Today is Mabon, the second harvest. The first was Lammas (Lughnassadh). It is an equinox festival. The fruits of the field are coming in. We’ve got locally grown pumpkins, peaches (sort of small this year) and other fruits. The corn of various types have been harvested. The early veggies are all picked unless there was a second planting during mid-summer. The next major time of year for farmers is in the fall when the slaughter of animals took place.
When I lived on a farm in Idaho I was more in tune with the cycles of the earth. I still don’t need a calendar to tell me the season. I look to the world around me. The trees are now tipped with scarlet, orange, and gold. The hydrangeas are starting to turn myriad colors. The crops – vegetable and fruit – are largely in, although some still linger.
When I was a child this part of summer was filled with work. Mom and I harvested peas, beans, raspberries, carrots, corn, and more from our garden. We canned and froze for the winter ahead. I went to the orchards and collected windfall fruit for a pittance and we turned it into jams, jellies, and preserves. I climbed the peach tree on the back ditch and got all the peaches I could. We traded tomato jelly, jam, and aspic for the cherries (earlier in the year) from a blind friend’s tree – and we were all happy. Neighbors cringed to see me coming with baskets of squash – they always produce too much. (laughter)
I was a bit less enthusiastic about harvesting our chickens. I was the head holder while Dad was the neck chopper. I was the one who hung them on the clothesline to bleed out or chased them around the yard if they got loose headless. Man, those birds could run! I learned to dip the carcass in scalding water and pluck the feathers before we processed them for the winter. The turkeys – they were mean and they were big – I never got to participate with thanksgiving dinner. We wintered over the quackless ducks 🙂 I loved those ducks!
I miss being a part of the circle of the year. Today we’re so disconnected from the land. I’d love to raise chickens in the back yard, but no-go where I live. I’d love to have all sorts of critters and plants. But plants take water and water costs money and we all live crammed together and people today think food plants are ugly, because they are
stupid used to getting everything at the store.
Even as a HoH little kid I could easily get along on our little farm. It wasn’t much, mostly Mom’s garden, the horses, the birds and the field out back, but I loved watching the polywogs in the ditch grow into frogs, loved feeding the horses the white bases of the bulrushes, harvesting the bulrushes and corn stalks as decorations. It was another world. My daughter and grandkids will never know it – and that’s sad.
May you have a blessed and joyous Mabon celebration!