Thanksgiving in the Hillery home means lots of traditions. Many have to do with food. (I guess by now you had that figured out.) This year we tried to raise our own turkey but something else ate them before we could. Oh well. We purchased a fresh free-range, non-GMO, pastured turkey from Sunrise Farm in Stuart's Draft. It was the best turkey I have ever eaten. Honestly! Moist, flavorful, delicious. No brine, no preservatives, no basting. I stuffed it with my friend Kirsten's fresh sage(since someone weed-eated my bush). Rubbed it with butter. Yummm.
Nora and Rose helped make the dressing. We milled the corn and made cornbread. Crumbled the pan of cornbread with a loaf of our milk and honey bread and added lots of onions, celery, home-grown butter and broth, more of Kirsten's sage. Lots and lots of eggs.
Maggie made pumpkin pecan pies. Rose made pumpkin pies. Thomas made apple pies. Patrick made our family recipe of cranberry salad with fresh cranberrys, black cherry jello, marshmallows and lots of pecans (hush you health food nuts out there! It is a holiday! Jello and marshmallows once or twice a year aren't going to kill anyone!) I milled wheat and made it into whole wheat and honey crescent rolls.
Our friend Regina made her family-recipe sweet potato casserole and their delicious cranberry jello mold. She also brought wonderful green beans.
I am afraid to calculate how many pounds of butter we used in the making of our feast!
Another Thanksgiving tradition has to do with friends around our table. Thanksgiving is a holiday we like to share with friends. Sometimes they are old friends and family. Sometimes new friends who have no other place to go. Seems like every year is a different crowd. This year we had old friends from New Jersey and old friend from Texas join our table. Every bed was full. A couple of people got the floor. We ate popcorn late at night while board games were played. We ate late breakfasts in shifts while chores got done. NJ friends had to move on to other places. North Carolina friends joined the festivities.
One of the reasons Philip likes Thanksgiving more than all the other holidays is because of the emphasis on family and friends and gratitude, not consumerism. Decoration is easy. Beautiful winter squash. Indian corn. Brown leaves. Turkeys crafted by little girls. The food is familiar. Bountiful leftovers ensure easy meals for a day or two.
We started what I hope is a new tradition. On Thanksgiving Day, Philip, Joel and the big kids went for a hike to McAfee's Knob while Regina, Nora and Rose and I cooked. They came back tired and hungry! Grateful for dinner! On Black Friday we ate pie for breakfast and instead of heading to the mall we headed to Andy Lane Trail with a picnic which we enjoyed on the banks of a beautiful stream before we headed up to Tinker Cliffs. After another small feast that evening we enjoyed MUSIC! John played the piano. Samuel played the violin. Charla played the dulcimer and piano and guitar. Rose and Maggie played duets on the piano. We all sang and ate more pie. On Saturday afternoon, friends gone, we processed the two deer that we had been given. Wonderful venison in the freezer to accompany the grass-fed beef, pastured pork and chicken and duck.
I am thankful to have a special time set aside to feast with friends and family. We are so thankful for the bounty in our world.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34 We have tasted and we have seen!
Thank you God for warm house, loving family and friends, plenty of food to eat and share with others, firewood, hot water, toilets, grace and mercy and compassion and forgiveness. Thank you for beauty and poetry and music. For newspapers that help us know how to pray for other hurting people like those in Mumbai. For books and animals and waterfalls and gardens. For programs like Heifer and Compassion that help us help others. For the people you place in our life to teach us important lessons. Even the hard ones. Thank you for bringing us this far. Thank you for loving the entire world. Thank you for loving me.