Connecting Mandarin and English,
Life after Guilin
(October 3, 2008) (return
the time you figure things can't get any better, they do. As a farmboy and
farmgirl from farm country, we've been very curious about farming and particualrly
rice growing in China. The overnight trip to Gulin was essentially dark
so the highlight of the trip this morning is seeing the countryside through
which we traveled for 14-16 hours. And the view included just about every
stage of rice farming you might expect. Actually most of it was the mature
plants moving through the harvesting process.
The very flat fields, terraced if the terrain
is not river bottom, are covered with tall green plants. As they approach
harvest they yellow as do other grains. We see workers in the fields, no
tractors or other machinery, cutting the stalks and laying they in uniform
rows. They are then bound and set up to remain off the ground and to dry.
In wheat country we called these bundles and shocks. We have not had a chance
to see the removal of the rice from the stalk, but after that process the
stalks are placed in a round pile and later burnt. We've heard that the
ashes are spread over the field. While we enjoyed these glimpses in this
farming, I fear that there remain many questions, like Do they retain their
own seed or buy anew each year? What is the markeing process? Now the green
fields are polka-dotted with uniformly spaced stubbles and periodic black
rings of ashes.
A note about today's
The shorts are gone, the
long pants and slacks are commonplace. There's even a jacket or
two. We're loving it. The day are sunny and clear, or at least as
clear as you can get in a large industrial city. The evening drop
to 60 and the days are mid 70's. Life is grand.
We're in our Nanchang home and recuperating
from traveling and from a temporary failure of good health. Also we're digging
into emails from students and preparing for students of the upcoming week.