I never know if anyone actually comes back to the comments to read any replies I leave, so this time I am going to post replied to yesterday’s comments here because it kind of completes the story I quickly threw up last night. I also want to point out that, though I may have made it seem that way, our neighbors are not a-holes. Far from it. Certainly there is a lot of political stuff going on that I am not even aware of, but as far as I am concerned, our neighbors are the best. No one does anything maliciously, and even if they don’t like something, they generally smile and act friendly anyway.
That said, in reply to Wes’ suggestion that we live in a more remote place,
We, we are looking into both a house and the rice field in a more remote area. Like I said, I am pretty much immune now to the complaints. Our house and fields area a mess, but I don’t care. We have the smallest house and are trying to do the most diverse things without the proper warehouse. If we say that we don’t want to take the rice fields anymore, someone else will have to do them, and no one wants that. As far as the weeds, we even thought about adding hebicide this year to half of the fields to reduce the workload, but they are really expensive, and given our water situation, they would not really work, or else all just be washed out into the river, killing the fish before it killed any weeds in our field.
(incidentally, I would love to get a figure of how much chemical weed killer is sold to farmers along the Chikuma river. All of that is ending up in the river and it would be interesting to know how much it actually is.)
@Shar: My neighbors are not that bad as yours. They complain but always in a very civilized or passive way. They probably have many complaints, but never a place to speak them. I don’t mind, in fact I welcome it, if someone comes to me and nicely requests that I do something differently. 9 times out of 10 it is very helpful for me to learn how to do it “correctly”. It is too rude to do so, though, so it was all getting pent up in them and came out at this special meeting the other night that Tomoe was specifically requested to attend (I was not there, but I assume it came out in a very polite way).
The meeting was about some fields in the area that no one wanted to work on, and who would take them over.
The area with the fields is set to be turned into an ugly dirt pile meant to protect against the river flooding. This will happen in seven years, so we only have seven more years to enjoy the scenery and planting in the area. I really LOVE the fields location and views when i am working in it. It makes the work so much more worth it. If we get a small field in the mountain, we don’t have to worry (as much) about what the neighbors say, but it will not be as fun to work on.
Anyway, this is set to be destroyed in 7 years, and in order to be very nicely compensated for the land, the people have to keep it productive until then. They are all investing in planting, tilling, etc, knowing that seven years later tax money is going to make them wealthy. But we are paying for it only knowing that seven years later any work we did to make it more naturally healthy soil, etc, will be paying for our neighbor’s vacations to the hot-springs in Kyushu.
The photos are of Tomoe straining kakisu (persimmon vinegar). As seen in a previous (password protected) post, we have two huge tubs of fermenting persimmon in our living room since last fall. We were always going to buy or build some kind of a press to press out the pulp and bottle the vinegar, but never got around to it yet.
The other day Tomoe was making some mochi for Mona’s snack, using the super-power food machine she purchased this winter. I forget what it is called, but it can do anything. Juice, turn ordinary left-over rice into mochi that Mona begs and pleads for, it can grind grains in to flower, and now it is pressing our kaki pulp. It does take a long time though, and she was at it for what seemed like hours just to press a small jar of fermenting persimmon. At that pace, it will take a week or more to complete the two big tubs we have.
In the end we will have *a lot* of jars of wonderful persimmon vinegar. One needs a liquor processing license to sell it, but we can give it away as a nice thank-you gift to put into the box for people who buy her breads, cakes, and jams.