Unique producing customs
The economy of Suis is typical paddy-planting farming in hillside field. As early as 150 years ago, paddy field covered 80% of the cultivated area in settlements of the Suis. The Sui peasants are still keeping some special customs in agricultural producing. From the present angle of green agriculture now, some methods are worth using for reference and popularizing.
Collecting and spreading manure: Sui peasants use farm chemical and chemical fertilizer now, but the malpractice of high cost and pollution is obvious. For increasing and using more farm manure, the Sui peasants still adopt generally the method of stepping on manure with cattle to collect manure. They raise farm cattle in fold when cattle rest, put green grass left over by cattle in the fold, put some soil to pad the fold at the right moment, and let the cattle mix the dung, grass and soil together to make compost.
Raking tools: the purpose of raking is to smash the mud lumps in field, rake the soil level, let the paddy grow in loose soil and get water evenly. What is special is that the peasants use "boat rake" and "wooden rake" to rake field. "Boat rake" is a wooden boat-shaped rake of about 1 meter long. The bottom of the "boat" is flat with wooden or bamboo teeth installed below. If it is pulled by people, soil or stones are put in the "boat" to press; if it is pulled by cattle, a person stand in it to control. Stone rake is a rectangle stone piece the both edges of which are drilled a hole for tying rope to draw, and there are rough carved lines below. The main function of the stone rake is not raking but making the field flat.
Irrigating: irrigation of the Sui region benefits from natural conditions. They build small reservoirs in valleys above paddy fields or build river dams to save water, and dig ditch to channel water for irrigation, or draw spring and stream water to the field to irrigate. Old water-promoting installations, such as tube wheel and turning wheel (dragon bone wheel), are used in places where fields are higher than water.
"Huolutou" producing custom widely spread over the Sui region. "Huolutou" is local dialect of the Hans which means "the leader of farming" "translated" into standard Chinese pronunciation. Important farm work in Sui villages, such as ploughing field, raising rice seedlings, transplanting rice seedlings, harvesting, etc, should only be done after the "Huolutou" starts to work. When farming season comes, the "Huolutou" chooses a lucky day and holds simple rites. He symbolically ploughs a ridge of field, transplants several stems of rice seedlings, or cuts some bundles of paddy, and others can begin to do the same work in their contracted fields. This kind of custom has at least two meanings: one is their emphasis to agricultural producing; the other one is that the "Huolutou" is skilled at growing crops. His experience of grasping farming season according to weather is scientific to a certain degree, and people can have good harvest following him.
There is clear devision of labor according to gender in the agricultural producing of the Suis. The tradition is "women don't plough and men don't transplant rice seedlings", and anyone who violates the rule would suffer from reproach. In the past, women in families lack of labor force disguised as men and ploughed field at night. Men plough fields and reinforce ridges. These physical labors need much effort, and they need to struggle hard in mud and water, so it is really difficult for women. This doesn't mean that women are not hard when transplanting rice seedlings, cutting rice seedlings and carrying rice. Let alone other parts of the body, it seems that the waist is "going to break".
After generations of diligent work, the Sui people deck out the chain of mountains where they live which are like phoenix. The terraced fields with clear ripples, the gardens with fruit hanging heavy on the trees, the pile wooden buildings one on top of another, the trees piled of green leaves, the streams flowing happily, all these are like bright and beautiful feather of phoenix. The beautiful scenery of the mountian area, the rural scenery, the smell of soil, the beauty of nature, and the unsophisticated affection resonate together with the flourishing of cities which plays a movement of the age of our great motherland.
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