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Tea by the Sea from Japan

Tea, Veggies and Gardening from Japan
Braiding scents of lavender
It has been typical rainy season weather where you have rows
of partly sunny days and humid or 100% rainy days.
Some school textbooks say that "Japan has a rainy season"
and others say that " So do other countries".
Wherever you are I think that our DNA says "The scent of rain is
superb fragrance".

The herb course for June was about craft work using 9 fresh lavender
flowers. We picked young, long and hard flowers from the allotment
next to the classroom and made "Lavender scent sticks".

It was only the second time for me to handle ribbons in my whole life
(after I wrapped carnations this year) and the first time to try
"interlocking braid".

It was cool and a nice breeze went across the room but this braiding
technology sometimes drove me almost insane. Below is the
masterpiece and they are to be stored in a shady place for a week
then you can place them anywhere - in your bag or next to your
Wishing you sweet scented dreams wherever you are!

| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 20:25 | - | - | - | - |
100% herb-tinted Sunday
 I joined the 2nd class of the Herb Course for beginners organised
by an NPO in Odawara and a herb shop in Chigasaki.
The schedule is spread over 12 months and the objective for this
month was to prepare lunch using a wide range of herbs in a variety
of dishes.

Together with my fellow students on the course, all ladies who are
wonderful cooks, I hoped I could contribute something to the
team effort.

Starting with blending "herbs & salt" with 11 herbs and spices,
we made "Chicken with Salad with herb spices".


And this herb salt was also used for "herb butter with garlic" and
served on baguette slices. Fresh tea with chamomile was also
the starter for this part of the lunch.

In the afternoon session, we learned combination planting
using basil/ Italian parsley/ lemon balm.

And we all received a pot of Dyer's Chamomile for growing on
our balconies/in our gardens. This plant is not edible but used as
colouring agent and it is named for this purpose.
Below is our field today.

| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 19:30 | - | - | - | - |
Beginner class for future herb specialists
The cold winter is finally ending after some strong up-down
temperature change these days. I finished the winter kiwifruit
pruning last month - way behind schedule.
I also thinned out some kiwi trees to make a pathway for when
we move our harvested kiwi containers by trolley.  All the winter
jobs for the kiwifruit is now finished until the pollination process
starts in late May.

On the other hand, the gardening centre where I work is getting
more and more busy with spring flowers, veggies and trees.
In order to further understand plant growing and how to utilise them
in cooking etc.,I joined a herb class for beginners organised by Co-op
Kanagawa and Joyfarm Odawara and its joint NPO.

The 12 month-long course began with introductions from each
participant and the teachers . They hailed from various places in
Kanagawa and the teachers are a husband and wife team from
Chigasaki City.
We planted Italian parsley, Coriander, and Chervil in our allotment
across the street.

Our initial input from the teachers centred on basic conditions and
types of soil and fertilisers for herbs.

And fresh herb tea was served by the teachers at the end of the
session. This combination of lemon grass, lemon balm,
lemon thyme and spearmint was totally different from
my lemon-flavoured hot water using lemon harvested in our garden.

| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 18:38 | - | - | - | - |
Flower & Garden Show 2012
Rhianna and I went to a "Flower & Garden Show" which was
held in Makuhari Messe Convention Centre. Unlike the "International
Garden Expo" which is aimed at commercial and business traders, this
show seems to be designed more for the end consumers.

Lots of events of gardening demonstrations and lectures were prepared
in an almost non-stop schedule, the topics covered most of the major
flowers/ trees. For more minor plants, professional or certified
advisors were on hand to answer questions.

This time, we had only half a day and could not cover all the booths
so I will spare more time next year.


| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 21:40 | - | - | - | - |
Tree work training with my farming partner
My kiwifruit growing partner has started a tree work service
for jobs where you need to cut down high trees in space-restricted

I am helping out occasionally as ground staff. Today we tried a new
method assuming that there are houses or cars under high trees.

We tied guiding ropes at the point of where the cut-off branches
will slide down the rope. Then he cut them using a chainsaw.
My responsibility is to support the lines to guide the branches
towards  the designated point and cut the branches into
manageable sizes for disposal/ shredding.

If any of our blog readers should require  this kind of service,
please feel free to contact us at
| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 22:05 | - | - | - | - |
Debut as gardening retailer
Since last November, I have been working for a gardening centre
in a neighbouring town.

Today, together with some other staff from our shops, I went to
our wholesaler's exhibition in Shimizu city, Shizuoka.
It is a small-sized event but covers all the gardening areas so
it's the best size for a 1-day visit.

From culture soil to various planters, I had many inputs from
suppliers and manufacturers directly - very educational as well.

Below are some brochures and rose-handling gloves I received
as a sample gift.

| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 21:27 | - | - | - | - |
Rhubarb harvest and garden life.
These are two of the rhubarb plants planted in our allotment two or three years ago. We have had a bumper crop so far this year. Rhianna is a rhubarbaholic, merrily consuming bowlfuls every day. She is quite happy to eat it by itself, in crumble or with plain yoghurt.
Rhubarb is not widely known in Japan and we are the only ones growing it on our allotment site. It's proved a nice conversation opener and a few people have taken some away with them.
We are hoping to spread the message: rhubarb rocks!

Our garden is also looking increasingly green with the lemon tree coming into flower and the hydrangea coming into bloom. We have raspberry plants in pots on the front deck as well as a camellia bush, ashitaba,
lavender and wild strawberry opposite. Sitting out here with a cup of coffee and a book is great!

| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 20:57 | - | - | - | - |
Small-scale redecorating #2 - a new desk/bookshelves
Next redecoration is to take out an attached work space table and
re-do with a hand-made computer table and bookshelves,re-using the
removed table panel.

The height is set at the level where you feel comfortable using the
computer keyboard. The bookshelf was designed according to our

It is a good improvement for our translating work!

While Mum and Dad are working on the redecorating, the girls
finished the anti-corrosion painting on the other wood deck.
They really like this work on the cool & sunny holiday!

Next painting is around Spring next year.
| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 18:38 | comments(0) | - | - | - |
Small-scale redecorating #1 - Wood deck
We have started having some small-scale redecoration work inside &
outside our house.
My gardening teacher introduced us to a nice carpenter.
He is almost the same age as us and it was fun to work together.
The first job was building a wood deck at the back of our house.

This is "Before"

This is "After"

Access from the kichen door to the outside storage area gets much
easier. This deck could be an another place for beers and siesta!

| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 19:10 | comments(0) | - | - | - |
Entertain us, Green Curtain! (A Tribute to Nirvana)
Our house has no air-conditioner because there are many windows
and we can enjoy nice breezes.
However, the recent summer heat is getting monster sometimes
so our normal curtains are no longer helpful.

This year, we will try setting a green curtain in our garden
with yummy veggies - cool & yummy!
We got cucumber seeds at the beginning of April and we planted
them into a planter in our garden.

My dream is to make a Kiwifruit Green Tent over the wood deck
and have a siesta after gardening work.

Here we are now, entertain us, Green Kurtain!
| yummyveggies | Gardener Life | 16:41 | comments(0) | - | - | - |
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