Modernization tends to follow the highways so the hikes in this guidebook by taking you off the beaten track enable you to catch occasional glimpses of a traditional lifestyle that is fast disappearing elsewhere in China. I have seen grain still being crushed between the stones of large querns with a circling water buffalo turning the top stone. I have also happened upon doufu being made in a small quern with a spout where soybeans are ground by hand as water is added. Farmers slaughtering their own pigs are a common sight and if you have the time to watch the entire process, you will see the pig having his bristly hide scrapped clean in a wooden tub full of water before he is sliced up. The countryside is full of traditional farmhouses and unlike those near the highways, they rarely have modern additions of brick and ugly white tile. Bright yellow dried corn hanging from the eaves enlivens the mostly monocromatic earthen walls and clay tile roofs. Winnowing machines are also a common sight on farmhouse porches. The little boy in the photo below turns a crank that operates a fan that separates the hulled rice from the chaff. It is very rare to come across a double-acting piston bellows (below middle) which is built into a stove and when pushed in and out provides a continuous blast of air to stir the fire, but they do still exist. A good book to consult before you go is Rudolf Hommel's China at Work which has illustrations of the types of tools the Chinese were using in 1937, many of which you can still see today.