because of the frozen pipes and a Daihachi Ryodan gig.)

That cold has finally eased off a bit, but it’s a sort of grey Sunday again. OK the snow has melted, but water spurts out of some crack in the bath tap. Have to call the plumber who’s busy fixing everyone’s burst pipes. It really has been a cold winter this year.

A late-night visit to the outside toilet before going to bed – look up to see a bright red Mars going down in the West.

Monday is sunny, but the wind is freezing cold. Winter hasn’t let go after all. With no hot water and no bath we’re going to stop off at that onsen on our way home again, but meanwhile there are two buckets of organic refuse to be added to the compost pile (vegetable peelings etc from Raffles’) and a new laundry pole to be cut from a long piece of bamboo. Numerous other jobs remain undone.

Min. temp. -8°C max. 10°C

 

Farmlog 7th ~ 29th August 2011 28 September, 2011

Filed under: countryside,food & drink — johnraff @ 1:50 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

7th~8th

  • A real Summer day for once: blue sky, summery clouds… and a blazing sun! It’s hot! The first supermarket car-park is scorching in the way only a supermarket car-park can be. The asphalt soaks up the sun so you get grilled from above and below simultaneously.
  • But by the time we get to the second supermarket – there are now two on our route – it’s already clouded over and extra humid. The cicadas are hitting a peak.
  • This week there are lots of nice fresh vegetables at the ¥100 stall so we stock up for Raffles and for ourselves: long shiny black eggplants and round green ones, various kinds of capsicums, perfect cucumbers and delicious tomatoes. Tomatoes show up less often these days so we’re lucky.
  • It’s cool when we leave the car at our house and there’s a chorus of welcome from the cicadas and uguisu. After a bit of work, though, the humidity gets you covered in moisture. Likewise the floor and tatami.
  • I had been a bit worried if the deer had got to the chillies, but they were OK. Not, however, the yams, which had had all their leaves eaten off by some animal. Saw a “mamushi” snake while fixing the hole in the netting the leaf-eater had probably come through.
  • On Monday there was more fierce hot sun and that humidity again, so it’s hot even in the shade. Half a dozen different insect voices fill in the background.
  • Bitten by leeches on wrist and toe. These creatures are affecting our quality of life here. Not in a positive way.
  • A baby rabbit appeared round the side of the house.
  • Min. temp. 19°C max. 32°C

13th~15th

  • We took an extra day off this week so we could take in the firework display at our local town on Saturday. This was our Summer Holiday but it was OK actually. Will post some pics of the fireworks soon. Anyway, we’re thinking of a trip somewhere at New Year maybe, when it’s easier to take time off.
  • A blazing hot Saturday, as it turned out. This is real summer heat – up to now was just a sort of extended Rainy Season – the humidity’s still too high though.
  • Traffic jams everywhere because this is the weekend just before “Obon“, but Nagoya is quiet. We catch some of the traffic on the road out, though.
  • The first supermarket car park is a furnace, unbelievable.
  • Unpack, a quick snack and it’s time to head down town for the fireworks, armed with fried chicken, “edamame”, beer and non-alcoholic “beer” for T who’s volunteered to drive.
  • Sunday is hot too; you can’t spend long in the sun, so do some general pottering about. Take the lid off the compost to try and dry it out a bit. If compost gets too wet, which ours always does, it doesn’t ferment properly and smells pretty bad.
  • The yam leaves have been eaten again but the net looks undamaged so it might have been some small animal – a rabbit? Maybe the parents of that baby we saw last week? The grass nearby has been nibbled too, so it could be.
  • Late afternoon we’re covered over by black clouds, followed by a good half hour of continuous thunder and lightning, some of it quite close by. It rains hard for a while, then it all goes away, the sky is clear and the temperature drops by an amazing 8°C: almost chilly!
  • Dinner under an almost full moon with a splendid insect chorus. Deliciously cool. Aah… having an extra day off makes quite a difference.
  • On the radio someone plays a 15 hour special of cover versions of all the beatles’ songs.
  • The insect voices are slightly different every day.
  • T dries this year’s umeboshi pickles in the sun, then they’ll keep. Perfect hand-made umeboshi sell for over a dollar each! T’s can compete easily for taste, but there might be a couple of spots here and there. Ah well.
  • A big black and yellow dragonfly flies into and out of the house.
  • Leave early to catch a film in Nagoya – “Tree of Life”, but I was pretty unimpressed.
  • Min. temp. 19°C max. 32°C

