Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox, which in old times was also called Harvest Home. It marks the end of the growing season and the beginning of the fallow. The last of the grain is harvested, along with the last fruits and vegetables, mostly gourds and melons and such, and the last haying before Winter gets done. It's a time of gathering together the fruits of the yearly harvest and starting to preserve them to last through the long sleep of Winter; grain gets turned into flour, beer, ale, and whiskey, fruits into jams and jellies and wine, meats are smoked and/or brined, vegetables canned or pickled. Cider is made now from apples, and by Yuletide it'll be fermented into hard cider just in time to make the wassail. It's a time of wonderful smells and tastes, the last period of bustle before Mama Gaia goes to sleep for the dark half of the year, tucked under a blanket of fallen leaves and later snow, snug and comfortable until it's time to waken again in the Spring. It's time to give thanks and celebrate!
And how about some music for the occasion? First is from Henry Purcell's opera "King Arthur", called "Your hay it is Mow'd, and your Corn is Reap'd", based on an old traditional Harvest Home song. The other is my favorite version of "John Barleycorn" by Steeleye Span. Poor Little Sir John gets his head cut off at Harvest Home, to be brewed into beer. What a fate! Enjoy!
Photos © 2007, 2011, 2012, and 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger