Thursday, January 28, 2010

Harvesting Rice:

Rice sheaves

This is rice harvesting season in Trang--so naturally we had to go out and harvest some.

The rice we harvested today was planted in August. In the South of Thailand where we are, there's only one rice planting/harvest. The North manages to get two.

We were each given a sharp little knife to cut the stalks. You hold the blade a certain way, twist a stalk of rice around it and slice through the stalk. This is done in a bent over position that soon convinces you that you don't want to do this for a living.

Rich farmers lease big blue machines to do most of the backbreaking work. Not-so-rich and/or smaller farmers (the majority) harvest all of the rice by hand with the whole family and every friend whose arm they can twist pitching in.

I was able to cut and collect three stalks to every fifteen or so the experienced woman I was working with collected.

I cannot imagine spending a whole day in the hot sun doing this. We were exhausted after about 20 minutes.

The rice stalks are tied together in a bunch so they can be hung and dried before the kernals of rice are separated from the husks.

After all our hard work, we were only too happy to pile back into the van and go home and eat--what else?


Rice fields stretching away to the horizon--just waiting for us.

Tying up the sheaves of rice

A bull shared the rice field with us.

Told you this is backbreaking work! (As Gerry demonstrates.)

The women who do this work are really something. They evoke my greatest admiration. And they were so kind and gracious to show us "farangs" how it's done!

The rice we harvested today--probably not even enough to feed us all at dinner.


  1. Ooh, looks like you're having WAY too much fun! Performing hard labor for food doesn't sound right. However, it would be a good excuse to get another one of those fancy massages.

  2. doesnt that look like fun! (well...maybe not.) at least you got to eat it! you will never look at rice the same again.