Independence Days Update: Thanksgiving

Sharon November 22nd, 2010

Sorry for the radio silence - it has been a hectic couple of weeks here with travel and talks and family visiting and birthdays and all sorts of stuff, but life settles down for a week now - yay!  Peace and quiet and getting things ready for winter, which is on the cusp of arrival.  But the ground isn’t frozen and there’s still a few nice days coming before the weather changes.

The tulips went in last week and were promptly dug up by my damned chickens, who keep sneaking into the fenced yard. The problem was largely resolved by the reintroduction of something in a missing species niche - ie, we put the dogs in the side yard to defend the tulip bulbs with their lives. 

The hens have just about stopped laying, so I actually bought eggs to make enough pumpkin pie.  We probably should light the hen house, but the results have never been impressive, and I tend to think that the hens need their quiet time too, just like I do in the winter.

The big news is that the goats are being bred for spring babies - older does only.  Bast, Arava and Jessie have already had their day, with Mina, Maia and Selene yet to go.  Frodo is happy as a clam!

I have a bit more late garlic to go in, and a few more bulbs, and then I’m done.  But my next garden project starts almost immediately - I have to set up the seeds to winter-stratify outside - so many of the medicinals do best when they’ve had a nice period of cold. 

We have to get the rest of the firewood under cover, and the rest of the hay moved over to the barn, but after that, winter can come, and I’m ready to settle in. I’m hoping to get most of the major projects done by the end of this week - it will be a quiet one, with guests only for the actual day of Thanksgiving, and Eric is off for most of the week, so we’ll get a lot done. 

For Thanksgiving, we’re having our usual turkey, plus our friend Joe makes Peking Duck (he’s half chinese and not from turkey) as well, which is a lot of fun.  Otherwise, we’re traditional - we’ll be eating the enormous Hubbard squash that Mac the Pyr is afraid of (vengeance!) and there’ll be the usual roots and sweets.  We already have had pumpkin pie - that’s what Simon wanted as his birthday “cake” and I’m always amazed at how delicious those winter luxury pumpkins are - they are far and away the best pie pumpkin on the earth.

I cleaned out and moved the food storage over, and found some ummm..tasty snacks for the chickens.  Let’s just say that I can’t think of any good reason why there would be baby food in my food storage, given that the baby is five, but so there was ;-) .

I managed to get some of the pruning done, but I really need another afternoon with the shears.  The buns are moved to their winter quarters in the hay barn, so winter preps are coming together. I’ve got to knit faster, though, since the boys are expecting hats and mittens!

After all the chaos, it feels like we’re coming into a homestretch of sorts - that life is getting manageable. I’ve been travelling way too much - I’ve averaged twice a month, which is just too hectic and taking up too much of my mental space.  It is the season of the year to cuddle in, and I just want to be at home.  And now I am.

Plant something: Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths (ground and pots for forcing).

Harvest something: Turnips, beets, kale, chard, bok choy, arugula, turnip greens, pea shoots, jerusalem artichokes, chinese cabbage, burdock root

Preserve something: Canned up some applesauce, dried burdock root

Waste Not: Fed babyfood and a few other things to chickens, collected lots of leaves for mulch, fertility and goat snacks.

Want Not: Sorted through the blankets and flannels and mended a lot.

Eat the food: Pumpkin pie!  Shepherd’s pie (I had extra pie crust) with veggies.  My first lamb and lentil soup of the season!  Massaman curried root vegetables. 

Build community food systems: Did a talk in Albany about our local food system.

How about you?  And what are you cooking this week?


18 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Thanksgiving”

  1. [email protected] says:

    Interesting to hear your comments on the Winter Luxury pumpkins since Ali over at Henbogle just did a three-way taste test and placed the WLP dead last. Though granted she didn’t test them as pie, but straight up roasted. I was bummed because WL is the pumpkin I bought at the farmer’s mkt when my own squash crop failed this year. Either WL comes into its own as a pie pumpkin, or there’s no disputing taste…

  2. Claire says:

    We returned to St. Louis from almost 2 weeks away to visit my parents, who live in the Port Charlotte, FL area.Good to see them, good to be back. Though it would have been nice to have had some rain while we are gone. Sum total of rain in October plus November to date is less than 1.5″, and it’s been warmer than normal besides.

    Plant: nothing. Like you, Sharon, I’ll be getting a flat of seeds ready for stratification soon.

