Patrick milked for me this evening.
Thomas brought in the firewood for the night.
Maggie, Rose, Nora and Mary married Fred the dog and Tabby the cat. Again.
Max helped wherever needed. Kathryn and I set up food: sushi and potstickers for the first course.
We joined around the table and remembered the bests and worsts of 2010. I was interested in the lists. We thanked God and tucked into food. Kids then went outside and lit the bonfire to roast their marshmallows and Kathryn and shared champagne by the fireplace, hashing out important stuff.
We then sliced italian sausage, cheeses (special raw milk cheddar, some rare french stinky cheese, an artisanl goat cheese) and set it out with fruits and freshly milled whole grain breads, made into crispy toasts.
Kids came in for course #2 and we shared our wishes and prayers for 2011. As we scarfed the delicious bread and cheeses and olives, Holly arrived.
Yeay for Holly.
We enjoyed course #2 and she and I put our heads together to concoct course #3.
Pan-seared venison tenderloins with port reduction with fresh ginger and brandied plums from the farm.
Creamed organic spinach with a lot of garlic and a pinch of curry powder, the sweet one.
Piles of sweet potato fries, roasted in the big oven, with more olive oil than needed and plenty of real salt.
Kids rejoiced in fire and corn syrup and coyotes and stars outside as we women rejoiced in kinship inside.
All sat around the table for the midnight meal. We toasted. We discussed things we learned in 2010 and some of what we wished to learn in the new year. We delighted in the most amazing of tastes. Is it possible that 7 or 8 years ago, teenager Holly was in my kitchen, learning to cook the basics, and now, years of shared kitchens later, she shares tidbits she is learning in real culinary school as she prepares our dinner and I sit and drink wine???
Maybe tomorrow, if I drink enough coffee and you ask, I will share recipes for this evenings feast.
This morning I went out to the cemetery and wrote Philip a letter. And wrote a list of highlights and lowlights of 2010 and what I dream for in 2011. A bitterly painful day was redeemed in the presence of my dear women friends. With background music of children, playing in the other room with their dear ones. Sparkling cider flowed. More food than necessary was consumed.
The bitterness is tempered by abundance. What gifts we have been given.
May we find a way to return the favor in 2011.
And may each of us enjoy the peace and grace that comes by living in community with others. What a marvelous gift. Thank you God. Messy. Not so perfect. Often rough around the edges.
But there is not another good that is any better.
As we say goodnight to a painful year, I look forward to another one. Probably filled with plenty of pain. But knowing that after this past one, we can count on LOVE. Plenty of it. In the form of our friends, our family, our neighbors and customers and other farmers and church members. Even total strangers.
Welcome, New Year.