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Monday, November 11, 2013

Harvest, Take 2: Apple Picking

The banner says Handong University Guest House Welcome (Western)
On the first Saturday of November, we went apple-picking with about 50 other expats to an orchard about an hour away. Someone had a connection to the Christian owner, who brings his truck to campus on Wednesdays to sell apples (3 for 1000 won - about a dollar). It's kind of a big deal here to identify your business with either Christian or Buddhist symbols, and we're happy to support (a) Christians and (b) wonder-mazing-tastic apples, which are similar in taste, texture, and juiciness to Jazz or Braeburns.  Mr. Apple man (I do not know his name) seemed happy to have us, perhaps in part because the kids were so excited and in part because he got government funding for educating foreigners, which paid for the cool welcome banner and our lunch.

The trees seem almost espaliered (thinking of you, Diane R);
small grafted trunks, few branches, huge harvest

The irrigation system nurtures every tree.

David, the casual apple picker.  

Each family brought their own carefully-picked apples to the barn then
learned that they would all be mixed together and sorted by weight
(the apples, that is, not the families).
Oh.  Right.  Communal culture.  

David helps load apples onto the sorting machine..

Mr. Apple Man shows the sorting bins - the little conveyor at the top
carries each apple and rolls it into the right slot by weight 

The kids have a great time predicting where each apple will fall.
(That's Elisabeth at the end.)
The Price Chart: different rates for different weights.
The Korean-looking woman here are, respectively from left to right,
Korean-Canadian, Korean-Californian, and Korean-Korean
(Boyeon is Nick's teaching assistant and good friend to ex-pats).

One of the men at the barn set up a grill (like an upside-down wok)
to fry fat strips of bacon for our lunch.  Several women cut up the bacon
with scissors (very common cooking implement) and made rice,
soup, fruit salad (with hard-boiled quail eggs & mayo),
and several items I could not identify.

After lunch, most of the kids headed to the stream to throw rocks and get wet and normal kid stuff; checked out the black goat (Sam enjoyed comparing his beard to the goat's) and the chickens.  It was wonderful to be out in the countryside on a gorgeous fall day in the mountains with the leaves turning color.

David and Elisabeth are not yet very wet.
Nick is way, way too close to this garden spider for my comfort.  I don't
even like looking at the picture.  Give me a snake or toad any day.

Shy goat.  Nice beard.

What a lovely day to pick apples; Sam even got the camera away
from me and snuck (sneaked? be-sneakered?) this one.

Sam and Nick are finally ready to head home. 

Harvest Time: Rice and Radishes

Just off campus, looking west toward Hyeunghae.
I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated with the rice fields here. Maybe they recall the softly-blowing winter wheat of my Michigan childhood. Or because I had romantic visions of peasants toiling happily in terraced fields. Or because I'm kind of bored. At any rate, they (the fields, not the peasants) are almost all harvested now, and I loved seeing the process. Here are some pictures of the season-end.
Short-grain Korean rice, like grass gone wild. 

It's not uncommon to see fields go right up to the road (Chilpo-ri).

Checking the harvest with pearls on cracked me up (Hyeunghae).
Hand-harvesting with a scythe and tying the bundles together with rice stems.  Note the gloves and arm sleeves; her over-sized visor was sitting nearby. (Photo credit: Ray Lantinga)

Hand cut and tied, drying in the sun.  Most fields are cut by machine, but
a small section by the road/ramp is cut by hand to give the machine room
to enter the field.
Rice harvester tipping off the road into the field. (photo credit: Ray Lantinga)

Rice harvesting - grain is collected and stems left to dry in the field
for later baling.  (Photo credit: Ray Lantinga)

Off-loading the rice into huge sacks on a truck.

Big bags o' rice designed to be hauled about via forklift.
Sometimes we saw tarps in people's dooryards with rice
drying in the sun, but I didn't get any pictures. 
A rice elevator.

A wee rice stem (stalk? straw?) baler.
Wee rice stem/stalk/straw bales.  We wonder if this is used for the
rare cattle/livestock we've seen.

Some rice stems get baled into huge rolls, similar to Iowa corn stalks.
The land looks sort of sad and abandoned now with all these naked fields.  I look forward to spring rice planting - I missed that part of the cycle since we arrived here in May.  But we also got to see some radish harvesting last week in a field behind campus. These giant radishes (about 12" long) are like potatoes - not spicy like the red American ones.  They are commonly sliced and pickled; the leaves are used in soups.
Korean radishes (photo credit: Ray Lantinga)
Harvesting melee: ajeemas pick the radishes, slice off the tops, and bag them.
The men bring the bags to the truck and up the hill for boxing.  And stand around shouting at the women. 

Bags o'radishes, just harvested.  You can still see the sliced greens
along the ground.
Radish greens, which I suspect were given to the picker-ajeemas for their
souping pleasure.  I love that they used Costco bags for such a
traditional ingredient.

We also got to pick apples and see plenty of squid harvesting - but enough for today's blog.  :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Signs of the Times (and the Koreans)

This snowman cracks me up. 
I've been collecting more Korean signs and logos that need sharing.  Here are assorted pictures with comments that may or may not explain what these are about.

Part of a sign about upcoming sales at Lotte,  a premiere department store.

Ah, the boldness of medical marketing.  From Costco in Daegu
(about 75 miles from Pohang).

I hadn't previously  realized the importance of beef sexing for
your average meat customer.

From a Costco bread display.  I would like to believe this is a bad
translation of "wheat germ."

In case you wondered just how much weight you would lose while admiring
the fall colors and waterfalls at Bogyeongsa.

I can't decide how many of these to buy for Christmas presents,
just because I can.  (Jukdo Market, Pohang)

Some people must appreciate the soothing, pre-printed meditations  on their plastic dressers (E-mart in Hyeunghae).

For those of us wondering what to call this big old pane of glass
being installed in the Seoul subway.

Happy sentiments from your friendly dry cleaners.

Um, no.  Really.  Keep your flatus to yourself, please. 

This says Korean Moms Career Day.  But the pictures suggests
a McDonald's match-making service. 

POSCO is one of the very biggest steel makers in the entire world.  But this sign raises some question about its mission.  Or its marketing team.
On a prominent sign at Bukbu welcoming all the foreign nationals
in Pohang.  Sorry, Rwanda. 

On the front door of The Sunshine Hotel which appears to be
a prominent "business" or "love" hotel.   Perhaps the American song lyric plus
a weird old English poem are intended to draw an international clientele.

Not really sure what was intended here, but I appreciate the warning.

We're not sure what we sell, but it's pretty good. 

Despite the confusion about what kind of food they serve, it was fantastic.
(I'd call it French/Korean fusion, at Mom & Sons restaurant.)

One of my favorite Korean knock-offs of North Face brand.  

Yet more Korean knock-offs.

And who wouldn't like their shoe philosophy
printed right on their slipper?

Not sure what message they were going for here.
Nothing like freaking out the kids with a creepy message on their trash can.