Plow Monday

By , January 8, 2018

Today, in Medieval times and after, is Plow Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night, when men traditionally returned to work in the fields. It is paired with St. Distaff’s Day, the following Tuesday, when women returned to work. In 2013, that day fell on this date (see St. Distaff’s Day).

plow monday

A more contemporary Plough Monday banner (source: unknown)

We packed our Christmas decorations and music away over the weekend, and today, I’m gearing up for a return to our fields, the work of the homestead.

I’m inspired! After a particularly wet thaw, we have a period of sunnier weather, which, because the Gulf Stream continues to wander south, will not bring as much cold as we’re used to in our region at this time of year. That means I can get in some more firewood from that big tree up the trail I felled last fall (see 30/30″).

Last week, I caught a break on the project: I cut off a section that appeared to support the weight of the tree, but, in fact, didn’t; instead, the trunk now overhangs a propping rock and tree by at least 10 feet, maybe more. This means I can buck that section up in a relative hurry. While the outer wood is rain-wet, the inner wood has proven very dry. Much of it can go straight down the hill and into the wood stove when necessary.

Further, Aly and I gave Michelle the gift of commitment at Christmas, signing on to a list of ambitious improvements around the homestead. Time to start on those.

plow illustration

Detail of Medieval plow, illustration from The Macclesfield Psalter, probably around 1330 ce.

Finally, there’s this blog. I’m oddly inspired by several topics, so I’m definitely entering the new year with material. That’s not always the case, and I’m grateful to have all these ideas to follow up in the coming weeks. The question remains, though, whether I can organize my thoughts well enough to commit these posts to publication in a timely manner.

Traditionally, Plow Monday is yet another opportunity to soul or trick-or-treat, dress up in costumes and go from door to door soliciting goodies. None of that going on here, (and no actual plowing, either!) but still, we may as well celebrate getting back to work after the Christmas holidays (see The Key to Simple Living: Appreciating the Present).

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