August 5, 2009

Rural Experience in “Ye Mo Chu”, Chashan

When I grew up in the urban city, rural experience was missing in my life. However, a day in Ye Mo Chu, Chashan fulfilled my dream…

“Time for breakfast” Ms. Li, Yu-Yan (the owner of the Ye Mo Chu Homestay, and also the former village leader of Chashan) was swinging the bamboo tubes hung outside on the tree and making noise. She told us the bamboo hanger was placed in the farm to make noise to scare away birds that may eat the fruits or plants.

“We are going to BBQ pork, fish, have farm chicken, bamboo shoots, sweet potato leaves….etc, and jelly fig for dessert for lunch” “ Of course, you all need to be dressed in the traditional Tsou attire later on” she said. Kristen and I were looking at each other, and said “This will be a fun day!”

Having a farm chicken for a table dish is the most welcomed reception for the guests. She asked me not to watch the preparation process so that it would not affect me eating the chicken later on. Kristen then joined Dennis and his cousin (both are nephews of Ms. Li and they were helping in the Ye Mo Chu during their school summer break) to clean the chicken feathers after it was boiled. Of course, I picked the easiest job which was taking pictures!(I was still watching then, ha!)

We started the fire pit by chopping some woods and putting all waste materials in it to burn, which we thought was pretty environmental. A metal BBQ plate hung on the ceiling for the Wu-Guo fish and some pork sausages was ready. The height of the plate was adjusted by tightening of loose hanger above the fire pit. The smell of the BBQ made us really hungry!

“Dennis, pick up some sweet potato leaves in the corn field” Ms. Li asked her nephew. I volunteered myself to do this task with Dennis. I started to wear a basket over my forehead to get ready to go in the field. The sun was so strong in the field and the sweat came down constantly from my forehead to my back. After 15 minutes, I could not stand the heat so I came back with an only a 1/3 full basket. After a carefully exam by Ms. Li, she was laughing and telling me: “you have picked all the older leaves, and left the younger leaves in the field!”

Dennis and his cousin needed to cut off some wild grasses in the mountain to feed the goats. We of course would like to go with them. The road to the field was bumpy and the scenery of the mountain was gorgeous. The morning air was fresh and our laughing did not stop while sitting in the back of the pick-up truck...

It’s time to make Aiyu jelly fig. Aiyu Jelly Fig trees are found easily in Taiwan. Aiyu jelly is made with the gel from the seeds of the fig.

1. Dry Aiyu fruit in the sun until they are completely dry.

2. Open the Aiyu fruit, and turn inside out. There are seeds on the inside shells.

3. Scrape the seeds with a spoon.

4. Place the seeds in a cotton cloth bag. We placed the seeds in a brand new nylon stocking.

5. Submerge the bag in the cold water and rubbed.

6. A slimy gel will be extracted from the bag of Aiyu seeds as it is squeezed and massaged. (“Washing Aiyu” in Chinese)

7. Gently rub or massage several minutes until no more yellowish color gel is extracted and then discard the content bag.

8. The washed gel is set into a jelly either in a cool place or in the refrigerator.

9. Serve the jelly with brown sugar or honey.

Here are our delicious lunch and wonderful Aiyu dessert in Ye Mo Chu.

The background music of the photo slideshow is from the album of “Shares Festival”. It is recorded by Ms. Li, Yu-Yan's group.

Please listen to a tribal song in this album-布農歌謠 while watching the photos slideshow. video

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