Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lammas Blessings - Harvest Is Beginning

Today is Lammas, the first day of August and the beginning of the harvest celebrations. These days we seem to be able to get food of any kind at all times of the year, but it wasn't always that way. Food has a distinct cycle of seed, to plant, to mature fruit, to death, and finally to rebirth once again through saved seed which would be sown in the spring. Now we begin the days of plenty - those days when the table groaned with good food from the kitchens and the manors and homes were busy putting aside reserves for the upcoming winter and lean months. Lammas celebrates bounty. It totally works for me as a joyous time of the year.

Here is a Medieval rendering of the Lord and his serfs at harvest time.
It's pretty obvious that it was far better to be the Lord than the serfs and
that harvesting was some backbreaking labor. 

As I mentioned above, our 24/7/365 day availability of food wasn't always that way. In my own lifetime I remember clearly those wonderful days when the peaches and apricots were ripe, when grapes were available, and plums - oh those meaty and juicy plums from the Santa Rosa area. In the winter we had apples and oranges, but the fruits of summer were my love and they were only available for a short time every year.

Van Gogh painted this famous picture of a harvest in Provence. The
painting dates from 1888 and is in a museum in Jerusalem, Israel. 

I purchased my first few Colorado Peaches over the weekend. They weren't quite ripe enough, so they're sitting out until later this week when they'll be absolutely perfect. I have black cherries in the refrigerator, alongside my lettuce and carrots. I have tomatoes for my salad and eggs for my Sunday breakfast. There's nothing much better than fresh food on the table. Although the variety to choose from decreases in the off-seasons, these days many of these fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year. When they are truly in season though, they just seem to taste better because they are harvested at peak.

It wasn't just wheat that was harvested. Here, Jules Adolph Aime
Louis Breton painted "Harvesting Rapeseed" in 1860. It appears the
seed was winnowed, similar to other grains, by using a large basket
and the natural breezes. 

So celebrate Lammas in your own home today by eating something fresh - something that comes to your table directly from the earth. Think about how amazing it is that we can have these wonderful foods for so much of the year and not have to worry about starvation in the dark days of winter looming ahead. We're very fortunate.

This panel from a documentary shows a young woman harvesting rice
in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. 

Have a great Tuesday. Chickie should have returned to her devastated apartment last night. The cats did a number on the apartment and it looks like a hurricane went through the interior. I'm sure the furballs were happy to see Chickie return, but it's amazing how two active cats can wreak havoc with anything that's not nailed down. I'm off to the pool. Good Lammas to all!

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