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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Let the Harvests Begin!

This week ushers in the tide of First Harvest. Also known as
Lammas, Lugnasad and Freyfaxi, it is a major holiday to this homesteading Northern Tradition witch.

Here in the USA, Pagans often focus the celebration around the harvest of maize ("corn" here, though in the rest of the world I believe it is more commonly known as maize and "corn" is either wheat or a generic term for all grains) though here in the northlands, it is not yet even tassleing, let alone ready to harvest as sweet corn for eating, not to mention as a grain, dried to grind for bread.

Winter wheat, though -- planted in the fall and overwintered under Mother Nature's blanket of snow -- IS ready to harvest here on Fussing Duck Farm. This year, one of my experimental projects was to be growing several varieties of wheat, so last autumn I planted Banatka and Sirvinta, two heritage wheats which I have been harvesting for crafting and hopefully to have a wee bit of grain to grind for flour for a ritual bread later on. I also planted a variety of spring wheat, which is just now heading.

2016 YuleBock was quite skinny!
My main goal for planting wheat was to see if I could... and if so, to have fodder for crafting. Last year I attempted to make a Yule Bock but even after buying wheat at the Common Ground Fair AND from a craft store, he turned out kinda skinny. And I enjoy trying wheat weaving projects so having long strands with wheat on was something I wanted to play with. And over the past few weeks I have been harvesting it. First I cut any green stalk that "lodged" (what it's called when stems of wheat blow to the ground in wind and rain storms) and then continued to harvest as the stalks and grains dried. There are still a few standing in the garden ( or I hope they are, after the thunder storms of this late afternoon!) which I will harvest tomorrow.

I won't have the grains all sufficiently dried, threshed, winnowed and ground yet, for sure... but I am looking forward to seeing this whole process on miniature scale.

In process; I used cable ties to secure the
stalks until they dried.
I do, however, have a delightful wheat craft that I completed last week, a pentagram constructed from stalks of wheat and braided with a wreath form for support. Wheat weaving, like basket making, requires that the stalks be soaked in warm water to make them flexible and I was waiting for the project to dry completely before removing the black cable ties that I used to help secure things while it was being constructed.