Saturday, 7 July 2007

Rice Planting

How long is it since you last played with mud?

The feel of muddy soil in a paddy is completely different from the one found in a vegetable garden. When you place your flat palm on the smooth surface of mud, you can feel the warmth of the sun. Sink both hands in a little deeper. The temperature is surprisingly low underneath. Dirt creeps under fingernails. I sigh to think about the business meeting on Monday. I will need to conceal my black finger nails from clients. But you cannot resist the slinky texture of the mud. Both hands are gently covered by black mud and the touch of it brings me straight back to the vivid memory of childhood, making miso soup and rice balls after rain, not caring about my mud-stained dress.

Step 1 - divide the paddy into a rectangular shape 20cm by 40cm, using jute string.
Step 2 - cut weeds and roots where you are to plant seedlings.
Step 3 - plant one seedling in each space.

In a Shizen-nou paddy, we allow more space for seedlings to grow. You could have crammed more than three times the number of seedlings into the same space, but the yield of rice grains per seedling is far less if you do. Use about 20 seedlings for each line transplanted, then move to the next line. Cut weeds, then plant seedlings. The repetitive work continues, but the procedure becomes more natural to you.

It is difficult to describe how nice beer tastes after toil in the field!

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