Monday, August 13, 2012

I haven't made a post since the rainy season

Luckily the rainy season was short and sweet this year

            モリアオガエル Forest Green Tree Frog

No idea

This year I grew the largest potato plants I've ever seen or raised.
They were beautiful, nearly up to my chest, with delicate pink flowers.

They proved to be exactly as advertised.  The largest potato plants I've ever grown.
No spuds, just plants.  The taters were the same size coming out as going in. 
The plants were frickin' huge though!  I had to laugh.

I did however manage to pull out 5kgs from two other beds luckily.

                                         Coming in a close second in the pathetic crop competition
                                                       are a dozen puny ears of delicious corn.

Corn means midsummer and that means swimmin!


and critters!

Haven't seen the giant salamanders オオサンショウウオ 
 (OsanshoO) is the best I can translate that, around in 2 years and was
getting worried that perhaps the water quality was degrading in the creek. 
Good to see them back.

With an eye on fall I've been thinking up a new project.
Can you guess what it is?

I got about 1.5m of copper tubing from the local hardware
store for cheap and coiled it by hand as tight as possible
without kinking it.

Then, as an experiment,  placed it in the bbq.

Tada! じゃじゃーん!
In the warm summer weather it was able to maintain a  100 liter bath at  33C 
with some effort and minimal use of wood, perhaps 8 arm-sized pieces.

It would go as high as 55C with the water at a trickle and 
the fire not too high.  The hose is rated to 60C so no problem there.

Can easily hold either side of the copper pipe safely.

The problem is flow.  It will make 2 liters per minute at 33-38C, 
or enough for a warm shower easily.
(A weak shower at home uses about 3 liters per minute)

A good  bath would need 38C+ for cold weather to maintain the tub temperature.
Next I plan to put the coil into a pile of bricks configured
as a  rocket stove. Or directly into the
firepit in the backyard.  That should solve the flow problem.
We have our old insulated tub that is bigger and will
make a nice 露天風呂 rotenburo, or outdoor bath
overlooking the creek.

excitement in the village


  1. That there critter under the rather shrivelled looking frog is a fire-bellied newt, I believe. Taiyo could tell you the Japanese name, but he's out. Probably catching them right now!

    I guess the potatoes just had too much nutrition coming out of the compost. Doesn't that just feed the leaves and not encourage the plant to feel it needs to develop tubers? Or is it just sweet potatoes that react like that?

    Similarly, I have pumpkins and tomatoes growing out of my compost pile. So far so good......

    My biggest haul of spuds was from the smallest, mankiest chunks that I planted. One old spud I found at the back of the veggie shelf, cut in two and put in the ground in the exact same way as the others. I reaped a massive 2100g off 90g! That's a 26 times return. Right next to it, same preparations, I got just 3 - 5 times return. Go figure!

    How big are those salamanders? T and I REALLY want to see one of them. Look after them for us, til our next visit, eh?

    Talking of which - I hope you get that brilliant rotenburo idea sorted before we come down again. That'll be soooooo cool.

    Hope you continue to enjoy your rainless summer. We're burnt to frazzles up here, but doing well.....

  2. got it: imori

  3. Thanks for the names on the wildlife. Good job on your potatoes. I think you're right about the rich compost overfeeding. That salamander in the river was about a foot and a half, they get to almost 3 I believe, I've seen some 2 footers with heads the size of your open hand. I should have the rotenburo worked out for your next visit, have to make it midsummer for giant salamander safari though, take care, john