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Homemade Homegrown Thanksgiving

Well, we did it. We pulled off our down home Thanksgiving! After doing this, I understand why pioneer women stayed home to cook and clean. It takes a lot of time. Maybe not the cleaning part, because dirty floors and outdoor toilets don’t require a lot of attention. But, boy, the growing, prepping, cooking takes time. Even with electric appliances.

The final menu:

  • Turkey
  • Corn bread and sausage stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Glazed carrots
  • Green beans and bacon
  • Pattypan and Ricotta quiche
  • Dinner rolls
  • Deviled eggs
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Holiday cookies

My shopping list had a whopping 7 items on it, including spices, half and half, whipping cream, and celery. Yeah, I had to break away from the farm for celery. Not only were we not able to grow it here, but we couldn’t find it at farmers markets, either. Still, not bad. The sausage and bacon came from our friends at R Heritage farm. The one item that was sadly missing was corn. Rats got to our cornfield before harvest. Everything else came straight from our backyard and kitchen.

While it was nice to head out to the backyard to gather Thanksgiving, it was the longest prep timeline ever. Besides the big projects like planting and processing, there is also the daily feeding, watering, and cleaning, etc.

Spring prep and planting:0509151105 (450x800)

  • Buy chicks so they will be laying eggs in time (Hens start laying around 20 weeks)
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Squash
  • Pumpkins

 

Summer prep:

  • Buy turkey chicks (Turkeys are processed at 4-6 months)
  • Harvest and can green beans
  • Process and can chicken stock

November:

  • Harvest potatoes, pumpkins, squash and carrots
  • Make pumpkin puree

Week of:Turkey hunter

  • Catch and process turkey (this is harder when it’s been raining and the yard is muddy and slippery)
  • Bake corn bread
  • Prepare pie crusts
  • Slice carrots
  • Bake dinner rolls
  • Bake cookies

Everything else was pulled together on Thanksgiving.

Now, we missed some holiday standards because I was determined to bring as much as possible from the back yard.  There were no cranberries, and no sweet potatoes, which are my favorite. Next year, we can probably grow sweet potatoes, and some mushrooms would be good. I don’t see cranberries happening anytime soon. Something about a bog, or something.  Hmm. Maybe we could do that. We’ll see.

Christmas is right around the corner, and our Christmas dinner will be as much from home as possible, but I’ll have to bring in other goodies, too.

Thanksgiving will continue to be homegrown, and I’m sure will evolve over the years. It’s not a matter  of having or making MORE. For us, it’s about doing it ourselves, appreciating where we are and what we’re able to produce, and providing for our family. It also reminds us to be thankful year-round. And that’s the very best part.

 

Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving Prep

The time has almost come! I’ve been looking forward to this Thanksgiving since last year, and now it’s almost here.

I come from a family where holidays are looked forward to. Not only do we like each other, there is never any pressure for things to be “perfect.” I have a lifetime of happy holiday memories, and do my best to provide the same for our children and grandchildren.

This year is particularly exciting because our Thanksgiving meal will be 100% homegrown. (The exception will be ingredients like flour, sugar and spices.) We wanted to do this last year, but underestimated how long we would have to raise a turkey before it’s big enough to eat. This year, we researched everything early in the year to ensure we would be ready.

I went through Pinterest and found recipes that only included items we’ve grown here. Everything looks delicious. Mine may or may not end up looking like this, but hopefully they’ll taste as good as all of these look. Take a look at the planned menu:

https://www.pinterest.com/TracyRedmon/thanksgiving/

We’re hitting freezing temperatures at night, and have had lots of rain in the past week. I wanted to leave everything in the ground as long as possible, but I had to start bringing it in this week. I wanted to show them straight from garden. Now, we’ll have some real before and after pictures to look at.

We have potatoes, carrots, and squash, plus green beans that I canned this summer. I haven’t decided how many different ways I’ll use the pumpkins, but there will be some yumminess there.

Potatoes  Green Squash  Carrots   Squash

The one obvious absence is corn. It takes a long time to ripen, and the rats got to it – all of it – before it was ready to be harvested. I’m disappointed, but I’ll get over it.

In addition to our garden offerings, we HAVE to take the opportunity to use some of the eggs. This is just one of the stacks in the pantry. Carly and the kids will be in charge of deviled eggs. It will be totally OK if some of them get messed up, or if the kids have to test them. We have plenty of eggs to use.

Eggs

And, of course, no Thanksgiving would be complete without the turkey! We got these turkeys as chicks in August.  Charlie knew if I grew too attached to any of them, they would become pets. Matilda will be granted the Redmon pardon. She’s the one in front, and is always the first to greet me at the gate, and follow me around waiting for me to drop something for her to eat. Charlie will decide who becomes Thanksgiving dinner and who will stick around until Christmas.

Turkeys

I have my work cut out for me. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.