I work Saturday afternoons (only a couple of hours but still) so Sundays are our family days, our around the house days and our get-stuck-into-something-big days. I know a lot can be fit into a Saturday morning but if I get too grotty I need to shower as well as change before work and that just takes the fun out of it so Sundays it is.
After a lazy morning of eggs, bacon, wholemeal pancakes, grilled tomatoes, grapefruit and fresh coffee- well for K. Then we ran out. sob sob- we headed out to the chook cage. One of the neighbour kids (a welcome-to-visit one) saw a rat/ mouse in there. This is disturbing as that cage is supposed to be completely hermetically-sealed style predator proof and while rats don't eat chooks they eat chook food, are icky and gross and just plain shouldn't be able to get in so out we went with barbed wire, bird netting, pliers, and tie wire to find the weakspot in Alcatraz.
After a good couple of hours of checking and reinforcing and 'it surely can't be this but we'll block it up just in case' wire knitting we are pretty darn sure nothing bigger than a mosquito (and a hungry one at that) will get in. The chooks are gorgeous and so tame they kept coming over to peck at our shoes or wiggle in between our arms as we worked. The girls thought this was hilarious and wanted to stay in the pen and play. Tempting, certainly keep the house less of a mess, but we herded them out.
After K dug over the soil in the chook cage so they can scratch more easily and I packed up the tools we headed out to the big garden and dug over another row and planted four lines of spinach. I love spinach and there are some great varietars that grow right through winter under the snow and come out the otherside not only happy but curly and sweet to boot. While you can make it through the winter on Chinese cabbage and daikon it is great to have spinach to rely on in the post-winter pre-Spring crop maturation bleak months. So lots of spinach planted around here.
After breaking for lunch K headed off to secret men's business up the mountain. There is a torii/ shrine gate thing wayyyyy up the mountain. Twice a year members of the two communities that share the mountain head up there with the local Shinto priest and have a 30 minute cleanup, a 10 minute religious service and a three hour pissup at the community centre. Ok, I may have exaggerated those times a little but the drinking part of it is by far the largest percentage of the event. But it's drinking with the local priest so it's important ceremonial drinking. It just looks like a bunch of men sitting around filling each other's cups and getting progressively redder. So armed with a scythe and the bear bells off Meg's school bag he headed up the mountain.
Anyway, I did some bribery (strike that of course it wasn't bribery!) negotiations with the girls that if they cleaned the playroom to the level that I could walk through there without wondering if I would be able to drive in a cast we would go shopping for coffee, milk, more dried noodles and something yummy for afternoon tea. The deadline was easy. The 3:00 afternoon tea chime of course. And to give them their space (and avoid being the umpire of umpteen tiffs) I went outside and painstakingly removed the morning glory green curtain from the guttering and even more painstakingly removed the morning glory vines from the netting and rolled it up for next year (at an hours work for a 398 yen length of net that is pretty hard labour but it is environmentally friendly) then pulled up the sunflowers and removed the seed heads to save and plant next year and was hauling everything around the back to burn (un-environmentally friendly so there go my net recycling points...) when the girls called me.
At their insistence I went in to inspect their work.
And I was amazed.
To be honest I had pretty low expectations but wanted them to at least make an effort as I have been feeling a bit Cinderella-ish lately.
But not only was the floor cleared but so were their desks, the toy cupboards, the kotatsu table and the bookshelf had been tidied as well. Wow. All that for 95 yen worth of sugar and processed gunk? Hell yeah! I was beaming and bouncing as we headed into town to pick up our rewards.
In the late afternoon (after a fabulous coffee- it tastes even better when you have been waiting all day for it!) I burnt off the rubbish, started my annual tug of war with the creepers that entwine anything that stays still for more than a minute and listened to the girls play with the two little boys from down the hill. It was a bit awkward as the two boys (four and two) were on a walk with both parents when Amy called them in to play. No problem. I stuck my head around the corner to say hi and welcome and they had a grand time playing with the outside toys and in the sandpit and on the trikes. And the boys' parents were there to keep an eye on proceedings. All wonderful. But they stayed about 40 minutes. And I had stuff I wanted to do. And I felt rude just leaving them out the front while I worked out the back but the light was fading and I was busy and I didn't want to leave the fire unattended and this was my productive Sunday.... In the end I excused myself and kept working and they wandered round to say hi and then back again to the toys and then around to chat again. Seemed to be going ok but felt a little anti-social on my part. Then again it wasn't like I invited them over, right? Anyway, it was a good productive afternoon, the girls had a ball playing with the little boys, the boys had a ball playing on the lawn and with the toys here and with M and A so all's well that ends well, right?
Came inside for dinner and K arrived home from the drinking do, sorry, very important religious ceremony, and put the girls through the shower routine while I made cinnamon rolls (I didn't even last a week!) to give out as thank yous to all the people who have given us wild mushrooms and apples and sweet potatoes and pumpkins and and and... lately.
So all told that was a pretty productive day I think.