The first shouts begin at 6.30am as the sun is coming up. The local rice farmers act as human scarecrows in the last weeks before harvest, shouting to scare the birds away from all the rice grains beginning to emerge from their stalks. It's a full time job from sun up to sun down.
There's a complex network of pulley ropes strung out across the fields with plastic bags and tin cans attached for noise and commotion-making. And there's even some sort of air rifle for when things get really serious and the birds have well and truly taken over. I see flocks of a hundred or more little black birds flee the scene of the crime after a shot is fired into the field.
Balinese rice is harvested only once a year, but the more common Chinese rice grains are harvested three times a year. This is my second rice harvest since I've been coming to Ubud so I went out into the fields behind our villa to see the process up close and in person.
There's a group who do the cutting of the stalks, a big group, all women in this field. They're covered from head to toe, in hats and long sleeves, long pants and gloves to keep their skin from the sun's rays. One person alone has the job of hitting bunches of the cut stalks into a collector bin lined with tarp, where the grains are shaken out out one by one. Another person then takes those grains, washes and dries them on the tarp under the sun, I've seen these tarps with drying grains on the roadside in front of houses as I scoot by.
To think this process is still completely done by hand, from cutting every single stalk in the vast and endless fields, all the way to sun drying in someone's home, it's a foreign idea to me.
You can do this walk in a real working rice paddy field too with no one around. Though note that harvest time is hard to predict and every field is planted and harvested at different times of the year. But it's still always a beautiful, quiet, serene walk, harvest or no harvest. The entrance to this path is found to the right of Mamaya Bali, go past the barrier, take the first right before the statue and follow the path all the way to the end and head out into the fields.