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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lammas Tide Comes

Once again, the wheel of the year has rolled around and the First Harvest celebration is upon us. Many folks call it Lammas and celebrate August 1. I call it First Harvest and consider it a "tide" as opposed to a single day, though I will make a celebratory meal at some point this week.

Here in Maine, it's not so much about grain harvest, for me, though this is traditional. I have seen farm stands offering the first of the local corn; though ours is not ready yet, I may include a few ears in our meal, as much because of my love of fresh corn on the cob as for any other reason! Mostly, though, I will celebrate with the fruits (or more literally, vegetables and meats) of my hands, giving thanks to the Gods and the Elements for the bounty.

These harvest celebrations -- this one, the first and Autumnal Equinox (which I think of as "high harvest") and Halloween/"Winter Finding" at the end of October/first of November which marks the end of the harvest season and the season by which one needs to have the outside work done, gardens put to bed, wood put by and the homestead buttoned up and ready for the dark winters nights -- are not only times for giving thanks, but also for reflection and planning.

I see that this year, our first batch of meat chickens have been long processed and a second crop is well on its way. Last year, with only one batch, I harvested the first of the flock for this harvest meal. Last year we did not get the electric deer repellent fence up early enough and there were other issues that compromised our harvest of peas and beans. This year, though the spring was late and wet and peas and beans were planted within the same week, we got the fence up early and not only are still picking our bountiful harvest of peas, but have begun harvesting the beans.

This year, too, my harvest season is a time to celebrate being able to "harvest" all of my energy and time to the most productive tasks in their own times thanks to having been able to retire.

Though the summer has not been a hot one (for which I, at least, give thanks) and may not offer up as large a harvest of tomatoes and peppers as last year,  and though the tractor's tiller most likely has given up the ghost, all in all this First Harvest offers much for which to give thanks.