Making Hay » June Activity: The Reaper

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June Activity: The Reaper

After two consecutive months of aristocrats at play, (see “As I Went out on a May Morning” and “Sumer is Icumen In)”, the activity for June marks a return to the fields and to work: a solitary reaper mows a lush green meadow with a scythe. Unlike the courtiers of April and May, the mower is anonymous, his face concealed beneath a broad straw hat that shields him from the summer sun (Timothy B. Husband, The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 2008).

Hay-making frequently appears as a summer activity in the calendar tradition. It is most often associated with the month of July, although it may be employed as early as June, as in both the Belles Heures and the Très Riches Heures, or as late as August.

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