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