Harvest time happens two times each year, and it’s a critical part of our success here at the Mission. When the crops are ripe and the weather cooperates, there’s no time to waste and our older boys and male staff go to work to bring the rice or wheat in from the fields. It’s rice paddy this time around and the harvest is well underway. The combine harvester was here early in the week and cut about 25% of our crops. The rest will be brought in next week.

If you’ve never been part of a harvesting team, here’s are a few pictures to take you step by step through the process.

The combine harvester doing what it does best!

The combine harvester doing what it does best!

Once the grain has been cut the real work begins. Spread out on our kulla floor (drying floor) the grain bakes in the sun during the day. By evening it is collected into piles and covered with a tarpaulin to protect it from the overnight dew.

Sometimes the tractor is used to collect the paddy, watch out for tire tracks in your bowl of rice!

Sometimes the tractor is used to collect the paddy, watch out for tire tracks in your bowl of rice!

Shovelling thousands of kilograms of rice paddy is not for the faint-hearted!

Shovelling thousands of kilograms of rice paddy is not for the faint-hearted!

This process goes on day-in-day-out until the grain is completely dry; along the way we use a huge tractor driven fan to ‘winnor’ the paddy. During the winnowing process the paddy is poured infront of the fan, any stones/dirt accidentally picked up fall at the base of the fan, the good paddy gets blown a few feet forward and dry husks are sent flying off into the wind.

Winnowing... not the most fun you can have with a giant fan!

Winnowing… not the most fun you can have with a giant fan!

Ikindar on a pile of gold!

Ikindar on a pile of gold!

The result is huge amounts of clean, dry and almost ready to eat rice paddy! This year both our short grain and Basmati rice crops have had a decent yield; this was our first time planting Basmati. Although a good percentage of our rice does end up on our lunch table, we end up selling about 70% to help raise funds.