After nearly 20 years in big Tokyo I was feeling burned out in my not-so-successful "career" in the service industry, knocking on several after a chance discovery of cheap old farmhouses we set out towards the countryside - but still close enough for my wife to further pursue her working live, commuting by Shinkansen while I would take care of the house and kids and build my own little cafe at home...
Our first bump came when we realized that the bank wasn't willing to give a loan for an old rundown house on some worthless property in the "Hinterland". So, we changed plans and will be building a new house. We already bought the plot last year, with about 400 square meters size, and I have started the vegetable garden beforehand, next project will be the garden house.

23 June, 2011

The Garden, this week

After having been unable to tend to our garden last week I went Tuesday, two weeks after last ripping of some weeds, to see everything green, the vegetables as much as the, in this most favorable weather of rainy and sunny days, always growing weeds of different kinds

The castaway of caraway, it's in there somewhere I know it!

The potatoes are blooming

The potato bugs are playing around

And the mulberry tree is growing fruits, lots of them. It probably helped that I cut off a lot of smaller and bigger branches last autumn in a radical action to take care of the long neglected tree.

The afternoon than was spend with family, enjoying the sights of cake, coffee, and Hannah

Today I took the very first train to head to our garden, carrying most of my tools in my trusted, wheels-equipped backpack. The good thing here on the countryside is that I can leave the bigger tools there without worrying that somebody might take them. Actually the only thing I worry about, beside the weeds, would be that the heavy rain, after all we are in rainy-season, might soak my wood.
The weather in the morning really wasn't inviting, overcast and after a short time it started to drizzle. So I unpacked the camping tarp that I had wisely deposited before, it was fitting nicely over the house's frame, and started on today's work, which meant chiseling. With electricity I would have the choice of using my small router, or the circular saw, or drill many holes...but without that juice, I had to do it "old style" - by hand.
While the back and side walls are in 2 by 4 panel construction, the front wall is more like a post and beam affair. My first thing, after cutting the 4 posts to length, was to create a groove for the top-running 2 by 6 beam to anchor in. I selected and marked the front faces and order, than used a double scribe to mark the position of the groove

I than hand cut the sides with my new Japanese hand saw, after the old one really was too slow to use for a big job like this; very sharp, my left index finger could tell you a story about it...

Turning the wood sideways to cut to the right depth

Happy chiseling away, it does take time, but it is also nearly like meditation in motion, just the sound of the hammer and chisel action, the birds, the wind; forgetting about the worries at work or elsewhere and just concentrating on that peace piece of wood in front of me.

Lots of sweat and wood chips can see here the bottom ends, which will interlock with the frame
After that I started the grooves for the middle beams, only to have a change of design forming in my mind, which will require the first beam to be set higher than planned, thus having to redo the grooves for that.

After a late lunch of onigiri rice balls and a cold beer at the close-by super market, I turned my aching back towards the house and my concentration to the vegetable garden. The weeds in the caraway corner where really getting too high, so I thinned them out by removing the species that was all over the place - that sure couldn't be caraway, and in the progress I finally spotted a few timid plants in a line, hidden deep inside the jungle -  my caraway! Well, at least I think so, judging from form and position.

Still lots of green left, especially around the potato plants I leave some bigger weeds, in the hope that the bugs don't concentrate too much on my potatoes only. On the right is where I dug out the last radish and also planted some spinach, and that earthen spot on the left is where I planted some rhubarb two weeks ago. I had ordered the seeds online, and for the rhubarb I had to wait for more than a month, that's why this late.

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