It’s Harvest Time

It is August, the month of harvest in Ireland.  The fields of barley and wheat around our home are ripe. It has been a sunny, dry summer and the farmers can expect a bumper crop. I saw a tractor pulling a trailer full to overflowing with grain. Did the farmer do anything extra this year more than other years to get a bigger harvest? No he is faithful to prepare the fields in the springtime and sow the seeds of wheat. He waits. He has faith.  He expects to get a harvest a few months later.

No amount of worrying will help the seed to grow. No matter what the weather is like if he believes he will get the harvest in. It is because of God’s mercy and goodness we have had good weather this summer in Ireland for everyone to enjoy and especially for the growth of crops and fruit. The earth has brought forth bountifully. When we visited with friends over the summer we enjoyed the strawberries from their garden.

Last year at this time the ground in some parts of Ireland was too wet for heavy machinery to gather in the harvest. In September a dry spell of weather allowed the farmers to clear the ground. It was later than usual but the harvest time did come.
God word promises
““As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭8:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A prophetic word was given by an American prophet back in May. He said,
“For the next season there will be an open heaven over you. There will be a release of God’s revelation and power. You can expect to receive payment for the attacks of the enemy. God is breaking clouds of darkness and bringing people out of the wilderness and God’s light is going to shine.”

Yes the light has been shining naturally all summer. God is showing us his favor. I am like the farmer expecting a harvest from what I have sown naturally and spiritually. I am expecting payment for what the devil has stolen. God is going to move sovereignly on my behalf. I didn’t earn his mercy. I believe in his promises and his prophetic words to me. He is going to keep his promises to me.  I have faith because God has said in his word.

There was a rainbow arch right across the sky in front of my home on Saturday. It is a sign of God’s covenant with me and with all life on the earth. He will never again flood the earth. It is a sign to me that God is there and he sees and encourages me to keep believing him. He told Noah and his family when they came out of the Ark,

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
“And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

God has blessed Brendan and I with increase of children. I believe he will continue to increase our family in number and multiply on the earth.  We will get our harvest now.  It is harvest time.

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The Arctic Terns Have Arrived.

I drove out this morning to town.  I parked my car along the sea front and walked on the sunny side of the street.  It was too chilly on the shaded side.  Resident gulls and Brent geese on the waters below were enjoying the warmth of the early sun too.

The winter slumber of people and nature has been awakened by the warm sun and noisy gulls eager to prepare for new life.

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The population of gulls along the shore has increased dramatically this week.  Artic terns have arrived at their usual nesting place on an island near Strangford harbor.  They are safe from intruders across a short stretch of water, but near enough for the onlooker to enjoy their activities.  They gather in the evening, bodies white against the black, sea washed rock.

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Another attraction for many black headed gulls this morning was the presence of a farmer ploughing up a field nearby.  It is seed time.  He is busy getting the land ready.  I was reminded of the poem I Will Go With My Father A ploughing, by Joseph Campbell.

I will go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the seagull
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the while of the air,
And my father will sing the plough-song
That blesses the cleaving share.

Instead of horses the farmer today is using a big tractor pulling a large wide machine which grinds up the soil.  Hundreds of gulls follow the fresh upturned soil.  They dive for tasty morsels of worms and insects destrubed by the machinery.  Rooks and crows live nearby in the forest.  They join in the foray, just as the poem says.  Joseph Campbell was born in Co Down.  Perhaps his father ploughed in the green fields by the sea near where I live.

Look at the birds of the air,  they don’t sow nor reap yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Matthew 6 v 26
I saw our Heavenly Father at work today feeding the gulls.

It’s Harvest Time

imageimageimageTo every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.  A time to plant and a time to reap.  Ecclesiastes 3 v 1 and 2
What a joy to see the results of sowing seeds, seedlings, corms or bulbs in the soil.
The farmer planted seeds of wheat nearly a year ago and he now harvested the golden crop that has grown up.
My husband enjoys flowers.  He planted one of my favourite flowers in early spring, Gladiolii.  Green shoots have been growing all summer until now when we have a array of Beauty reaching up to the sky.
I planted a courgette seedling.  Look what it produced.
My son went fishing last evening.  Here is the harvest of his labour.
We are eating the harvest of fish from the sea and plants from my garden.  We delight in the richness of colour in our garden.
God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  Ecclesiastes 3 v 11

What Happened to the Long Sunny Days?

