Two days in a row? No way!

No smack up-side the head for anyone this time!  Though I’m sure I’ll offer the chance again in the future.

Not much to write about today, really.  There are just a couple things I wanted to talk about, and since this a blog I have that right.  🙂

I mentioned in one of my first posts, and I have a link to them on the side-bar, that I listen to a lot of courses from The Teaching Company.  And today was one of those TTC days since I was driving the tractor up and down, up and down, up and down the fields at a leisurely 2km an hour pace.  Today’s lectures were from the course Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning.  Before I came to Japan, I taught Freshman Composition for a year at NC State, and during the course of teaching that year I got a pretty good handle on writing and understanding various forms of argument.  But since I’ve come to Japan, I tend to just read news and discussions on the internet and don’t do much writing, and so my skills at arguing have atrophied (I feel).  I figured this course would be a good one to refresh my thinking a bit.  So far it’s been pretty interesting and, like most TTC courses, the professor makes it really easy to listen to.  I can’t recommend TTC courses highly enough if you have points in your life where you have long times of monotony (driving, work, whatever) and you need something interesting to listen to.

Second, been reading a bit from an author I really like–John Scalzi’s Whatever.  A few years ago I read his debut novel, Old Man’s War, and really really liked it.  Since then I’ve read a few other of his books and writings, the most recent being The God Engines, and I really dig this guy’s style of writing.  Also, he’s one of the few authors who, once I read a bit more about him or read more of his non-novel writing and opinions, I like even more.  This is no Dan Simmons or Orson Scott Card.  Anyway, if you’re into sci-fi and haven’t read any of Scalzi’s works, I highly recommend picking up Old Man’s War as a starter.

What else?  Well, uh, that’s about it.  Not much of a farming entry today.  We’ll see what the next entry brings!

A month of work that I didn’t write about

Gah!  There it is.  Staring me in the face.  September 13 is the last post, and the calendar on the wall informs me that it is the evening of October 20th.  No excuse.  🙂  Just lazy.

So what’s been going on?  Lots of stuff.  Last I wrote we were kinda waiting for the weather to clear so that we could start harvesting.  Well, harvesting is over.  Took us about 3 weeks or so, including days when the rain popped back up.  Thanks to all the water falling from the sky at the end of August and beginning of September, the harvesting was muddy.

It’s not so bad when the mud is on a straight-away, but the corners are where the combine runs into trouble.  To help we were using sheets of plywood and putting them around the corners so the combine wouldn’t sink or get stuck trying to turn.

For the most part, though, things went rather smoothly.

Harvesting went a little something like this.  For 2 days we’d harvesting the rice using the combine.  We would drive it up and down the field, cutting the rice, taking the seeds and then spitting out the cut rice stalks behind it.  A finished field would look like this:

Notice walking alongside the combine is Chino.  When harvesting she will follow the combine up and down the field catching whatever critter jumps out of the way, be it a grasshopper, frog, mouse, or snake.  The grasshoppers she eats.  The other things she’ll play with…until they’re dead.  She works just as hard, if not harder, than we do.  🙂

Once we’ve filled up the little rice catcher on the combine, we’ll unload it into the carrier truck:

Once the truck is filled, I drive it to the family house where the dryer is.  Then I unload it into the dryer where the rice will be…uh…dried.

We can store about 9 truckloads of rice in the dryers and the mini-silos that are at the family house.  Once those are all full, then we have to take a day or two to shuck the rice and bag it.  To do that we have a nice little machine:

The harvested rice goes in on the left side there, cycles through, and then is spit out into the bag in the foreground.  Each bag is 30 kilograms, which is around 66 pounds.  Once the bag is full we stack them in the garage for storage.

Most of the rice we send off to JA (the Japan Agricultural Association, which is a government run co-op that buys rice) or to private customers.  Usually we sell both organic and non-organic rice throughout the year.  But this year we were really lucky in that one of our customers (a local Sado conveyor-belt sushi restaurant) ordered all our non-organic rice.  I guess they had been having a good year and were running out of rice, so they bought everything we had (which wasn’t going to JA).  Yay for us.  So this year, all we have for sale is organic.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past month or so.  We finished harvesting last week, and since then have been cleaning up the machines and organizing the farmhouse (it gets rather messy during harvest).

I promise to write a new entry within the next week.  If I do not, those of you who actually read this (maybe 4 people? 5?) have permission to smack me upside my head next time you see me. 😉