This year’s rice transplanting (tam nah) seemed to be the best of all I’ve had experience with. I’ve been part of about seven, now, and each year my participation levels vary, so it’s a little difficult to be entirely objective. I’m left with the impression, though, that it’s been the best since I retired here, including 2009.
By “best” I mean that it was well executed, it didn’t “drag on forever” and everyone remained upbeat throughout. A key reason for this was that -- like last year -- Sawt’s wife Nui’s family from Chaiyaphum joined us. We had more people working both farms (one after another), which made the entire job go quicker. Few outside helpers were hired, as most everyone was related in one way or another. I like that.
The way tam nah goes is this:
All rice paddies except for the seedling paddies are churned-up and leveled with the use of a mechanical buffalo and water (the seed paddies already had this done to them earlier in the season, at the time of gam kha). The seedlings are then transported to the freshly prepared paddies. Small bunches of seedlings are then pressed into the mud, by hand, keeping uniform distance. Of course, by the time the transplanters are bending over in the rice paddies, the paddy embankments have been mowed with a grass cutter (tatya) for their safety from possible snakes.
From the beginning to the end of tam nah at each farm, the family basically moves in, working, eating and resting at the farm; some even sleeping overnight.
Now that I think of it, the expanded kitchen and bathroom at 9 rai no doubt contributed to the success of the work there, too.