Nov 5, 2006

The Story of Bali Rice Field

When you have vacation in Bali, you'll probably have the chance to see the beauty of rice terraces "carved" in hilly areas of Bali. Why terraces? "Necessity is the mother of invention." To use the hilly areas, the Bali farmers have to be creative to build rice terraces so that they can plant their rice. Yet, it is effective and very beautiful to see. Rice is our staple food that we eat rice usually three times a day. And also, there is a wine made of rice called arak. Besides for everyday consumption, and the rice wine, rice is used to make variety of cakes. There are different types of rice: the white rice, the brown rice, the sticky rice, and the black rice. The white and brown are consumed every day. The sticky rice, and the black rice are only for making cakes or pudding. We grow rice normally three times a year. Each cycle last from ploughing, planting, and harvesting lasts for average four months. But sometimes, the farmer grow other plants in between. It's for crop rotation, to preserve the fertility of the soil.They usually plant peanut, sweet corn, sweet potato, and even certain type of flowers that the Balinese can use for making offerings. Ploughing is mostly done manually. Although some farmers have tractors, but most of them still do it manually. Sometimes with the help of their cows. After ploughing, they will make a seedling area to sow the seeds of rice. At the twenty fifth day, the seeds grow into little plants which then will be transplanted into the rice field one by one manually. Yep, these farmers will have back ache at the end of the day, because they bend their body to plant those little green plants into the field. Harvesting is also done by hand. Well, they use knife or scythe to cut the stems of rice. What they do with the stems? The farmers will smash them to a board that the grains will fall of off the stem. Then they will put the rice into a sack. This rice has to be dried first under the sun light before take into the "peeling machinery" to remove the husk from the grain. What happen to the stems and the remains of rice plant? you ask. Well, the farmer burn them down. The ashes from the burning provides alkaline to make the field fertile again.

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