Turkey Day debrief

What a strange holiday this year.  I worked on the actual day, was lucky enough to get sent home about an hour and a half early, but then I had to work on a paper.  Fun.

We had Mr. TF’s dad, two of the three sons, the all-but-daughter in law, the grand baby, and a friend. Our holiday was Friday, because I worked.  Everyone (except Mr. TF) spent the holiday with friends elsewhere.

We had a Diestel Farms turkey as usual; this has become a new tradition for us and this makes the fourth year (?) we’ve gotten a pasture fed small farm turkey.  Delicious as usual.

For the first time, we had home grown yams.  I didn’t  make nearly enough — the entire casserole dish was eaten at the feast, with no leftovers at all.

We also had home grown potatoes for the first time, mixed in with a couple of organic potatoes.  I didn’t have good luck with my potato plants this year; they died before August was over so there was a small harvest.  I still got about a 10 to one ratio of potatoes though.  Not bad.

I made a pumpkin pie from pie pumpkins as usual; the major problem this year was I used a new recipe.  Which omitted sugar as one of the ingredients.  Yes, I made a wonderful pie that had no sugar.  I figured out after about my third bite; I spent the first two trying to figure out why it didn’t taste right.  I rechecked the recipe to see if I had missed it or it really wasn’t there…nope, no sugar listed.  Won’t be making that one again!

Every year I learn more about growing root vegetables, as well as the rest of what we grow.  Every year I get better, and refine my technique.  I’m definitely going back to container growing for potatoes and yams; the soil is deeper and the soil stays moister.  I just won’t do any more of the tower type growing; I have decided that the plants expend so much energy making more green growth that they don’t make any tuber growth.  I didn’t do any of that this year, and even though the plants died prematurely, I still got quite a few decent sized potatoes from 5 plants. And a fairly decent harvest of yams from four plants.  More manure!  I need more manure!

I hadn’t planned on making green bean casserole, since my beans did so poorly, but DH insisted (as did the kids when they learned I wasn’t going to make it) so I had my FIL stop at the store on the way to buy fresh green beans.  He of course had no problem doing it, but he’s used to my weirdness after all.  Then I had a ‘fight’ between DIL and DH over who gets the (very small amount of)  leftovers.  Kind of weird that the dish that gets the most requests, after stuffing, is a 50’s dish cooked up by Campbell’s kitchen cooks as a marketing tool for cream of mushroom soup.

I vary from what I assume is the standard recipe by using fresh green beans.  I chop finely a half onion, about six slices bacon (which in our case came from Windy View Acres, my friend’s farm) cut into small pieces, and saute the onion and bacon until the bacon is browned and the onions are transluscent.  Then I add the green beans and saute until bright green and a little tender.  This all gets a couple cans of cream of mushroom soup mixed in, a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce, some chopped mushrooms, and gets topped with deep fried onions (the ones from a can).  Bake for 30 min or so, then take the cover off and let the onions brown.  Whenever I learn to make my own cream of mushroom soup, I’ll use that instead, but I’m not going to ever make deep fried onions I’m afraid.

The best part of the holiday was when our friend, my FIL, and DH were watching grand daughter’s TV program (some weird cartoon one) with the sound turned off, listening to Arlo Guthrie sing Alice’s Restaurant.  They were mesmerized.  Crazy.  DIL says that program is like that, you get hypnotized by the colors…not sure if that’s a good thing for anyone to be watching, you know?

Garden’s pretty well done except for collard greens for the chickens.  I’m shocked that they are doing so amazingly well even with nightly frosts!  I thought they were a cold weather vegetable.  Apparently not.  Also doing well is the swiss chard.  And the basil, believe it or not.

On my next days off it will be time to start hauling manure home from the local stables to put into the garden beds and mulch with straw, in preparation for spring.  No winter gardening for me this year, I’m too tired from the toll school is taking.  Five more classes.  Twenty five weeks.  I feel like I’m pregnant, counting the weeks til I’m done.  I’m on  a time pressure to get it done and not take any more breaks if I want to get into a nurse practitioner program before they make it a doctoral level program in 2012 though.  So this fall is my last chance to get in.  Unless financial collapse hits before then.  Happy thought.

We woke up to a dead chicken yesterday morning.  Murdered and half eaten, actually.  My neighbor thinks it was a fox; I think it may have been a skunk, since I surprised one at the doorway to their cage in front of the coop last night when I went to shut them in.  We have gotten lax about making sure they’re safely shut in at night since we’ve never had any problems.  So now I feel guilty that my biggest, gentlest girl paid the price for her trust in us and our laxness in ensuring their safety.  Next project along with manuring the garden beds:  more stones along the fence line.  Big ones.

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