We bought our tickets to South Korea!! Whoo-hoo!! :-D
I was as surprised as you are now when Mike said, "Let's do it!", but I wasn't going to say no, now was I?
At the end of the month, we'll be joining a group of Big Islanders to do a Natural Farm Tour in this country that we'd never even thought about visiting before. What an opportunity! It'll be a 6-night whirlwind tour of many farms across the southern countryside, staying at little local hotels, eating traditional foods, and learning a lot more about Natural Farming.
We got interested in this all of this when we attended a Korean Natural Farming Method workshop that Rozett's, a local nursery, was hosting. Dr Hoon Park was the main speaker, and there were a couple others as well, all practicing this method here on the wet side of the Big Island - so we know it works locally. He spoke of and demonstrated various techniques for creating IMO, Indigenous Micro-Organisms, which is an integral part of Natural Farming methods. This workshop was so interesting that just about all the 60 people in attendance stayed for the entire 4 hours - and it was scheduled to be only a 1-1/2 hour class! I took over 20 pages of notes!!
One very interesting fact that was revealed is that the Big Island of Hawaii had a larger population, and was completely self-sufficient, in ancient times. Now, we are so reliant on shipping goods here that there is only a 3-day food supply in the grocery stores! That's insane! You know that I have a well-stocked pantry, good farm girl that I am, and we are learning to grow more and more of our own produce, as well as finding places to glean wild fruits from the jungle. But there is so much more we could do to make our little 1-acre farm more productive - and that's where these IMO's come in.
It's a long, involved process that I won't go into here. Suffice it to say that by increasing the micro-organisms and using them to speed up the decomposition of organic substances, we are thereby creating enzymes, and making nutrients more available to the plants. This in turn balances the ecosystem and increases the productivity of the garden. Everybody wins! It's all done with whatever natural stuff you have on hand: egg shells, old cooked rice, fish scraps, chopped sugar cane, weeds, bones, vinegar, ocean water... They all have their specific uses in Natural Farming. It's a very good compliment to the organic farming we've long done, an enhancement really, to make everybody grow that much better.
IMO is even used to keep down the smell of pigs & chickens. It's true! We visited a pig farm in Kea'au that uses this method. Even with 20 pigs, there was absolutely NO smell!! I couldn't believe it! We will be integrating this method with our chickens; in fact, one of the farms we'll visit in Korea is a chicken farm.
Back to the trip: Dr Park will act as interpreter and has made all the arrangements for our guides in Korea, the farms we'll visit, lodging, meals, transportation, etc. The l-o-n-g flight over is on Japan Airlines. We'll have our passports stamped 'for real' this time. (We begged the officer at the Canadian border to stamp them for us to commemorate our many trips across the border when we lived in Idaho; he laughed but did it anyway.)
Let the lists begin! hmmm, I need a folder for all the papers... and I better call someone to look after the chickens... and we oughta get some iodine tablets... and... and... :-D