Firewood and Field

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Two big things almost off the spring to-do list. Sunday was the local street-cleaning work day and all the neighborhood men-folk get together to clear debris from the mountain road and make sure the water is flowing clog free. For many of the men though, it is just a chance to chill, chat and stand around. If you don’t drive a big truck or back-hoe, or own a he-man-sized chain-saw there is not really much work.

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For me this is the day that all my neighbors get together and help me get fire wood. Especially this year, after the big snow, there were a lot of big trees that needed to be cut and cleared. No one uses the wood for anything, so it is all mine for the taking. Tomorrow I drive up and collect all logs which they so nicely cut to lengths that would fit in my car.

I would have gone to get them today, but it was a beautiful day for spreading compost into the rice field. It is not such a difficult job, but it takes all day simply because our field is so long and there is only one place the manure delivery-man can make the dump. The wheelbarrow can’t hold very much so I end up walking back and forth one-hundred times. We then have to spread each load out as evenly as possible.

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I tried to cut down on the number of back-and-forth trips by using the rear-car I found in the garbage dump a few years ago. Using this and buckets I can carry about four times the compost each trip. Unfortunately, I found that the tires were flat after the winter, and I don’t know when the next time I will be in town to get new tubes or tires, so I had the brilliant idea of filling them with rice husks. It worked well for about ten trips before I gave up and started using the wheelbarrow. While it takes longer, I found that the lighter load allowed me to take in the amazing view from our field as I walked. Its good to be reminded that more efficient is not always better.

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Mona and Tomoe joined me for part of the day and Mona was all too happy to torture frogs and this, the larve of a stag beetle -something else that, if we were to put effort into it, could be a business in itself as the adult beetles are quite expensive in Tokyo pet-stores. I already have a bucket full of thirty or so of these guys in my front entrance that the neighbor’s grandson gave me, and there were a hundred or so in the back-yard from last year that have or will hatch if I have not killed them.

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