21st~22nd

  • Sunday is cold and rainy – is this the end of the summer?
  • The first “matsutake” mushrooms appear in the supermarket. Once plentiful, these are now an expensive treat, appreciated by Japanese (including T) for the supposedly wonderful aroma. To me, they’re just another mushroom. I like mushrooms for sure, but at 2000 yen each? Yes, that’s over 20 dollars for one mushroom! Anyway, these were from China.
  • That evening a long-sleeved shirt was called for, the first time since… May?
  • Monday was better with patchy clouds and a fresh breeze, but later slipped back into the familiar mugginess.
  • Visited by one red dragonfly. Masses of these will appear over the rice paddies in autumn. Two pigeons show up, probably to check out the sansho berries, but soon leave.
  • Regular stream of lorries on our usually quiet road, carrying gravel up and timber down. Are they building another road through the mountains, on some leftover budget?
  • Min. temp. 19°C max. 30°C

28th~29th

  • We set off in some trepidation – there was very heavy rain during the week and some people were evacuated in a nearby town. Are the chilli plants OK? Is the house OK?
  • The Valor (supermarket #1) car park is the usual oven. Inside, rice from Toyama is 40% more than from Miyagi, where they were affected by the nuclear accident. It’s silly really, because this is still last year’s rice…
  • The house and chillies are OK – the rain here wasn’t all that bad apparently. Two chilli plants are down and need some support, and there’s a wet patch on the floor in our entrance. You’d swear the roof was leaking, but the ceiling and floor upstairs are perfectly dry. Is it groundwater? No, there’s a two foot deep square pit near the front door – once used to store vegetables – which is dry. It must be condensation when the moist air from outside meets the cold floor surface, but there’s a lot of it!
  • Monday breakfast of exotic leftovers. T had made a salad of fried eggplant strips, cucumber, gouda cheese and a handful of “edamame” (fresh soy beans), with an oil and vinegar dressing. Simple colours of brown, green and yellow – no flashy tomatoes or red peppers – I should have taken a photo but I was too concerned with eating it. With a slice of brown bread: delicious. We also had some leftover Inari sushi. This is sushi rice – slightly sweetened and vinegared – in this case mixed with sesame seeds and chopped myoga and stuffed into skins of fried tofu which had been stewed with sweetened soy sauce. The taste is less complicated than it sounds, and also delicious.
  • A reconnaissance flight of two red dragonflies checking the place out for the hordes to follow soon. It’s still very hot, but the breeze is hinting of autumn.
  • T picks more myoga. I must make Myoga Chicken for Raffles – a seasonal treat!
  • Listening to the DPJ leadership elections on the radio. Maehara is the most popular candidate by far, but he doesn’t get on with Ozawa who still has plenty of strings to pull, so the job goes to the more boring Noda.
  • Min. temp. 20°C max. 29°C
 

Farmlog July 3rd ~ 25th 2011 27 August, 2011

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 2:59 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Summer in Gifu continues:

3rd ~ 4th July

  • We’re late this week and arrive on a moist Sunday evening. It’s extremely humid and mouldy, even a thorough vacuuming of the tatami floor can’t get rid of the smell.
  • The insects are warming up for their summer serenade, but there’s no sign of the fireflies this year. Did the carp in the pond eat all the larvae?
  • The yams that T planted had all their leaves eaten by some animal. I found a small gap in the net round that field and fixed it. Luckily the chillies were OK.
  • Got some weed-cutting done. Lots of buyo (nasty little black flies), but no leeches, amazingly.
  • Cloudy and wet the whole weekend.
  • Min. temp. 19°C max. 32°C

10th ~ 11th July

  • Tsuyu-ake (official end of the Rainy Season) is very early this year; Sunday is hot and humid, but the clouds are summer clouds – fluffy cumulus. not the grey blanket of the tsuyu.
  • The heat persists even out in the country and our floor is still wet. Maybe it’ll dry up in a week or two.
  • A bumper ume harvest. Something like a sour plum or apricot, this was originally imported from China as a medicine apparently, but is long-established in Japan. This year the tree branches are bent down with fruit and we pick 15Kg in an hour or so. Apart from umeboshi pickles and umeshu liqueur, you can make a drink by just putting them in a jar with rock sugar for a few weeks. Mix the syrup with water – good on a summer afternoon.
  • Saw a single firefly!
  • Monday continues hot and humid, but sometimes there’s a refreshing breeze – quite different from Nagoya, where any wind will have blown over acres of sun-baked concrete and comes on like something from an open oven door. We also had a visit from the uguisu, which was thoughtful of it.
  • Min. temp. 15°C max. 33°C

