We arrived at the Harvest Festival in the morning. We smelled the wood and the horse shit in the air, the peanuts roasting and the cider mulling. We saw a number of giant vats being stirred around us, the threshing of flax into linen; all the steps piled up on a table, jumbled in a row that ended in a delicate, woven scarf. The women bound brooms, dipped candles and spun yarn. They wore rouge in Bird-In-Hand, and dyed cloth indigo and vermillion. The men dovetailed tree trunks and manned the forge. The grounds housed a duck pond flanked by goats, whose bleating caused the ducks to retreat across the water’s scummy surface. In the center of it all was a bull. He was held in a pen constructed of tree branches bound by twine, and while the fence looked rustic and authentic, it did not look particularly sturdy. The bull was large as bulls will be, and as unhappy. Children rode atop hay bales in wagons drawn by horses around a worn track, and the bull knocked his horns against the rickety enclosure. We stood and consulted the map before making our way to Butcher’s Block, a quiet side of the grounds where all the animals were either dead or dying. It was just after noon.
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