Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Olio – Nov. 24, 2017

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things

The blog has been quiet of late, but not for a lack of activity.  Jim and I continue to strive for a daily walk, though the past few days because of extra folk in the household, prep for Thanksgiving, child keeping for daughter and SIL to get their house painted inside before they move their furniture in, my walks have either been missed or have happened on our mountain road with visiting son, DIL, and eldest grandson.  Last evening, we walked our road so that I could show them the fossil.

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Grandson had been shown it before, but couldn’t find it again to show his parents.  It stays hidden and you have to know where to look to uncover it.

Today is  resident granddaughter’s  sixth birthday.  She was born on Thanksgiving and celebrated on Thanksgiving last year but won’t hit the holiday again for a few years.

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Her Dad is not a fan of spiders so her wicked sense of humor requested a chocolate cake with a spider web and spider on top. Above is daughter, our resident cake decorator, molding a purple spider from Rice Krispy treat mix to go on the cake that will be revealed tonight.

Yesterday’s feast was a treat.  We worked together to pull it off, with DIL helping with side dishes,  son’s assist to spatchcock the 19.5 lb turkey.  He also is in charge of rubbing the herb butter I made under the skin and lifting the monster onto and off of the baking rack and carving it.  This process produces the juiciest, tastiest poultry in such a short time.  It only took 90 minutes cooking time with this method.

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We don’t put the whole bird on the table to carve so it’s unconventional appearance is okay.  The aromatic vegetables under the turkey are pureed and added to the backbone, neck, giblets, and carcass to cook down for broth.  We ended up last night putting 2 1/2+ gallons of broth in jars for future gravies, cooking rice, potatoes, or beans.

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I survived turning 70 this past week.  It was a busy day of cleaning, food purchase for the feast and to feed the 9 people currently staying here, but ended with Jim taking me for a delightful meal at a local upscale restaurant.

This morning, eldest grandson (12), resident grandson (10), and the birthday girl, helped me stack the load of firewood that was delivered earlier this week.  This required removing the old wood from the makeshift rack first, driving a couple new T posts, scrounging for a few more old cedar posts to use as the base, and stacking high enough to have room, low enough to not topple over. The old wood then piled back on top to be burned first.

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It is two rows thick at one end and the chick raising water trough is full of old wood, set on it’s side behind the stacks as additional storage.

Today, being Black Friday, I won’t venture from the house.  I don’t like to shop when it is quiet, I sure don’t want to be out in the chaos that even our smaller towns seem to have.  I will support some of our local businesses later, and will purchase some gifts online next week.

I hope my readers, had quality time with family or friends yesterday or will be able to this weekend.  I am thankful for the time with my husband, children that could come and their families.  Hopefully, we will soon get to visit the one that could not come.

To Grandmother’s House They Came

Over the creek and through the woods to Grandmother’s (and Grandfather’s) house they came.

Part of the family converged on the farm yesterday to celebrate Thanksgiving together. With nine in the house, meals are major.  While one family was driving here, and the other at work, I cooked up a pot of pasta sauce with sausage and turned it into a huge thick lasagna and added a big salad with some of the last of the Farmers’ Market salad greens, some carrots and daikon radishes also from the market and we ate hearty last night.

Today was so mild and beautiful, son, daughter, daughter in law, a grandson, and I set up an assembly line to put the 6 cull chickens in the freezer before we tackled the Thanksgiving feast.  With everyone chipping in, the 6 birds were dealt with, the garage and driveway cleaned up, and Thanksgiving prepared.  The 20.48 lb turkey was spatchcocked to reduce the cooking time and because we learned last Thanksgiving, what a moist delicious bird it makes.  The huge bird cooked in only a bit less than an hour and a half.

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Though preparing a turkey this way does not let you put a whole golden bird on the table, we don’t do that anyway and this is so much more delicious.  With a turkey as large as this one, son is called in to cut the backbone out, flatten the bird and lift it into and out of the oven.  He also is the carver while the remaining dishes were being finished in the oven and put on the table.  Last year, with a slightly smaller turkey, we bought the huge pan and worried it wasn’t going to be large enough today.  After Thanksgiving last year, I bought poultry shears which makes removing the backbone possible.  The organ meats and backbone were tossed in a large stockpot with some celery, water, and salt and started simmering.  The cooked turkey bones were added after our feast.

The giant sweet potato from the garden was peeled, boiled and then baked with a touch of butter, cinnamon, and a little brown sugar.

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It didn’t take but the one sweet potato to make a casserole that had leftovers.  Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, bread dressing, rolls, homemade pickles and cranberries, assorted olives, pumpkin and pecan pies, and we are all in food comas now.

