Sunday, September 20, 2009
Officially, autumnal equinox occurs on the 22nd, but since I can't wait (!!!) for my favorite season ... Happy Autumn!
Because I'm listening to John Adams (really incredible - if you're not into historical reading, watch the HBO series!), which makes me think about my own ancestors in Philadelphia during late 1700's to early 1800's, I've been thinking about what Autumn meant (and means) to those who live off the land.
Harvest time. My Dad will be preparing soon for his annual kiwi harvest. The change in seasons isn't quite as dramatic in California as the rest of the country, but the change in light and decreasing hours of sunlight means the growing season is winding down. Farmers work themselves from before dawn to after dusk this time of year. My ancestors (probably yours, too!) feverishly worked to beat early frosts or unexpected snows, then partied it up when harvest was done (Thanksgiving feast!).
Food to last through Winter. Did your grandparents have a basement or cellar filled with preserves, home canning, root vegetables, maybe even homemade vinegar and cider? Maybe you have that cellar now! I enjoy listening to my Dad's stories of growing up on the Montana plains, where he lived the life of pioneers, including his folks', grandparents', neighbors', etc. cellars filled with the fruits of all of their labors. (and the icy Winter cold ... we're lucky here in California)
Time to work on the other needs of the family. With early nightfall, folks had to settle in, and without TV or radios (or internet), it was time for spinning, weaving, sewing, mending, knitting, making/mending harnesses and other farm gear, boot and shoe repair. I envision one of the kids reading the Bible or another book out loud while the rest of the kids and parents work around the lamps and fireplace.
Sounds kind of funny, as I type on my laptop, in front of my a/c, watching TV, laundry running in the background. Most of my needs met via my local Safeway, Whole Foods or (hangs head in shame) mall. And much of my shopping done online.
Autumn for me, personally, means time to prepare my business for the holidays, while finally relaxing (I hope) after the more than six month budget madness at my day job (similar to the harvest cycle ....).
What does Autumn mean, if anything, for you??
Posted by Brenda at 9:11 PM