For Payton
and Deona


Connecting Mandarin and English,
          Chinese and American,
                    people with people

Life after Guilin
(October 3, 2008) (return to Homepage)
     About 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 weather:
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.

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