    Harvest: carrots, lettuce, arugula, tatsoi, bok choy, dill, raspberries (it hasn’t dropped below 27F yet), persimmons.

    Preserve: nothing new.

    Waste not: brought home the empty wine bottles from my parents’ house so the DH can fill them with homemade wine later. Also was given some of my parents’ crystal. My mom is slowly distributing these to us kids as she sees us, she says to prevent us from fighting over them after she dies.

    Want not: the company we contracted with to glass-in the south facing front porch has gotten almost all the glass in except for one fixed pane. We can already tell that the porch will hold a goodly amount of heat on sunny days.

    Community food systems: nothing.

    Eat the food: we took some veggies from the garden with us to eat on our trip. Since getting back, we’ve made a delicious salad from the lettuce, arugula, tatsoi, tomatoes, and peppers. Also a stir-fry using the bok choy and a bean soup from the last of this year’s bean crop that wasn’t yet dry - we shelled the beans out for the soup.

  3. Julie says:

    Julie in Oklahoma. A beautiful 72 degrees here today.

    Plant something: nothing on this end.

    Harvest something: harvesting spinach for morning omelettes. Carrots too.

    Preserve something: have made green tomato chutney within last few weeks.

    Waste not: went dumpstering and used up a every bit of a lovely ham, and some avocados. my neighbor shared some of his sweet potatoes (dumpstered) and cooking them up for thanksgiving. Fed ham bone to neighbor’s dogs. Plan to make some fried green tomatoes tonight left over from garden along with grass fed hamburger from co-op.

    Want not: gonna do some mending tonight.

    Eat the food: Eating spinach and other greens.

    Build community food systems: working for Oklahoma Food Cooperative as chef. Provide food for volunteers and producers on delivery days trying to use as many products from producers as possible. Made chicken satay stew with co-op chicken and peanut butter. Get paid in credits to buy good meat and other stuff.

    We are working on getting ducks up and running.

  4. Julie says:

    What are we cooking?

    A turkey, sweet potatoes as far as I know. We are going down to husband’s grandma’s ranch in Southern Oklahoma. I don’t know what his uncles have planned.

  5. Susan in NJ says:

    It’s been a while since I reported but I finally feel like we’re settling into our new orbit.
    Plant: Nothing . . . there’s an enormous sack of tulip bulbs eagerly awaiting my attention not to mention the winter migration.
    Harvest: Thyme, rosemary.
    Preserve: Worked on cleaning up the various “root cellaring” areas and combatting the mouse (& shrew) home invasion.
    Waste Not: Fed the compost heap big time; found an excellent use for a scrap of moldy mozzarella.
    Want Not: Shopped the last farmer’s market.
    Community: See want not.
    Eat the food: Ham and the last of the fresh lima beans.

  6. Susan in NJ says:

    Oh, and what are we eating?
    Turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry apple ginger sauce, herb stuffing and other trimmings
    Apple crumbtop pie and pumpkin pie
    I need a good therapeutic cook-a-thon.

  7. NM says:

    Maybe snow tonight; temperatures are supposed to drop into the teens. Very cold rain, at the moment.
    plant: nothing
    harvest: local vegetables from csa
    preserve: quince jam, soothing quince syrup, candied citron, quince liqueur, citron liqueur, dried apples, dried bananas, froze a batch of apple turnovers, mostly to use up the rest of a jar of preserved apples. Took part of the remainder of a CSA squash we did not care for baked and served with butter, and used it to make pumpkin cookies; they turned out great.
    want not: working on a first-year planting plan for the farm-to-be; continuing land search. Husband is building a bathroom vanity; just painted it with leftover paint he had on hand. Fortunately, it’s an attractive color.
    waste not: used sugar syrup leftover from candying citron to make citron liquer. Use quince cores to make soothing quince syrup. Spent a day with my parents, helping them clean and declutter; filled several bags for the thrift store.
    community food systems: Took a boxful of home-canned peaches, applesauce, sugar-free cherry butter and apple butter and low-sugar strawberry jam over as a get-well gift for my dad (he just had surgery). Since my parents host the family Thanksgiving gathering, and surgerized dad can’t help this year, I’m taking Wednesday off to go help clean, bake pumpkin pies, prepare stuffing and do whatever else needs doing.
    Eat the food: Creamy cauliflower soup, roasted vegetables, baked squash, cranberry sauce, bread pudding, spaghetti (home-canned tomatoes); used the leftover sauce to make pizza with kale and peppers; potato cakes; home fries; cranberry walnut rolls, pumpkin cookies.
    For family Thanksgiving gathering, I will make roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, gluten-free cookies; will also take over quince paste (which I made, but not recently).
    Other family members will contribute turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, deviled eggs, apple pie, pumpkin pie, apple cider.
    For husband and I at home, will bake a dairy-free pumpkin pie and make stuffed squash, mashed potatoes, etc. I also want to bake a quince apple pie with the last of the quinces, since I’ve never made one, but that’s too much pie for us to eat; will freeze that one. Husband has promised to grind flour for me, so I can bake bread to use for stuffing and rolls. no idea when he thinks I’m going to find time to do this … ah, well. who needs sleep?

