Monday, April 24, 2017

Paying it Forward in Rice

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours,  got a little behind in his rice planting.  This man has been a great friend of ours over the last few years.  He’s helped us out in a number of ways.  He needed some help and we were glad to return the favor. So, one cold rainy day in April, my daughters and a number of their friends jumped in and went to work in the rice fields. 

Most of the planting is done with a tractor.  In a past article, (TaiwaneseTraditions: The Planting and Growing of RiceApril 4, 2011) I described the vehicle and process of rice planting.  What I didn’t mention in that article is that there are areas in the rice paddies, odd-shaped spaces where a tractor cannot go.  I guess we would call these “The Final Frontier.”  Well, maybe not, but the idea is that in order to maximize the crop yield, these odd-shaped spaces must be filled with rice seedlings.  If the tractor can’t go there, then they have to be planted by hand.

For one person, alone, this can be time consuming back breaking work, but for a group of young people with energy to burn it can be knocked out in a couple of hours.  Most of them had never worked in a rice field in their lives.  Three of them even grew up in countries where rice is not a major crop.  If I had to guess I would say that some of them have never done any “blue collar” work in their lives.  But they showed up and planted by hand and finished the job in about three hours.

I think rice fields are beautiful.  As the rice grows and fills in the spaces between seedlings there s something about them that just appeals to my sense of the beautiful.  They look like a perfectly manicured lawn.  All the grass, rice is a grass is at the same height.  It waves in the breeze, like ripples across a pond.  The color is a beautiful emerald green.  My family thinks I’m nuts, but I just appreciate the beauty in farmland, I guess. 

Other Posts You may be Interested in:

Taiwan Traditions:  The Planting and Growing of Rice
Taiwanese Traditions:  The Selling and Brewing of Tea
The Origins of Wulong Tea