Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday morning

Well, it's 1 November. The weather should be cooling off, and farmers should be working long hours to bring in the rice harvest. Instead, it's been raining heavily the past few days in Vientiane, starting in the early morning and continuing until mid-morning, but today it has rained all morning.

The problem is that this is the harvest season. A morning sprinkle is fine, but the heavy rain makes the rice plants break - the plants knocked down by the rain have to be cut quickly because they can't even dry when when sun comes out. The longer it rains, the more the rice is flattened. And then the rice kernels are wet and the sheaves are full of water so take more labor to carry. They are stacked in sheaves under tarps, or under the houses, with the hope the sun will come out, when people will spread out tarps on the roads and thresh the rice.

Usually, the dried rice stalks are stacked in mounds in the dried fields, with the bottoms of the stalks on the outside and the heads in the center, so they can more fully dried, and any rice kernels that drop off and collected in the middle of the rice haystack. If it rains during the night, it's not a problem; the farmer throws a tarp over the mound - but with this kind of rain, the rice can not be stacked.

What with late rains, rains that rain too much when they rain, floods and now late rains, I think this years rice crops are in trouble. At least around Vientiane.

The life of a rice farmer is not easy.

3 comments:

GMG said...

Hi Chanpheng! Glad to see you back!
Look forward to reading you at Blogtrotter, now in Armenia. Have a great week!

Marie Walden said...

Chanpheng, it seems we've both taken a little time away from blogging. Or are you writing somewhere else?

I saw rice paddies for the first time in China this summer. They are beautiful to look at. I think few farmers have an easy life. Nature is a capricious partner.

north sulawesi said...

yeah...I agree..the farmer's life is not as easy as we think..