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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in harvest

It's autumn where I live in the southeastern US, which means harvest time. Here, the concept of harvest is simple: From late summer through the autumn, all the harvests happen together - fields of grain, vineyards full of grapes, fruit in the orchards, vegetables in the garden. That's because I live in the northern temperate zone, with the four-season setup so many of us learned about in elementary school: spring, summer, autumn, winter.

But in the Mediterranean, it's different.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Plum Butter

There's a bag of plums waiting by the front door when I get home. Earth be praised, it's that generous time of year, and my friend's backyard tree is bearing well.

Some love clear, light jellies, but me, I'm a fruit butter kind of guy: heavy, dark, earthy. I wash the plums, pit and halve them, and throw them into the electric cauldron (= slow-cooker) with a generous pinch of salt and just enough apple juice to cover the bottom.

When the fruits collapse, I run them through a food mill to catch the skins, and return the puree, now an outrageous magenta color, to the cauldron.

Reduced by half, it would be the most delicious plum sauce that you've ever had, but I'm aiming for something even more intense. Many hours, and much stirring, later, I've finally arrived at the Land of Promise: plum butter.

The color is porphyry, the flavor almost overwhelmingly intense.

The jars go onto the shelf along with the others: concentrated Summer, Sunlight in glass, stored for the long dark months ahead. I admire their assembled variety of rich, jewel tones.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Lammas

Feel the passing of summer; as light lessens, we deepen the rhythms of rebirth. The is the first harvest—a time of abundance, our opportunity to assume conscious collective responsibility for creating the future. In this time of grains ripening, as we can also feel the Great Loneliness that wraps our human world, keep asking: What is it we value? How can we align our lives with that vision?

How can we control our population, transition from fossil fuels, eliminate toxic waste, practice wisdom without the sacrifices of technology? How can we stop feeding the world to our machines?

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The Last Harvest: Martinstag, the Räbeliechtliumzug, and Thanksgiving

We went out the door, wrapped in coats and scarves, with our paper lanterns lit. The streets were dark, but ahead of us, we could make out the shadows of other children and their parents, their faces softly illuminated by their own lanterns hung on sticks. The lanterns swayed gently as we walked. We went up the street, up the long hill, through the little Bavarian town we were temporarily calling home. It was the eve of Martinstag, November 10, and our neighbors who lived in the flat below ours had invited us to come along.

It wasn't a solemn ritual. There was laughter and chatter, an air of excitement. On the main street, a crowd gathered on either side, the lanterns brightening the darkness. A parade advanced and thundered down the street, roaring with music, vehicles decorated like ships, horses, and other modes of travel. Costumed celebrants called out, "Halloo!" a traditional battle cry, and tossed out candy that we scrambled for and stuffed into sacks.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I visit my sister Barbara and her family for Thanksgiving. She serves sparkling cider. She and her husband finally decided last
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving traditions! Brussel sprouts sound like perfect fare for a late fall feast.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Joan Sugarbeet Must Die

As always, we'll be singing this one just before the dessert course tonight at our Harvest Supper, courtesy of (who else?) those incomparable satirists of British folk idiom, the Kipper Family.

You can sing it to the standard Traffic John Barleycorn tune, but up the tempo some and think “cheerful” instead. And if you happen to have a squeezebox or accordion to accompany it, so much the better.

Joy of the Harvest to you and yours.

 

Joan Sugarbeet

 

There was three men come out of the East, their fortunes for to try;

and these three men made a solemn vow: Joan Sugarbeet must die.

They've plowed, they've sown, they've harrowed her in, threw clods upon her head;

and these three men made a solemn vow: Joan Sugarbeet was dead.

 

They let her lie for a very long time, till the rains from Heaven did fall:

then little Lady Joan sprung up her head, and so amazed them all.

They let her lie till Midwinter, till she looked both flaccid and green:

then little lady Joan, she grew a big bottom, and so became a queen.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Here's a nasty little piece of pagan satire along such lines. Some things deserve to be remembered. Down we go to the world below
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Sign me up on the list, lease!
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Once, back in the 90s, I made a comedy song tape of Pagan songs and chants, called "The Carcrashic Records". Someday I hope to col
Not Only Lammas: Other August Harvest Holidays and Traditions in Europe

Grains are goldening, apples and other fruits are ripening, and beehives are thick with honey. The harvest season has come and is rapidly maturing. While Lammas and Lughnasadh have passed in the UK and Ireland, other harvest holidays are still just beginning. Each festival celebrates the culmination of hard work and good luck, and marks the turning of the year, the slow fade of summer into fall, and the gratitude that people still feel for the benevolence of their lands.

Grains, Apples, and Honey

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Praise to the Farmers

    Walking out of my office is like opening an oven. The heat is a wall, strong, searing; there is a scent similar to baking bread rising from the grass that is toasting under the sun's unrelenting rays. My drive home takes me past farms along Route 5 in Deerfield: potatoes, tobacco, and corn growing strong and green despite the heat. We are not experiencing a drought; in fact the other day a thunderstorm hit on the way home with wind and rain so strong visibility was brought down to just a few feet. I am sure the rain was welcome just the same. 

    I think often of the local farmers. I am grateful for the countless hours they spend at their vocation and I recognize that it is a life I could not live. My own grandparents were farmers and factory workers, supplementing a life of hard work and unpredictable yield with wages earned by working in a foundry. Hard work and luck seem to be the mantra for farmers. Hard work, luck, technology, and engineering, farmers rely on many factors to answer their calling to serve. How did my grandparents manage? And their grandparents, and theirs? Go back generations, centuries, eras, and eventually everyone's forebears were farmers of a sort. They had only their own hard work, luck, and the grace of the gods to ensure plenty. 

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