Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our Harvest Festival

See also our Church blog for many more photos and a glimpse of the days happenings.
Photos courtesy of Grace Sauve, Christianna Sauve and Mrs. Eddy.

October 21, 2006

Everything was hustle and bustle at the Eddy's family lodging early Saturday morning. The young men headed off once more to the back fields, fully intent on bringing home a few pheasants, for the Harvest Feast. Unfortunately, the birds thwarted their best efforts, and the only thing they were able to take a shot at was an elusive Rabbit. Meanwhile, the women folk began a few necessary food preparations, and took care of some last minute clothing details, while the fathers began the seemingly impossible task of starting a fire in the rain. Oh, did I mention it was raining? Well, it was. A damp, wet, chilly sort of morning it was, a "misty, moisty morning," and "washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath of the east-wind." Thankfully it never turned into anything more than a little drizzle now and then, and was quite cleared up by the time everyone arrived.
But I am getting ahead of my self . . . back to the men and the fires . . . which they were able to get started, two large, roaring cook fires.

As soon as there was a decent amount of coals to rake into a bed, we began to stew the pumpkin. The night before we had peeled and cubed 6 pie pumpkins. Slowly we stewed it 'til mush, adding more pumpkin as it cooked down, and finally stirring in some sugar, spices, and a little cider vinegar. Mmmmm, Mmmm! As good as pumpkin pie!

As the other families began to arrive, there were exclamations of delight over the varied and creative clothing. Authentic Pilgrim attire was the fashion of the day - not your black suits with huge white collars and buckles, but practical and attractive breeches, skirts, and waistcoats over authentic muslin shifts, white coifs (caps) and aprons for the ladies and long stockings for all! Several of the men had large flowing capes and flat brimmed hats, and the Eddy's front yard began to look more and more like a village in the 17th century. Contrary to common beliefs, the Pilgrims did not wear only blacks and grays, but enjoyed many natural colors in their outfits. The cloudy Saturday morning was brightened by varying shades of red, blue, green, and yellow skirts swirling around the cook fires and tables.

The delicious aroma of Venison Stew wafts up from one of the fire pits where two large Dutch ovens bubble and simmer over their bed of hot coals.

Across the driveway at the other fire the Pumpkin is still being boiled down into a fragrant creamy mass, and clustered nearby sundry other cast iron pots are occupied with a variety of tasty victuals – Cornbread, boiled Onions, Turkie Sauce, and a big steaming pot of Furmenty. Every few minutes, someone is called to add more wood to the fires, lids are lifted, contents stirred, and knuckles are scorched. Inside the house, the scrumptious smell of roasting Turkey and Venison, tantalized the nostrils of anyone ventured to open the door.

The ladies that were not tending to the food, enjoyed stringing together sweetly scented spices, (Cloves, Allspice, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Frankincense, and Star Anise) to form delightfully aromatic necklaces; as you wear them, your body heat brings out the wonderful smells. They turned out great and many were worn to church the next day. The making of cute cornhusk dolls with braided arms was another craft that some tried out.

While the ladies were crafting, the men folks, led by Mr. Wagner, proceeded to hack, chop, saw, cut and peel, a large log into two impressive looking benches, which we were able to use at the table for the feast.

Finally! All the food is ready, the 32 foot long table is spread with a clean white cloth, and set with various handsome stoneware dishes. All are gathered 'round, the Doxology is sung, and a prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise is lifted to our Glorious and Benevolent God!

Although we didn't get any pictures, one of the most important events took place in the Eddy's basement after the food was cleaned up and dishes rinsed. We had a Plymouth-style service on this Thanksgiving Holy-day with the order of service including: prayer, scripture reading, singing of Psalms from the Psalter, excerpts from John Winthrop's sermon, "Model of Christian Charity" read by Paul, and ending with prayer and a blessing. After this worshipful service, we were entertained with 18 varied readings and recited poetry that included: letters and sermons from leading Puritans, poems about the pilgrims, thoughtful writings and a few just for fun poems. Everyone did a wonderful job quoting the poems that they had memorized.

It was getting late by the time we were done reciting and headed back outside for some fun competition. Although it was starting to get dark, we got in a little archery practice, old fashion ring toss (graces) and pumpkin rolling relays with 2, 100+ pound pumpkins that the Wagners had grown in their own garden. The challenge was to get enough weight behind it to get it moving and then keep the momentum going. Some of the littler "pilgrims" needed to get some help to get it moving.

As the evening came to a close, and the families slowly headed for home, a few lingered around the cook fire, and enjoyed some popcorn a la Theresa. We thank God that He enabled us to enjoy this special day, and for His faithful mercies in the past, and His promises for the years to come.

Evening Prayer
From Dr. Watts

O Lord God Who knowest all things,
Thou seest me by night as well as by day.

I pray Thee for Christ's sake, forgive me
whatsoever I have done amiss this day,
and keep me all this night while I am asleep.

I desire to lie down under Thy care,
and to abide forever under Thy blessing,
for Thou art a God of all power and everlasting mercy.

Josiah and Baby enjoyed many a stroll around Eddy Acres and surprisingly, even though Baby tends to be more of an indoor dog, when given the opportunity to explore a large part of the great outdoors she stayed outside almost all day and even got to taste a small part of our delicious Harvest dinner! Posted by Picasa

Baseball anyone? Posted by Picasa