So far this year we've had rain at least once a week, often more, interspersed with sunny days. This has been most beneficial for growing.
Today I was in charge of my own lunch, so I took my little basket into the garden and picked myself a 'sallet'. I had 'asparagus lettuce' which is a fantastically productive cut-and-come-again variety. I planted three, and we've eaten vast bowl-fulls of it for weeks now. I also cut some peppery nasturtium leaves (which the rest of my family refuse to eat for their own irrational reasons), and some Italian parsley. The first tomatoes had ripened and not split open in the rain, so I got a few of those. I had already plucked my first couple of cucumbers and they were in the fridge. I chopped one of the onions that had failed to grow into a proper one. These are often the object of unkind comments when first brought in from the garden, but for adding a certain je ne sais quoi to a salad, they have their uses. I must say I felt a little bit twee photographing my wicker basket while thinking hey-nonny-nonny things about 'sallets', but the first pickings of summer are very satisfying nonetheless.
Other good things include a pumpkin, an aubergine, and some peppers. These formed the basis of a nice early summer curry this evening. Either the pumpkin isn't a very flavoursome variety, or I just failed to feed it the right things, but it was little on the bland side. I'm hoping that my American heirloom sugar pumpkin will be more tasty. It's coming along a storm. And this year, I'm doing a better job of controlling the weeds (nothing clever, just more time spent picking them), so I'm definitely expecting good things.
One of several firsts this year was garlic. My friend assured me, "Even an idiot can grow garlic", and he was right. Each little clove miraculously turned into a bulb, without much more than mulch and a bit of weeding. The 'farmer's shelter' thoughtfully by our builder Hidaka-san really comes into its own for curing garlic.
The rice paddies are now mostly flooded and the rice seedling have been planted. The frogs are making an absolutely stunning racket, especially at night. Sunsets in the spring are not generally very photogenic, but the hotter weather is bringing something a bit more interesting to look at.
I heard today that Kadota-san of Khome's, who we asked to make a plan for our house, has died in a car accident. This is very sad news. Kadota-san was a talented architect, and a charming person. He will be missed by many people.