The tomatoes are still going great guns but by now most of the crops are safely gathered in. Last weekend in the Welsh borders the churches were bedecked with flowers, and vegetables, and flowers-made-out-of-vegetables, all for the celebration of Harvest Festival.
I'm greatly indebted to Elizabeth Roy for telling me about the origin of Harvest Festival in English churches. It was started in 1843 in the parish of Morwenstow in Cornwall by Rev Robert Stephen Hawker. The thanksgiving service took place on 1st October, and bread made from the first cut of the corn was taken at communion
Parson Hawker seems to have been altogether a delightful man, and as well as starting the tradition of Harvest Festival he is said to have draped his otherwise naked body in seaweed to impersonate a mermaid, and to have excommunicated his cat for mousing on Sunday.
I can't think about harvest without mentioning the Eurasian harvest mouse, which has the gorgeous scientific name Micromys minutus:
Photo by Michael Gäbler
I must also note that the harvest moon is the full moon occurring nearest to the Autumn Equinox, and a harvestman, when it's not a man getting in a harvest, duh, is a sort of bouncy-legged spider.
Word To Use Today: harvest. This word has come to us from the Old English hærfest, and is related to the Old Norse word for harrow, the Old High German word for autumn, the Latin word meaning to pluck, the Greek word for fruit, and the Sanskrit word for shears.