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Showing posts from January, 2010

Bike Gardening

We spotted this latest Tokyo garden yesterday in Tachikawa . Just outside the post office and at the intersection of two busy streets in a very industrial feeling area, this little garden just makes me smile every time. The line-up of old motorbikes is eye-catching in itself, but then the added greenery is a perfect touch. In the warmer season, these bikes are full of leaves and blooms. In the lower photo the jade plants tucked in the corner by the door are almost discernable. It's a perfect example of the little gardens found just about everywhere here. I'm happy all over again just thinking about it.

Farming Holiday: WWOOFing in Japan

As a recent vacation approached we found ourselves at a loss for what to do. Too short for a meaningful trip home but too long for milling about Tokyo, we searched for ideas. Even though we've been here almost a year, there is still so much of Japan that we want to explore and experience. How to choose? Finally, we found an answer - WWOOF! WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an international organization that connects large and small organic farmers with volunteer workers. In exchange for helping on the farm, WWOOFers (as the volunteer workers are commonly called) get food, accommodation, and information about farming and organic lifestyles. This simple idea - connecting those who want to learn with those who need a little help and are willing to share what they know - quite literally opens the door of a home allowing the traveler to experience their country of choice in a more intimate way than is normally possible. It is also incredibly affordable

Have Some Chilli, Hummous, and Tabouli for Me!

I'm switching gears from Japan back to Michigan for just a moment to share news about an upcoming event for a small organization that I think does great work. The Raisin Valley Land Trust is hosting their annual ski outing and potluck on Saturday, January 30th. Traditionally, there's super-duper chilli, homemade hummous and tabouli to die for, and a great group of people to spend an afternoon with. Details below on how to get yourself there, and eat just a wee bit extra for me! (Trust me. It won't be difficult to comply with that request.) Raisin Valley Land Trust Annual Winter/Cross-Country Ski Outing and Potluck Get Together Saturday, January 30th Doors Open 2pm Potluck 6pm (get there a little early...) 11677 Noggles Road Manchester Township RSVP to Sybil Kolon via email or comment on this post and I'll share her phone number. For more information about The Raisin Valley Land Trust visit the Raisin Cluster Stewardship Stories blog to see what great partnerships

Tokyo's Everyday Gardens

Home to some of the most beautiful gardens in the world - including a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Japan has no shortage of spots for the gardening enthusiast to visit. Since our arrival a little less than a year ago, I've had the pleasure of visiting many of these and have been amazed again and again. Yet, what I find the most striking and what still makes me pull a camera out time and time again are the everyday gardens tucked in every corner of the city. While Ginza has its honey project and urban farming concepts shout from rooftops and sprout in office buildings , the single pot on a stoop or a balcony bowing under the weight of so many plants ten stories up touches me most. Bound up with Japan's long and complex history of gardening and landscaping (and a rich agricultural heritage, too) these little gardens can be as simple as that single pot or a complex compilation of containers of annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs scrambling over