Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Battle against Pheasant Attack!

‘Nature’ includes everything around you – the sky, mountains, trees, insects, microorganisms, animals and yourself. Each one of us carries out our usual conduct at our own level in order purely to survive. The relations between each level in the hierarchy can be symbiotic or harmful when we single out and consider specific events. This year, most of us in Tsukushi Farm experienced one such harmful relation – to be specific, a pheasant attack.

I planted soybeans in late May. Round green buds pushed shyly up from the soil and happily faced the sunshine for the first time. Between this moment until proper leaves began to grow, a matter of a mere day or two, our friends the birds stealthily approached the baby sprouts and gobbled all the buds. I reluctantly planted more beans. This time, I instituted strips everywhere at ten centimeters above the soil, so that the birds will not be able to peck the buds so easily. Sadly, all gone within a week.

When more than ten people suffered the same damage at the ravaging beaks of the insolent birds, the farm manager finally raised his concern. By not preventing the pheasant attack, our farm was becoming their feeding place. Joyful paradise, an all you can eat bean buffet restaurant, which is not at all natural.

My countermeasure was to put up a hemp cloth around the furrow. Pheasants usually approach by walking, not by flying, but in case they tried to dive from above, I spread the strips over the top. Mission accomplished. Both my soybeans and adzuki beans were now protected from the aggressive pheasant onslaught.

Some other members put out mesh to cover the entire ridge, and one day someone found a half dead baby pheasant trapped in it. She rescued the bird from the net, with remorse. We’re unsure whether it survived when we freed it. For the majority of us, growing vegetables is just a hobby. Is it really necessarily to risk other animal lives?

Producing food is a serious matter for all living things so we should approach with an earnest and responsive attitude. Nature is not always a gentle and beautiful harmony. Farmers in Japan are constantly battling against birds, boar, deer, monkeys and raccoons.

Is it really necessarily to risk other animal lives?

I know my answer.











Gary said...

Satoko-sama! You are suffering the classic dilemma of the Japanese farmer. In Kurosawa's classic "7 Samurai" the villagers have to decide whether to continue harvesting their crops for nothing, knowing the bandits will come to steal their crops, or employ defensive tactics to protect themselves and their crops. They choose to defend themselves by employing the samurai. In this case, the pheasants are in the role of the bandits - even the baby ones! - and you have the same choice as the villagers. At the end of the film, the message is that the warriors always lose and the mild mannered peasants always win. However, they have to become warriors themselves in order to save their crops... if you watch the film again, i think it will confirm your opinion

Sacchan said...

Dear Gary,

Very interesting insight.

Perhaps the person with a lot is the last survivor if you abandon pride, prejudice, authority etc in any phases of human history? At least we can observe certain patterns.

At a personal level, I should go back to my starting point. Why shizennou? I will watch the film again.

Gary said...


Sacchan said...

Gary-san, The real battle seems to have begun up in the North then...Awako and I will make clear territorial claims on the land against our potential aggressor who only attacks vegetables. (The goat is a terrible coward so I should send her to training school first.)

Gary said...

Another strong believer in the right of the farmer to defend his crops...

Sacchan said...

...Awako is not yet trained as a sniffer-goat.