Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wheat Babies and Some Photos

Knight Field

I'll cut straight to the exciting news, we harvested our wheat! Last November, we planted garlic and wheat. And just like us, they somehow survived the cold winter and have really grown these past few months. Here's a before and after shot and many in between. Like rice, we just grab a hand full of stalks, cut with a sickle, then tie the wheat in bunches to dry. In a few weeks we should be able to grind it up and have flour! We are really excited to make garlic bread with our new-borned babies.

Now you see it!
Now you don't!

A sister visit wouldn't be complete without a bike ride to Dohton Bori, our beloved okonomiyaki restaurant in town. We peaced-out from fish-night at ARI to enjoy the fresh, hot off the hot-plate omelet/pancake creations. Kim was nervous to try the bbq sauce/mayonnaise/dried seaweed/fish flakes combination, but eventually she gave in to the harmonious bbq/mayo duo.

I wanted to share this interesting fish I found doing my kitchen garbage route. It's eyes are on the same side of it's head!!!

Women's Party

All the ARI women gathered Friday night to enjoy snacks and traditional dress. Everyone brought over their traditional clothing and we all played dress-up, it was awesome. People were excited to show others how to dress and wear their own traditional clothing. But nobody seemed interested in wearing the traditional jeans and t-shirt I brought representing America... :(

Volunteer Gathering

We had our monthly volunteer gathering last night. A bunch of folks went and gathered the fixin's for lasagna! Saturday afternoon we piled in the kitchen to create a tomato sauce storm of oishi. Kim and I took on the task of dessert, JAM TARTS by Kim's request. She remembered them from when my mom made them over the holidays. It is basically a miniature pie with jam as the filling. So Kim made strawberry kiwi jam while I tried my hand at some puff pastry. I'd say they turned out pretty pro... The Lasagna too! Afterwards, some of us painted our nails! Who knew I would play dress-up and paint my nails at the age of 23 living on a farm in Japan!

Other farm goings on and photos!

Doug here! My Mom requested to know more about some of our participants here. We have also received many new volunteers lately too. So I took a lot of pictures this week and I'll share them with you all here. Enjoy!

Osamu-san is the director of farm section. Here he is spending time with his favorite farm cat we have named Osamu-chan.

This week my group added some weeds to a compost pile in our vegetable field. Aung from Myanmar is on the left. Martin, a fellow Anglican from Malawi, is raking the pile. Sangita, is supervising. She is from Manipur.

Mitsu is one of the Japanese participants this year. He plays drums in a rock band. His other band members are scattered across Japan. One is a professional bass fisher. One is a professional club DJ. And the third is working a regular office job.

This is Isaku (or Isaac in English). He lives in Yokohama Union Church where his parents are pastors. Jenny met his mother at the women's conference in January.

Kim harvesting mustard on a blue sky day!

These are two new volunteers that have arrived. Alex and Ashlyn were sent by the Global Justice program from the Methodist Church. Ashlyn is from New Orleans so we've got one new member to our Southerners group.

Another Southerner that Jonathan found while he was visiting home in Florida. Daniel comes from Orlando. When he was packing for his stay here, someone suggested he bring work clothes that are light, durable, and easily cleaned. He thought a lab coat would do the trick!

Getrude from Zambia on the left and Andy from Ecuador on the right. Gertrude has injured her back lifting something heavy so she's taking it easy this week. Andy often asks me "Como estas?" because I asked her to help me practice my spanish. 

Martin discussing the work plan with Yohei, another Japanese participant. He is telling us that we need to turn another compost pile!

More Americans! Holding the watering can is Lisa. Behind her is David. To the far right is Hawera. These three are from St. Olaf College. They are doing a two month internship here. 

Mahesh is from Nepal, where he teaches grade school and works for women's rights. 

Very is from Nias island of Indonesia. He laughs after almost everything he says. 

This is Mbuche from Kenya. She is the mother of six daughters. When I say that I'm afraid to have more than two kids, she laughs and encourages me to try for more. 

This is Namako-san. He is a commuting volunteer who lives nearby. He volunteers on the farm once or twice a week. When he is not here, he works as a truck driver.

John from Malawi guiding his group's work in their field at the close of a beautiful day.

Matheus from Brazil, and Getrude. Matheus is tall and white like me! But much skinnier. 

This is Msafiri from Tanzania. I have shared the duty of night patrol with him twice. He is a good partner.

Kim pulling weeds with both fists.

Sangita and I got to harvest the first few blueberries this year! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Solstice and Mountain Marshlands

There's not much to tell from the week except that it rained every day. This is good for our fields, ok for our spirits, but bad for our motivation to get out of bed in the mornings...

We did manage to make some rice husk charcoal in the field one morning
We've just returned from Leo's cottage (do you remember? we visited for a weekend last autumn)! We three Knights plus Leo celebrated the Summer Solstice at a festival in the mountains. It was a first for all of us to see Japanese Rastafarians! ARI was selling summer pork soup, oishi. And Kim found a swing!
Shopping for the weekend
In a house at the festival we saw this skeleton and this sleeping man.
Selling soup!

Visiting a shrine
Leo translating Kim's fortune (it was good!)
We visited a corral (it was not "golden")

We also enjoyed Sukiyaki, again! And Sunday we adventured to Mountainous Marshlands, Numaparra, and had a picnic. It was a wonderful weekend with no rain!

More of Doug's funky mushroom pictures
Sukiyaki chef
Picnic in the marshlands

This next week we will be finishing our June rotations and gearing up for the hot summer months to come.

HAGS (Have a Great Summer)

Knights In Santa's Service