G'day from Gifu

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tataminodani
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Post by tataminodani »

Hello everyone, :greetings-waveyellow:

I am pretty happy to find a like minded group.

I am an Australian who has been in Japan for over 17 years now. Most of that in Nisshin, Aichi, but the last 5 here just over the border in Tajimi, Gifu.

Our current house has a nice big Japanese garden, with a small veggie patch, but I am in the midst of trying to secure ~4k sqm of farm land up the road a bit near Nakatsugawa. So I have the dreaded 農業員会 approval process coming up :?

I grew up with a fair bit of farm life and lots of relatives had farms so I had always intended to get back into it one day. Thanks to a recent health scare (false alarm thankfully) combined with the ever increasing price of food I realised that I was running low on time if I ever wanted to follow up on the dream. So here we are.

The new block is 1k house land, and 3x ~1k sqm fields. There is also a ??k sqm woodlot of attached forest but they don't have a clear measurement on that yet. I am a permaculture/organic buff so I am hoping to use the fields for: 1x vegetables, 1x grains and 1x food forest. I have a bunch of perennials at my current place I will propagate over and am collecting some trees, shrubs and seeds ready to go for if/when I get the place.

The house is over 100years and while in poor condition for the most part (I fell through the kitchen floor :lol: ) the frame still seems solid and only one roof leak so it should be salvageable. Once I get the bats, carpenter bees and hornets out at least... :think:

I got lucky and found a nice, almost new table saw and router table at the second hand tool place yesterday, so they will get a good workout at the new place (The heavens and the 農業員会 willing :handgestures-fingerscrossed: ).

I am looking forward to receiving and sharing lots of good ideas and advice. よろしくお願いします :bow-yellow:

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Zasso Nouka
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hi tataminodani and welcome to the forum. We appreciate you taking the time to sign up, thank you.

Good to hear the health scare was a false alarm but I imagine it was quite stressful until that had been cleared up and perhaps the silver lining was concentrating your thoughts on the future.

We'll have a fingers crossed you get the necessary approval, it seems so variable from area to area which is quite bizarre but that's Japan for you.

Sounds like you have quite a bit of DIY ahead, are you going to do it all yourself or spread the load with some builders?

There's nothing quite like enjoying your own homegrown veg, we hardly ever buy vegetables these days. Unless we really fancy something we can't grow.

Talking of bats, one project we might try this winter is making some bat boxes to encourage more bats around the house. The design seems quite simple and apparently they eat huge amounts of insects which is a plus. Perhaps you would consider making a few such boxes to accommodate the bates moving out of your house :lol:

tataminodani
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Post by tataminodani »

Cheers for the welcome and the finger crossing,

There was indeed a fair bit of stress involved in the couple of weeks between the annual health check and the follow up check.

But the benefit was it forced me to pull my head out of the day-to-day drag and reevaluate everything and make some good changes.

I will do most of the DIY on the house myself. I renovated a lot of places with my parents and several myself, so while I wouldn't pretend to be a builder I do know which end of the hammer to hold. Power, gas and water will go to the pros though.

I don't intend to make it back into a liveable house, more of a shed and rest area, so I am not too fussed on the quality.

There is a newer building on the block (was a home bar and library for the former owner) which is in worse shape than the main house so I will have that pulled down and replace it with a new house at some point to be our retirement home (only in our late 40s so still some time to organise that). That will all be お任せ to a builder.

Homegrown veges are the best. My kids turned into tomato and cucumber connoisseurs because of my home growns. They complain about the bland shop ones.

I just need to get them to try some of the more obscure stuff I am growing. Right now it's just me nibbling on them when I work. :lol:

Re bat houses - that is my exact plan, and the bees too. I want them around my place, just not in my place. I will hang some bat boxes and insect houses on the outside of the nearby Kura and shed and gently coax them out with gradually increasing volume of annoying sounds, lights and smelly plants.

One bat can eat hundreds of mosquitos a night apparently. If so then :dance: for that. They can stay as long as they like (as long as it's outside).

I am not super keen on the carpenter bees, but hey pollinators are pollinators and if they keep out of my important wood I won't stop them.

I will also be hanging up bird houses along the forest edge of the fields eventually.

The Suzumebachi are jerks and can go get [expletived] though. I can tolerate paper wasps because I heard they eat caterpillars and aren't too aggressive if you don't mess with them, but not Suzis.

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

If you have the skills and tools it's quite nice doing the restoration yourself, do keep us up to date with any work you do. I quite enjoy plastering, it's surprisingly soothing layering the plaster onto a wall and working it to a smooth finish although ceilings can be a bit messy :lol:

I can understand not wanting suzemebachi around if you have kids, not worth taking the risk of a swarm going after a child but they do eat a lot of insects.

Bird houses sound like a good idea, we were thinking of putting up a sparrow hotel. Seem quite easy to put together and they are quite cute little birds.

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Post by tataminodani »

oh I learnt quite a bit when I tried plastering for myself for the first time. It it very different to paint.

The biggest takeaway was to always do a single wall all at once, don't do the usual paint thing of detail out special places (windows, power fittings etc) then go back and do the wall. The dry detail plaster will fight with the new wet plaster and make a mess of the joins...
[looks at the walls in the room he is currently in and nods solemnly]

I have no doubt the suzies eat a ton, but yeah we have 3 kids so I would like them gone. We get enough at our current house as it is. Had 2 soccer ball sized nests that cost us a few ¥万 to get removed and several smaller ones I did myself at night.

There were 4 big nests (already empty thankfully) at the new place so they like the area apparently.

If you have a link to some good bird house plans I'd love to take a look. I was just going to make stereotypical ones but I love trying new ideas out.

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

The first wall I plastered looked hideous :oops: but once you get the hang of it it is incredibly satisfying getting a nice smooth finish with the final polish.

I'll try and find the site that had plans for bird and bat boxes, looks like I didn't bookmark it :doh: . Maybe we should have a thread with links to plans and pictures of what folk are making ?

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Post by tataminodani »

Can't be any more hideous than mine!

I keep eyeing off the うまくぬれる! plaster at the hardware store and thinking ot give that a try instead of the hand mixed stuff.

A new thread for animal boxes would be great.

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Post by gonbechan »

we (or should i say Senor Gonbe) used this...
His first time.. and he said it was a doddle.. the results are awesome. But be sure to prime the walls with akudome before you put the plaster on.
Oh and .. the only crawling insects we see in the house..usually we find them dead in a day or so if they have been on the walls.. its the diatomaceous earth that does them in.

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Post by gonbechan »

the difference.. with just one coat (white) on the poofie old green...

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

tataminodani wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2023 9:05 am
Can't be any more hideous than mine!

I keep eyeing off the うまくぬれる! plaster at the hardware store and thinking ot give that a try instead of the hand mixed stuff.
Gonbechan go some quite impressive results the premixed plaster that comes in buckets and it helps kill insects with it a massive bonus when living in the countryside.
tataminodani wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2023 9:05 am
A new thread for animal boxes would be great.
Please do start a thread and we can add in the plans for a chicken house, beehives and any other plans folk have.