Travel to China: Weihe Plain
Northern Shaanxi is a very dry loess plateau, and the south has exceedingly rugged mountains. The middle, however, along the Wei River, is a major wheat and cotton producer. This is the Weihe ("Wei River") Plain, sometimes called the Guangzhong Basin. Here's a quick look.
You have to hunt for a rock in the deep beds of windblown silt, or loess.
Erosion has produced stepped landscapes in the soft material.
Active streams trench it deeply.
Brick-makers dig it and create their own steps or levels in the plateau surface.
Where level, the countryside often looks like a garden.
The average holding is about an acre.
Apples are a new and very big crop in China, which has lately become by far the world's top producer. Here, an apple orchard is being established. The farmer isn't sitting on his hands while the trees mature, however. Instead, while he waits he's planted a cornucopia of squash, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, cabbages, beans, and a strip of wheat.
Tombs dot a threshing ground.
Typically, they face southward.
Where else would a peasant prefer to stay for eternity, than on his land?
There's no shortage of farm labor.
Wheat is the chief winter crop, rotated with cotton.
A roller for threshing.
Plenty more where that came from.
An artisan rake.
Highways come in handy, too, and not just for transport. The grain is about to be spread out like a blanket on the road.
Traffic is impeded, and drivers complain, but the farmers persist.
It becomes pretty daunting, if you're driving a car.
In a few hours, however, the farmers can separate the chaff from the grain.
The future: custom combining has become very popular. Too popular: the owners of the combines complain that they can't make any money because the prices for their services have fallen so low.
Qianxian truck stop.
What changes will they see in this countryside in their lifetimes?
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