Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Early autumn, Aizu

Come the autumn, come the seeds, the first blush of red and brown on the mountainsides, the high grass and the rice harvest drying on the tall racks.

Bandai-san above the last unharvested rice on the plain

The temperature is sweetly comfortable, the light softening and golden towards evening which draws down with a new coolness. Time to check the heaters and sort out some extra bedding.

Pumpkins are on every step: these are ours

The garden still provides most of our vegetables - here's supper

Chestnuts are everywhere, drying on doorsteps or lying ungathered in the road, though the best ones will have fallen to the industry of the busy locals, who are out there every day. They keep the grass short under their own chestnut trees to make them easy to find when they fall, so don't take these. They - chestnuts, not the locals - are eaten roasted, steamed, or cooked with rice to make Kuri-gohan (chestnut rice). Their shining brown goodness hidden in fleshy green-spiked balls is one of the highlights of the year.

Chestnuts as they are found in the woods

Drying on a doorstep

Autumn is nearly here: above the Tadami river

Sunflower seedheads ready for harvest

Two metre high grass stooks nod like waiting courtiers....

In the court of the crimson king


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