Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

FDA to our rescue: Four Loko alcoholic drink

I don't know what I'd do if the FDA didn't ban this, I'd probably drink a whole case of it just because it's there, and then something really bad would probably happen.

Thanks FDA!

Four Loko alcoholic drink to lose caffeine jolt | Top AP Stories | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

drying rice


drying rice
Originally uploaded by touzanka
Drying it out on the racks, "hasakake" that we cut and put up.

drying rice2


drying rice2
Originally uploaded by touzanka
Drying in the sun.

harvesting


harvesting
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is the guy we bought it from, Mr. Hiuchi, testing out the machine. He spent hours trying to get it through the whole paddy, but we gave up. It was too muddy. Next year we'll have to dig some ditches around the perimeter to drain it better.

partially harvested


partially harveste
Originally uploaded by touzanka
We decided to harvest about a week early, and good thing. The weather had been pretty good, so the ground was somewhat dried out. It was too wet in most places to use the binder on all of it , though. The rest was harvested by hand.

preharvest


preharvest
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a shot of the rice just before being harvested. It's getting a little yellow, but would like to have left it longer.

with monkey damage


with monkey damage
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a shot of the whole paddy. You can see how much of has been knocked down by the monkeys. The fence is more for boars than monkeys. They just use it like a jungle gym.

monkey damage


monkey damage
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a closeup of some the damage the monkeys did to the rice before it was harvested.

rice sprouts in trays


rice sprouts in trays
Originally uploaded by touzanka
Rice is first sprouted in trays of small pots with one or two seeds in each pot. Then we just pop out the sprouts and stick them in the mud.

planting


planting
Originally uploaded by touzanka
Planting rice on June 19 and 20

ready to plant


ready to plant
Originally uploaded by touzanka
Plowed and ready to plant.

plowed but not ready


plowed but not ready
Originally uploaded by touzanka
Rice paddy in May, 2010

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

YouTube - Terence Mckenna: Reclaim Your Mind

"to say what has never been said
to see what has never been seen
to draw paint sing sculpt dance and act what has never before been done
to push the envelope of creativity and language, and what is really important,
I call it "he felt presence of direct experience", which is a fancy term which just simply means, we have to stop consuming our culture. We have to create culture. Don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own road show. "

YouTube - Terence Mckenna: Reclaim Your Mind: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trivium - definition and examples of trivium

First time I had heard this word, or the concept that there were 7 disciplines that made up liberal arts.

trivium - definition and examples of trivium: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Miyazaki to triple number of hogs and beef

The authorities in Miyazaki Prefecture who are deciding how many meat animals (beef and pork) will be slaughtered in reaction to the latest foot and mouth outbreak. They are guessing 205,000 additional animals.
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-19/japan-to-triple-cattle-hog-cull-on-foot-and-mouth-update1-.html
www.businessweek.com
Japan will almost triple the number of animals to be culled in Miyazaki prefecture, a major farming region, as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease threatens the nation’s livestock industry.
 
That is 155,000 pigs, each pig producing 75kg of meat for 11,625,000kg of pork. 50,000 beef at 225kg of meat for each animal, making 11,250,000kg. If you figure that one Japanese person consumes, on average, 43.9kg of meat per year, and there are about 30,000 people in my town, that means that the amount of meat wasted in Miyazaki is going to be 17.369 years worth of food for every man woman and child in the town. 
 
What in the world is going on?
-Beef cattle production requires an energy input to protein output ratio of 54:1
-Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food.
-On lands where feed grain is produced, soil loss averages 13 tons per hectare per year.
-"More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans."
 
These resources aren't coming from Japan. (all except the water maybe) The rest is coming from the rest of the world. Japan don't need burgers that bad.
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/aug97/livestock.hrs.html
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eating Simpler and Closer to Home for Happiness and Health

In the eight years that I have been living with my wife, she has supported a total change in my eating habits, and thus an enormous change for the better in my life.  I characterize our  lifestyle as a modified macrobiotic lifestyle, and credit it with ending my asthma problems and helping me find a happier, healthier lifestyle.

These are my suggestions, but basically the keys are to simplify and keep it close to home.

I. Eat local
Eating food grown locally means eating food that is balanced with the seasons where you are. It's possible to grow food in greenhouses, and we avoid that, but other food that grows near where we live is in a similar synch with the environment around us. The big implication here: if it doesn't grow near you, avoid it. If you live in sugar producing country, enjoy whole sugars. If you don't, avoid it. Same goes for coffee, bananas, or anything else that grows far away from you.

