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Notes on the Geography of 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.

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China: Weihe Plain picture 1

You have to hunt for a rock in the deep beds of windblown silt, or loess.

China: Weihe Plain picture 2

Erosion has produced stepped landscapes in the soft material.

China: Weihe Plain picture 3

Active streams trench it deeply.

China: Weihe Plain picture 4

Brick-makers dig it and create their own steps or levels in the plateau surface.

China: Weihe Plain picture 5

Bricks drying.

China: Weihe Plain picture 6

Where level, the countryside often looks like a garden. 

China: Weihe Plain picture 7

The average holding is about an acre.

China: Weihe Plain picture 8

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.

China: Weihe Plain picture 9

Tombs dot a threshing ground.

China: Weihe Plain picture 10

Typically, they face southward.

China: Weihe Plain picture 11

Where would a peasant like to stay more for eternity than on his land?

China: Weihe Plain picture 12

There's no shortage of farm labor.

China: Weihe Plain picture 13

Wheat is the chief winter crop, rotated with cotton.

China: Weihe Plain picture 14

A roller for threshing.

China: Weihe Plain picture 15

Winnowing.

China: Weihe Plain picture 16

Plenty more where that came from.

China: Weihe Plain picture 17

An artisan rake.

China: Weihe Plain picture 18

Highways come in handy, too, and not just for transport. The grain is about to be spread out like a blanket on the road.

China: Weihe Plain picture 19

Traffic is impeded, and drivers complain, but the farmers persist.

China: Weihe Plain picture 20

It becomes pretty daunting, if you're driving a car.

China: Weihe Plain picture 21

In a few hours, however, the farmers can separate the chaff from the grain.

China: Weihe Plain picture 22

Custom combining is becoming very popular, however.  Too popular: the owners of the combines complain that they can't make any money because the price for their services has fallen so low.

China: Weihe Plain picture 23

Qianxian truck stop.

China: Weihe Plain picture 24

What changes will they see in this countryside in their lifetimes?


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