1. notleia says:

    I’m trying to remember what I know about barley. It’s a shift to start thinking in subsistence farming mode rather than the industrial mode I’m used to, that prioritizes wheat and corn.
    I think barley has a shorter growth cycle than wheat does. I think buckwheat is similar, and they both prefer wetter conditions than regular wheat. So it would make sense to plant those in the wetter conditions of winter and then plant wheat in time for the drier conditions in summer.
    Heck, it’s hard to remember the real growing cycle of wheat, because in the south, they plant hard red winter varieties in fall and graze cattle on it until spring. I dunno that many people up here in the frigid wastelands bother much with the soft spring varieties if corn and soybeans are more profitable (tho maybe not soybeans after the tariff bullshirt). It might be more valuable as hay.
    (I should try to go to that farmers union meeting next week.)

    • Travis Perry says:

      Both wheat and barely grew during the winter in ancient Israel. Wheat was preferred for taste but I think needed better soil. But the barley harvest came just a bit before wheat, according to what I’ve read.

      • notleia says:

        Oh, that’s right, rocky soil. I remember that barley, buckwheat, and oats tolerate more mountainous conditions, and that would include rocks and moisture, possibly also shorter growing season length but I still might be making that up.
        (I remember this more because of Scottish historical fiction than anything else.)

  2. I can’t immediately recall a story that specifically has a group going to war in times with the seasons. The closest approximate I have is The Blackblood Alliance, where a major part of the plot at first centers around the (presumably yearly) migration of a primitive horse herd into Inarian wolf territory. There’s a celebration that happens when the herd comes.

    Near the beginning of the story, tensions are seen as running high since prey is scarcer while the herd is gone. And the Inarians are more worried when the herd doesn’t show up on time. It is a factor they have to consider in making decisions for the pack, at least. And it’s a major motivator for Cricket as she worries for her pack and tries to get Swiftkill to help her find the herd. It’s entirely possible that the Rubicund dire wolves or a neighboring group of saber toothed cats took them…partly as a food source and partly as a way to weaken the Inarians before taking them over.

    I don’t know that I’ve specifically set aside certain times of year for warfare in my stories. It’s usually just that the story itself might be set during reasonably warm seasons, so they happen to be fighting during that time. Or if it’s the dead of winter in human society, my mind automatically goes to them staying inside while it snows.

    But there’s times when they can’t really do that. When writing animal chars for example, food is often scarce in winter, so there might be times when a society of animals might have to fight rivals simply because they don’t have enough prey in their territory.

    My current WIP doesn’t have near as much as far as super frigid weather goes. But there are times when it gets colder and that makes it difficult for one of the sentient animal species that the humanoid chars live with, so that’s sometimes a limiting factor. But attacks can be launched without their help, and of course those animals will do their best to fight back if their home is raided, even if the colder weather is harder on them. Still, earlier in the series, the main char bargains for a territory further down south simply because there, the weather would be easier for those animals.

    War in that series is less about seasons and taking over areas just because, though. Usually it’s more about need, not trusting neighboring factions, getting into a conflict, or thinking about the future of one’s own faction.

What do you think?