Sand and Wheat

Yellow Sand  As China geared up their economy to mass produce goods cheaply, they also have created a great deal of damage to the environment. One problem that we suffer from a great deal is the”yellow sand” that drifts over to Japan, clouding our skies and making  visibility very bad. Originating in Mongolia and northern China, intense winds and dust storms kick up this very fine sand which is carried over the sea.

On a clear day..

On a clear day..

Today this is the view from our porch..

What happened to the island..?

What happened to the island..?

As most pollution problems, many factors are contributing to create the dust storms.

it has become a serious problem due to the increase of industrial pollutants contained in the dust and intensified desertification in China causing longer and more frequent occurrences, as well as in the last few decades when the Aral Sea of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan started drying up due to the diversion of the Amu River and Syr River following a Soviet agricultural program to irrigate Central Asian deserts, mainly for cotton plantations. (Wikipedia on Yellow sand)

Even though I just washed my car yesterday, I go out to find a thin film of dust covering the car or see  it freckled with dusty rain drops. Many people are concerned about the pollutants the dust contains which could cause serious health issues. In Japan, we refer to it as pm 2.5. If this tiny particles settle deep in our lungs it can cause  lung disease, emphysema, lung cancer. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing makes accurate reports daily on the amount of these tiny particles in the air and the level of danger it poses.

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Cutting the wheat

Cutting the wheat

Wheat 003

In spite of all this, Hiroo harvested his wheat today…organically-grown! It will be threshed and milled and go into my sourdough bread.

Misako brought me roses from her garden! They include SUmmer Snow and Rosa Munde varieties

Misako brought me roses from her garden! They include Summer Snow and Rosa Munde varieties

Summer Snow roses. Deep pink are Rosa munde!

Summer Snow roses. Deep pink are Rosa munde!

Enjoying the fresh air!

Enjoying the fresh air!

We were thrilled that Misako came by for a visit and we had lunch together. She is into all kinds of things, like growing herbs and cotton and dying fabric with vegetable dye. So she went up the mountain to pick some “biwa” leaves for her dye.

Biwa (loquat) leaves for vegetable dye

Biwa (loquat) leaves for vegetable dye

Biwa (loquat) leaves

Biwa (loquat) leaves

"ai" plant, Japanese indigo for dying

“ai” plant, Japanese indigo for dying

Kusakizome (dying cloth or yarn with natural vegetable dyes) is popular in Japan. She has planted Indigo in her garden to use in the dying process too. I look forward to seeing some of the things she makes. I love the deep blues produced from this ai plant!

Ai-zome cloth

Ai-zome cloth

Later we sat on the porch and talked and enjoyed the quiet. There is something about watching the gentle movement of the sea that calms one’s soul.

I ate the first zucchini of the season for breakfast, sauteed with my egg. This year we also have a lot of cilantro which we plan to use in Mexican dishes..but I am not quite used to this taste yet!

Bumper crop of cilantro!

Bumper crop of cilantro!

Spring is a very busy season here on the farm and we could certainly use some help! There are lots of Japanese green plums to be picked up high using a ladder, but this all is getting to be a lot of work for people our age!

The green plums are used to make a simple sweet plum wine. When they become slightly ripe, we use these plums for umeboshi pickles or for Plum Jam (my favorite!!)

Plum Jam is so yummy!

Plum Jam is so yummy!

UmeTree

If you are free, drop by next weekend and pick yourself some plums with us!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tomoko
    Jun 27, 2014 @ 00:10:36

    hi,tomoko is with you now.
    take care of yourself. and i wish well see you again.
    thank you.

    Reply

  2. leahmama1
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 04:09:16

    Thanks! Please come to the farm when you feel up to it!

    Reply

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