Sunday, June 20, 2010
Amber Waves of Grain
It's harvest time! Lisa's boyfriend is here from Canada, so we took him biking to see the wheat harvest outside Qufu.
Will I ever get tired of biking through the countryside and taking pictures? Probably not. Will you ever get tired of looking at those pictures on my blog? Probably. But maybe my more agriculturally minded friends will appreciate seeing some of this work done the way it's been done for centuries -- with many hands and lots of manual labor. A few families use machinery, but many seem to do most of their work by hand.
When we started our ride at 7 am, there were already tons of people out in the fields:
This machine pulled up and a dozen people crowded around to empty the wheat onto the road:
My teammates Lisa and Tarah decided to lend a hand bagging the wheat:
("Help" would be a strong word for what the foreigners were doing there.) I saw these cute girls looking on:
Here's how you harvest by hand: Grab a bunch, cut, grab another bunch, cut... until your hand is full, and then you set it on top of the unharvested wheat:
Now I will reveal my farming ignorance. The farmers put the stalks of wheat on the ground for people to walk and drive over them, thus shaking out the wheat. Is this "threshing"?
This guy seemed to be skimming the chaff off the top with his broom:
And this guy was winnowing ("winnowing"?) his grain by hand:
A man spreads out a fresh batch of wheat (which is surprisingly easy and fun to bike through):
Another glorious day in the countryside.