Saturday, 29 November 2014
On Australian farms we celebrate the end of spring and the cutting of hay, before the heat comes.
Hay-cutting is a community affair - so late spring celebrations have always tended to be at the local village hall - sometimes a game of cricket followed by a BBQ and a dance.
The cricket pitch at Molonglo has not been used for many years, but is best remembered for a disastrous match with the cricket team from Piper's Flat about 120 years ago. The men of Molonglo were 50 runs ahead when the last of the Piper's Flat men came in to bat - and an old farmer called M'Dougal came to the crease. A bit of an unknown, he surprised everyone by actually hitting the first delivery to him. Surprise turned to annoyance, then frustration and finally anger, when his dog dashed onto the field, pinched the ball and ran off with it. The men of Molonglo chased the dog in vain. M'Dougal had time to run between the wickets 51 times to win the match for the Flat. Piper's Flat has not been invited back.
Farmers over here celebrate a second early-autumn harvest at their own farms, inviting friends and neighbors over for a meal and drink, generally in their shearing shed, once the main summer activities are finished: main crops are in, the sheep have been sorted and livestock consigned to the sale-yards. In the old days, this was also an opportunity for a piano recital or a sing-along.
Thanks to +Jason Mabes for reminding me of the above :)