  8. NM says:

    that was supposed to be said with a rueful grin, but the computer apparently thought it superfluous.

  9. Holly in Virginia says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    We’ll be aiming for a mostly 100 foot meal for the 3rd year. We’ll have 2 big chickens, since we didn’t grow turkeys this year. Green beans from the freezer and broccoli and potatoes (got to get them all in, its late)fresh from the garden, maybe salad. Pear and apple dessert something. Farmers Mkt chestnuts for stuffing, squash, milk, butter, and cheese, and wine. Storebought bread and cranberry sauce.
    We’ll have old friends and lots of stray kids who come over after doing their family meals, then eat or snack all over again here. Then they play music and we hike around the farm. Best holiday ever.
    Looking for new ways to use autumn olive like a cranberry sauce or something. I’m trying to forage more.

  10. Sonrisa says:

    This year my husbands boss sent a turducken (which is a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, and this one has a sausage stuffing as well). So we’ll be having that with blue mashed potatoes, some greens from the greenhouse, pumpkin and maple walnut pie, etc. It worked out well because 1) we didn’t raise a turkey this year and 2)we eat roasted quail and mashed potatoes regularly which is not that different from turkey and taters so it’ll mix things up a bit. But, we just butchered a pig so we’ll have homegrown ham for solstice and pork loin and sauerkraut for new years. I’m drooling just thinking about all of it.

    *Oh, we finally finished the wheat threshing and winnowing. For the approx. 1000 sq ft I had planted we got a few ounces shy of 120lb. Some of my beds with the best soil came in at 17lb per 100 sq ft. Just for comparison, the average for farms in our area is 10lb per 100 sq ft. So needless to say it was a good wheat year for us.
    Not to mention lots of straw for bedding and compost. And I think we have finally found the best threshing method for us. Now I just need to find a better cutting system. Maybe a sickle or scythe.

    This will be for mid October until now.

    Plant- Winter wheat, garlic, egyptian onoins, and potato onions outside. Small turnips from the garden, leaf lettuce, broccoli, and spinach seedlings transplanted into the greenhouse. Head lettuce planted in the aquaponic beds.

    Harvest- Kale, spinach, turnips, carrots, beets, flax, tomatoes(from the greenhouse), bulb onions, quail, quail eggs, a little milk (I just dried the girls off, they will start to freshen in Feb), pork.

    Preserve- Made sauerruben from turnips. Canned some carrots, beets, and turnips and packed some in sand.

    Waste not-Same

    Want not- A few things here, but they need explaining and would probably fit better in the anyway project. So I’ll try to get to that soon.

    Community- nope

    Eat the food- Turnip season means law boc gow! Carrot cake. Cole cannon.

  11. Evey says:

    Wild swings in weather here in WV southern mountains. 66 yesterday with beautiful sunshine but cold and rainy today and it is suppose to drop into the 20s again at night by the end of the week.

    This week we are eating wintery type food. I cookefor the farm family Sunday and Monday night: ham bone/bean soup with garden kale: meatloaf with garden sweet potatoes,beets, green beans.

    For Thanksgiving we are going to our brother and SIL’s Thai resturant in Winchester VA. She is Thai. There will be turkey and who know what else! About 25 folks are coming, some family and some we don’t know yet. I making a gallon of hard cider from the many gallons we pressed last week with a neighbor. Also some dried cherry dark chocolet oatmeal cookies. SIL that lives here on the farm is making a ton of bread dressing to take.

    Plant something: transplanted small mixed lettuces into soon to be enclosed low tunnel
    ( under fabric for now).

