Dawn has come this late July day, and as the homestead wakes up, I recognize that we are at a seasonal turning point. Early harvest is moving into mid-season harvest. At this time there is a steady inflow of produce from our many gardens, and the forest, too, is yielding abundantly with bramble fruits. Soon there will be wild apples and chanterelle mushrooms and innumerable wild blueberries to bring in. In some places of the forest there will be feral grapes and sequestered elderberries for wine and jam and abandoned growths of perennial vegetables from long forgotten steadings to pick over. We have heaps of frozen milk now and Daphne busies herself every weekend making cheese and stowing things. This weekend we put fifty free-ranged meat chickens in the freezer and start raising fifty more and soon it will be time to take a deer from the forest. Given last year’s mild winter, the deer are so numerous this year, and while they are sacred to the Cailleach (a kind of Green Woman) when the deer population gets too high they starve and die of pestilence if their numbers aren’t curbed. Nature used to see to the deer populations, but people have hunted the natural predators so hard. Now, humans must take a role in seeing to the wild deer herds.
The high summer turning point: it is when we move from the investment of summer labor to the reaping of the harvest. There is still so much work to do this season, from fencing off a new meadow for the horses to patching a leak in the roof of the cottage, but this is the time when the Green Man and the little spirits show in a very literal way their care of Twa Corbies Hollow, keeping us busy with gathering Nature’s abundance.