Rice Harvest

I have had the luxury of spending this Sunday afternoon editing and processing my images from Viet Nam. Something about this moment and this trip, and I am relishing each moment with these images in a way that I haven’t in a while. I have slowed down, taking my time, experimenting, and reliving the experiences of being there. There is such a variety from gritty Hanoi street photography, market scenes, life in the hill towns, and even a few landscapes. 

One of the thrills of this trip, was that we were smack-dab in the middle of the rice harvest. Long treks up hills and through valleys were rewarded by being able to spend time in the field with the families harvesting their rice.

The top image shows many stages of the rice harvest, a corn field, and even a small vegetable garden. The yellow areas of this field, are ripe, ready-to-harvest rice. The family is cutting the rice and laying it down in large bunches on top of the cut stalks. After a couple of days, it will be dry enough to collect and thresh. In this field, there are large patches that have been completely harvested, patches that look to have been cut a few days ago, patches in the process of being cut, and patches not cut at all. The area of green around the little storage hut is probably a patch of sticky rice. We were told that leaves of the sticky rice plant grow taller than the rice stalks, so even if it were ripe, the yellow rice grains would not be visible. With regular rice, it is the opposite.

The little hut in the image is used for storage and is raised to keep anything in there from getting wet. Behind the hut is a patch of corn. Feed-corn is grown for the animals: water buffalo, pigs, and chickens. I think that the fenced in area is a small vegetable garden. These hill town inhabitants are nearly fully self-sustaining. The rice, corn, and animals are for their family alone and there is only one rice crop per year in this area.

It was not uncommon to see mostly women in the fields doing the harvesting, with one or two men to do the heaviest lifting once a large amount of rice or rice stalks have been collected. We spent quite some time with these folks watching them work the fields.

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