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Reflections from the Farm

During the weekend of October 11-12th, 2014, members of the ISC’s KHEP (Korean History, Economics, and History Program) team traveled to Sangju in Gyeongsangbukdo for a weekend of volunteer farming work with 승곡농촌체험마을 (the Seunggok Farming Experience Village), an organic farming village. Throughout the weekend, members harvested pears, red peppers, perilla, and buckwheat, as well as conversed with members of the Korean Peasants League and the Korean Women Peasants Association. Below are their reflections on the weekend experience:


The Privilege of Having Korean In-Laws

Having fairly conservative-minded Korean in-laws can be extremely frustrating, but I do sometimes forget the tremendous privilege it is to have a Korean side to my family.  It is an cultural experience every time I go and see them and gives me a great insight into a very traditional and rural Korean psyche.  On top of this, they really are genuine people and very kind to me.  I often feel very guilty about the amount of complaining I do.  Our differences cause a fair amount of problems, but their cause is nobody's fault, we just have ingrained cultural issues with one another that are not easily fixed.


Mosquito control for the region

The Korea Times has an article describing efforts to reduce mosquito numbers.  The main effort shown in photos is the use of pesticide fogging machines.

Newcomers to Korea are often horrified seeing children playing in the fog.  It looks fun and adults don’t seem to mind.  I don’t know what compounds are used but I can’t imagine that it is healthy.  R. Elgin at the Marmot’s Hole is particularly bothered by it: 1,2, ah, just follow the results of this search.  I’ve written about my distaste for it, too: 1, 2.


First planting for rice in 2012

I have discussed farming, and rice farming in particular, on this blog many times but am posting this as an actual log or journal entry.  In Gangwondo, I kept track of the first snowfall through my seven years in residence there and the record became more interesting as more data points were added.

On May 9th of 2010, I was involved in the first planting of rice. This year, it was may 5th, although there was more to do after we left.


The dinosaur museum in Goseong (and more)

Hi there!  Long time, no read.

I attempted the Nanowrimo project last month (the goal is to write 50,000 words- a novel – in one month) and didn’t get very far.  Still, that was the number one thing I was to do, so if I wasnt doing it, I couldn’t do things lower on the list either.

Anyway, I’m back.

December third was our wedding anniversary so like any middle-aged couple with a child, we did child-friendly stuff.  Heck, we all loved the dinosaur museum!

I sure didn’t love the trip to the museum.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve been suffering from headaches occurring roughly every other day.  First, I went to a dentist but he found no problems.  Then I went to a hospital and I learned my cold has progressed to sinusitis and the infection in a sinus cavity has been causing my headaches.


Late October at the Farm

 

Six photos from a recent weekend at the farm.

First up are some persimmons.  I think they are on a broken branch so they have ripened faster than the other in the grove.  The next two show family digging caterpillars and worms out of the cabbage.  Man, from I saw in those cabbage, wash them before you eat!  The fourth pic is of a frog that must have been slacking as they were letting the caterpillars in. Tsk, Tsk.


Headlice isn’t so bad.


 My students often tell me they eat ‘lice’.

You can see a stroller in the background.  I think the reason Korean grandmothers love becoming grandmothers is that they will soon get a handy cart to carry their stuff.


That was a lot of rain!

I spent Saturday, a day of hellacious rain, at a hospital in Kimhae visiting with my Father-in-law.  He is home now; I’m not sure how serious his health problems were and don’t intend to discuss them here.

Anyway, in the evening, we drove through much deep water to Chinyoung, spent the night with in-laws and went to the farm house on Sunday morning.

At the house, we found this guy, and three others lose.How much rain do you need to have your home infested with eels?  I never did learn the actual reason for the eels, but we thought perhaps the mother-in-law bought them to make Chueotang (eel soup) with and some escaped.


Riverpark in Hwamyeong Dong

 

 

I visited North District, Busan last week and found a wonderful little river park. I particularly like the natural setting in this picture framed by the clear evidence of the city around it.

The water looked clear and clean and I guess it could come from the mountain in the background so maybe it is.  Hmm, by the reasoning I just used here, this river winding through a city may be cleaner than one going through farmland.

The bird below was very close to some middle school girls and I thought for a long time that it was a statue.  Then a girl threw stones at it and it flew away, only to return to the same spot.


Call me Indy

It is remarkable what sorts of pottery shards you can find in farmers fields.

Here are two shots of one piece I found:

I have to admit that I don’t know how old this find is.  I’ve watched my wife step on or over several others like it over the years.  I guess if it is recent, it is trash – the value comes with age.

Well, this one below might have immediate value.  I have no idea how it got there:


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