Here in Ireland we have had a wet, windy, cold July.  Fires were lit and the heating turned up in our homes.  Festivals were damped by the bad weather.  People were beginning to suffer S.A.D. syndrome.  This is a condition which describes someone who is depressed because he hasn’t received enough sunshine.
I encouraged myself and others “Don’t worry there will be good weather soon because the farmers have to harvest their crops.”
The Lord promises seed time and harvest.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭8‬:‭22‬ NIV)

The warm, still, bright, sunny weather has arrived!  While out driving yesterday we saw a field of corn  that was harvested.  The grain was taken away in a big truck and the golden straw was freshly baled.
At eight o’clock last evening a local farmer was preparing grass to be made into silage.  He was drawing a machine that was about eighteen foot wide.  It gathered the cut grass into a line.  Another machine is used to collect the grass into circular bales.  Last night after twelve we heard the sound of tractors trundling along the road nearby.  They worked through the night in case the weather changed.

I mused.  We do have “climate change.”

I remember my father harvesting a field of corn.  His family were out helping him, girls and boys.  My brother and he would cut the corn while we came behind gathering the cut stalks into bundles and tying them with a few stalks pulled from the bunch.  A stook would be formed by standing four sheaves of corn on their ends and tied together at the top.  This helped the sheaves to dry.  We worked together as a family.  Those were happy days for my father with his family around him.  Mummy would bring tea and homemade bread drenched with butter to the field for the workers.  It tasted good eating a bit of bread and a drink of tea in the sunshine together.  A hare would scuttle in the distance and the corncrake sang in the meadow.  Sweet communion, mankind with each other and with nature.  

The warm days lasted as we harvested the crops.  I do believe we don’t have as many warm days nowadays.  One reason for  climate change I suppose no one has thought of.  The modern farm machinery do the work of many men and finish the work in a shorter time.  They don’t need as many good days.  The hares and corncrakes have left the meadows because the farm machines destroy their nests.  One farmer owns many acres and meadows.  Gone are the days when a small farmer could make a living to feed his family.  The youth have gone from the land too.  The joy of harvest is missing in our land.  There is not the community atmosphere of helping one another to gather in the harvest.  The talk, sharing of stories and the banter is missing.  In Ireland, people danced at the crossroads when the harvest was over.  Marriages were made and family ties strengthened to help one another through another year.  The days of sunshine have left too!

Family Friday. Grandchildren are the Crown and Glory of the Aged.

Last Saturday I attended a family event.  About one hundred and fifty people gathered together to celebrate being children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of my mother and father.  My parents are both dead, but we met to honor their memory and their sacrifice to rear us, their ten children.
It was because of their example I had endurance to have fourteen children of my own.  My father was a farmer.  The land produced crops and fed animals.  I remember my father walking across a field scattering corn seed with a fiddle.  He did not have the modern machinery that ploughs up the ground, prepares it for the seed and then sows the seed all in a few days.
He arose early every morning to milk cows, “twenty four seven”.  My mother and father imageshared the work.  Mummy supplemented the income by rearing hens and selling the eggs.  As we their children grew up we helped with the work.  My parents educated all their ten children.
The event last week was a focus for some of my own children to return from far away to join the celebrations.  My son David called me two weeks before to tell me he was thinking of coming over from Canada to be there.  It would be an occasion when he and Jacquelyn could introduce their baby daughter Ava, now eight months to his brothers and sisters and extended family.  I was delighted and encouraged him to come.
God blessed his plans.  He was able to book flights that were affordable even at short notice and within the time frame of days he could get off work.  I met them at Dublin airport.  One year ago exactly Brendan and I stood in Dublin airport and waved goodbye to David and Jacquelyn as they left Ireland to settle in Canada.  They returned to these shores of Ireland last Thursday!  It was a day of joy!  They were with us for five full days.

Baby Ava met and played with her cousins, got nursed and shared around to willing arms to hold her.  David hung out with his brothers and sisters.  Jacquelyn met up with friends.

David and Jacquelyn are adjusting well to being young parents.  They lovingly care for Ava.  .  Last evening I found one of Ava’s bottles.  I shed a few tears.  I was missing David and his family.  I miss Jacquelyn up early in the kitchen preparing bottles of milk for Ava.  I miss my grandchild playing around on the floor.  I miss my son David.
But I have joy in knowing he is starting out in life to look after his own family.
Like my father and my husband he will be an excellent provider and protector for Jacquelyn and Ava.  Brendan and I got to see our grandchild Ava.
Grandchildren are the crown and glory of the aged.  Proverbs 17 v 6
We will see her again.

