I never know when I will be smitten. It could happen at any time. Sometimes I am smitten by a color, as when yellow came to me. "Please to have a yellow front door."
Sometimes I will fall in love with an animal, as when I fell for the Penguin. They are good. Could be a plant that captures my heart. I fall in love with a new plant monthly.
It happens in a flash. I will see a color or a leaf and I am smitten. The signs are always the same; rapid heart beat, gasping at the incredible beauty, head over heels! Once in love I am always in love. I love all sorts of people, places, plants, animals, bugs, dishes, products, ideas, old ways, new ways. I like to be smitten. I love falling in love.
So it was a few years ago I became smitten with wheat weaving. I had read an article on the history of wheat weaving. I was working up my plans for September decorating. I use wheat in my large vases on top the china cabinet. It was August 2004. I had this idea I would grow wheat and learn the ancient craft of wheat weaving.
Shortly after the "smitten", we went to a Heirloom Plant and Garden Show at Baker Creek Farms in southern Missouri. There an organic farmer had her corn and produce for sale. She also had Turkey Red Wheat seed for sale. I bought a pound. Enough to last me the rest of my life I am sure.
Life is so very fine at giving exactly what we need when we need it. If we are willing to be open. In October, same year, my Aunt died. Her funeral was in Nebraska. With two of my brothers and my sister I traveled to her services. A fine two day road trip. My siblings and I come from farmers. Our Great-grandparents, Grandparents and Father farmed the fields in Kansas. My brother knows the family stories and is a joy to travel with. He tells us these grand adventures. They grew wheat.
This trip was a quick drive up, spend the night and return the next day. Not lots of time for poking about in cemeteries or finding the old farm.
We did stop in Victoria, Kansas, to see Saint Fidelis, the "Cathedral of the Plaines." This fantastic church is built from native limestone and is a beautiful tribute to the community that quarried the rock and built their church. My brother knew the story. We poked around and went in to see the restoration of the interior. The respect given to the historical integrity was marvelous.
I had shared with my siblings the new love I had for wheat weaving; all my plans for growing wheat and learning the art. My other brother, the driver, had gone into the sanctuary of the church while we had lingered in the vestibule. He came out and encouraged me to go look at the altar. I ventured in and was respectful of the wedding rehearsal that was in process and the painters scaffolding that was up for the restoration.
Approaching the altar I saw the reason my brother wanted me see the altar. Tears just streamed down my face as I beheld the most outstanding wheat weaving. A huge cross with so many symbols woven in and so incredible that to this day I am awed just remembering how exquisite it is.
The quest to learn more about The Harvest Cross began. The two women who made this cross did so as a gift to this church. Amazing unpretentious ladies, wheat weavers.
I wanted to become a wheat weaver too. I was inspired. I wanted to meet those that know this art. I wanted to be in the wheat weavers community. I started doing my research. Not very much information was available. I did have some nice wheat seed to sow come spring so I was content to wait.
In April of '05 I sowed my wheat. I was excited. I knew we would be traveling across the state of Kansas come June and I had asked my husband if we could stop in Victoria, to see the Harvest Cross. We did and he also was impressed by it's radiant beauty. As we came into eastern Kansas he saw a sign for Kansas Originals. A store. We stopped. I found small wheat weaving for sale and more information about the weavers in Kansas. Also a few telephone numbers of weavers. Back home I talked with a wheat weaver in Wichita, Kansas. She also was a wheat farmer. They had harvested their wheat a month ago. Mine was barely 5 inches tall. That is when I learned I needed to sow my wheat in September. The Turkey Red was the right wheat seed for wheat weaving, it is an old variety of winter wheat. So I just needed to wait for September and another year.
In my life I figure I have all the time I need to do that which is here for me to do. So I waited. I bought a book on how to wheat weave. My contact in Wichita did not know of any wheat weavers in my area. She would ask around. So far I have not met other wheat weavers. I am waiting.
I did sow my wheat last September. We used one of the flower beds, a 12x4 foot, sunny spot in the back yard. We made three, close to each other rows and heavily planted the seed. I have watched the wheat sprout, be eaten by deer, go dormant and re-emerge.
I have watched it ripen.
Now I have harvested. It was a grand event. Cutting the wheat was so exciting for me. I placed the straws in my Father's old wheel barrow. I was connected to my Great-grandparents, Grandparents and my Father. The heat and humidity did not matter. The joy of this tiny harvest was the joy of all of their harvests. Heaven on Earth! An "Over the Rainbow" experience. We are all one, the living and the dead. Wow!
I took a break. My heart was so full. When the temperature drop a bit I went outside to begin cleaning the wheat straws and preparing them to be dried. I decided on 100 straws a bundle. It took me half an hour to do one bundle.
After supper, my husband joined me for wheat cleaning. We chatted about our day as we cleaned the leaves off the straws. I have 8 bundles made. It could take the rest of the month to get the entire wheel barrow bundled up. That's just fine. It could be September or October before I am ready to soak my straws and try my first weave. That is just fine. I have all the time I need. Maybe this afternoon I will fix a large pitcher of limeade, sweetened with lavender syrup, for a fun beverage to serve after supper. It would go ever so nicely with wheat straw cleaning. We could watch the moon rise and the fireflies dance about and chat about our day again.