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Showing posts from February, 2011

Tulip Poplar Seed Pods

While out walking the byways of Michigan , I'd spotted these same blooms high up in a tree. I couldn't get close enough by any means for a better look, and I couldn't imagine what tree possessed such lovely blooms in February. Later while on a walk in Cleveland, I saw them again and was able to get a better look. Turns out it's a tulip poplar, a tree native to these Midwest parts, that grows tall and lovely. It's leaves are of a distinct shape (like a tulip, in fact) and it's blooms (again reminiscent of the tulip) arrive in late spring. These are the seed pods decorating the branches most spectacularly.

Landscape of My Heart

It's difficult for me to resist the clear, crisp beauty of winter, and despite the possibility of sounding like a broken record I say I love it . It also sounds a wee bit overly dramatic when I say it's the landscape of my heart, but it is true. While I love hiking the mountains of Hokkaido and the foothills of Tokyo with their tea fields and citrus orchards, these trees and hills, grasses and blooms are in my soul. There's no other way to say it, and when I'm home and walking among them I'm happiest. And when it's warm enough to pull out the camera I do so. Here are a few more pictures of a few favorites spotted on one of my long walks. Goldenrod is another favorite of mine both for it's cheerful yellow fall flowers and it's fuzzy winter seed heads. Providing a much needed snack for birds and mice that linger through these chilly months it (along with the bergamont seed heads pictured with this post ) it gives a bit of structure and te

Hokkaido Adventures: A Visit to Daisetsuzan National Park

Good friends are working out the details of a visit, and they're asking after Hokkaido. I couldn't resist tempting them a bit with one of the posts I wrote. This one about vegetable bike-touring (a new term I hope will be 2011's word of the year), and this one is about some of tiny gardens I found there. There are more to be found with a search of "Hokkaido" in the box to the right. This post first appeared on greenz in September, 2010. Despite the cool shade afforded by my green curtain and the bountiful blooms of a variety of sidewalk gardens , this locavore roamed north in early August to escape some of Tokyo’s heat. The plan? Head to Hokkaido to spend some time with friends, do a wee bit of bike touring to sample local produce , and spend a week hiking and backcountry camping in Daisetsuzan National Park. Walking through nature is perhaps one of the best ways to engage with it, and Daisetsuzan is a great place to start putting one foot in front of th

A Winter Walk

One of my favorite things to do is go for a walk. Whether it's in Hokkaido , Tokyo , Osaka , or here at home, there is no better way to see the landscape. Since landing in Wisconsin earlier this month, I've walked nearly every day until injuring my Achilles. (Good footwear, as always, is pivotal to overall health.) Winter is my favorite season , and so I take any chance I can get to get out and about in that cold crisp air I dearly love. Here are a few photos of some old friends I met along the way while walking to Ambry Farms . Oriental bittersweet on an old fence line. There is a native Michigan version, but it's tricky to tell the difference. Their orange pods are a sweet little dash of color in the landscape. Ever since my mom used the seedpod outers to make mice as part of a Halloween decoration when I was in the third grade, it has been one of my favorites. I spotted some on the drive home from the airport, and shouted with delight. There's just something

A Few Additions for the Tokyo Bookshelf

One of the pleasures of being home in America for a month (other than getting to see friends and family in person and being able to tromp through the landscapes I love in my favorite season with a handful of the aforementioned in tow) is being able to read. Newspapers, books, and magazines are all at my fingertips along with whatever the bookstore and public library show on their shelves. It is a delight. It is also a chance to pick the brains of my canning and gardening friends and relatives to see what they recommend, and then rush out to examine it for myself and possibly purchase. Here are a few recommended finds. Ball Complete Book of Home Canning and Preserving by Judy Kingry and Lauren Devine . 2006 Tons of great looking recipes and some good basic canning information, too. I've been working on building my own recipes of late as well as tweaking those of others , and I wanted a little more information on how to do so safely. Our good friends at Ambry Farms suggeste

French Twist on Vegetables for Tokyo Locavore

We're still hopping about at home with family and friends, so here's another post from Greenz , another blog where my writing appears, about some interesting food happenings in Tokyo. Delphine's February class is most likely just finishing up at this moment (international date line and all), but there's still time to sign up for March or to check out her CSA offerings that now include fruit! And here's a more recent article I wrote about Delphine , too!) This post first appeared at Greenz on August 31, 2010 . A small group of people focus intently on one woman stirring a mixture of flour and water. At first glance she appears to be speaking to the bowl of front of her as she gives instruction on making pasta by hand, but her devotees hang on every word and motion. These locavores in training are getting a dose of DIY: the art of French cooking with Japanese vegetables. Delphine Cheng began offering these hands-on learning experiences earlier this y

Tokyo's Earth Day Market: Where Local, Fair Trade, and Organic Meet

While I'm winging my way around America for a month of snow-filled fun with friends, my mother's meatloaf and homemade blueberry pie, and a little quality cat time, I'm reposting an entry or two from another blog. This post first appeared at on September 24th, 2010, and ought to thoroughly entice folks to head down to the February Earth Day Market on Sunday, February 20th!) A great way to literally get a taste of Japan (other than a cooking class , of course) is to visit a farmer's market. Whether in the evening or a beautiful sunny morning , there's no better way to get a feel for the seasons. And the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi Park offers a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. Started with six vendors in 2006, the Earth Day Market was intended as a place to use Earth Day Money and to help organic farmers find buyers. Today there are 50-60 regular sellers that include growers, producers, and tasty food purveyors with another 60 or so rotatin