November ricing!

The harvest is in! All 7.5 kilos of it! I know it’s a laughable amount to anyone else, but it’s a big deal for us. It’s the first time we’ve managed to grow any rice. And the no-till experiment has proved successful – thanks in large part, I have to say, to unprecedented rains. This year, we got over one and a half times the usual precipitation from the south west monsoon. While everything else just lay down and died, even a couple of trees, the paddy throve.

Here are some pics.

Remember Celeste? She’s now out of a job.
First cut
Paddy on the move
Bundle of joy
Selfie of harvesters (l-r): Rajendra, Amma, Govindamma, me, Srini and Raju

You can see a video of Rajendra and Raju threshing the paddy here.

Topshe approves
Winnowing to remove the chaff
Drying in the sun next to the sad harvest of chia, which did not benefit from the excess rain

We still have to hand pound the grains to remove the husk, and then we’re told it has to be left for at least a month or two to mature – old rice is always supposed to cook better than new, which tends to turn glutinous.

We had actually been trying to get seeds of a local variety of red rice, doddaberu-nellu, which is more drought resistant. (We’re still planning to get this for next year.) Failing that, we got a Kerala rice called gandhasale, which we had never met. Turns out it smells divine, like basmati and honey. I wish I could share the smell – it just blows me away! Even the straw – which we will use for ripening mangoes in summer before passing it on to neighbouring cows.

According to Rajendra: in the old days it was said that a harvest is divided into three parts. One is for bhoomi – the earth as well as the birds and animals who help themselves to their share. One is for daanam-dharmam – charity and sharing with other humans. And only a third really belongs to the farmer. What a beautiful, kind and fair system!


47 responses to “November ricing!

  1. Thank you for the fascinating post! I learned so much. I can see that you are a gentleman farmer, and not dependent on the crops.
    Your beautiful writing suggests a professional writer, a carrier your share with your dog, and I am only half joking.


    • Thanks, Joanna. Yes, you’re right – we’re not dependent on farming for a living. Fortunately, or we’d have starved to death long ago. Also yes – I was once an editor and writer – well spotted! Topshe used to eat the computer table legs in those days, so I guess she absorbed my skills 😃
      My husband and I moved to our farm after retirement. My greatest interest is in finding out how one can make a living off the land without abusing it. There are many people who do it, and who have done it in the past. I’m handicapped by a lack of both skills and experience. But it’s a fascinating study as well as a good life.


      • Thank you for your interesting reply. I have to apologise but I don’t know your name or your husband’s. Also, I appreciate your sense of humour as I wrote to your husband – the gentlemen farmer and his writing companion the dog!

        Are there any books of yours that I could obtain? Knowing your name would help!

        As to making a living from land, here, in the UK, where Ilive, people turn whole land into a meadow full with thousands of colourful wildflowers, and have around a million visitors a year, all paying voluntary contribution. Also, the press writes and pays for the interviews and photos. There is a lot wildlife coming to live on such a land and it is greatly beneficial for the environment.

        If you could do this on your land, depending on climate, the press would write about it everywhere, and advertise the place for the visitors.

        There is something else that I could suggest. In my part 1 of the book series, I wrote about

        my beloved from childhood poet and writer R. Tagore, the first and only Indian writer awarded The

        Nobel Prize for Literature. I think that there is time for the next one as India is very prominent country, and we have of Indian descent PM. I know a young writer who has the ability to mesmerise with his writing, and once edited and published, I would know how to present his work to the Swedish panel, and perhaps get the book into the hands of our First Lady, as it would generate thousands books sales and priceless publicity.

        My question is would you be interested to be involved?

        I am looking forward to your thoughts.

        Kind regards,

        Joanna Ashbourn

        Liked by 1 person

      • A wild meadow is a wonderful idea, Joanna! I would love to do it, but it would be even more difficult than farming as the place is overrun by invasive species crowding out the native ones. Bears thinking about, though. Thanks for the suggestion!

        You can find a link to my Goodreads profile if you visit my ‘About’ page on this blog. There’s also a Contact page on the main menu where you can send me an email. Not to worry about thinking I’m a gentleman! I’m tickled that anyone should think I’m a gentle anything!

        I’m pretty out of touch with writing and editing, but I’d like to help you with your project. Let’s talk about it. Send me more details by email!


  2. “உழுதுண்டு வாழ்வாரே வாழ்வார்மற் றெல்லாம்
    தொழுதுண்டு பின்செல் பவர்.”
    “They alone live who live by agriculture; all others lead a cringing, dependent life.” – Thirukkural
    You must be super proud. 7.5 kgs of rice is a huge. I spammed my family proudly with pictures when I was able to grow a mango sapling right from the seed (I was not a kid when this happened). It didn’t even thrive and withered away, yet it felt good to see growth. Good job! Among thousand things that people plan for retirement, you and your husband chose this. Kudos. Glad to have found you through this blog. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Sadagopan! There’s a lot of satisfaction and a great sense of rightness in doing this, though of course there are also doubts like, are we delusional?

      I hope you grow many more trees, and that they all thrive!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely. 7.5 kgs is a kingly harvest for those of us gardening tomatoes in pots! Loved seeing Topshe too. Anytime you want to do dhanam-dharmam, you know where to find us! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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