seasonal rhythms

Category : Farm
Date : September 1, 2013

Where does the time go, and how in the world did we arrive so quickly to the new month of September, I wonder.

Short answer—chores.  Around the farm, we are enmeshed in the seasonal tasks that must be accomplished in a timely manner.  It is the time for harvesting and setting aside for the winter months to come.

A few weeks ago, I harvested the numerous heads of garlic and set them on screens to cure. Now, they must be cleaned and stored.  Similarly, the first crop of onions must be stored and the next variety harvested.  We gathered the basil, made and froze it as pesto, and in the cold winter will relish this reminder of summer. The time is ripe to plant the next crop of fall greens and lettuces, and to prep the hoop house for the sowing of winter greens.  Even though I gather the spent morning glory flowers every morning for future use in the studio, there has not been much time to work there as of late.

morning glories for textile and paper dyeing

morning glories for textile and paper dyeing

In her book, The Needle’s Eye Women and Work in the Age of Revolution, Marla R. Miller discusses “the rhythms of the agricultural year” and this gives me comfort and camaraderie, for I realize that the women of this farm and other colonial artisans divided their time between indoor and outdoor chores according to the seasons.

“Tabitha Smith’s work for Elizabeth Phelps suggests that rural women turned attention to their wardrobes most often during the summer months once the fields were sown and the gardens planted, but before the late summer and fall harvests would set them to other tasks.  While some activity occurred in every month, most of Phelp’s gown acquisition and alteration took place in June and July, with somewhat less activity in May and August.”

As I look towards the next chore—apple harvest and subsequent making of applesauce and applebutter— I realize that there is a time and place for everything, and I will enjoy the outdoors now, just as much as I will cherish the indoor studio time this winter.

Marla Miller, The Needle’s Eye Women and Work in the Age of Revolution, (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006), pgs. 76.

NOTEMarla R. Miller recently published a new book, Rebecca Dickinson (Independence for a New England Woman 1738-1815) for the series “Lives of American Women” edited by Carol Berkin.



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