On April 20th the sixth solar term called Grain Rain began. This originally marked the time when the early crops showed their shoots. In early spring the green of new rice shoots is a brilliant color and very beautiful. My most brilliant green is probably the leaves on the lilac bushes. The lawn is still sketchy, except of course for the crabgrass, which is not only a healthy dark green but a good four to six inches higher than the rest. I am slowly winning the war against the crabgrass. I have no issue with crabgrass personally. However, the lawn Nazi down at city hall, whose career consists of monitoring lawn heights, will deliver a nastygram if I fail to maintain my lawn to standards only otherwise found on Marine Corps haircuts. So rather than be an obedient zombie and spend a third of my life repeatedly mowing, the crabgrass is slowly being dug out so I mow less often.
Rice paddies are still more work but I think I would rather have them than useless lawn. I eat a lot of rice and land is too precious to be wasted. At least we have been getting a decent spring rain. Best of all, it’s a day or so at a time with sunny days in between and the humidity is kept low. The window of comfortable weather here is small and the cats and I are enjoying it. The allergic symptoms that Simba, Dolly and Mi Sun were all having have disappeared. I am sure the winter dampness was producing mold down in the scary, Stephen King movie crawlspace and it was getting in the duct work.
In this solar term, gǔ yǔ, the pentads first, 萍始生, ‘Duckweed begins to sprout.’ You might wonder why this would be something significant enough to mention but duckweed is quite a useful and remarkable plant in spite of it’s humble structure and appearance. As it’s name implies, it is a valuable food for waterfowl, for one thing. The second pentad is 鳴鳩拂其羽, ‘The turtle dove brushes off it’s feathers.’ I found this translated in a way that made no sense, so I did my own translation. I think the original translator could not identify what was brushing what as I has a bit of trouble finding the the proper name of the bird. In the Japanese naming of the pentads the phrase is 霜止出苗?, ‘Frost ends, rice seedlings begin to grow, but even here I had to tweak the translation. The last pentad is for the Chinese 戴勝降于桑, ‘Cuckoo perches in mulberry trees’. There are no cuckoos or mulberry trees in my yard., although I would welcome them both. For me, once again the Japanese version applies much better 牡丹華?), ‘Peony blooms’. I do have peonies and I can see the buds forming now. It will only be a few days util the huge pink blooms brighten my front garden beds and my life.
We have had a busy week as taxes were due, Simba had a vet appointment, the laptop acted up again and the truck has an intermittent fault which make it reluctant to start and I had to drive into the city keeping my fingers crossed and the motor running for every stop except refueling. But the weekend looks to be a good one and the UPS driver delivered the Go Pro Friday. The box was not crushed, B & H had plastered it with warnings about containing a lithium ion battery, and I assume the UPS handlers did not want an explosion. I wonder if I could get more labels like that printed to protect my other packages. Hopefully future posts will have some of my very own photos in addition to those of old reliable standby Morguefile.com. I intend to try out getting pictures of the cats whether they like it or not. At least the Go Pro will help me be more stealthy, something needed with camera shy cats.