Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arigato (Thank You), Japan

Dear Friends,

Although I am a certifiable "homebody," I love to armchair travel through books, magazines, and good programs and videos. That way I don't have to get someone to watch the animals while I'm gone (and it's cheaper)!

For the past year we've been learning about Japan, and we've also eaten lots of Japanese food. Every country has its pluses and minuses, but the old-style Japan seems to have a more serene, peaceful way of living in the world. Here are some of the things that I love~

Venetia's Essays is a lovely, slow-paced Japanese television series that reminds us to slow down and savor the little things in life. She is an herbalist, so there are lots of nice recipes and ideas, too.

This clever way of Notebook organizing

Decorative Washi Tape!


"Sakura" means "cherry blossom" in Japan, and is said to be the symbol of the Emperor. In spring, it is traditional to picnic where the cherry trees are blooming.
(image from the internet)
Sakura #1

The philosophy of wabi-sabi
wabi-sabi 侘寂
The word "Kawaii" 
Definition: "Kawaii" in Japanese has a broader definition than the English word "cute". When applied to pop culture, "cute" will suffice; however "kawaii" refers primarily to the affection of a parent toward a child coupled with the protectiveness for the innocent and weak.

Bento Boxes
Here is a video explaining Obento~

We think this Totoro Bento Box is kawaii!!

Soba noodles, made from buckwheat, are good for diabetics.
They are slurped in Japan while eating, to enhance the flavor. Combined with miso (fermented soybean/barley paste)  and pickled "ume," most meals are naturally high in probiotics and are easily digested.

Traditional Japanese knives are the best ever! They are super-sharp, but take a lot of care to keep them from rusting.

I could go on with my list, but I think this is a good representation of the good things we've gleaned from a country far, far away. 

I hope you've enjoyed it!



Saturday, February 6, 2016

It's All About the Chickens!

Dear Friends,

I never really saw myself as wanting a chicken farm, but it seems one has found me, anyway! We have our own three girls to take care of, and now in addition we have almost three dozen Malay/Naked/other Asian chickens that we are raising up for a man we gave some roosters to last year. He's paying us five dollars each for them, but with all the feed they're going through, we'll be lucky if we make a few pennies off each!

A mix of Malay and Half-Nakeds (mixed with another breed, but missing lots of feathers)

It has been a fun thing for the children to help out, though, and we've learned a lot about Asian-style chickens that we never knew before.

This is the biggest Malay rooster, whom we call "Gentle Ben." 

This is a Malay hen, half-grown. 

They start out so cute and fluffy!

These are our own two hens, Madeleine (Duckwing Bantam) and Hickey Pickety (Black
Australorp). Taking care of them is nothing now, after having all the others!

And here is our silly Polish Crested Phyllis Polly Peacock, who is helping us see if our new raccoon trap works right!

Tune in next time for more homestead adventures!



"Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens"

Jack Prelutsky, 1940

Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.

They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see...
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me.