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Though granddaughter has celebrated her birthday twice this week with the roller skating party with her best friend on Sunday, her classroom celebration on Tuesday, today was her real birthday.  Though she had her cake on Sunday, her Daddy bought her a chocolate chip cookie cake for today and we all sang to her one last time for this birthday.  They have taken her to the new Disney movie Moana for her birthday after dinner.

The kitchen is cleaned up, the table linens laundered, the dishwasher run and dishes put away, the broth is cooling enough for me to debone it.  Tomorrow, I will reboil it and can it for later use.  The freezer still has jars of broth that I need to use for making soup, gravy, or to cook rice.  For now, I am just sitting and resting for a bit.

Tomorrow, we will eat turkey leftovers then as a group will go out to dinner on Saturday.

Today we gave thanks.  Hope you had a good day too.

The Tail of November

November is a busy month for celebrations in our family.  One grandson’s birthday is early in November, then it is quiet for a couple of weeks, but then WOW!  Friday was my step mom’s birthday, yesterday was mine, Tuesday is N’s (the grand that lives with us), Thursday of course is Thanksgiving.  The 28th is a nephew’s birthday and the 29th is K’s (our daughter).  It doesn’t end there as one DIL is December 4, then it will quiet again until we celebrate Christmas.

Yesterday, being Saturday, is also Farmers’ Market Day and the last Saturday that many of the vendors will brave the weather until spring.  Knowing that most of what we need for our Thursday feast is already in the house, but also knowing that we are going to have a house full for 5 days, some breakfast sausage, a green leafy veggie, perhaps some other meat and a few apples were on my list.  J and I left to have breakfast and do the market.  He usually sits in the sun on a bench while I visit and shop, but it was too cold yesterday.  Because yesterday was also the last home game of the season and the last home game for the retiring coach, we knew town would be crazy with out of town football fans.  J found a parking spot, not exactly a legal spot, so he sat in the car, prepared to move it if necessary.  The provisions were obtained and we came home to see if the rest of the household members were going to go with us the hour over to the farm where our Thanksgiving and Christmas pasture raised turkeys were to be picked up.

Turkey pick up is from 2 to 5.  They are fresh turkeys, very, very fresh turkeys.  Off we went with coolers in the back of the car, all 6 of us loaded in to get our birds.  Two birds totaling 36 pounds, one to cook Thursday, one put in the freezer for a month.  As the farm is in Floyd County, we ventured on to the town of Floyd and had wood fired pizza, flatbread and German style pretzels to celebrate my birthday, too late to be lunch, too early to be dinner, but delicious all the same.

Once home again, K and A made fudge brownies, my “cake” choice to end the day of celebration.

Mountaingdad purchased me a hand mill as a gift.  I have been making my own chicken feed mix for a while and T, eldest son, told me I should be grinding or at least cracking the grains for better nutritional absorption by the birds.  I had been using cracked corn, but the oats, sunflower seed, flax and split peas or lentils were whole.  Knowing that whole corn would keep better, I had to switched to it with the last purchase.

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The mill set up and being used to grind the whole corn, oats, Black oil sunflower seed, flax seed (they just seem to pass right through) and split peas.  Once ground, it gets a tablespoon of oil to help hold the kelp granules, a few tablespoons of crushed eggshell for calcium and a half cup of freeze dried meal worms.  The girls love it. They still have the run of the garden for the winter, but finding anything green now is getting more and more scarce.  The neighbor dog that was killing the chickens is no longer there, so maybe the hens and Cogburn can have some free range time in the yard and fields as long as we are home and our dogs are inside.

My celebration is past, now on to the other three that we will have this week.  Hope you have a wonderful and thankful week.

We May Be In For It

… This winter that is. It is still November and we experienced the coldest night this season with an even colder one due tonight.

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This was 2 hours ago. The wind howled all night, yesterday’s rain turned to snow flurries during the night and everything was frosted this morning. It is bright and sunny, but there is no warmth in it. I failed to bring the chooks waterer in last night and it was frozen solid, fortunately there is a spare since there are currently no culls or meat chicks.
It is supposed to warm back to normal by early next week, so Son#1 may not have to wear everything he brings plus Mountaingdad’s barn coat to hunt next week. He is hoping to put a deer in the freezer to supplement the chickens for their winter meat. Their three student budget is tight so meat is a luxury for them. I don’t eat venison and Mountaingdad isn’t a big fan either, but we have the freezer space.
I’m hoping for tolerable weather on Saturday as we will drive two counties over to pick up our freshly killed and cleaned, pasture raised turkey for Thanksgiving. As I was making the menu and grocery list, I was pleased at how few items we must purchase between our garden’s produce from summer, last week’s Farmers’ market and our local turkey. Olives don’t grow here and I don’t have a cow for cream, nor do we have a cranberry bog, but the rest will be local, homegrown, and homemade.
Lovin’life on our mountain farm, even if it is frigid.