Sunday, 12 October 2014

Harvest Home Celebration - Friday Sept 5th, 2014

I was feeling a lot of empathy for all farmers in that first week of September, when I was on tenterhooks to see what the weather would do for our big event -- would we get rained out? would it be fine and sunny? I was casting an anxious eye at the Weather Network every morning.
And when it came down to it, we were lucky; it was as beautiful a late-summer day as anyone could have wished.
Brian's Corn Dolly opus anchored the celebratory decorations of the garden;
an info board about the history and traditions of corn dollies is at the foreground, hanging on our fence

The Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers arrived and immediately notched up the feeling of celebration

There was something for everyone to do in the garden....
Smaller people got down to business, pulling up the patches of marigolds...
.... While the big folks worked on pulling up the flax,
which had to be done carefully so that the tips and root ends don't get mixed up

The fresh flax was hung on the fence to dry

The flax that we harvested in the previous week was rippled by enthusiastic volunteers
We had musical accompaniment for the whole time

At the end of our harvest, we posed for a group photo...

... and then headed off for a procession down to Locarno Beach and back up to the Discovery Cafe, for dinner.
I didn't accompany the procession, but one participant told me that as they got to the beach, heads snapped around and a thicket of smartphones appeared, recording the event.
We brought a picnic or ordered our dinners at the Discover Cafe.
Inside, the Cypress Street Band played a mix of covers and originals; outside, we made some linen stricks on the break and hackles.
As the golden afternoon faded into twilight, the Morris Dancers performed again and even did a couple dances that got everyone involved.

The Garden in the First week of September

After a bit of rain on the Labour Day long weekend, we were back to summer as usual in the first week of September.
Georgia, Oliver and I explored another way of being creative in connection with the land today: flower smash prints. It's a great activity for kids because of the hammering; and great for the grownups because the results, once cropped and mounted, are interesting and lovely to look at no matter what.
I also did this activity with some seniors, and though they needed some help with the hammering, they loved the results. We cropped the sheets of paper and mounted them on greeting cards, and they were thrilled to have something so lovely to send out to friends and family.

Oliver continues to gorge on the bounty of the epic cherry tomato plant...
Georgia clips the last of the blue flax blossoms to try out as a flower smash print

We did this on some oak-mordanted cotton I had made up... the marigold worked, and many of the greens;
sadly, the gorgeous blue flecks of the flax flowers turned out to be fugitive, and disappeared

Georgia practices 'rippling' (taking the seed heads off) some of the flax that we harvested the previous week

Brian got out his scythe and brought down the remaining wheat and oat straw, tidying things up in advance of the Harvest Home Celebration just a couple days away.

Harvest Home 2014 -- Tiddley Cove Morris!

This is a sweet little reel by Claire McCague, shot at Beltane festivities at Fraser Common Farm in Aldergrove, BC. The clip features Tiddley Cove Morris as well as the Vancouver Morris Men. I love how it captures the gentle magic of the community coming together to celebrate, dancing the rituals, and then the quiet, reflective moments of departure.
Tiddley Cove Morris was very much appreciated at our Harvest Home Celebration on September 5th.

The Garden in the last week of August

It's Thanksgiving weekend as I write this, the seeping damp is auguring more rain, and I am indoors, reflecting on the golden blur of August and September....
At our Garden Night on August 27th, we decided to begin harvesting the flax. It was ready -- 1 month after the first flush of bloom and the stalk yellowing from the ground up -- and I wanted to make sure that we weren't rushed to get it all in on the day of our Harvest Home Celebration, now just a little over a week away. 
 We also wanted to have a bit ready so we could practice our rippling (taking the seed-heads off)
Oliver toys with the weeds in front of the flax, now standing taller than his head
Our orange cherry tomatoes are a joy, an unexpected, abundant gift, we look forward to visiting each week
Georgia looks closely at the rhythmic pattern of the kernels in the heads of wheat

... and further testifies to the deliciousness of the cherry tomato
A jar of marigold solar dye -- fewer stems and green bits this time is giving it a warmer hue.
We started pulling the flax.
It was ready: one month after the flush of bloom, and the stalk yellowing from the ground up.
We carefully tied them up in bundles and hung them on our woven fence to dry.
Here are our bundles, seed heads down, hanging a bit helter-skelter from the prongs and nobs of the fence.

Brian stood in the middle of the wheat and snipped off stalks as he needed them,
working on a giant 'corn dolly' for our Harvest Home celebration on September 5th