2009年9月5日土曜日

man vs nature

Today K was away and it as just us girls. After a mad morning at the play centre we came home and after a nap (noone actually sleeps anymore but it means mummy gets some quiet time after lunch which is after all the purpose of naps anyway, yeah? The no-nap nap has the added bonus of giving you tired kids at bedtime so you get an early night to boot. I tell ya it's genius!) anyway, after no-nap time we went for a bike ride. That's not really a lot of fun when you live on a 10% gradients and I don't get to ride a bike at all- far too busy pushing the girls up the hill and then holding the back of Amy's bike coming down- when she doesn't dismount and let me push the bike while she runs that is... Anyway, after no-nap nap time on my non-bike ride bike ride I got to thinking about man vs nature. Very deep, huh? There are lots of examples of man (I know I should say man/woman or person or whatever but man works for me) in a constant struggle against nature around here:

Match 1 The mountain field: Nature 197 Man 196


There is lots of unclaimed/ given up on land abutting the mountains here. This is land that has great soil, gets adequate sun, gets enough rain not to need watering but is largely left untouched. The main reason being the constant threat of encroaching weeds- grasses, plants and most pesky, vines- from the mountain. This is our leek field and we have had to rescue it three times already from colonisation and suffocation. I'm calling this a win for nature as, while it can be cleared you can never sit back and relax and enjoy the victory, the game just goes on and on and on...

Match 2: Animals Nature 4 Man 5


The biggest animal pests are monkey troupes, bears, wild boar, moles, crows and pigeons. Most of the apple orchards near the mountains are fenced off to quite a height. Many with electric fences. Each year a portion of the harvest (especially corn and apples- monkeys go nuts over corn) is lost to animals and news of bear attacks- usually an old farmer surprising a bear at 5:00 in the morning when they go to check their garden (see, it's for safety reasons that I sleep in!) are not uncommon but I'm calling this one for man as the bear population is decreasing, they poison moles, hang dead crows in the fields, use noise cannons to scare the pigeons and when things get bad they bring out the men with guns. Not very sportsmanlike at all!

Match 3: The field Nature 0 Man 1


Commercial farming is a chemical minefield. Use chemicals to fertilise the soil, hormone spray to enlarge the crop, pesticide to kill the bugs, herbicide to cull the weeds, finish harvesting and spray the whole area with high grade nastiness to kill every living thing, wait a month and then start again with the fertiliser. This field had tomatoes in it until last month. If you look at the grass in the foreground you can see that the brown grass is not a natural Autumn die off. Nope, and all around are apples that have yet to be harvested. This is why your mum told you to wash your fruit! I believe that while man is winning the match the long term damage is building up. An agricultural chemical RSI if you will.

Match 4 Organic farming Nature 1: Man 1


This is our grape harvest this year. On the left are the ones we unknowingly donated to the kabuto mushi (rhinoceros beetle) and on the right are the ones we ate. About fifty-fifty I'd say. We probably lose about 20% of our total harvest of fruit and veggies to different insects, birds and animals. We have the space to allow for this when we plant and the time to laboriously pick off the caterpillars and spray milk on the aphids and pull off the leaves with powdery mildew so we don't hurt for the loss. While it costs a lot more in labour we get the reassurance of knowing that we're eating the safest food we can and being gentle on our environment to boot. I call that a win win situation.

Oh, and the reason there are baskets on bikes?

to carry your loot!

2 件のコメント:

Midori さんのコメント...

Love this post. That brown field looks so sad though! :-( I sometimes find caterpillars in the organic fruit I buy and while I hate insects, I love that it means that I am eating something that wasn`t sprayed to death. Same with stuff from my Mum`s garden. I can totally see why you would chose to grow what you do! When Joey is a bit bigger, can I send him to you for a couple of weeks in the summer to get the Japanese inaka experience he missed out on by me moving back to London?! ;-) (We could do a swap, the girls could then come and stay in London with me..)

thefukases さんのコメント...

Midori- yup, I cheer for caterpillars in my food, too. Joey is welcome any time. Plenty to do around here and we're surrounded by little boys so no shortage of buddies, either. I don't think I'll send you mine though- they may never want to come back!