Still Thankful and Thanksgiving

It has been a very busy week. My daughter had started the tradition of “Friends Thanksgiving” with her friends back in middle school, and introduced it to her college friends. They still continue to do it; this year was #6. Since she is gone, I am invited (only parent who is). It was set for November 17th this year, and I made plans to go. The night before I’m leaving, my check engine light came on. Boo! This is about 800 miles round trip, and I don’t want to do it in a rig that might die at any moment. Luckily, my niece works for a car rental company, and she was able to get me a great deal on a rental car (which my mom ended up treating me to!). So Friday afternoon, I headed over the mountains to Eugene, because Kid the Younger and his fiancée were coming with.

It was a nice evening. Kid and I went to see the new James Bond movie. We got lost on the way to the theater, but had a nice conversation along the way. This is the first year that he will not be able to be home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I will miss him. It’s nice to know that he will miss me too!

Saturday dawned rainy. I totaled a car when I was pregnant with Kid the Elder, and have been uncomfortable driving in the rain ever since. Oh well, can’t be helped. Off we went. It ended up raining all day (and the next, and the next…) The party was wonderful. It has evolved, as traditions should. The  first baby was brought, and several dogs were also in attendance. We always go around the room and say what we are thankful for. Most of them are very heart-felt, but some were just flat-out funny (one young man was thankful for indoor plumbing). These young people are the most gracious, beautiful souls, and I truly feel blessed that they continue to stay in touch with me and include me in their lives. They credit my daughter with teaching them that friendships are worth the work to maintain.

On Sunday, we left Tacoma and went to visit a couple of my sheep friends. One has recently had a cancer diagnosis, and when I let her know I was going to be in the area she expressed an interest in me coming by. It was a wonderful visit, then we were on the road again, back to Eugene, still driving in the rain. I spent the night with the kids again, rather than drive back over the mountains in a strange car in the dark.

Luckily, all that rain had not translated into snow on the mountains. It was a wet drive home Monday, but uneventful. I connected with Laura, and we made arrangements for her to come over that afternoon to pick up my turkeys for the drive to the butchers on Tuesday. I got them penned up in a small area outside their pen when I got home. When Laura came, we got my coolers into the truck, then I handed hens over the fence and she put them in the truck. There was no way I was lifting the two toms that high, so we let them out of the pen and walked them over, then we each lifted one.

The weather for Tuesday was supposed to be wet, snow level at 5,500 feet. Laura got to my place at about 7:30, and off we went. As we’re headed down my road, she informs me that her windshield wipers have an issue, so they don’t work when it’s wet. Oops! We have an appointment to keep, so staying home really isn’t an option. It turned out that the weatherman misjudged the snow level by about 2,000 feet. It is snowing big, fat, wet flakes before we hit the pass. We stopped just the other side to use the ice scraper to clean off the windshield, and Laura opened her window several times to clean off the corner so the built up snow could slide off while we were driving until we got down far enough that it turned back into rain. Several people passed us laughing and pointing when they saw the turkeys, which were visible when they stood up in the back of the truck.

We got to the butcher’s a bit early, causing a bit of a panic on their part, since they were running a bit behind (first appointment of the day was a half hour late, putting everyone behind). We sat in the office, knitting and chatting with our friend who was nice enough to bring us ice for the coolers. We talked about everything under the sun, much to the amusement of the other customers.  When they were ready for us, Laura went out and handed birds out one at a time. They managed to process our 20 birds in just under 2 hours! My seven ended up being much bigger than anticipated. Smallest one was almost 17 1/2 pounds, and the 2 toms were almost 33 and 41 pounds! Yikes, that’s a lot of turkey!

I had made arrangements to meet my future in-law in Salem to get her bird, so we made a quick stop for that before heading back over the mountains again. The addition of headlights to the mix made the drive back to our side of the world even more challenging. Laura said she was very proud of me for not squeaking once during the trip.

I shopped on Wednesday for the big day, and brined the smaller tom. Thanksgiving was at my mom’s. My friend Brenda came with her folks, and Laura joined us with a fantastic cranberry salsa. I had to make a couple of changes to the menu, since Laura is allergic to mushrooms, and Brenda’s mom is allergic to dairy proteins. Nothing major that ruined the meal. I made my usual stuffing without the mushrooms, and I made a rice stuffing for the first time by combining two recipes I found online (recipes are just suggestions, right?), and did a 7-grain roll that usually calls for butter (substituted shortening). Nobody went away hungry, and I still had half a turkey to deal with. I do love home raised turkey. Even as big as he was, he was still tender and very moist. And he cooked way faster than I anticipated. I have since boned him out, and the carcass is simmering away on the stove in a gigantic stock pot.  It is too big to fit on my biggest burner. There is no room in my freezer or mom’s (which has 3 turkeys in it), so I will be canning stock when it is done brewing.

I am squeezing in some knitting these days, but most of it is surprise stuff, so no pics until after they have reached their recipients. Good stuff, I promise.

I am being good about continuing my “30 Days of Thankfulness” posts on Facebook, so here are the latest installments.

  • Day 11 – I am thankful for the men and women of our military, whose sacrifices have helped make this country what it is.
  • Day 12 – I am thankful that my dad took the time to teach me to be handy. It is a good thing to be able to fix things.
  • Day 13 – I am thankful for my sistahs.
  • Day 14 – I am thankful for my creative skills, even when they distract me from getting things done.
  • Day 15 – I am thankful that I was able to live abroad as a child. It taught me so much about getting along with people I thought I had nothing in common with, and showed me that we are all connected.
  • Day 16 – I am thankful that my adult children actually like spending time with me. They are pretty amazing people!
  • Day 17 – I am thankful that my daughter’s friends continue to share their lives with me. They are some of the most beautiful people in the world, and I am blessed by having them in my life.
  • Day 18 – I am thankful that I live in a country that is inching towards allowing all of its citizens to marry the person they love.
  • Day 19 – I am thankful for modern conveniences (electricity, medicine, & transportation, to name just a few).
  • Day 20 – I am thankful that I have the ability to raise at least some of my own food
  • Day 21 – I am thankful for my mom.
  • Day 22 – I am thankful for the wonderful people sharing Thanksgiving with me today.
  • Day 23 – I am thankful that Facebook has given me the opportunity to reconnect with family. Some of my relatives are pretty awesome folks!
  • Day 24 – I am thankful for the joy that music brings to my life. Love listening to my kids sing.
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One Response to “Still Thankful and Thanksgiving”

  1. Laura Says:

    It was a fun trip, though hair-raising!! If you’d like to borrow one of my outdoor burners, you’re welcome to…

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