How about taking an afternoon walk with Choco and me through the Nikko countryside? Although we live in a residential area, just a few steps beyond the forest there is a lot of "country" out there that I just love.
Part way through our walk I came across a "chicken coop" of slightly free range "chickens". I don't think these are really chickens but they were very friendly and came right up to the fence to say hello to Choco. Choco, who is supposed to be a bird dog, did not like meeting the feathered creatures face to face and bolted in the other direction.
Sort of pretty aren't they? I think this is an indigenous breed to China that can now be found in Japan. Maybe called ukokko... I don't know what they are called in English. Callie, any idea?
Some jr. high school boys were just coming home from school. They are probably on the baseball team since school is still on winter break. Notice they all wear the same gym clothes, the same wind breaker, the same backpack and the same helmets and bicycles.
Because the leaves are off the trees we can see the very large cemetery that is near our house. Usually the forest hides this enough so that we hardly notice it is there.
A hill peeking through the forest.
A farm house with the ever present white pickup truck (I don't know why they always are white) and a rice field in the front yard.
I peered into a barn and caught the attention of one of the dairy cows. Choco hates the cows though they take quite an interest in her. She has the same coloring!
A stop sign. It says "Stop completely. Check thoroughly."
Bales of hay waiting to be used. In spring just after the hay has been cut, these white bales dot the fields. That shack they are sitting under looks about ready to fall down. I have picked up pieces of siding and roofing from the street when a heavy wind has ravaged this shack a bit more.
A river weaves through all the fields and there are little streams that make even more of a watery web. Japan has a lot of water. Sometimes there are herons wading in this river but none on this day.
In the distance a huge pig farm but even though it is quite a ways away when the wind is blowing in the "right" direction we can smell it! When we moved here from the city there was a small pig farm just behind our forest and the air had a definite "farm" smell. I didn't mind at all, so fresh and outdoorsy, but English kids would come into my house holding their noses which I thought was very rude. The pig farm was cared for by a neighbor family and what a hard life that was for the mother. I would leisurely be walking my dog and she was always out there shoveling slop and manure. She was my age but passed away about 8 years ago and I often think about her when I pass the old pig farm.
Nowadays the pig farm has been rented out to another neighbor (Mrs. Yano) and her husband runs a rabbit farm. The rabbits are too cute for me to want to get to know them better but here is a picture taken through the window grill.
And this is the back of our house. Needs a little color doesn't it? Okay, a 45 minute walk and on my pedometer that adds up to about 5000 steps. That's enough exercise for today...