Harvest Celebrations and Stuff.

Today was great, I had non-housework related things to do pretty much all day! There's a group in the village for people who have disabilities called Yotsuba no Kai (Four Leafed Clover Club). It just started this year so there are only three members so far. They meet up once a week to do all sorts of different productive type things, including a veggie patch and growing mushrooms. I went along with M. a couple of weeks ago, and it was lots of fun so we became volunteer members. Today was the harvest celebration, so we spent the morning in the kitchen cooking a big meal with a whole lot of the food they grew this year for everyone who's involved with the group - mums, dads, staff and friends. Maitake mushrooms (like in the post below, but we made soup and a rice dish with them), pumpkin, potato, corn, yams, daikon (giant radish) and cabbage. Very impressive! And very yummy! Nice eating lunch altogether too.

Later on at home post-nap, M. and I sat outside in the sun while I shelled the soybeans we grew this year. Quite amazing anything came of it all, they were probably the world's most neglected beans! Anyway, they've dried now, and I need to take them out of the pods so I can dry the beans themselves more. While we were out there, our neighbour came out to finish off for the year in his field that's directly in front of our house. He grows Korean Perilla there, called Egoma in Japanese and Jyuunen in the local dialect. Even though in English it's called Korean Perilla, it's been grown around here for very long time, and the seeds which are used in all types of cooking, sweet and savoury. Jyuunen means ten years in Japanese, and our neighbour says they call it that because if you eat lots of it, you'll live ten years longer! It smells fantastic too, an aniseed-y sesame-y smell. They also make oil by pressing the seeds. I've been told it's used in a similar way to sesame oil, but it's quite expensive so I've never tried it. In Korea they use the leaves for things like wrapping barbecued meat in. Yummy!

So anyway, this is our neighbour bashing the Egoma seeds out of the pods with a stick, and a cute baby watching. After bashing comes sifting, then washing with water, then ready for sale.

These are the empty seed pods, but they look pretty much the same when they're full.

This is what I was doing. Food for the winter time!

All in all it was a very pleasant afternoon, lots of birds around saying pretty things, and lots of insect traffic passing by in front of us to keep me entertained. There was a big fat orange caterpillar who stopped near me, raised its rear end in the air and started looking quite business-like, so I got quite excited because I thought maybe it was about to start making a cocoon. What a cool thing to see, I thought, watched its every move, waited patiently, .....until the caterpillar did a huge black poo and ran off! Quite disappointing, but still something I've never seen before. I guess I should be impressed really, this caterpillar did a poo the size of its own head! Better him than me!

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