I’m planning to take a post a photo of this paddy rice field every month for the next year. I hope this will give you a better idea of how the seasons change in Laos and how rice is grown. Usually people plant rice at the beginning of the rainy season, in May or June. Then the rice grows until October or November when it is dry and ready to be harvested. When the rice is planted, the fields are full of water, maybe 6 inches deep, but by the end of the rice season, the fields are dry. In Laos all of this is done by hand, so it’s a lot of work, although some families do have threshing machines for processing rice after the harvest.
So now we’re at the beginning of the dry season and everyone is harvesting their rice. James co-workers are busy in the fields when they’re not at work. Our house helper has taken the week off to harvest upland rice with her family. A friend invited us to harvest rice with her family this Saturday, but that’s already a busy day for us. I’d like to help sometime though so that I can better understand what harvesting is like. I’ve heard it’s really hard work. I have a feeling I wouldn’t actually be much help having never done it before!
In the picture at the top, you can see that some of the rice has already been cut on the right side of the photo. It’s put in bundles and laid on top of the rice stems. After the field has been cut, the harvesters will collect the rice into a large stack until they thresh the rice to get the grains out (usually with a machine). I hope I can get a picture of a rice stack.
Here you can see people harvesting (you may need to click on the picture to see it bigger):