    Harvest something: beets, kale, pears(from neighbor’s yard), raab, 2 eggs a day.

    Perserve something: freezing kale and making pear chutney

    Waste not: gleaning pears and tons of kale from neighbor who doesn’t want any more. DH is off today with a friend to scavenge 6 year old windows and inventory other possible building materials from house to be demolished soon.

    Want not: finally got some firewood in-YEAH.

    Community food: trading services and goods, for example homemade bread, with different neighbors in exchange for gleaning their surplus crops.

  12. Maria Barker says:

    We always go to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving. I have been cooking homemade bread. Tomorrow, I bake winter squash also.

    I just put a small rant on my site about consumerism, travel, cargo, holidays, family. I am new to blogging and would love to know your thoughts. I have followed your blog for a bit, and very, very much admire what you stand for. Thanks for all your effort and work.

  13. KC says:

    In Central Virginia, we still have not had a hard freeze. I’ve been harvesting green cherry tomatoes and they have been ripening inside with plenty to eat at each meal. These are from volunteer plants that popped up in several places in the garden. We did a final harvest this week and pulled up all of the tomato plants to clean off the bed and prepare the garden for winter. (I had planted favas in among the tomatoes a few weeks ago and they are up now, but one is showing signs of black spot).

    I harvested a big basket of sweet peppers (Nardello and stocky red roasters) and finally cleared out all the plants - except the cayennes and they are still ripening daily! What to do with all of those peppers? I finally figured out a quick and easy freezing plan. I put them (whole) in the grill machine and they are seared in a matter of minutes, then cool down and freeze them. They are delicious and taste like roasted peppers. Very little prep work involved.

    We have been on the road a lot this year (traveling musicians) and things are starting to quiet down a bit. What a relief. I am finally starting to catch up on some of the chores that have been neglected in house and garden.

    Plant something: 3 kinds of garlic, perennial leeks, and more clover

    Harvest something: kale, chinese cabbage, carrots, winter radish, parsley, endive, chicory, chickweed, marigold seed, sweet peppers, cayenne, cherry tomatoes, okra pods for seed, ky wonder pods for seed, marigold for seed, tithonia for seed, beets, turnip greens, arugula, collard, poke berries for drying (medicine)

    Preserve something: roasted peppers and put in freezer

    Waste Not: mulching with leaves

    Want Not: I am working on drying my seeds and storing them for next year. We are splitting firewood (already cut and dry). I visit our local SPCA thrift store once a week. Preparing garden beds for next springs planting and tucking them in with leaves. Also, I am starting to winterize the fall plantings with leaves, row cover and hoops with plastic. (We don’t need them, yet, but I want everything ready when the temperatures drop.)

    Eat the food: a delicious meal of grits from the local (water-powered) mill, homegrown crowder peas (from the freezer) with cherry tomato and roasted sweet pepper, sweet potatoes, and kale. Eating that meal made me feel like I’ve finally “arrived” as a southerner. Also sweet potato pancakes using local eggs and dried milk from storage and local cornmeal. I cook up a bunch of roots in the thermal pot and then use them in various things like - fried potatoes with onion and pepper - and the leftovers became a potato omelette and sweet potato biscuits. A quick meal made with spaghetti squash cooked in the tiger thermal pot and tomato/okra/eggplant/ blackeye peas mix from the freezer. I am making a concerted effort to eat potatoes and sweet potatoes twice a week. Also, squash once a week if possible.

    Build community food systems: sharing food with friends and neighbors. Taking care of neighbors chickens. On Thanksgiving Day , we will be playing music at the Thanksgiving dinner that is offered at the firehouse - free for anyone in the community that wants to attend.

  14. Claire says:

    Didn’t mention what our Thanksgiving plans are. Looks like the usual turkey feast. My BIL and his girlfriend are hosting and doing most of the cooking. It will all be grocery-store food as that is what they know and do. My DH and I are charged with supplying olives, pickles, and other relishes. We will bring some from the grocery store plus green onions from my garden … if my DH brings some of his sour pickles, that and the green onions will be the only local food on the menu.

  15. Lynne says:

    Winter has really hit here. So common for us to get a blast of real winter in November, then have a mild December, and then settling to cold in January…it’s quite beautiful and quiet with the snow.

