We tried to find something scary to show you in the garden. As is common throughout history, when a new culture bangs in to an existing one, the conquered people’s holidays or rites are usually the most ripe for transformation by the new guys. Christianity supplanted a pagan festival with its own, All Saints, on 1 November, and Halloween is merely the day before (the eve of All Hallows). The old Celtic holiday, *Samhain, or summer’s end, was a day spent in reflection and stocking up at the end of autumn/beginning of winter. It also was a period of time for the real world to touch the unreal, so you’re to keep your eye out for the supernatural. I guess I am glad we kept that part of it; the kid does like to dress up and scare people.
But we like these harvest-based holidays around our house; they seem much more real than something arbitrary. And personally, I like parties, especially when they reward all my hard gardening work.
So behold! The 7 lb, 5 oz cylindra beet. This nearly filled a two gallon crock once shredded. Fermented beets are super delicious…and it’s a fair way to stock up for winter. Every year we get at least one or two monsters, but this year’s model has set the bar pretty high, eh?
I do like the sense of community on this holiday…even if we don’t have threshing or haying festivals any longer, or we don’t gather around the big kettle to process apple butter, I will think of all these joint events as I chase my daughter down the dark streets in town as she goes begging for sweets. Why not. It’s the new culture, after all.