Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lá Lúnasa 2011

Ah, finally have some time to write up about my Lúnasa festivities. More than any other festival (save Oíche Shamhna that is), Lúnasa is my most lengthy celebration. I'm a child of autumn and so I bask in all the turn of the season has to offer for as long as I can. Can I just praise the weather a bit here? A couple of days this month have given us a sneak peak at October's glorious weather and I couldn't be happier. We are in such a time now. Hurricane Irene has given us here in the southeast some breezy and extremely less humid air. I am loving it! Even if it's just a tease of autumn. But back to Lúnasa...

About a week before Lúnasa proper, we had our first vine-ripened tomato and so the harvest season (for us at least) had begun. This is  our only crop this year—excluding my perennial lemon balm and rosemary—due to life just keeping us too busy to grow more like last year. Tomatoes are pretty much just water and leave be, that is if the wooly-aphids decide to stay away. Luckily, this year they did. My elder sister's in-laws and some family friends did gift us with fresh okra, zucchini and summer squash so the season has been good to us. It's a blessing to see such gifts burst forth from a land that only in April was ravished by a F4 tornado. July 30th brought a gorgeously gentle rain to herald in the calendrical Lúnasa.

On Lúnasa day, Mum and I journeyed over to a family friend's house. They had called and said their fig trees were producing more than they could consume, and so would we want to come pick some. Um, yes please! So we jumped in the car and headed over there, baskets in tow, and got ourselves about four gallons.

They keep bees so I did spend a great deal of time swatting and going “ahh! ahh! They are in my hair, aren't they? I can feel them move!” like a bit of a child. That was until I was told that the best method for keeping honey bees away was to snap my fingers. No clue why, but it worked. Still not a fan of bees though. Love honey (a.k.a. bee vomit – recently told that to my niece and nephews. They loved it. I adore being the aunt that teaches them things their parents will hate.), but I've had a sore spot about bees ever since fourth grade when one flew in the classroom and stung the tar out of me.

The bees eventually won, and I wondered off and spent some time photographing some lovely things on their property (chickens! flowers! fluffy cats! cute doggies!) while Mum finished picking figs, we went down to the river to watch the sunset. I saw a stunning great blue heron there, but they are remarkably fast for such large a bird. I hope to one day get a decent photo

Once back home, the process of making fig preserves began! Our last batch (made from figs picked on my grandfather's property) lasted us nearly a year since we froze a good many, so we are hoping the same happens again.

The next day, I got a hold of some strawberries and blackberries and baked a Lúnasa pie just before my brother arrived for a visit. This was my first time baking a pie with berries as well as using rice flour instead of wheat flour due to cutting back on my gluten intake because of health problems, but it turned out to be full of tarty loveliness and with a dollop of whipped cream, oh my … om nom nom. Domesticity: thy name is Treasa. (hey, what's a feast day without a little boasting? *wink*)

This passed weekend, I had planned on having my ritual but that ended up not happening. So later this week for sure. I know it's a little late but really the Lúnasa and harvest season are still a'going...

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