Our newborn arrived in the coldest time of year. We'd opted to only heat the main bedroom where we all sleep, my office & the kitchen. The rest would be heated as & when we used it.
It was a pleasure to watch the seasons, although I did have concerns for how little light there was - since the sun's so much lower and we're surrounded by tall forest!
Our friend and first live-in volunteer Jun spent a lot of time working in the garden this winter and spring.
The garden beside the house leads steeply downhill to a large forested area and the drains around the house along the ground perimeter had been directing a lot of water to where we'd dug up trees. This was pooling in heavy rains and raised concerns as warned by Arnie as a possible cause of landslides during earthquakes if left to continue.
So we used our trusty digger to make channels inclined downwards to exit on the steep incline into a dried up stream.
We then laid 150mm extra strong pipe,with inspection covers in the unlikely event blockage should ever occur.
This was filled in, leveled and tiled with waste cardboard before laying around 6 inches of compost over the top.
About 3 x 2 ton truckloads of organic compost was spread over the garden by Jun, especially in the areas we would be growing food.
He also learnt to trim & prune trees. Here he's doing his first job on a persimmon tree in the driveway entrance.
Snow fell and on occasions took about a week to melt which put a stop to our work, but it was beautiful to be greeted by a bright white garden in the mornings.
This picture was taken when Mark & Faithy's kids stayed behind to look after Arina. Despite their age differences with our little girl, they have a lot of fun together.
We also had the Takagi family visit us before they moved from Noda (Chiba) to Kyushu main Island.
Very sweet people, who used to be landlords for a house we rented, but became friends after we vacated!
They gave us some beautifully framed Japanese caligraphy, one of which we have hung in our entrance.
Some of the others we intend display as we complete the remaining detail work on rooms.