II. Eat seasonal
This mean to consume foods that are growing where you happen to be. Eating locally and eating seasonally are linked, bringing us the same benefits. If we eat what is close to us and what is growing now, we can't go wrong. If nothing is growing because everything is covered by snow, then canned food that grew around you in the summer is the next best thing.

III. Eat simply
There are so many cookbooks and recipes floating around out there that our expectations for what we  consume are artificially exaggerated. We don't need meals that originated exotic restaurants. Simple meals cooked at home by and for people who love each other are the ticket.

We eat brown rice, miso soup and a simple vegie dish, sometimes with a piece of fish nearly every day. From time to time we may have a pasta dish, but we eat simply and enjoy everything we have.

IV. Eat with people you care about
Sharing a meal brings people together. There is just no question. Cook it and share it with people that matter to you.

V. Avoid meat
No one needs the negative energy from meat, and while cutting it out entirely may be very difficult, cutting back should be no problem. We very rarely consume meat from warm blooded animals and feel great. Our children have never had meat in their lives, and have had very little fish. They eat like horses and play and study as well or better than other children their ages.

VI. Quit micromanaging your food
Media and marketing entities try to focus our attention on the micro nutrients that we are or are not getting. I have found this microscopic view is crap. I was brainwashed into thinking vitamins and supplements, calories, grams of protein and fat were important. If you are following the above hints, you need not concern yourself with anything else.

There are ways to improve our lives through our habits surrounding food, but none of those ways involve making it more complicated. Simplify, and enjoy what you have cooked with people who are important to you. 
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Talk with a veteran farmer

This morning I went to meet with a local veteran farmer who shares similar views on farming. His name is Kannnatsu. Our friends introduced us, because he was such and interesting person, and also may be able to start our rice seedlings for us.

There is some background here that is important. Though we initially started farming, expecting to plant rice in an untilled paddy, we have since found that tilling will be essential, until we get a good cover crop established. So this year we have plowed and will be planting rice sprouts.

Starting the seedlings from scratch is a tricky job that starts with selecting the good seed from the whole batch, soaking it until it sprouts, and then planting it in small containers something like ice cube trays. After the sprouts grow covered for about 10 days, then most farmers uncover them for 10 more then plant. Mr. Kannnatsu plants his after a total of 35 days, so they're quite a bit taller.

Mr. Kannatsu is convinced that building the soil is the key, and not with chemical additives, but with rice straw, husks, and bran. He also suggested that if our goal is to plant our paddy without tilling it, then leaving water in it year round is the best way to go. Writing this makes me wonder what will happen around harvest time, when other farmers' paddies are relatively dry and they can lay their cut rice plants on the ground before binding them and hanging them on the racks to dry. Something else to learn.

It was a dense conversation with more content than I could easily process. He is a professional with a lifetime of experience, and I am a true beginner. It is funny to me that I started on this journey of self sufficiency thinking that our small family would be alone in our efforts. I had no idea that I would meet so many like-minded people who are working with nature and with each other to provide good food for themselves and others.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Japan: Far too much roadway for one country

There is a Japanese myth that tells of a country, a nation of cars. It is a country where automobiles capture the imagination of the young, and the ethos of that people is melded with the machines. To the Japanese this country is across a vast ocean, but like in most stories of this kind, it is actually themselves.

Japan has become a car society, and they are willing to sacrifice greatly for it. They are willing to pave over more of their country, and die in greater numbers than that far away country to appease the auto gods.

Of course the fabled country in Japanese myth is the United States, but let's compare. Japan has 377,835 km2 of land area. They are number 61 in the world. The US has 9,629,091 km2 of land, number 3 in the world. Japan has 949,101 km of paved road, number 6 in the world. The US has 4,209,835 km of paved road, number 1 in the world.

That means that Japan has 2.5 km of paved road for every km2 of land. The US has 0.43 km of road for every km2 of land. Japan is willing to pave over their rice fields for their cars, even though their food self sufficiency is only 40% (An exaggerated, terribly over optimistic figure).

They are also willing to sacrifice their people in greater numbers. For every billion vehicle-kilometers, 10.3 Japanese die for every 9 Americans, even though Japanese travel less then half the distance annually that Americans do, 24,000 and 57,000 miles respectively.

This ridiculous situation grows worse by the day, especially at this time of year when they are crazily spending up every last yen of their budgets on road work. This also effects me, because the country is planning to build two more roads, one an elevated highway, and the other a road to service it, that will pass uncomfortably close to my home. This while the population shrinks and ages at a rapid rate. Its population could drop by half this century, meaning year by year the burden on each person of maintaining these roads will grow and grow.

It's time Japan rethink its automobile fetish. It will need all of its people and resources to maintain their people in the years to come, but what it does not need is more roads.