    Plant:just sprouts - the chickens actually coo like pigeons when they get to eat sprouts (we do, kind of, too)

    Harvest: A few eggs; harvested kale, lettuce, bietina, beets, carrots, leeks all just before this cold weather. Again, I think weather forecasters deserve some type of medal for service to society.

    Preserve: Froze some dark greens

    Waste Not:Usual; trying to just heat the middle floor with the fireplace, keeping doors closed to upstairs and basement and closed to spare rooms, wearing long undies and hats inside to stay warm

    Want not: Got loads of gloves and warm weather hats at the thrift store; also bought us each one pair of superb winter socks

    Community - nothing other than a promise to my sister to help her with a garden work party in spring

    Eat: frozen and canned fruit on homemade granola; eating dark green and/or dark orange veg every day as an experiment to keep our eyes healthy (kale, bietina, beet greens, spinach, squash, carrots); lentil curry; soups; homemade dried tomatoes and peppers in quesadillas, pasta salads; For today, pea soup with our own dried peas :)

  16. carol says:

    Thanksgiving will include local free range turkey from over the mountain, dressing with local apples and local celery and local bread and homemade stock and my kitchen herbs, local collards with shallots, sides and casseroles by other family members, apple pie from heritage apples 5 miles from here, pumpkin pie from an actual store (!), and flourless chocolate cake with cherry preserves from our trees - season before last. Happy eats, everyone.

    Plant: nothing, can’t find hardneck garlic. Looked for good seed companies online

    Harvest: herbs, lettuce, kale

    preserve: canned chili, ground beef

    Waste Not: Inventoried all the food in the house. Have started buying the “gap” between what we have and what we’d need to go 4-6 months with ourselves and probably other family. Turned heat way down, have figured a starter plan to manage the woods better and are bringing in more wood from our own acres. Gave away unneeded games, toys and clothes. Working out monthly plan with DIH for what projects we’re taking on and in what order.

    Want not: Cut into our front porch (built over our brick foundation) to create the worlds most AWESOME and huge root cellar. I am so excited.. it’s 50% underground, has stone and brick sides on all sides, faces north, and has a gravel bed on the bottom.. Could not be better. May put in shelves at some point but for now getting rubbermaid tubs and sawdust for packing apples, carrots, potatoes and other things that do well at 38-45. To celebrate I went out and bought 40 pounds of heritage rare breed apples from the apple and cidery, for $40, to start off my root cellaring experience. Also got 1 cord firewood in

    Community: talked to brother about his situation (lost his job this summer, just ran out of unemployment), our collective future, and offered to share what we have

    Eat: home-canned butternut squash soup, turkey, turkey, cauliflower curry and brown rice, turkey, wonderful local grassfed steak, turkey, turkey, chili, turkey, turkey, spam spam spam spam spam…..

  17. Daniel Botkin says:

    plant: spinach, shallot, leek seeds (in hoophouse) for overwintering potential…

    harvest: outdoor plants (leeks, kale, chard, beets, lettuces…) lifted whole with giant rootballs and transplanted into minimally heated, 65′ hoophouse.

    preserve: drying hot pepper bounty in food dehydrator and kitchen smells amazing (careful, they finish quick!)

    waste not: digging up and bringing prized Czech Black hot peppers into house for winter preservation. (Some die…) Nice to start new season with robust, flowering pepper plants!

    want not: hoophouse is now filled to brim with diverse, frost-sweetened cold-hardy greens and alliums, plants that laugh at bitter temps.

    eat: jalapeno, garlic, goat cheese w/tatsoi pizzas. too good to just make one!

    community: taught class on low tech-food preservation and several on winter gardening.
    BTW… google search says 60 million turkeys grown for US Thankgiving holiday!!! How many those carcasses end up as soup vs. those chucked out by Monday??? Maybe I don’t wanna know ;(

  18. Elischa says:

    Over here in the summer of subtropical Queensland, Australia, we are still eating cherry tomatoes for breakfast lunch and dinner, and still inventing new ways to eat Paw Paws (Papaya).
    Some of our favourites..
    Papaya juice: ice, water, papaya (which I learnt from listening to the words of an old calypso song)
    Sauteed as a side-dish semi-ripe, in coconut oil
    Green, grated for salad,
    or steamed as a side-dish
    add semi ripe as a vegetable in any vege dish

    My life has changed this year since discovering the possibilities of cooking this tropical staple rather than trying to eat it all ripe for breakfast (puke!)
    Love, :)

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