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Rice Harvesting

December 23, 2016

Up in the North East of Thailand despite the rainy season arriving late and causing a significant  reduction in rice planting this year, most of the fields that were planted have  turned from lush emerald green to golden brown and the rice is ripening in the sun. As the biggest exporter of rice in the world, this year will be a hard year for many farmers throughout Thailand as the floods in the south have destroyed many hectares/acres of planted rice. 

Sarnelli House did plant rice this year although not enough to feed the hungry hordes all year long. Finally the rice has ripened and needs harvesting. Once again the family of Sarnelli House comes out in force to harvest the rice. House mothers, the girls who work in the office, gardeners and drivers as well as any able bodied teenagers arrive on Saturday morning to the fields. They cover up well to protect their skin from tanning and begin the laborious process of cutting the rice by hand, tying it up with bamboo in bundles and carting it on the trucks for threshing.

The boys and the girls work together and there is much laughing, joking and a little complaining about who isn’t pulling their weight. Lunch halts the proceedings and the kids find some shade under a tree or beside the cars and dig into the meals prepared by Mother Wan from St Patrick’s. Then the kids climb trees or go exploring nearby until its time to start again.   

This year for the first time as time was running short for harvesting; a combine harvester was hired and completed the harvesting in a day. This was a real thrill for the kids to see and everyone gathered around to watch the efficiency of the machine.

The rice is then taken to the Sarnelli House mill situated on the 9 rai of land where the orchard grows and the rice is polished. The mill uses a lot of electricity and can cause blackouts in the village of Don Wai so the times to use the mill have to be chosen carefully so as not to inconvenience too many people. The mill is also available for the local villagers to use for their rice so everyone is able to help each other. The rice is then tied up in bags and stored at St Patrick’s for the year.

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