In the years these pictures were taken motorised ploughs were rare. An ox has many merits: it feeds itself freely as it goes so requiring no cash, neighbours can co-operate in ensuring constant free replacements, and it can be eaten on retirement This page is based on walks around the edge of the town of Tĩnh Gia. Other pages have already shown something of its market, and more pages about other aspects are to follow. These pictures are all taken in a way which shows the edges of the town, as these peripherals are composed of the houses with more ground around them, the effect is to show an impressively verdant community, rather more so than might be experienced by a visitor to the town. The fields, which run up to the properties that abut them, follow the rhythms of this area, blessed with a rich soil, copious rain, and enough heat to allow two harvests per year. Rice is still the dominant crop, but vegetables, sweet corn and ground nuts have their seasons. Workers seen in these fields are mostly the owners or part of their family, and mostly women. Treed gardens on the west of the town meet the fields directly Ground nuts in the foreground, sweet corn beyond Everywhere water is plentiful The east side of the town, seen here,
is less treed
Ducks like these make use of the ponds, and seem, rather miraculously, not to destroy the field crops
The commonest water bird kept for eating,
in this part of the country...
...is of a size which is a little large to be called a duck, but small for a goose
This channel brings water to the local fields
The same channel - dry in winter
The water comes from a reservoir some ten kilometres distant, controlled by a series of gates and sluices
The fields in late autumn and early winter lie...
...waterlogged waiting for planting the new paddy
Ploughing is assisted with animal power, but the planting out of the slim paddy seedlings involves unmitigated backbreaking human labour. And, while not exclusively so, this is predominantly female labour. Some farmers do sow the seeds directly where they are to grow, so saving this replanting, but that is considered a little eccentric by most people
Two weeks and the fields become a tight green patchwork
Contrasting fields of young sweet corn
Paddy. The green of which is used much as we use the word 'orange', to signify a particular shade. The differences in the colour of these photos stems mostly from the degree of cloud cover.
The plots of land are owned by different households,
some plant vegetables...
...but for most people paddy is still
the main harvest
Cattle tend to move slowly un-goaded, so the walks to and from work are leisurely
This chap is taking a break, grazing while waiting to pull the cart - as seen below. His harness lies on the ground behind him
Back to work. A number of points seem of interest, the man driving the cart is wearing a woman's hat which is uncommon, his bare feet are also not so common, and the sit-up-and-beg style bicycle was a familiar sight in the UK a hundred years ago
The road to the west at the outskirts of the town. The '9t' (weight limit) sign is a tiny central dot...
...here is that sign again, showing the road junction at which a stall has been set up...
...this kind of entrepreneurial retail is ubiquitous in Vietnam. This woman with her child will be selling mostly her own produce from the fields seen on this page
Turning to road transport of other types; this removal van appears to have washing machine, fridge, water heater, and sink on board
And here two incognito cyclists (discreetly hiding within their haystacks) precariously transport their produce from the fields
Carts provide much ordinary transport but...
...trucks are also needed for heavier loads
Just down the road (where that truck was headed) a buffalo wonders, in its gentle buffalo way, why trucks must move with such urgency
The next page of
this section takes you to the manic preparations for the massive Tết festival.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Humean Buddhism'.
Or go to the
Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
of the Mosaic Section.