The Little Man on the Great Wall: Mathias

Marie and Phanna choose China as the last stop of their world-round trip, along with their son Mathias, who was only 8 months old when they left Canada. Phanna wishes to find a job as a pilot in Asia, while Marie wants to have a hostel for backpackers. Mathias probably won’t hope for anything but milk and sleep. Every morning Marie would take little naked Mathias to have a shower. After breakfast they would go to the Great Wall. The great Chairman Mao once said one must get on the Great Wall before you can call him a man. And now Mathias becomes a real man when he is only ten months old.
He is growing teeth. That’s why his saliva is everywhere.

This is our first met.

Here is a picture on Marie’s blog. The little real man.

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Farming Under the Great Wall

It’s said that chives should be planted about the sunset, therefore we took out the seed at half past four in the afternoon and got some soil from our own farmland then started to plant chives.
After setting the soil into the flowerpot, we loose the soil with a shovel, and then watered the soil. Finally we spread chive seeds into the flowerpot and covered them with some soft soil. Mission complete. All we have to do now is waiting for the seeds to sprout. I, Yuanyuan and Ivan each has one, which is labeled, of our own, to see whose will be better. I wonder how long it will take to taste my own chives.
This is the picture of us working with the planting.


Oh, I suddenly remember that we have many flower seeds, like Ocimum Basilicum, Sweet Basil, Italy Peppermint, clmatis hybridas, Four Leafs Clover, etc. If any of you is interested in flowers, come and plant those together.
After planting the chives, it came to me that we still hadn’t organize our farmland yet. The local residents’ plants have already become green now. So we borrowed some tools to plough the farm.
There are still roots of corns remaining in the field. So we have to dig them out and then plough the soil. We dug into 20 cm to get the deep soil up and supply our plants nutrition. This reminds me of a theory that one should leave the farm field to rehabilitate. And that is what we are going to do.
The crunching tiger great wall which is indistinct in the far away is already over 600 years’ old, and even our own yard has a history of more than one hundred years. We just plough on the farm field with a long story.

Look at us working there with different tools. a couple of days later it will be a scene of green.
I haven’t been in the farmland for several years, so this kind of work really exhausts me. Yuan’n has never even seen this before. So she harrowed here and there and saying interesting. And we just had rest when we were tired.

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The History of the Great Wall

The Chinese were already familiar with the techniques of wall-building by the time of the Spring and Autumn Period, which began around the 8th century BC. During the Warring States Period from the 5th century BC to 221 BC, the states of Qin, Wei, Zhao, Qi, Yan and Zhongshan all constructed extensive fortifications to defend their own borders. Built to withstand the attack of small arms such as swords and spears, these walls were made mostly by stamping earth and gravel between board frames.
Qin Shi Huang conquered all opposing states and unified China in 221 BC, establishing the Qin Dynasty. Intending to impose centralized rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he ordered the destruction of the wall sections that divided his empire along the former state borders. To protect the empire against intrusions by the Xiongnu people from the north, he ordered the building of a new wall to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire’s new northern frontier. Transporting the large quantity of materials required for construction was difficult, so builders always tried to use local resources. Stones from the mountains were used over mountain ranges, while rammed earth was used for construction in the plains. There are no surviving historical records indicating the exact length and course of the Qin Dynasty walls. Most of the ancient walls have eroded away over the centuries, and very few sections remain today. Later, the Han, Sui, Northern and Jin dynasties all repaired, rebuilt, or expanded sections of the Great Wall at great cost to defend themselves against northern invaders. It is estimated that over 1 million workers died building the wall. The Great Wall concept was revived again during the Ming Dynasty, following the Ming army’s defeat by the Oirats in the Battle of Tumu in 1449. The Ming had failed to gain a clear upper-hand over the Manchurian and Mongolian tribes after successive battles, and the long-drawn conflict was taking a toll on the empire. The Ming adopted a new strategy to keep the nomadic tribes out by constructing walls along the northern border of China. Acknowledging the Mongol control established in the Ordos Desert, the wall followed the desert’s southern edge instead of incorporating the bend of the Huang He.
Unlike the earlier Qin fortifications, the Ming construction was stronger and more elaborate due to the use of bricks and stone instead of rammed earth. As Mongol raids continued periodically over the years, the Ming devoted considerable resources to repair and reinforce the walls. Sections near the Ming capital of Beijing were especially strong.
During the 1440s–1460s, the Ming also built a so-called “Liaodong Wall”. Similar in function to the Great Wall (whose extension, in a sense, it was), but more basic in construction, the Liaodong Wall enclosed the agricultural heartland of the Liaodong province, protecting it against potential incursions by Jurched-Mongol Oriyanghan from the northwest and the Jianzhou Jurchens from the north. While stones and tiles were used in some parts of the Liaodong Wall, most of it was in fact simply an earth dike with moats on both sides.
Towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, the Great Wall helped defend the empire against the Manchu invasions that began around 1600. Under the military command of Yuan Chonghuan, the Ming army held off the Manchus at the heavily fortified Shanhaiguan pass, preventing the Manchus from entering the Chinese heartland. The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, when the gates at Shanhaiguan were opened by Wu Sangui, a Ming border general who disliked the activities of rulers of the Shun Dynasty. The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and defeated the newly founded Shun Dynasty and remaining Ming resistance, to establish the Qing Dynasty.
In 2009, an additional 290 km (180 mi) of previously undetected portions of the wall, built during the Ming Dynasty, were discovered. The newly discovered sections range from the Hushan mountains in the northern Liaoning province, to Jiayuguan in western Gansu province. The sections had been submerged over time by sandstorms which moved across the arid region.
Under Qing rule, China’s borders extended beyond the walls and Mongolia was annexed into the empire, so construction and repairs on the Great Wall were discontinued.

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