17th ~ 18th July

  • Typical summer clouds and humidity – a baking supermarket car park.
  • Shiso is a herb that looks a bit like a nettle – maybe a relative of basil? It comes in green and red varieties, the green is good in salad-type things and the red is used for umeboshi pickles. They both have a clean smell and antiseptic properties, but this year apparently everyone’s had huge ume harvest so there’s a shortage of red shiso. Eventually the lady at the 100 yen stand was able to get some for us. T has a lot of work ahead and I suppose we’ll be OK for umeboshi for a while.
  • Voices: a noisy welcome from birds and cicadas. In late afternoon come waves of synchronized blips from some kind of cicada, slipping in and out of phase like an op-art painting, moving up close, sometimes down the valley. The effect is very psychedelic. The morning cicadas do a continuous stream of sound that just blends into the humid heat. Just after dark there’s a strange cry from somewhere behind the house. A deer? A dog? Different insects take over in the evening – is autumn starting early? In the morning we hear a new bird – a voice I haven’t noticed before.
  • The humidity continues unabated. There are still some wet spots on the floor. A light haze softens the sun’s heat a bit.
  • It’s been a dry week but there’s a typhoon coming so we should get some rain.
  • But… no leeches! Could they be finished? Lots of lizards though. They’re much nicer than leeches let me tell you.
  • Min. temp. 18°C max. 33°C

24th ~ 25th July

  • Pleasantly cloudy on Sunday so the supermarket car park on the way out is less bakingly hot. That sun can hit you like a hammer.
  • Vegetables: lots of eggplants – I’ve already made a (very nice) eggplant pickle though. Some tomatoes. One place on our route has especially nice tomatoes from a local grower but they’re often sold out. No cucumbers. Why? They’re expensive in the supermarkets too. (We now have two supermarkets to check out on our route. )
  • The big Malaysian chillies aren’t doing well at all. Maybe the soil in this year’s field doesn’t suit them. Maybe I let them grow too big in their pots before planting? They looked so vigorous in Nagoya… The small hot varieties are doing OK though.
  • The house is slowly drying out, but there are still damp patches. Not wet though.
  • The insect chorus is building up.
  • The nozenkazura (Chinese trumpet vine) is in full bloom and looking good.
  • Lorry-loads of timber coming down from the hills. Are they building a road somewhere?
  • Pampas grass is a weed! People grow it in their gardens in Europe, but here it’s almost impossible to control. Keep hitting it with the weed-cutter: three times a year for three years they say. Or try glyphosate – that seems to work.
  • Next week Daihachi Ryodan play at the Ichinomiya Festival which might be fun, but means we miss a weekend here.
  • Min. temp. 18°C max. 29°C
 

Farmlog May 29th ~ June 27th 2011 6 August, 2011

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 3:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Aah… it’s been a long hot summer so far, and August has only just started. Meanwhile we’ve been going up to our country place most weekends coping with the damp, leeches and wild animals trying to eat the things we grow, but totally failing to record all the fascinating details. Now an attempt to start catching up a bit:

29th ~ 30th May

  • Typhoon Number Two. The first to have an effect here and it’s very early – usually they don’t come near mainland Japan till August or so. If you watch CNN or BBC news or something you’ll hear these storms referred to by names, like hurricanes, but here they only have numbers. Bit dull, but anyway the combination of typhoon #2 and a cold front means rain!.
  • All this means huge quantities of warm moist air coming up from the south, while inside the house it’s still cool and dry from last week so we don’t open the windows.
  • No speed police on duty – they only come out when the weather’s nice.
  • Yamada san came over for a drink. He’s an old friend of Nakai san, the previous owner of our house, and his place was where we enjoyed that cold sake… He brought round Hasegawa san who keeps cows for “Hida beef”. (I wonder if he’s still doing OK with all this radioactivity scare?) Anyway a most pleasant evening.
  • T picked more tea. We’ve got enough bushes and most go pretty well neglected, but lately we’ve been drinking T’s home-made stuff and it’s not bad really.
  • Monday was fresh and clear, and a nice breeze blew through the house.
  • Work! Everything seems to be behind, and the chilli field is late while the seedlings in Nagoya are getting impatient to be planted out.
  • Min. temp. 10°C max. 22°C

