Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The weather hasn't been good for sailing on the lake, but the water is high so I decided to do some canoeing, or creek boating, as it should properly be called. Creek boating is different in that you spend about 1/2 the time out of your boat, portaging or lining rapids by rope, that are either too rocky or too shallow to run. The other half is spent bashing rocks, running narrow chutes, and wishing you had a helmet with the occasional flatwater stretch in between.

The journey begins here at 魚ヶ滝 or Fish Falls. This is a popular swimming hole, below the falls the 5 meter deep aerated water is teeming with fish. The area opens up to a large pond which I neglected to show.

On the first portage I nearly stepped on a giant salamander オオサンショウウオ (ohsanshouo). They are an endangered/ protected species that inhabit cold, clean high mountain rivers and streams in western Honshu. This one was about 50cm. They can live to be 60 years old and up to 150cm.

The best decision I made of the day was to bring my full -net bug hat as the あぶ horseflies were pretty bad. During the first rapid however it was ripped from my head as I went under a low hanging branch.

Luckily after making it through upright I was able to spot the dark blob moving quickly downstream and went for a fast paddle to get it.

I haven't made this trip for about 3 or 4 years. I've only once seen another person here. There are about 5 nice swimming holes with beaches. It's a bit off the beaten path and only run-able at very high water.

I did however find a driver's license belonging to some guy from Vietnam on this rock once. I mailed it back to him of course.

Taking a swim to cool down. The water was about 18 degrees I'm guessing. The air was quite warm and muggy. 2 polypro t-shirts, a dive skin and neoprene shorts covered with rain gear was enough to stay warm. A nice lunch of ikura onigiri and Kirin's finest topped off with a cigar (bug repellent) was a nice touch here.

In many places it is a real gorge.

The last rapid.
Looking back at the last rapid from a fairly hairy knife ridge off of the road back.

The portage back is pretty easy as and I was able to carry everything in one shot. Hopefully I'll get some sailing in this week.

Got in a good day of sun burning, of course the wind picked up just as I was leaving. Was able to hike out a good many times though, makes it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

new potatoes

Harvested the potatoes from the tires. Mice and/or moles did a number on them. Only got 1kg. from there. The vertical log bed had the same problem and only produced 2kg. But they are delicious and don't need to be peeled.

This bed is doing really well and has yet to be touched by vermin. I need at least 5kg. out of here to make my quota. Crossing fingers and counting chickens.

Figs, will they make it all the way? The biwa (loquat) tree at work is blooming and I got 20 early fruit with the hope of ripening them off the tree.

Snap peas, broccoli, lettuce are on their way out of season. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and zucchini , chard, beans, cukes are on their way in. Corn is a long way off but doing well, 400 count. Oh and yesterday I regrettably had to dispatch a tanuki that was in the duck pen. It had already taken 2 of my flock.

I've decided to dismantle the side yard "tire garden". Results were poor with only radishes doing well, even the chard did poorly in such wet and shady conditions. The fencing will go to the ducks and the soil will be incorporated into the main garden.

The rainy season is here and at least it is not too hot yet. Need to cover the tomatoes so they don't split.