2011年6月10日金曜日

beauty and the farmer

(I have upgraded myself from "gardener" to "farmer" now that we are growing rice. This promotion is completely of my own arbitrary judging and the neighbours would roll their eyes and shake their heads but I feel like I deserve it so live with it.)

So, we have been putting in a lot of hours in the garden/ paddy these last few weeks. 10 hours last Sunday, four hours (eked out from around my classes) each weekday (starting at 7:30 so we could get the work in) for the last week and yeah, just lots and lots of time out there.

Going from gardenwear farmwear to workwear and then sometimes back again and then occasionally back again again really does my head in and means many many showers so you think I'd be the squeaky cleanest person around.

But no.

Farming comes with a whole cornucopia of challenges to mind and body but the body really cops it.

First up there's perma-dirt. This is a word neighbour and co-farmer W and I coined to describe the inground grime that takes up residence in your heals, elbows, where your cuffs have been rubbing, and around you finger and toe nails. This dirt is resistant to soap, loofahs, hot water, soaking, scrubbing brushes- everything!! I thought nail polish might hide it but it just draws attention to the area....

Then there's cracks. Cracks in your heals, in your toe pads, on your knuckles... Rice paddies are wet. Well they're underwater so derrr... You spend a lot of time getting in and out of the rice paddy and it's not good on the poor feetsies. I have quite the collection of creams and potions and magic polyurethane socks but I am still fighting to keep on top of this painful problem.

Sunburn. Slip, slop, slap I know. I know and I do. But the sun reflects up off the water in the rice paddy and when you're out for four, five, seven, eight, 10 hours you get burnt. Or tanned. Normally I am naughty and quite like a tan but a rice paddy tan is uneven to say the least. All the splotches of mud act as sunscreen and you end up quite dappled. Mottled, really. Last year I gardened in a t-shirt that rode up a bit when I bent double to weed or whatever. I ended up with a dark tanned strip across my lower back. This year I have along sleeved shirt for gardening that comes all the way down to my butt to be safe. I also admitted defeat and traded in my baseball hat for a ninja-obaachan wrap around hat. The thing about being a red-neck? Noone tells you how much it hurts! The collar on your shirts, the strap on your bag, even your hair- everything hurts your poor sunburnt neck. So yup, joined the dark side and I look like a scarecrow but feel much better. And I am holding onto my pride by claiming that my black ninja hat is really rather cool and ironic compared to the usual floral ones which are undeniably naff. Right? Right???

Injuries. Sore muscles are a given. If your muscles don't hurt you were probably slacking off I reckon! Just walking in a rice paddy is a trial as you are fighting the forces of mud and water at every step. But hidden in the mud are little pointy pebbles and sticks and all sorts of scratchy unfriendly things. W and I have both had toenails lift when something poked between the nail and the toe. I have three broken toe nails, cuts underneath two toes and a divet out of the arch of my left foot. Ouch....

So, every night when we get home we spend quite a time slathering on creams and lotions and wrapping up sore places in soft cotton.

But I wouldn't swap it for anything- even if I am walking around with a white patch on the cheek of my tanned face and hands noone would shake without a second thought!

5 件のコメント:

Xana さんのコメント...

Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion! I hope it comes with a pay raise to compensate for all the added discomfort? No? Well, those ducklings are a perk.

I can hardly even call myself a gardner these days but resorted to a baachan bonnet (floral) years ago. (I wonder how old I need to be to qualify for one of those carts? Those are the best, I want one. ) I will probably have to hang up my bonnet next year when K starts toddling about. The problem with them is they completely block my peripheral vision. Dh has given in to the jiichan straw hats. When he does baseball caps he gets what we affectionately refer to as " Daddy's stupid forehead line."

Gina さんのコメント...

I think you totally deserve to switch titles too. If it helps at all, I consider you a very cool farmer lady already. Considering the size and all you do plant, plus now with the rice paddy. You totally deserve the title change, if you ask me. : )

Jo Tomooka さんのコメント...

We both must have been here far too long... I traded in my cap for an obaachan bonnet this year too! It definitely is more practical and it has the hidden advantage of not so many people recognizing me and therefore feeling the need to stop and chat!

achan さんのコメント...

all you need now are a pair of those overalls that fly fisherman wear-rubber from top to toe and no holes! I see some local farmers wearing them when they are checking their paddies.

Actually your discriptions give us the purchaser a better appreciation of day to day tanbo life!

thefukases さんのコメント...

Xana- pay rise? hmmmm well we will have more rice than we know what to do with so I guess that counts! And the peripheral vision issue? No problem!! I took the velcro that goes under your chin and joined it at the back of my head. Gives a bit of a Yasser Arafat look but definitely better vision and your neck is still covered.

I LOVE the jiichan straw hats. In Australia I could wear one no problem but I think here they really are considered just a guy thing.... Pre baachan hat I had a whole collection of baseball hats which means in the humid months I get a flat top with wings as all the hair that sticks out the sides goes wild!

Gina- Ohhhh thank you! I feel like you are my number 1 cheerleader- watch out, one of these days I am going to rock up at yours in the kei- truck loaded down with rice and veggies! ;P

Jo- increased anonymity is great, hey? Have you had the opposite problem though? I called out to a neighbour I needed to speak too and she did a double triple take and looked really puzzled until I took the hat off. ;P

achan- the waders I am pretty sure will not come in my bum's size! I did splash out (hehe) and get some paddy boots, though. Skin tight, knee high, toed and only take about 10 minutes to get off....