Reflections on Midsummer
The thing about Midsummer, when you live on a farm, is that it’s a break, more so perhaps even than Midwinter. At Midsummer (at least here) we have just finished busting our butts to get the planting done and there’s not much left to do there but water and watch for weeds and celebrate the rainy days. The animals are all pretty much taking care of themselves now that there’s plenty of fodder to be had, the babies have been born and mommas have got this. Regular cleanings are necessary to keep the smell and flies down but at least there are still a few cool days here and there to get the heavy work done. In a few weeks we’ll be busting our butts again and it will be HOT.
In Midwinter there’s not much to do just because there’s not much to do. Our fields are bare with the exception of a few brassicas and some root vegetables and they need zero attention until we want to eat them. There’s no weeds. Even if we want to work in the yard, we can’t, because the soil is frozen solid. The animals are at their minimum sustainable population in order to reduce feed cost and the effort of cleaning out their quarters and disposing of the refuse is rather increased when your compost pile is under a foot of snow but at least it’s not as frequent as it is in warmer weather. There’s not much to do in winter but everything we do have to do takes 3x as long because we have to do it in the snow. We’re not resting on our laurels, we’re resting because we have to. The Midwinter feast, I think, is there to keep us sane when we’d otherwise die of boredom. (Though humans being what we are have turned it into insanity.)
The Midsummer feast is a short period of rest between bursts of frenzied activity. We just finished a bunch of stuff and we are feeling accomplished. Not bored and in desperate need of human contact but physically tired and mentally somewhat smug. At Midsummer, we feel mighty. Assuming, of course that we actually got all of our spring planting done on time (The year my son was in Bootcamp this did not happen as we spent the week of the last frost date out of state at his graduation festivities. That Midsummer passed largely unnoticed!). It is definitely time to celebrate our awesomeness and the fact that our awesomeness is going to lead to deliciousness.
Generally, we go a little grill crazy at this time. We grill everything but are especially fond of mushrooms and veggie kabobs. And there’s the fruit salad and chocolate covered strawberries because strawberries and raspberries are the delights of the season right now. These are rounded out by all sorts of delicious green things, spring radishes and some edible flowers. Our ducks are giving us more eggs than we can keep up with, so they are definitely making an appearance on our table. We don’t eat a lot of meat this time of year, but if we do, it’ll be my husband’s BBQed ribs, cooked low and slow and filling the yard with its fragrance. Outdoor games like horseshoes, croquet and ladder ball and, of course, water fights and noodle battles, are featured activities. Before the farm, we used to go camping. Now we might set up a tent behind the fire circle.