5th ~ 6th June

  • More damp and sticky weather in Nagoya and when we got out to Gifu it was damp and sticky there too. That evening it rained, which might have wrung some of the water out of the atmosphere because…
  • I was woken by the uguisu to a beautiful clear Monday morning. Perfect. So the uguisu hadn’t completely abandoned us!
  • Work! Being away a bit in the spring, combined with my general indolence, has meant everything is behind. Every time it rains the weeds grow another foot or so, but with the chilli field to dig up there’s been no time to get the cutter out.
  • Leech paranoia. These are a new addition to the wildlife – even the local people have no experience with them and get nasty bites. Apparently they have been brought down from the hills by the deer and wild boar. It’s hard to concentrate on your work when any moment there might be a small dark brown worm-like creature getting ready to suck the blood out of your arm or leg. You don’t feel a thing at the time because they inject some kind of anaesthetic, but afterwards it can swell up and get really itchy for a week or more. T heard that tobacco water can help keep them off, so she collects old cigarette ends at Raffles to make our own leech repellent. I’m not quite sure how well it works though.
  • The deer ate all the flowers off the hydrangea bush behind the house. T was not best pleased.
  • Min. temp. 10°C max. 25°C

12th ~ 13th June

  • Sunday was wet and oddly chilly, so I got some digging done.
  • Saw our first snake of the year. We’re not exactly infested with them, but there are some around. Mostly harmless though…
  • Monday was hot, humid and… busy again, digging, planting out the first chilli seedlings and putting up some provisional nets to keep the deer off them.
  • More leech paranoia. Check your Wellington boots.
  • Another brief visit by the uguisu.
  • Min. temp. 13°C max. 25°C

19th ~ 20th June

  • Humid and sticky in Nagoya (of course!) but pleasantly cool in the hills, and still dry inside the house. It got wet on the floor on Monday though from the damp air we let in.
  • The uguisu was waiting to welcome us but didn’t stay around very long. It came back on Monday afternoon, so I suppose it must have nested somewhere in the area, but not as close as usual.
  • The heavy humid air carries the sweet smell of some blossom somewhere.
  • The chillies I planted last week are OK (phew!) and I quickly put up some proper deer nets – three metres high they have to be.
  • Around midday on Monday it rained, and something started quacking. I’ve never seen a duck around here, maybe it’s a frog? Half an hour later it turns out to be a crow, sitting on the power line opposite, still quacking. What does it mean? I keep meaning to look into the language of crows.
  • Finally got the rest of the chillies planted out amid mud and leeches. Ugh! Have I mentioned that this isn’t my favourite season of the year?
  • The mighty task of hacking down the jungle of weeds still remains.
  • Min. temp. 11°C max. 24°C

26th ~ 27th June

  • Another cloudy hot humid Sunday in Nagoya, but nice and cool in Gifu, with a bit of rain.
  • The chillies are surviving.
  • Finally got the weed cutter out, to find that it wouldn’t start.Hmm… dug the manual out from a shelf in the store cupboard, cleaned the spark plug – no good, cleaned the filthy piece of plastic sponge that passes for an air filter – ah that did it!! On reflection it must be quite a while since that had any attention – I think I was afraid taking it out of the carburetor would make it disintegrate, but it survived being carefully dipped in petrol and wrung out. Now the little engine needs a quite different choke setting from before, but it seems quite lively and I could finally cut some weeds! Only a start, but it’s a start.
  • No fireflies that night – too early?
  • Monday – cloud/sun/rain…
  • Humidity! My floor runneth over. Really it’s wet in the kitchen and entrance, but it’s condensation, not groundwater.
  • Picked some ume (sort of plum/apricot). This year seems to be a bumper crop. A little tree we brought out from Nagoya ten years ago is now laden with fruit.
  • The plastic compost bin got rained on and filled with water. That doesn’t help proper fermentation at all.
  • More weedcutting on Monday.
  • Paid our local taxes on the way home. It’s not very much at all.
  • Min. temp. 18°C max. 29°C (notice how the temperature’s gone up?)
 

…the heat goes on… 13 July, 2011

Filed under: city,news,seasons — johnraff @ 2:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

…and is likely to for quite a while. It’s still only the start of July, the peak will probably be around the end of the month and the first cool breeze of autumn doesn’t usually arrive till some time in September. Had to water the garden this morning for the first time this year.

The TV news was telling us that some three times as many people had died of heatstroke as at the same time last year. Meanwhile with several nuclear power stations either shut down or destroyed by tidal waves electric power supplies are on the edge. Here in the Nagoya area it’s not as bad as in Tokyo, but still every evening along with the weather forecast there’s a power forecast: whether the generators are likely to hold up or not. Today the percentage of available power likely to be used was 89% – considered “stable” apparently. They don’t want any more old people and children to die from the heat, so along with the appeals to economise on electricity are reminders not to overdo it. Quite tricky.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: