The farmer's wife was there too (supervising I suppose...), and she told me a little about rice-planting when she was young. It was all done by hand then, and the people planting the rice would sing songs as they worked. She said that there was a lot more rain at this time of year years ago, and that people wore capes made of woven rice straw to keep them dry. Nowadays a lot of the fields around here are not being used and are just full of weeds, but in the past, when all the fields were being planted, there was often a shortage of water apparently. The farmer's wife told me that people used to sit guard by the irrigation canals overnight, to make sure than no-one was taking water out of turn, and that water was (a long time ago) the cause of more than one fight around here!
Meanwhile Mrs A was spotted filling in odd spots by hand: