This year has lacked a dry season, making the pastures already green and beautiful and filled with flowers.
Walking through the cow-paths, the starry Erigeron flowers swirl past in a green galaxy of grass. It isn’t the usual hot, blue, open skies of May, but chased all over with piled up clouds shadowed with silver and grey.
Good for milk and butter and cheese, but it has made the spring harvests complicated.
I had to pull all at once like a thousand giant onions – the first year i have had this problem, usually they are small and leek-like – and store them all over the floor to cure just before yet another downpour.
I’m not sure what i did to made them get so large, the wood ashes perhaps, but I’ve almost started regretting it, whatever it was.
The solstice-planted barley also suffered. It ripened very quickly while we were deliberating a grain cradle for the scythes, and was crushed in the wind by the wild storm that came through.
It had to be cut right away by hand, using the scythe blade with a short, homemade handle that was particularly hard on the back, and when i went to tie the bundles, the straw crackled in my hands, and the barley was at the glass stage, shattering out of the hulls.
It was past time to stook, so it became two high stacks in the living room to keep dry, and between that and the onions, there has been hardly any room for living.
The cats have had a devilish affinity for the barley, perhaps calling them back to the ancestral grain fields along the banks of the Nile. They love to burrow in it and nap in it and rustle in it and prowl in it, so that the girls have to clear away handfuls of straw just to build a block tower. I am clipping barley heads and threshing as fast as i can!
I’ve only ever had pumpkin harvests feel this oppressive before.
Now at least the onions are hanging in long braids from the ceiling now, and there is only ONE stack of barley between the couch and coffee table.