Skip to main content

Sunday Reading

Office assistants after the dash-by.
I know, I know. It should be vegetables or something literary.
But aren't' they cute?!?
The heat wave settled over the region at the moment leaves little energy, frankly, for anything beyond long naps and trips out for ice cream. A stint at the garden yesterday morning knocked me for a loop until sometime in the early evening. Luckily, with some ice cream and the occasional office assistant dash-by, I do manage to get some reading done.


From Internment Camp to Beloved Farm: One Family's Version of Achieving the American Dream at the Munchies is a powerful reminder both of what immigrants have always brought to the United States and the long-term effects of discrimination.

The Young Farmers Behind Puerto Rico's Food Revolution at Vogue is uplifting, inspiring, and made me want to dance on the table. (Just drinking coffee, thanks.) Essentially a profile of Rodriguez Besosa, one of the young female farmers leading the charge, it offers lessons in food independence, sustainability, and community resilience.

Farming and Conservation

The Magical Wilderness Farm: Raising Cows Among the Weeds at Knepp at The Guardian is a rich, long read about a farm letting itself go wild again and putting grazing animals at the heart of it. There is, of course, much more than that going on at Knepp that is exciting and wonderful and not without controversy. As something of a rewilding gardener, the work there is fascinating.

Green Gold: Pakistan Plants Hundreds of Millions of Trees at al-Jazeera presents, like The Guardian story above, a welcome tale of nature being supported and realizing the benefits on a variety of levels. I was also reminded by this story and a recent conversation with some fellow growers of Masanobu Fukuoka's book, Sowing Seeds in the Desert, where he describes the how and why of similar efforts undertaken around the world.


How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit at LitHub appeared while I was researching a piece on writer's block. I've been struggling with it a bit of late, and I often find that writing about what is troubling me is the best way to see what is going on. One of my favorite writers, Solnit reminded me of what to do and why.

How to Beat Writer's Block at The New Yorker was also part of the aforementioned research in order to write about what ails me. While I cannot say that I found this piece as helpful and heartening as Solnit's, I did find it interesting. I can certainly relate to each of the four groups mentioned, but I am not avoiding my writing habits and tools yet.


Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro