Minneapolis MobileAfter much preparation and seed-mixing, spring planting was over in the short space of a few (long) days and fingers were crossed for good weather (subsequent weather: torrential rain). Kiska and the kids have been growing (physically and developmentally) in leaps and bounds, and there have been some new additions to the animals in the form of turkey and chicken chicks. The idea is that they will form self-sustaining flocks that can be used for eggs and meat – kid #3, as usual, has some thought on foodstuffs:

We don’t chew on people, but we do chew on drinks. And food. But we don’t chew on cups.

There also appears to be some confusion about the difference between food and colour:

Kid #3: The bowl is white! And the spoon is white too.
Me: The spoon is silver.
Kid #3: Silver? Or spinach?

Post-cultivationCo-Op disker (1)

Co-Op disker (2)Evening planting

Union demonstration (4)This weekend was decidedly our last chance to see cherry blossoms in their ideal state, and so we made it a point to visit Yeouido Park near the National Assembly building (where the Korean government hold policy-deciding fights) in Seoul. We wandered up from the subway station, following the hordes of couples on dates and families on outings, and before too long stumbled upon a demonstration (they’re usually either here, at City Hall or outside the main palace). Amy ascertained that it was for the construction and traffic workers unions, but we couldn’t quite figure out what policy(ies) they were steamed up about. People generally need very little incitement to demonstrate over here, so we’ll probably never know.

Leaving the unions and police behind, we skirted the National Assembly and made our way down to the river to join the throngs walking under the blooming trees. As expected, the place was oppressively crowded and we made our escape shortly after arriving.

There was an ulterior motive to leaving a little earlier than the blossoms warranted, which was getting down to Yongin in time to set up the barbecues for Amy’s missile launch party. Somehow, we had survived the North Korean missile test launch and needed little excuse to celebrate both averted disaster and the warmer weather. A whole host of Yongin expats laboured up the steep steps to the gazebo we’d selected as being the best spot, and we grilled whatever we had to hand, unfortunately omitting the planned fireworks.

Union demonstration (1)Union demonstration (2)

Union demonstration (3)Yeouido jultagi

YeouidoAmy was awoken on Sunday by a text message from the person who’d adopted Cobe, saying that she wasn’t able to adopt her and she’d be round in a few hours. While this meant that I could hang out with Cobe again (great!), it meant a lot more work for Amy taking care of her and finding a new adopter, and also prevented her from going on Sunday’s shelter trip. I took the trip out to Asan, though (made decidedly difficult by the stations refusing to sell me train tickets in both directions), and arrived just in time to see the annual vaccinations wrapped up and a consequent temporary prohibition on walks. I contented myself with the distribution of treats (wearing gloves just in case any dogs were resentful of being jabbed with needles) and hurried back to Yongin to play with a newly-shorn Cobe.

Spring at Ewha (5)Every spring, flora across the entire Korean peninsula erupt in a storm of colour and scent, and mobile networks crash as everyone starts taking photographs of themselves among the blossoms and sending them to their friends. As this will be my last year over here, I made it a point to take some pictures on the Ewha campus and investigate just how close my lens can focus.

Blossoms open at different times depending on the climate, but there’s usually a window of about a fortnight when the blooms are open – after that, it rains petals for a few days and then everything is covered in a green carpet until the autumn. I estimate that we have another week or so here in Seoul to enjoy the floral atmosphere, and with that in mind I’ll be going to Yeouido at the weekend.

Spring at Ewha (1)Ewha tiger

Spring at Ewha (2)Spring at Ewha (3)

Spring at Ewha (8)Spring at Ewha (4)

Spring at Ewha (6)Ewha Primary School blossoms

Spring at Ewha (7)Spring at Ewha (9)