Marvelous Monday. Fly like an Eagle

On our recent visit to British Columbia, a friend of ours brought us to an area where eagles gathered.  It was marvelous to watch the magnificent birds close up as thimageey perched in the trees or flew overhead.  We spent the whole afternoon with our heads looking up and taking pictures of eagles.  I took this photo with my humble i Pad.

Recently my husband was telling a story to his grandchildren, just as he told his children in the past.

He was telling about the farmer who found an egg in the farmyard.  He put it under one of his hens who was brooding over her eggs.  Eventually the egg hatched and the bird grew.  It became bigger than the other chicks.  It had gangly legs, a big beak and sharp claws.  It had only one friend in the farmyard.

It looked up in the sky one day and saw a beautiful bird soaring high.  He asked his friend what kind of a bird is that.  He told him that is an eagle.  It flies all over the sky travelling miles and miles.  It is the king of the birds.  We are not like that.  The awkward bird was a young eagle.  It lived and died as a chicken.  It never got to fly with the eagles.

Brendan encouraged us to fly high like the eagle and do not be limited to the farmyard.  A friend who is staying with us at the moment explained the wings of an eagle represent praise and prayer in a believer’s life.  When we praise God and pray we rise above our circumstances and get free to soar on the wind wherever it takes us.

If you are in a difficult place right now, start praising God for his goodness and mercy.  Pray about whatever is troubling you and leave it with The Lord.  In no time you will feel lighter and not burdened by your impossible circumstances.  Trust God and fly high.  The answer will come.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”(‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭31‬ NIV)

The Fields are White Unto Harvest

I grew up on a small farm in Co Down, Ireland.
My dad raised ten children from farming the land.
He kept a herd of Freisians cows.
That meant milking the cows twice a day.
No lying in bed when one felt like it.
Mum reared chickens and sold the eggs to a local grocery store.
I used to carry buckets of grain and water across a field to feed the chickens, and then collect the eggs.
Dad grew crops of potatoes for the family’s use and oats and barley to supplement the feed for the animals.
We children always helped out when we could.
When the oats crop was ripe and cut, we would help dad gather up the stalks and bind them into sheaves.  The sheaves were then collected and built into a stack.  At the top of the stack an empty food sack was tied on to keep the seeds and stalks dry until threshing day.

 

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Here is a photograph I took recently of such stacks.  There are eight stacks, the number of daughters my father had. The scene prompted me to write this post.
This farmer keeps the tradition of threshing going to show the next generation how the oats were harvested.

Threshing day for dad would come around.   Farmers in the neighbourhood came to help with the work.
A Threshing machine was used to separate the seeds from the straw, and bind the straw into bales to be stored for cattle bedding.
It was an exciting and joyful day for our family.  We helped our mum prepare a big pot of stew and home made soda bread to feed all the men who came to help.  The boys helped the men while us girls played around in the sunshine.  It was a golden scene with the sun gleaming off the straw.
In Ireland in the past this harvest event would have been a time for match making.
A marriage could be arranged between a suitable young man at the threshing and a daughter of the household.
The single men who attended dad’s harvest may have had designs on us daughters, but we thought they were far too old for us.

We found our husbands in farther away fields in other counties.
Today some of our children have found husbands and wives from the nations.
We got news yesterday of the birth of our Canadian grandchild!  This is my harvest!

A very long way from the Threshing field in Dunmore.
Life in the past was more leisurely and people depended on each other to help with the harvest.
It did not matter if you were a Protestant or a Catholic when it came to helping your neighbour.
We  could not hate our neighbours.
Sadly the community atmosphere has disappeared.
Small farmers have to supplement their income with another job.
Big families are rare.
The combine harvester sweeps up the harvest .
No more cups of tea and soda bread with melted butter running down the sides in the harvest field.
No more talking and sharing stories or finding out who had got married or had a baby.

Jesus was familiar with harvest time in the Land of Israel.  He would have seen the farmers gather in the grapes, olives and wheat.  He mentioned stories relating to the harvest, olives being pressed to make olive oil, grapes being crushed to make wine and grain being crushed into flour to make bread.

We remember His death through the breaking of bread and drinking wine, the fruit of the vine.

He spoke of a different kind of harvest, the harvest of souls to bring to heaven.  He is looking for workers in His Harvest.  Let us bring joy to Jesus.

 
Nowadays we find out the news from friends via Facebook.
The harvest field is now the nations.
Welcome to my field.
Thank you for listening to my story.