Monday, August 1, 2011

Upon a Lammas night

The first day of the month of L├╣nasdal (August) is one of the old Scottish quarter days - a holiday to celebrate the early harvest, and the first bread made with the new wheat.  To give thanks for what was given and anticipate the abundance still to come.  It was a time for marriage - or handfasting  (a trial marriage, which would last a year and a day - continued or not after that time).  It was also a time to display craftwork - and this tradition lives on here at the various local agricultural shows going on around the Islands just now.

But it would also be a welcome respite from the hard work.  The Summer here is short, but the days are long, and every hour of that light is precious.  The fields would be busy from dawn to dusk - cutting and stacking hay, and reaping the corn.

John has been cutting and raking our hayfield, and a couple of good days should see it stacked.

We covet our neighbour's haystack - a work of art indeed.  

But we give thanks for our own small harvest too.

And on this day, I have this beautiful song of Robert Burns in my head - it so encapsulates the whole essence of the Celtic festival of Lammas.  

Or, you can read it, and hear it read here.

Wishing you blessings of abundance on this Lammas tide.


  1. When I played the video, Chase had the immediate urge to get up and dance (and is continuing to do so as I post).

    Blessed Lammas! What a wonderful tradition you have shared with us.

  2. Life is GOOD!! thanks for sharing,my toes are still tapping!!
    Wishing you a beautiful day.x x

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  4. the photos of your produce are fantastic! everything is so green and looks so healthy. i enjoyed the video clip too. a good reminder to be grateful for all we have.

  5. Hiya J,
    I had a friend who had a one year hand-fasting, which ran on to 3 years, then her partner up and left at the end, no comeback, 'just split man'. It wouldn't be for me.
    Lovely photo's, is it really the 'turn' already? Funny thing is, I have woken many mornings expecting to find that crispness in the air and imagining the smell of woodsmoke. Its so odd, I am genuinely surprised to find its still summer (well so they say lol).

  6. My daughter's birthday is on Lammas-tide!
    The Lammas growth on the oak trees was early this year, again.

    Blessings Be
    x gz

  7. Oooh the haymaking has brought back happy memories; although we did use a tractor to cut the fields and bind the hay once dry.

    Lammas blessings, hun.

  8. Emily - I love to think of Chase dancing like that! You too A! There is nothing like a bit of The Bard himself to stir things up.
    V - I think the crisp mornings are already here - although I am practicing denial.
    G - many birthday blessings to your daughter - and to you too. xx
    J - yes, most folk now use a mower and baler. It is a lovely time.
    JTS - we are quite pleased with what we have managed to grow, as we didn't really expect to get anything planted this year.

  9. Blessings and abundance to you too.
    It certainly is a wonderful celebration ~ to be grateful for what the earth and what she has given us.
    Much love.

  10. It is only occurring to me in recent weeks, getting to know some Northerly folk, that light is a cherished thing. Here in Northern California, well, though we have plenty of light, it is water we don't see in the form of rain ...(marked by GREEN GRASS as you have plenty of) .. sometimes as early as mid spring, through all of summer and sometimes well into the fall. I very much loved this post ! Thank you !

  11. Thank you for teaching me something today! I do enjoy learning how you do things across the ocean as it is so different from the way we farm. xx

  12. Blessings to you and your family Jacqui xxx

  13. Glad to see John using a scythe, Jacqui. Quite a skill in itself (I'd end up chopping my feet off!)

    So achingly beautiful where you live.

  14. Lovely pictures of a lovely time of year. My little man was dancing around my kitchen to your music this morning, lovely!
    I missed your last post and have just read it, what a fantastic time you had with your family. Some beautiful moments captured there. Hope you are enjoying some of this lovely sunshine where you are too,
    Blessings, Liz x

  15. What beautiful photos! And so green! What a lovely, interesting example of gathering hay -- so different from the typical Texas haying of square and huge round bales.

    Is the upright stone one of the Callanish stones? No.2 on my list of travel destinations.


  16. Hello Janet :). Yes it is one of the centre circle stones at Callanish. My favourite one, as I feel it is a representation of the Mother in it's shape - and the pattering in the stone too. Hope you make it one day.
    Liz - I love all this dancing x
    Jen - water is one thing we are not short of - I wonder if there is a warm, cool, sunny and light country where it rains only when we are asleep?

  17. I am envious of your hay. Our hay field is a mass of weeds right now. We started converting it for native grasses, but have run into snags. We use it only for mulching the garden, and the rest goes to the guy doing the work.

  18. the photos of your produce are fantastic! everything is so green and looks so healthy. i enjoyed the video clip too. a good reminder to be grateful for all we have.


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