Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post Thanksgiving

“ a well regulated kitchen nothing is ever wasted, but with careful preparation even the 'rough ends' of a beef steak may be made into a wholesome, tender and appetizing dish; that 'stale bread' may be used in the most delicious 'desserts' and 'farcies,' and 'left-over' food from the day before need not be thrown in the trash-box, but may be made into an endless variety of wholesome and nutrious dishes.” ~The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book (1901)

The fridge is still full of leftovers even though platters of food left here Thursday. The stock pot was simmering on the stove with the turkey carcass and is now turkey and rice soup. Yet another pot vying for space.

I would love to say things went off without a hitch but they didn't and at first I was upset. But then I realized they never really had...sometimes the casseroles were cold on the inside and had to go back in oven a little longer and the rolls have been forgotten more times than I can count. So this year was following it another long tradition. But in the end the food was good and plentiful. We had one of our turkeys, the breast of a wild turkey, ham and a venison roast and all the side dishes.

#2 son had been sick with a stomach virus on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I bleached the bathroom and prayed nobody would be sick on Thanksgiving. Shortly after consuming probably the biggest meal of the year....#2 daughter got sick. I bleached the bathroom again.

Friday dawned bright and early. The man went to work, #2 daughter slept the whole day. #2 son left with his uncle to site the guns in for deer season is fast approaching. #1 daughter and I started going through the Christmas decorations. Later in the evening #1 and Sir T headed for home so they could go to Christkindlmarkt with his family the following day. I have never been but I am told I should go.
I awoke early Saturday morning....sick. I bleached the bathroom again, not that it has helped any, and crashed in bed. So far as sick goes it really isn't that bad. The bathroom part is done and over with in 30 minutes. The rest of the day you just have a stomach ache and sleep.

I woke early this morning which is no surprise when you have slept almost an entire day away. I started knitting, made a pair of fingerless mitts and started on a simple cowl. Can't say I feel like doing the jig quite yet, but I feel much better.

The man has stayed out of the house as much as possible! We still had a huge pile of dirt (and weeds) in the front yard and he has spent the past couple of days dispersing it....with a little help from his friends....I think they are trying to show him how helpful they can be as they were glad to have not been Thanksgiving dinner. I should tell them that is not why they are here but not until we get some more work out of them. Now I am off to hopefully finish the cowl....or take a nap.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


"For moving forward is rarely accomplished without considerable grief and sadness. And while our sorrow may be profound... ...the clouds will clear... ...and the sun will shine on us again. And in that warm, bright light... ...we will find ourselves facing a glorious future. A future of exciting challenges... ...and infinite possibility... which the horizon will stretch out before us... ...rimmed in the heavenly glow... ...of the sunrise of our tomorrow. "

Today we face our first major holiday without my mother and my uncle. Yesterday as I was making some of the things that can be made in advance, I missed bantering back and forth with her. But last night my oldest daughter arrived and today we are putting together the rest of the foods that have become traditonal for us.

Tradition states we have to watch the parade while working. Then Christmas carols get played for the first time this season. I am trying to remember everything. The china has been washed and the silver polished. My mother had two dishes which traditionally only came out during Thanksgiving and I found both of them on Ebay! My Uncle was the gravy master so I bought jars of gravy just in case I screw it up. My kids know I don't make good gravy and will be upset if it comes to store bought but will then agree that one can not have turkey and mashed potatoes without gravy!

So while we no longer have mom or uncle, our memories and traditions will carry us through. And while we are not facing the future we wanted, we are facing new and exciting things. With the good food, our family and friends, we still have much to be thankful for this year.
I wish everyone something to be thankful for and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

May flowers?

Q: If April showers bring May flowers what do May flowers bring?
A: Pilgrims!

Q: Who is not hungry at Thanksgiving?
A: The turkey because he's already stuffed!

Like most Americans at this time of year, I have turkey on the brain. Right before Thanksgiving and we are just as busy now as we were in July. I received a windfall of strawberries and bananas this week and made jam's or froze them for later use.

Friday, #2 daughter had her birthday party so we took 4 of her friends to dinner and to see the Twilight sequel, New Moon. Exhausting! I now know there are other kids that can talk faster, louder and more than #2 and that they all are as obsessed as she. I didn't think it was possible but it is so.

