Written by Jerremie Clyde, 2nd of 3 blog posts in this series.
Reflections on Reaping, Stooking and Fellowship: Traditional Grain Harvest, cont’d.
The harvesting and the fellowshipping that goes with our grain harvest is wonderful and one can really focus on the people, the hands that are provided for the harvest. To focus solely on the people would be a bit of a shame, as the central actor in the whole harvest day of course (a part from the Creator) is the humble rye.
The rye was planted to help prepare the site for our new market garden. Rita and I have been market gardening for years, but now for the first time we are blessed with our own land to care for and preserve. The first step was breaking up some of the pasture and planting rye as a way to suppress the pasture grasses that can make such a mess of potatoes and other garden crops. It took a day to plant the rye using a BCS walking tractor with a drop seeder, producing a field thick with 5’ tall rye.
Rye isn’t as popular as wheat, but I think it I like it better, it is a truly amazing grain, both tough and humble. Not only does the fall rye come up and then survive all winter under the snow, it then out grows all its competition both by growing taller faster, and by producing benzoxazinoids which inhibit weed seed germination and growth.
It is hard to look at rye and not find blessings, for while it not only suppresses weeds it also provides organic matter to build soil, and even after all that, it provides a grain from which we can make flour. The rich nuttiness of rye in bread and pancakes is delightful.
When I grew my first potato I was amazed at the bounty and gloried in the gift from our creator, that one little seed potato could produce so much. When I look at rye, which does so many things all at once I feel that way all over again. What an incredible blessing in its complexity, the way one humble little crop can provide so much. It fills me with wonder that the Lord would do so many things with one simple grain, and not only that, but allow us to both benefit from and participate in that process.