Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Harvest 2017 - Threshing

With three of the five steps in our yearly rice harvest cycle completed (cutting the rice from all but the top of the stalks; drying and tying small bundles of upper rice stalks; and transporting the bundles to one central pile, stacked), it was now time to don my rice harvesting attire: long pants, socks, sneakers, long sleeve shirt, hat, gloves and a t-shirt as mask.

Silly Falang that I am, I used to take part in the threshing at our farms with only shorts, sneakers, socks, and gloves on. Not only did this expose me overly much to the sun, but it also opened my skin up to a good deal of itching and my respiratory system susceptible to particulate matter. I learned, after too many years of this, to dress up like Kon Thai (Thai people).

While the bundled rice on rice stalks had lain on the ground at our 9 rai rice farm, Thip and I acted as security for the potential harvest. It is not unheard of to have bandits raid unattended fields, once bundling has taken place or especially when piles are made and there’s no one around.

As more and more family from even distant areas gathered at the farm for the final push, there was a fair amount of food preparation and clean-up performed as crews piled all the rice bundles in a stack in preparation for the thresher. I estimated the bundles to be over 1,000, but that’s just a guess (took two people all day, several days before, to bundle them all).

Thresher and crew are hired and they get a percentage of the take (10%). Family and friends assist, doing as much and more than the thresher crew.

After it’s done, there’s a beer and lao khao (rice whiskey) break, right there in the field next to the thresher and the bagged rice.

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