Summer’s End—The Sabbath of Work

There were three Menne came out of the West
Their fortunes for to trye
And these three Menne made a solemn vow
John Barleycorne must die.

Welcome to the end of summer and the beginning of autumn!

…though it may not feel to be so where you live. Where I am it is HOT and going to be hotter for the next two months…but I can see in the coloring of early leaves and the hard blue of the sky that the Wheel is turning, that Autumn is coming on.

This holiday, titled Lammas by the Catholic Church and Lughnasadh by the Irish, Scottish and Manx people, has historically celebrated the first of the three harvests: the grain harvest. Barley and wheat and hay come in at this time, and it is an appropriate time for bread-baking, beer-making, and celebrating the various technical crafts and arts that humans have created from time immemorial, be they thousands of years old or simply modern, as the technologies that took us to the Moon.

For this, too, is an eternal anniversary of this season now.

Capture3

Here, in the season of golden grain, we sing songs about barley and wheat and their wonderful products, and think about what it might have been like to sing such songs with aching in our arms after scything and loading grain all day…

Summer’s End is a glorious time, a time for celebration of hard work and work well done, of the great artistry we bring to our toil, be it agricultural or technological, traditional or contemporary. A good time for celebrating the working people of the world as well as the inventors of the world, the innovators, the geniuses in matters great and small. It is a time for a great party after a hard day of labor–gardening, perhaps, or a beach cleanup. Options abound!

So bake that bread—Here is a recipe. Enjoy it warm, with honey and butter, and with a malt beverage. Feel the warm air of the season and drink a toast to dear old John Barleycorne…


And little Sir John in the nut brown bowl
And he’s Whiskeye in the glass
And little Sir John in the nut brown bowl
Proved the strongest Manne at last.
The Huntsman he cannot hunt the fox
Nor so proudly to blow his Horne
And the Tinker he can’t mend Kettle nor Potte
Without a little Barleycorne.

 

 

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