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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Harvest Feast

In the world of the pagan folk, harvest feasts and festivals -- a time to celebrate nature's bounty and our hard work, to give thanks for what is and to petition the Gods for their continued blessings -- come more often.  Not surprising, I guess, considering that much of the focus of this path is on nature and the natural year.

Traditionally, at this time of the summer, there is a holiday for the "first harvest" which is focused on bread. Traditionally, or so I read, early August was when the grain harvest was begun. Honestly I am not sure about that, as when I lived in wheat growing country, in various locations in the US, I seem to remember the harvest beginning a bit later in the month and possibly going well into September. However it is, the tradition was codified by the Christian church into Lammas (in which a loaf of bread was blessed) and is also often referred to as Lughnasadh.

Not being a follower of any of those traditions, I just call it "first harvest" and use it as a time to be thankful for what my fields and flocks have provided me here on my four acres, and to reflect and plan a bit for the next year's efforts.

This year I have much to be thankful for! Despite ongoing tractor follies and, of late, increase pain and discomfort from the ol' knees, this is the first year since we landed her that I have been able to serve a harvest meal all but totally based in food grown on these lands! I say "all but" for the fact that we do not make the vinegar or oil required for mayonnaise. 

In fact, not only our supper, but also our breakfast will come from the farm. We will shortly break our fast with a dish of new potatoes -- three varieties, dug yesterday -- fried with onions rescued from a swerve of the tractor/tiller two days past and eggs from our hens and ducks.  The single mature duck has resumed laying after a rest, hopefully to soon be accompanied by her three young companions.

Red Rangers, center, with Amerucana left and RI Red right.
Supper will feature the "first harvest" of our Red Ranger meat birds, potato salad which will include boiled egg, onion, green pepper and cucumber also grown here and that mayo that requires off-farm ingredients as well as a small picking of green peas and a salad made from bountiful cucumbers, accompanied by onions and green peppers as well. I shall toast the Gods and the harvest with a glass of my dandelion wine, and offer a portion of the supper to the land (likely to be consumed by the fowl) and a bit of wine to the wights. I will give thanks for the abundant harvest of veggies and meat, both eaten and to come, and for the constant interest in my hex signs and flow of orders.

Four small outdoor hex signs,  in various stages of completion.
Also on the schedule for today: I will be completing three small outdoor hex signs to ship tomorrow. Another is done, just waiting for it's unique ID to be written on the back, holes drilled for mounting, and to be packaged. There are still more in the queue, so hopefully I shall get at least one more outside one drawn and the fabric stretched for several indoor ones. I had actually considered dropping them from the offerings, as I had not had an order for but one over the past many months... but then came orders for 4, so they shall stay. Despite not being a lucrative line, I do wish to offer them as an option, to keep my work available to those (like me) for whom a $70 art purchase is not in the budget. As soon as I can find time to include it on the website, I shall be offering an option to finance purchases over $100 also... a little incentive for the upcoming holiday gift-giving season.

Regardless of my recent difficulty walking on the rough, uneven ground I am so thankful to be here, now, doing all that I do.