For my own future reference: 2012, October 4. This is what the rice field looks like.
A week and a half or so I went out to harvest the mochi rice, which is in the field to the right of the road (left side of photo). It took me three days of 3 hours / day to cut, bundle and hang on the rack to dry. (not including setting up the racks and carrying all the poles and racks.)
The small field to the left/top of the road was done Sept.29 with help from a group of Australian high-school students who came for three days.
A typhoon came and we didn’t bother going into the field for a few days. We did, however spend half a day to borrow a “binder” machine to harvest, bundle and bind the rice. I finally used it today, Oct 4th, in the afternoon. The morning was spent carrying and setting up the drying racks.
There is still more mochi to harvest, which we should do sooner than later, because it matures faster than the koshihikari, but it is the furthest field, and that creates a mental barrier.
Based on today’s time, it will take four more sunny days to complete the majority, especially since the further the field gets, the more time I spend just walking back and forth with bundles of rice, adding lots of “wasted” time.
Once most of the rice is on the rack, there are still plenty of stray stalks at the edges of the fields, or laying stranded in the middle of the field that we have to go through and collect. We may also have to go find or purchase more racks to dry the rice on, as most of ours are pretty rotted and weak.
Maybe we will be done harvesting by next week, just in time to start threshing the first harvested rice. For that we will most likely be putting each bundle into the van and driving them up to a neighbor’s garage where he has a threshing machine. Last year we did this all by hand. It was a great experience, and if any visitors come out I would love to pull out the foot-powered thresher, but are finding ourselves with less time on our hands this year so seeing as how we have already had the experience, I think we will opt for the quick modern methods.
And so, today, after I take Mona to the bus stop and answer a few emails, I will be off to the rice field to do some odds and ends, set up racks, pick up loose rice stalks from the ground, etc. until the morning dew dries and I can start harvesting and bundling again.