And because the man likes to wait until the last minute, this weekend he worked on the house at the same time I was trying to get it spotless for company. I got a dishwasher and he finally installed that. I made extensions for each end of my table so we will all be able to fit. It now goes from 6' to 9' 8" and I actually have a tablecloth to fit it! Also more molding is finally going up. He got a great deal on fencing which he had to go fetch. Not sure if I will use it for garden or fence in more pasture for the sheep. I do know I am not going to worry about it until after the holidays, regardless of how many seed company's can inundate me with their catalogs beforehand.

I have been making kids hat and mitten sets.
I also made the pocketbook slippers and just have to sew them together. I also sewed up the miniature Santa and Mrs. Claus clothes for the clothesline. #1 daughter saw my garland and wanted it. I told her I would make her one. I made Santa's mittens, scarf, hat, socks, gift bag, shirt and pants. Mrs. Claus got her dress, apron and mop cap. It is approximately 6 feet long but I think it needs a little something. All the ones in the magazines don't have anything else so we will let #1 be the judge when she comes home on Wednesday. Can't wait to see her.

I have everything I need for dinner and it is just timing everything right. #1 does not think that a turkey and ham is enough to leave her a sufficient amount of leftovers so I will cooking up the wild turkey breast my brother gave me also. The kids get out of school early Tuesday and Wednesday for parent teacher conferences so I will have extra hands...and they thought they were getting a break!!!!
Now I have to wash windows are they are covered in wet dog nose prints. Or maybe I should go knit and leave it for the kids to do tomorrow!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turkey Talk

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. ~ Christopher Reeve

If you stand and look at our house it sits at the bottom of the mountain, then there is a small hill on the right side. It is here that I have my bird feeders. Last fall and winter the wild turkeys would come down and have their fair share of these easy offerings. Like the cardinals, titmouse, chickadee etc, they thought it was there just for them.

This morning I attended the animals and as is their norm, the chickens and our domesticated turkeys walked over to the ground below the feeders to see what pickings they could if their automatic feeder is empty and they are so starved! So I tossed out some strawberry tops for them and went to sit down to knit for a few minutes. My knitting was interrupted by their squawking.
It would seem the natives wanted to come dine and the domesticated turkeys would not let them. Red & Gray tried to be nice and explain that they (the natives) had the whole forest from which to obtain their food, so please don't egg in on ours. But the natives got nasty, as is their way, and would not listen but continued to head toward the feeders.Gray quickly jumped up on the nearest grape vine to demand their compliance to the new rules. But got no where. Red jumped up and yelled at them too but nobody was listening to them. They were outnumbered 9-2. The natives said they were soft from befriending man and since they had their food handed to them they had no right to begrudge them any droppings...a little reverse psycology. Red & Gray returned to the feeders to gather strength and format a new plan. It was decided that the natives could pass but still not go near the feeders. Red & Gray would stand between them and the feeders. When one of the natives decided to go rogue and sneak in on their flank, the ever vigilant chicken had Red and Grays back. Oh, they were slick and tried every trick in the book. They tried acting like they had surrendered and were going back up into the woods from which they came. But Red & Gray would have none of that! They pulled back to once again. Another brazen little native tried to act all coy by flashing feathers, but Gray said "see ya"! And once again they got between the natives and their meal ticket. Mr. Squirrel was highly amused by these proceedings and devised his own plan. While he sat up in the tree watching, he had the Mrs. down on the ground picking up what the natives missed and making runs to the feeder while Red & Gray were occupied with more important dealings. Very opportunistic of old Mr. Squirrel. Bandit, the cat, reminded me that it was I that rescued Mr. Squirrel from his clutches a short time ago....if my feeders get chewed apart, I have nobody to blame but myself. I made my point by telling Bandit if she didn't go preen herself somewhere else she would be chasing Mr. Squirrel for food instead of fun. Her response was "now look who is being catty".
But back to Red & Gray...Their new plan was a formidable united more of the divide and conquer.The natives in a desperate moment tried to act all big and bad but Red & Gray were not impressed and looked upon them with disdain. And as the first rays of sunshine fell up on our little parcel, the natives were still a distance away from the feeders. Some looked down thinking of making one last valiant attack on the line. But with a last longing look over their wing they went back into the woods. Red & Gray returned to dine victoriously. The chickens lavished praises upon them for their heroic acts. That is our story and we are sticking to it!.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Season Influences

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Around here the food of the season is sauerkraut. When the kraut was checked on Wednesday it was decided that it was done. The man calls everyday at lunch time and when he found out it was ready he requested pork and kraut for dinner...and he got it. I canned the rest as it is easier to give the oldest two kids jars to take home. I got 39 quarts of sauerkraut.
I also canned up lard. When we picked up the pork, we got some fat back also. I canned up 6 quarts and gave the rest of the fat to a friend. I melted some fat, added the cracklings, some apples that were going bad, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and corn and poured it into pans to harden and be cut up into blocks for the birds.

