29 September 2005


From Alice’s Medieval Feasts & Fasts:
September 29, the feast of St. Michael and All Angels or Michaelmas fell about the time of the autumnal equinox. The equinox marked the period when the nights would be getting longer and the earth would begin to die. St. Michael came to be seen as the protector against the forces of the dark and so became very popular in the Middle Ages. Many monasteries and churches were dedicated to him, usually on high places near the sea.

His feast was celebrated with a traditional well-fattened goose which had fed well on the stubble of the fields after the harvest. In many places, a there was also a tradition of special large loaves of bread made only for that day.

By Michaelmas the harvest had to be completed and the new cycle of farming would begin. It was a time for beginning new leases, rendering accounts and paying the annual dues. It was also one of the British and Irish quarter days.
What are Quarter Days?

There is also a “Michaelmas Embertide” in the Catholic discipline:
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, are known as "Michaelmas Embertide," one of 4 yearly time periods known as "Ember Days," from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, meaning "four times." They are days of fasting and partial abstinence (voluntary since the new Code of Canon Law) intended to thank God for the gifts He gives us in nature, to teach us to use them in moderation, and to help the poor. Zacharias 8:19: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love ye truth and peace."

Note that these September Ember Days must follow a full week after 14 September.
More about Ember Days.


Michaelmas Daisies

Traditional Michaelmas Goose Recipe

22 September 2005

"An Autumn Carol"

Oh, it's autumn, golden autumn, and the summer days are done,
The flowers in the garden ways have left us one by one;
The leaves upon the wayside trees have turned to crimson fire,
And sumac to the smoky skies uplifts its glowing spire.

Oh, it's autumn, ruddy autumn, at the turning of the year–
And winter with his snowy cloak is slowly drawing near;
The birds have hushed their singing and the butterflies are gone;
But the earth is full of beauty as the days march on!

Yes, it's autumn, golden autumn—and the air is crisp and cool.
Theres' silver frost in sheltered nooks and ice upon the pool,
And the wind that snatches red leaves and whirls them from the tree
Paints jolly crimson roses in the cheeks of you and me!

Ah, it's autumn, autumn, autumn, but although the year is old,
Still gaily in the corn-stalks sere the pumpkin flaunts his gold!
While yellow grains and mellow fruits still crown the harvest time,
For it's autumn, golden autumn, and the year is in its prime!

                                                                                . . . . . Edith D. Osborne

21 September 2005

No Place Like Fall

I can't believe tomorrow is the first day of fall—it is still in the low 90s here. Unfortunately all that hurricane activity out in the Atlantic is keeping the high pressure systems trapped here, or something. We have usually been lucky enough to turn the A/C off by this time or perhaps a few days later, but not this year or last year. I think we had to wait till Columbus Day last year.

Even worse, you could tell fall was on its way about a week ago: although the days were high 80s, the nights and mornings would be cool and comfortable rather than steam room warm and sticky. It was sultry out again this morning and, as always when it's like that, it smells bad. I'm guessing it's because the creek is just across the street; it smells like a swamp.

Nevertheless, can't wait to pull the fall decorations out tomorrow. We were too late at Hobby Lobby last Saturday to look around at their fall stuff, but I hope to this week. A few years ago they had a lovely little fall village, similar to the Christmas villages that sprout up during the holidays, with barns, farms, country produce stands, horse-drawn wagons, kids playing in leaves, etc. It was very pretty. If they still carry them, I'd like to buy one.

06 September 2005

Times Change

The "house without a Christmas tree" is for sale. Looks a lot different than it did in the special, eh? Thirty-two years have passed since that first broadcast...