Sunday, June 11, 2006

Rice Planting 田植え

J came home the other day and asked if we lived in the city or the country. His dad's answer was, "Well, it's kind of a city." And he may be right. When he was a kid they didn't have paved roads. Now we can (for a hefty price) enjoy McDonalds, Kentucy FC, and Baskin Robbins.

My answer leaned towards, country. There might not be a lot of farm animals around here, but we do have a good deal of vegetable gardens and many more rice fields. And I don't know about you but I never got to plant, grow, harvest and eat my own rice, all as a school project.

The picture up there on the left is all three fifth grade classes listening to the rules ("Be sure to level out the mud before you plant the seedlings, walk backwards so that your finished work is in front of you, watch out for snakes, leeches, and giant snails...see the man with the net, if you find one of the above yell for him, he'll save you.")

Here are some clumps of rice seedlings. They come in a long flat tray and you just rip off a big chunk. You plant three, four of five at a time.

J with a beard.

J with an antennae.

The kids just starting. J is there looking towards the camera. The land right in front of them is where they'll plant sweet potatoes. Come fall they'll harvest the rice and sweet potatoes at the same time; make sweet potato rice and have a little party. You can see the dude with the net in the far right behind the kids.

J pulling apart some seedlings.

And the piece de resistance! There was a group of old men and women who volunteered to help out. They were easily in their eighties and nineties. They are all rice farmers by trade and the sweetest thing was that when I spoke to a lady who also farms with them she kept shaking her head and said none of them are supposed to be in the fields, they all have back and knee problems, but they wanted to help the kids so they donned their rice planting gear and jumped in. I mean that quite literally, they are all more spry than me!

But check out the little lady in the blue bonnet on her cell phone! I bet she has a homepage too.

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