I wrapped up all the presents which I have already made or purchased. I have a huge roll of brown paper so this year all presents will be wrapped in that as I try to use it up. They will look very basic but I have livened them up with homemade tags made from old Christmas cards.I was given my mother's bingo bag but the magnetic pieces are no longer used so I started making tags out of them also....I was going to say it's a cheap Christmas Charlie Brown but it is just a homemade Christmas and I am having a blast. #2 daughter was not happy when she first heard this but then agreed that it really didn't matter what it is wrapped in. She got into the act so her and I made up some borax ornaments to use as package tie on's.
Along with canning, wrapping, gift tag making, I have been knitting. I made this stocking and I am adding holly leaves to it. They are in the making now. I recycled a sweater and made this stocking and I am on my second wine bag.
So we will continue to prepare for and enjoy with all our senses the beauty of the seasons.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Counting down

“Don't agonize, organize.” ~ Florynce R. Kennedy
With the turning of the calendar page, the countdowns seem to have a more hectic tone to them. I look out the window and the trees are bare, the deer are coming down earlier in the day.
The turkeys came down yesterday to check out the bird feeders for the first time this fall. Each of these are just a reminder that the year is drawing to a close and there is so much still to do.

Between trying to make sure I don't forget anything for Thanksgiving, I am also trying to remember all the ingredients for the cookies and breads that my mother and I use to make at Christmas. It was so much easier with two minds! Then there is trying to remember to get things to finish off presents and #2 (who has a b-day coming up) wants a Twilight/New Moon party.
I sat there last night trying to knit and thoughts were flying through my mind of what I still had to do and what I still had to buy along with the regular shopping items. I decided that I had to make lists and prioritize things....Christmas cookies do not come before Thanksgiving pies.

I made a list of foods being served on Thanksgiving and what I still needed to buy.
I made a list of foods being served on Christmas and what I still needed to buy.
I made a list of cookies/breads that I want to bake and what I still needed to buy.
I made a list of presents for Christmas, what I already have and what I still need to buy/make.
Thankfully not all Christmas gifts that are homemade are going to be knit this year, taking some of the pressure of my hands. However, I have been whipping out kitchen towels with crocheted tops to give with breads...They just need buttons, which are on the list!

So with lists tucked in beside the wallet, so I won't forget either of them, I now feel more prepared for...."the moon on the crest of the new fallen snow, gave a luster of Midday to objects below."

Monday, November 02, 2009


"No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -
- Thomas Hood

My yard has an abundance of leaves…and nuts. I should be out there raking but I am not. I am waiting for them all to land and will do it in one fell swoop. #2 daughter is home sick so she needs babying right, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

#1 daughter came home for the weekend. We didn't do much but she did finally get her picture taken for her license. Afterward we stopped at the thrift store and I found a Singer Tiny Serger for $4.99. I just ordered the manual. Hopefully it works but if it doesn't I am not out a whole lotta money.

While we were shopping the man went and picked up the pork. Almost didn’t have enough space for it but we squeezed it in. Thawed out and fried up some bacon as we haven’t had any in a while because I am too cheap to spend money on it when I had some coming. It was delicious and well worth the wait. Now just to wait for the sauerkraut.

Then she went with me while we took care of my cousins alpaca. Her first question was "Why don't you have some of them?" When I hit the lottery maybe. I finally remembered to bring the camera on Sunday. Isn't he adorable. His name is Donner. He doesn't stand still very long when he wants food. This same cousin and a friend bought me this at Rhinebeck... It is called High Strung and is done by Sheep Incognito Conni Togel. You have to see some of the others. Isn't it adorable? It now hangs above my knitting/spinning chair.

And that chair has finally seen some action. I have been in a knitting funk so I spent alot of time cleaning. Well, I woke up at 4:55 yesterday morning because my body thought it was 5:55. Knowing there was no way I was going back to sleep, I spun a little and then started to crochet a tree skirt. Too much crochet and my wrist start’s to hurt so then with the early darkness I sat down and started knitting. I finished a Cherry Garcia cabled neck tube and then started a feather and fan cowl. Do I need to say while the Yankee's were winning? Hopefully I will finish that today as now I find I have projects in the queque. It's good to be back to knitting.