It’s been two weeks since our first gathering.
Today we were enthusiastic and started work before 8am. The last time we were here was in mid-September, so it was still hot and we were exhausted just working a little, but today the temperature was pleasant, which was a big help!
This is only the second time we’ve done this, but we’re glad to see that we’ve become a part of the community, with neighbors passing by and saying hello, and an old lady stopping by to chat with us😊
The field before work
Two weeks ago, we weeded mainly the ridges and cultivated a little soil.
Today, we will also weed the furrows, cultivate the soil, add organic fertilizer and rice husk ash to adjust the soil acidity and improve breathability and drainage.
We’ll do our best to prepare the fluffy beds today for the next round of sowing.
First, we did some plain work of weeding for about an hour and a half in the chill morning.
We chatted about what we did in the past two weeks, while working on the weeds.
It was quite a pleasant start.
Today we greeted and chatted with about 10 people passing by.
This old lady was going to the local grocery store, so we stood and talked on her way there, and on her way back, she sat down and took a rest while we talked.
The conversation started with, “I haven’t seen any of your faces before.” and then she said, “It looks much fun to work on weeding while chatting together.” She said that her house had a field about four times the size of this one, but now it’s covered with weeds.
She also said it’s hard work because it’s full of KAYA. We all asked, “What is KAYA?”
The old lady was stuck in trying to figure out how to explain and saying, “Oinenaa” which is a dialect word meaning “I’m in trouble”.
“We’ll go to your house next time to help with the weeding,” and we said goodbye.
When I got home and asked my mom, “What is KAYA?”, she told me it was SUSUKI, a Japanese pampas grass.
Add Organic Fertilizer and Rice Husk Ash
I underestimated this work of tilling the soil. I really admire all farmers, especially old people.
I was completely exhausted just by cultivating one row of ridges.
The other day, my gardening teacher said to me, “I have an extra cultivator, so I’ll give it to you.” And I easily answered, “No, it’s okay for now because it’s fun to cultivate with everyone.”
But I have already regretted what I said.
In the second half, we got tired and all of us was working silently.
It was a while after the “Desert Moonlight” chime rang, and today’s work was done.
In Onjuku-town, the “Desert Moonlight” chime which is a Japanese Nursery Rhymes goes off three times a day at 7am, 12pm, and 5pm.
By the way, the school song of Iwawada Elementary School (already closed school) that I attended was also written by Masao Kato, the lyricist of “Desert Moonlight”.
It was cooler today, so we worked for four and a half hours, but I was less exhausted than the last two and a half hours.
However, it looks like I won’t be able to avoid muscle pain tomorrow.
Next time we will sow seeds! And the work of another field is about to start!