You really come to appreciate something more when you realize how much has to come together to bring you what you take for granted.
Whole grains seem like such a simple commodity and yet the overall process is a great orchestrated production, which includes Heavens’ cooperation.
My niece just returned from an 18 month mission to Thailand. She ate lots and lots of rice, especially for breakfast, and totally fell in love with it--even after finding gnats in it! One of her many wonderful experiences was ‘getting’ to harvesting rice---an incredibly labor intensive process.
First, the rice stalks have to be cut, and at just the right time, too. If the plants are too old, they are droopy and much harder to cut. According to my niece, it was ‘a million degrees’, but all the harvesters were made to wear coats and hats so they wouldn’t get burned or cut by the rather rough stalks. Or killed by the others swinging sickles, maybe.
The next step is to separate the rice from the rest of the stalk, the most strenuous work she’s ever done (and she’s done a lot of hard things, like 50 mile backpacking in 135 degree heat...a story for another day). She took bundles of rice stalks and whacked them feverishly against a wooden grate, to make the rice fall out. For each stalk, she had to hit it 7 or more times. After several hours, in "million degree heat", so hot, so tired, there was only a small pile of rice!
My niece observed, “Wow. So much work for so little rice. And I think about how much rice this country eats; I love rice and eat it twice a day, everyday. I will never ever throw away a single piece of rice ever again.”