Happy Thanksgiving

Determined to make this as normal as possible in these abnormal times, two of my kids and I began early with a group text on our prep of our meals for our individual families. Instead of one big meal for a gang, it is 3 big meals served in three separate homes. The first text of the morning was from daughter with “Vote of confidence from my kids this morning: ‘Uncle Todd always makes the turkey. Do you even know how mom?'” This got us going exchanging how and what we were doing. Son 1 and I spatchcock our turkey, he varied our usual and nearly butterflied his with the cleaver trying it to flatten it and added a step with coarse salt and chopped herbs rubbed in the inside yesterday to “brine” over night. Daughter stating she didn’t have the tools to spatchcock so she was making a traditional bird. Son 1 stating he used clean tin snips and a cleaver. I am used to doing an 18-22 pasture raised bird for the gang, so an under 12 pounder had me baffled as to time. I managed to cut the backbone out with poultry shears, but had to pop the breastbone with my cleaver to flatten mine. Son 1 responded with 3, maybe 4 minutes cooking time when I asked, LOL. I put a large sweet potato in the oven when the turkey went in and when I was ready to peel, slice, and season it for the casserole it wasn’t done, so I popped it in the microware, pushed potato and came upstairs. Then I started smelling smoke, the microwave didn’t shut off and the yam was totally cremated and smoke filling the house. Fortunately it is 65 degrees outside so all doors were opened, yam dumped in cold water and a new yam cooked in the microwave with me watching like hawk.

In spite of not having them all here, texting back and forth has been fun, lots of encouragement, laughs, photos, fun. I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving, made the pies from pumpkins I grew, homemade rolls, peas and potatoes from our garden, sweet potatoes from the Farmers Market, fresh cranberries, pickles I made. Olives were purchased, but they don’t grow here. We are stuffed, will be eating turkey until Christmas, have quarts of fresh turkey broth. Everything made in smaller quantities, but made with love.

Happy Thanksgiving from us to you. Maybe next year we can be with our families again.

Take a Walk, Take a Hike

Hubby and I try to take a walk or couple mile hike each day. Daughter has been taking her kiddos on a hike once a week when weather permits and though today is chilly and thickly overcast, we had discussed going on a hike to Bear Cliffs. We met up after lunch at Mountain Lake Resort, the four of us masked and I brought 4 blaze orange vests, one for daughter, one for me, and one each for the two kiddos. Her kids are 9 and almost 14 and they were great hikers with some biology lessons on lichens, some trail safety reminders, blaze reading exercises, and a good time.

Last Thanksgiving I did the same hike with Son 1, his wife, and grandson 1. Then masks weren’t a necessary accessory.

This year, masks were required, which meant that glasses couldn’t easily be worn with hat and mask. This resulted in me being the only casualty when I slipped on on a rock and face planted on the trail. I ended up with a bit of a lump on my forehead, but otherwise unhurt, we continued on.

Lots of care taken due to fog and slippery rocks, but a great hike. They were kind the the senior and gave me necessary breathing breaks as we were gaining elevation, but they seemed willing to take a water and breathing break too. This may have to become an annual tradition.


“Zen emphasizes rigorous self-restraint, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of mind.” Meditation of any sort can help reduce stress.

My Zen time is spinning with my spindles. It is total focus on the single process, it quiets my mind, slows my breathing. That wasn’t always the case, like with any new endeavor, there is a lot of tension involved as you learn the skills, but with time, you relax and it becomes enjoyable. I have been spinning now for over a decade, starting with spindles, moving on to wheels, and for the past 8 months or so, returning to spindles.

When spinning with my spindles, whether in my chair, the car, waiting for an appointment, or out in nature, I feel my shoulders relax, the tension drain from my neck, my breathing focused. It gives my mind a non stressful activity on which to focus, a form of meditation. It ceases to be production and instead, is a serene, peaceful activity. I am still making yarn, but at a much slower pace.

As I am approaching the end of the month, as a spindle is filled and emptied, it isn’t necessarily getting refilled. The Fig Aegean, my largest spindle is resting right now, my newest Ambrosia Wren is filling, the smallest Honduran Rosewood Finch is almost full and will soon sit idle for a few days. The notched shaft bottom whorl in the left of the bowl is my Living History spindle and doesn’t generally spin at home. They rest in a wooden trencher, also from living history, or sometimes a basket or pottery dish depending on my mood. And it all sits on a small hand woven “towel.” The weaving process is still in the tension filling realm as I haven’t gotten good enough at it for it to be relaxing, maybe someday.

In a few weeks, some of my yarn, knits, weaves, body care items will go to Wilderness Road Regional Museum to an Honor System craft display during their Noel Nights weekend. If you are interested, you can reserve a spot for a tour, goodies, and shopping on their website. Twenty percent of my proceeds from that event will be donated to the museum for their operation and educational programming.