Village Rice Harvest


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One of the things I really like about Kathmandu is how quickly you can get out of the city.  In about thirty minutes you are out of the maze of chaotic streets. After 40 minutes, you are in the countryside.  It makes a day trip easy, and you don’t have to worry about endless hours in traffic like we did in Manila.

I like the closeness to country life that is still evident here.  I like seeing how food comes to the table.  In Nepal most activities are still handled manually.  All around you can see the seasons and routines, and how everything harvested has a function to feed people, animals, or fuel fires.

Our recent trip to Sankhu was just a 45 minute drive and we stayed at a small cottage with views out across the rice paddies.

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The bedroom/kitchen/living space of our little cottage

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Looking out across the rice paddies at different stages of the harvest

From our ringside seat, the views across the valley were of farmers bringing in the rice crop. Its a family team affair with at least one person cutting down the tall rice stalks, another shaking the grain on to a hessian cloth, and another tying the stripped stalks into bundles.

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The tied bundles of rice straw are then layed out across raised mounds of dirt to dry in the sun. The dirt mounds and furrows are actually planted potatoes that are already in the ground waiting for the rice crop to vacate. Unfortunately, the rain stayed a little late this year and this farmer’s work lies drenched in the flooding. A reminder that farming is risky business.

Once they bundles are dried out they are piled in haystacks, and eventually brought inside for storage.

Haystacks

Haystacks seemed to be a form of self expression. We saw quite a few different techniques!

Towards the end of the day, farmers gathered up the rice grains from the burlap sheets to put into sacks for transportation. But the final task beforehand was to toss piles of grain in the air to remove some of the husks, dust and dirt. Only then could he fill the sacks and carry them home for the day. We saw a mechanized version of the grain cleaning while we walked through the village:

cleaning rice grains

Same idea, but with a little help from electricity (when its working). Grains fall in front of a spinning fan, which blows away husk debris. The “aired” grains pile up on the plastic sheet, waiting to be bagged.

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This farmer got a head start on his potatoes.  The  potato crop is already on its way.

Its a lot of very hard work and risky business. Watching the harvest come in gives you a whole new level of respect for a simple bowl of rice.

One thought on “Village Rice Harvest

  1. Pleased your enjoyed your time out of the city. Very ingeniuos use of their small plots of land with the crop rotation of rice and potatoes. Loved the photos.

    Like

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