Harvest Day, 2014
It was a cool morning at the Larson's farm. There were only a couple of days of summer left and it was the perfect day to bring in the harvest. Mrs. Larson had just gotten back from opening up the general store, to help bring the crops in, while Hortensia Lewis stayed and ran the store.
Martha Merriman, along with her niece, Felicity, and Josefina Montoya, were leaving their home to go help their friends.
"'Tis a beautiful day for the harvest," Felicity said as they walked the short way down the road, "I can just taste the apples and squash already!"
"Si! I can't wait to pick herbs and practice different remedies," Josefina agreed.
When they arrived at the Larson's cabin, Kirsten hugged her friends, "I'm so glad you're helping us with the harvest today. We have lots of vegetables, fruit and herbs to pick and prepare in the coming days and weeks-lots to do before winter comes!"
"We're glad to help, Kirs!" Felicity smiled. The Larsons were sharing some of their crops with the Merrimans in return for their help. Felicity couldn't wait to try a new recipe for a Pumpkin and Apple Spice Cake. She had three of her own pumpkins growing and, with the Larson's apples, the cake was sure to be perfect.
With everyone ready, they all headed out into the sunshine to pick the crops that were ready. Anna and Peter ran ahead, racing to see who could reach the squash first.
"I win!" said Anna, breathless."
"No fair!" Peter whined, "You're bigger than me."
Anna smiled, "You just have to try harder next time!"
Alright, you two," Mrs. Larson replied, "It's time to help now. You two can help me pick the squash."
"Okay!" exclaimed Peter and Anna simultaneously.
While Mrs. Larson helped her son and niece pick squash, Ms. Merriman helped Felicity, Kirsten and Jess pick the corn. Josefina gathered herbs and flowers in a basket, cheerfully humming as she went along.
"Oh, these will be bueno for using in my remedies! There is so much to learn to be a cuarandera." Josefina said to herself as she picked some sage and lavender. She stopped to smell their wonderful scents before placing them in her basket to dry later.
Kirsten and her friends chatted as they picked basketfuls of corn to sell at the general store and to eat in their hearty recipes. They all couldn't wait for Josefina to make tamales, using the corn husks, and corn tortillas.
With the sun high in the sky, the Larsons and Merrimans took a break for lunch. They munched on apples and cheese and drank milk. While Josefina and Jess played "Duck, Duck, Goose" with Anna and Peter, best friends Kirsten and Felicity sat in the shade, enjoying each others' company. They both took in the beautiful, sunny day and all that they had accomplished already.
After lunch everyone went back to picking the ripe crops in the garden and field. Although there was still much to do, the time flew by. Felicity was glad to be outside, enjoying this day, rather than inside mending clothes. Anna was tired by the time the sun started to set. She looked at all of the crops, gathered in various bushel baskets, ready to be brought to the Larsons' root cellar.
"All this work has made me hot and sweaty," Anna complained.
"Anna, we're all hot and sweaty but bringing in the harvest is a lot of work," Kirsten replied, adding a basket of green beans to the pile.
"Don't worry children," Mrs. Larson said as she and Martha came over, carrying a basket of potatos, "we're just about done for today. All that is left is to bring these to the root cellar."
Everybody helped each other carry various baskets to the root cellar where they would be prepared and stored for the winter. After the Merrimans sorted out the crops that they were keeping, both families gathered around for a hearty dinner of potato soup and rye bread. As they ate, Hortensia came home to join them.
How did the harvest go?" asked Hortensia, grabbing a bowl of soup and some bread. She squeezed in next to Josefina and Martha.
"We gathered lots and lots of food!" Peter exclaimed happily, "we'll have enough to last us all year!"
Mrs. Larson added, "We had a nice harvest this year. Thankfully the weather was in our favor."
Hortensia giggled, "I'm glad to hear it! Part of me kept wishing that I was here to help. It wasn't very busy at the store today."
"I bet people will flock to the store once the Merrimans make their apple butter to sell; that's always a big seller in the Fall!" Anna said between bites of her bread.
Felicity sighed, "Don't remind me, Anna. I dread 'apple butter' day. Picking apples is my favorite part. Cooking them in a hot, stuffy kitchen, not so much."
"Oh, Lissie," Kirsten giggled, "Well maybe I'll come and help you make apple butter if I can. It can't be much different than making preserves."
"No, I suppose not," Felicity sighed, "'tis just that other than baking, I'm afraid I'm not one for cooking."
The others couldn't suppress their laughter for long. They were always teasing Feicity about her loathing being a proper gentlewoman.
Hortensia gave Felicity a sympathetic smile; she wasn't the best cook herself so she knew how Felicity felt.
Soon it was time for the Merrimans to head home. Once again the Larsons thanked them for ther generous help with bringing in the harvest. In return the Merrimans thanked the Larsons for their share of the crops. Tomorrow was another day to help bring in even more crops from the harvest.
The Merrimans walked home to a moon-lit, fading blue sky, full of good food and fun memories of another nice Harvest Day.
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