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Entries in Wudong (16)


Sleeping Dog

Slow pan around the Miao village of Wudong (see Wudong) in Guizhou, China. I filmed this mid-morning when everyone was out working in their fields. Village was mostly abandoned. Good time for a dog to get some sleep. 



Miao still life from the village of Wudong in Guizhou, China (2010). 


The Web at Wudong

This magnificent spider web is on the gate, just before the bridge, at the main entrance to the Miao village of Wudong. People walk by it all day long, glancing up, then continuing on their way. No one bothers it. Nice metaphor for Wudong. A web of complex interactions, cultural norms, and government policies woven carefully together into something very beautiful. 


Going to Work

The day that we were trudging up the hill behind Xijiang (see Xijiang Landscape) in the rain to get to the forest to layout a transect, a lot of other folks were also walking up that hill to get to work. The first image shows a man with baskets (for forage) and a hoe; the second shows a farmer with his sickle and minimalist wooden scabbard on his way to harvest rice. [NOTE: I was the only one breathing hard - and occasionally stopping to take photos - as we climbed].


This little guy stuck his head out of the window of his house as I walked by.  Luckily, I had my camera out. The construction of this house is different from that commonly employed in Wudong (see No Nails and Sawmill for Hire). Although framed with Cunninghamia poles, the walls are brick covered with sheets of Cunninghamia bark. Gives a nice texture. 



There were three carpenters working inside the new house being built in Wudong (see Sawmill for Hire). One of the craftsmen is shown above squaring-up a cut for a window frame.

The other two workers are shown in the video clip below. The man on the left is planing a board with a combination table saw and planer. No gloves, no goggles, no ear plugs - but he apparently has all of his fingers. The man on the right is ripping a board with a handsaw for use as a wall panel. All three were friendly and clearly knew very well what they were doing. [NOTE: That's Mr. Yang Chenghua, the botanist from the Guizhou Forestry Academy, who walks in smiling at the end of the video. Mr. Yang is always smiling].


Nice Backyard


A shot of the backyard of one of the houses in Wudong. A good illustration of the blending of forestry and agricultural activities.  From left to right: (1) a stockpile of squared Cunninghamia logs to be cut into boards for repairs or for building a new house, (2) a stack of pole-sized firewood, (3) several rows of corn hanging to dry; this will be fed to the pigs, (4) a pile of Cunninghamia boards (with bag of laundry detergent on top), and (5) some roundwood (in the foreground) to be used - for something. And everything extremely neat and orderly. The yard is swept clean.


First Plot

Field crew lays out the rope for the first plot in the household-use forest transect in Wudong. It is drizzling rain. From left to right: Mr. Yang Chinghua, botanist from the Ghizhou Forest Academy; Yin Jin and Zhiyao Lu, Master's students from Minzu University in Beijing; and Mr. Yu Yong Fu from the Leigongshan Nature Reserve. The transect was a bit steep and slippery in spots, but we counted 81 Cuninghamia lanceolata trees, a few Castanea sequinii stems, and some Prunus sp. The crew did a great job. [NOTE: Mark Ashton and I worked the left and right side of the line (respectively) measuring diameters].


Sawmill for Hire

When you are building a house, you need some way to turn Cunninghamia lanceolata trees into boards. Not everyone has the means to do this.  In the Miao village of Wudong (see Miao Still Life and Miao Decor), there is one man (shown below) who has a portable sawmill and who will set it up behind the house you are building and make boards for you. He designed and built the decidedly simple sawmill himself.  He works on about three houses/year, and does jobs in several different villages in the area. [NOTE: The rough, dimension stock he cuts is carefully planed and fitted by the crew of carpenters working inside the house].


Counting the Rings

Mark Ashton (left), Morris K. Jesup Professor of Silviculture at Yale, and Yang Chenghua (right), botanist at the Guizhou Forestry Academy, count the rings on a large cross section of Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook to estimate its age and growth rate.  This valuable timber species, known locally as "shamu", is used by the Miao to build their houses (see Miao Still Life) and it is widely planted and managed in local forests. We spent the day in the drizzling rain running inventory transects in the forests outside of Wudong to quantify the density and size-class structure of Cunninghamia trees. [NOTE: We got soaked - but we finished 2,000 m² of transects. A good day].