Tuesday, 29 April 2014

This week at Antaiji work has continued on the barn,

Moritz and Falk have been making furniture: outdoor shelves for rubber boots, and a seat for the area outside the soto shokudo where we have our tea break when it's sunny.

The rice seedlings have been moved from the greenhouse to the pond by the kitchen where they will sit while we sit in sesshin. 

I helped to plant the rice in seed trays a few weeks ago - the day after I arrived. It is wonderful to see how the rice has grown. And it really is this green! There was concern about some of the seedlings being a little shorter than others, but Eko san observed that the shorter ones may even be better: 'Just like Japanese people; short but strong!'

Antoni and Eko san preparing the vegetable fields. Eko san is using a motorised plough which reminds me of an old donkey the way it splutters and farts and refuses to budge.

This week I have also been working in the vegetable fields - planting vegetable and fruit seeds in pots (eggplant, green and red pepper, tomato, oriental melon, cucumber) as well as lettuce seeds directly into the ground. I do not have any experience growing vegetables. At home I buy all my vegetables at the greengrocers. As I planted and watered the seeds I became aware of our dependence on these seeds. If they don't grow we will have no eggplant, pepper, tomato, melon, cucumber or lettuce to eat!


While we wait for the cultivated vegetables to grow, we have been collecting and eating wild vegetables that grow in abundance around the buildings. Here Jinen san is collecting asatsuki (chives). We ate asatsuki with our pasta for lunch today.

This is a kind of fern called warabi. It has to be picked while it is still young, before the fronds have uncurled.

Another wild vegetable: Yomogi (mugwort).


Yesterday I spent many hours collecting Yomogi. It is boiled into a paste and then used to make small cakes called moshi.

Morning tea break with Eko san's moshi. It is deep green in colour, packed with warabi.  People made a sauce out of shoyu and sugar. I tried this but decided I liked the moshi much better by itself. I'm looking forward to more moshi made from the warabi I picked yesterday.

Tea break (indoors).


Tea break (outdoors).


After morning tea sometimes the seats need to be wiped clean.

I found this dead bee while cleaning a couple of days ago. We don't have such large fluffy bees in Australia. Kind of a perfect pet on my window sill at the moment.

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