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2024 the year of the dragon, the year of transition

Happy New Year! 2023 seemed to be the year of changes, bringing with it many new trials and hard decisions that are not always easy. Since starting my farm in 2011 in Mukaishima, I originally set out a goal of trying to be as self sufficient as possible. I feel as if I have achieved that to some extent, as all of my produce and water come from the farm. Electricity, meat, and heat are areas that we have explored but have not been able to fully create, utilize, and maintain. I think 2024 could be a good time to focus on these areas more and more.

I hope to improve my off-grid electric system, but it will require a great reworking of the entire system, and when I see my panels I often think of how much more we could be utilizing them. For meat, we did process two sheep last year(a hard but necessary decision) and most likely will be doing the same in the fall of this year. We also plan to harvest the roosters this weekend as the neighbors have started complaining about the noise. In terms of heating, I am looking into replacing my wood stove and am currently passing through this mild winter underneath the heated table and cozying up in my down sleeping bag at night.

At the end of 2023, I fell and tore the ligaments in my elbow. I am going through weekly rehabilitation and through the help my dear friends I have been slowly recovering. This injury has given me time to think and reassess my work on the farm. The limitations of the human body through injury and the mental strain of seeing all the things you want to do but physically are unable to means that it is naturally a time to slow down and call on others for help and support. I had prepared and seeded many crops prior to this injury and now thinking of what to do through the spring and summer seasons. Asking myself whether or not I will be able to plant and harvest for customers this year or whether I should sell my produce are questions that linger.

Since the year of the dragon is my zodiac and year I have hoped to find some strength and more balance in this year. In terms of transition, I am thinking that teaching, finishing my research at Hiroshima University, and returning to self sufficiency should be my goals for the year. This will require some deal of discipline and effort and for that I will need to be patient and reflect more and more on what is most important. At the start of the year, I also participated in the Fire Walking event at Saikokuji in Onomichi. Starting the year our walking barefoot across fire seems like a great symbolism for the new year. If one has already walked through fire within the first week of 2024 then one surely can pass through the trials that will come.


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