Monday, September 20, 2010

Plant, Grow, Cut

Okay, it's not Eat, Pray, Love. But hey.

We have all these rice fields in our neighborhood. They make walking so much more enjoyable, not just for being pretty, but also for the loads of critters that reside (or visit) therein: frogs, egrets, wild ducks, snakes, jumbo snails, loaches, and a whole host of dragonflies. Even bats live in the strange covered earth ditches used for irrigation. I really like the bats. And the egrets. And the frogs and dragonflies (okay, you see where this is going).

Sadly, though, as the elderly folk get older and their children decide not to become farmers, more are being sold and built on. Almost every year we lose another three or four or five fields.

Here are some photos I took of the rice season as it is in our neighborhood. Plant. Grow. Cut.

Here's a field in spring (May?) flooded and newly planted.

With some purple.

And some more purple.

Then I didn't take any photos for months. The rice grew, turned a very lovely green and then tasseled in mid to late August. We had a small typhoon come through. Here's a bit of damage from that.

By the end of summer the fields turn from green to gold.

Here's some pics from this morning's walk.

Someone has starting cutting this field already.

After they cut all the rice they tie it and hang it like so.

It dries for a day or two and then comes the men with their threshing machine.

And finally we have a naked field. This is actually the same field as the first photo, just a different angle.

During the winter the fields remain bare and the kids are allowed to go in and play. We don't have any parks nearby so they become nice places to kick a soccer ball or throw a baseball. There. Useful all year long, the rice field. I hope they stop filling them in. Where will all the egrets go?


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! I will think of this when i prepare the rice for tonights meal. Thanks for sharing! Mary

Anonymous said...

What beautiful photos and a great learning experience. I had no idea that people still harvested rice by hand. Uncle in Arkansas

Frank Baron said...

Where indeed? And the frogs and the ducks and the dragonflies? I'm glad to see you have such a nice patch of nature nearby. I hope that will be the case wherever you live.

Thanks for the fascinating peek at a type of farming we just don't have here in Ontario. :)

Deidra said...

Purple! Those photos are lovely, but I especially love purple. :)

Hilary said...

Wow.. I really had no idea about rice harvesting and how cool that it's right there where you live. It's a shame that the fields are disappearing.

Kappa no He said...

Mary, thank you! Don't think about the jumbo taneshi in the rice fields though. (^-~)

Uncle J, nowadays they use these little tractors to cut the rice, but you can still find the old women with the scythes doing the corners by hand. It's really a throwback in time.

Frank, the only problem is they are little patches of nature right alongside little patches of highway and whatnot. No way I could let the Beag off his leash.

Deidra, me too! I really like the purple and green together.

Hilary, I know. Cha and I went for our long walk the other day (something we couldn't do in the too-hot summer) and saw two new houses going up. *sniff*

Victoria Dixon said...

I love the purple, but even more just watching the passing seasons. This was lovely and educational, too. ;D It's funny, but I always think of rice fields the way they look when they're planted. That's how they always look in movies. LOL. It's good knowing what they'd look like at other times.

Kappa no He said...

Victoria, now that you mention it, you're so right. In movies they're all newly planted. And I love the changing seasons too. This year though autumn has yet to make an appearance.

Mary Witzl said...

Damn it, you've made me so homesick for Japan!!

I used to love every single variation of the rice field and the slow transformation from shimmering mirror with tiny green spikes to richly verdant green to gold-green, then gold, then brown -- then the wild activity of inekari -- and finally the brown stubble of November. (Sniff)...the fields here are lovely, but there's no rice here.

Kappa no He said...

Mary, I know. When I'm feeling homesick or more correctly here-sick, I go out and look at the little bit of nature around the house, small tanbo wedged between houses, and calm down.

What kind of fields do you have there?