Ready to go- got the poles, got the weather, got the ripe and ready rice:
and we're off! We did the first quarter or there about as mochi (glutenous) rice and hung this separately so we don't lose track. The stalks are longer, the heads spikier and the grains infantessimally bigger when you compare them but I don't trust my ability to tell them apart after we shuck them!
After weeks and weeks of no rain and a summer that was the driest in more than 10 years and the hottest in 30 odd years of course it absolutely bucketted rain two days before we set our harvest date so the ground was boggy and soggy but hey, what doesn't suck your boot off makes you stronger muscled right? So we ended up doing a rice harvest in strips avoiding the boggy bits till day two to try and dry them out again.
Neighbour and cofarmer W in the green, Meg and WWOOFER child holding hands and WWOOFER mum and Amy on the right. The girls had a grand old time of it and were (again) a real asset to the process. If child labour laws didn't prohibit it I would tell you that these guys are worth their weight in rice as farmers. So proud of them all!
K adjusting the binder machine. It's kind of extravagant to have bought a machine that we only use 1 1/2 days a year but the reason it is only 1 1/2 days and not a week or more is because we have the machine so I still call that a good investment!
A 4yo peaking out above the rice.
Amy with a sheaf of rice. The binder bunches, ties, and drops the rice as it goes. The girls were fantastic ast carrying the sheaves to the side of the paddy for the rest of us to hang on the drying racks.
A three person rice relay in the muddy bits. One on the binder, one catching as the rice sheaves are spat out- but before they have a chance to land in the mud- and one carrying them all. One of my students brought her two kids out to help and you have never seen such eager farm labourers. Wow! Welcome back anytime! (That's big sister in the blue)
My friend J and her family came and helped out too but I don't seem to have caught it on camera. Sorry J! You'll just have to come next year too so I can take a picture!