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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holidays on the Homestead

I'd like to talk about holidays your first year on the homestead... This thanksgiving was fun and quiet compared to what I grew up with. Thanksgiving when I was a kid was the whole family coming over for most of the day ... this would be at my parents house. Both sides of the family would come, my mom would have the turkey being prepped by 9 am so we could have a 2 pm meal. She'd also make the mashed potatoes, corn, cranberries, rolls/bread, veggie tray, polish sausage(polish family what can I say?) and the stuffing I have yet to master. Our relatives would bring a dish or two to add to our meal, my favorite would be a fruit salad my aunt would make with fruit cocktail and marshmallows, granted she had an interesting wild rice recipe too. Everyone would be at my parents house by noon and the men would be sitting around chatting in one room and the women would be in the kitchen chatting while cooking. The turkey would be golden brown(I've only ever managed to do this once), and everyone would be smiling and there would be a buzz of chatter at the table. I do miss those days, but I did enjoy my thanksgiving none the less.

After getting up on thanksgiving I baked some bread for a late breakfast, granted the kids had already eaten some cereal; but they appreciated it anyway. The kids spent the day taking turns on the computer and watching movies... and they were doing it themselves, we didn't have to intervene. I started my turkey at noon planning it to be cooking till about 5 pm, we were using a electric roaster as our oven was not big enough to cook it in. Well... and hour later it was almost done, I was a bit shocked but we just went ahead and made our mashed potatoes to go with it, first batch of them since getting our kitchen too. During all this time I had a pot of chicken soup base simmering on a back burner for the past couple of days, I was planning on using it for a turkey soup base for the leftovers. So for a 1:30pm-2pm meal we had turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, and jellied cranberries (I'd love a good cranberry recipe if anyone can pass it on). Then around 5pm our neighbor came by with the extras from their meal for us and we had a second meal from that, it was mostly cold salads some potatoes, and stuffing, and a few extra rolls; but we still appreciated it.

After eating I took the one whole breast from the turkey that we had not eaten from and froze it. We will be having some turkey casserole sometime later this month, then I dropped every bone and all remaining meat fromt he turkey into our biggest stock pot and pour first the chicken soup base over it then added a lot of water, and an onion. The base had... onion,carrots,bay,rosemary,curry,hot peppers,celery, basil,peppercorns, and some leg quarter bones which had all been strained before adding it to the turkey. All that I added to the base was the turkey, another onion, some garlic right before it was done; it came out well we ate that soup for two days to get it down enough for me to freeze the leftovers and give the dogs a little bit.

I think my Thanksgiving went well, I do hope the winter holiday does too, I personally celebrate Yule, but I do hold Christmas for my kids and they know that I am doing so for them. We have to tone down what we are wanting for this holiday due to money and space... (our 7ft tree is -just- not going to fit in here), we are planning to get a Norfolk pine to use this year and in the spring we are going to plant it somewhere on the property and use it for our "outside" tree next year. I like to put out food on yule to the wildlife to give them a gift, which my/may not give them a hand through the winter. Generally its nuts (in shell), apple pieces,popcorn, and some bread... sometimes more depending on what we have, it is a tradition I have done since before my son was born and I want to keep it going. It is my way of giving back at least one day a year to those whose home we live near. I do hope everyone has a great holiday season and that you have some traditions you have made for yourselves that you continue every year.

Here is the thing though, when you do first come to your homestead, or even if your not on one but are having problems of any kind... make the holidays what you can, don't make yourselves an emotional wreak trying to "recapture" your childhood, memories are nice; but making new ones is better

Be Well and Blessed Be...


  1. I found your blog in August or was it the first of September and have been following your life and progress on your new homestead. We did kind of the same thing. Lived in a camper while building the house. we have been in the house for about 18 months now and living the camper during the cold winters and hot, humid summers is now a distant memory. We finally finished installing the wood stove today and had our first fire. We will be able to heat with wood mostly from now.
    But I really wanted to comment about your last paragraph. I really appreciated what you said. I do have a hard time during the Holidays because I think of the years past and wish I could go back to them and be with everybody again. The big family gatherings and the children on Christmas morning. Well, the kids are grown and a lot of the family has passed or are spread throughout the country. Now it is just my husband and I at Christmas and I do become an emotional wreck quite easily just thinking about the times missed. So I do try not to dwell on those memories and stay in the present. But I am relieved to know there are others that can have problems with all their fond memories too. I am not alone. So, I am going to look forward to making new memories! Thank you :o)

  2. You are quite welcome, it is a statement I do have to remind myself of sometimes; but I am doing good about it myself. Later today I am going to take a picture of our holiday tree and post it with probably a few other pics. I am glad to know also that we aren't the only ones who started their lives with their dreams this way. Have a good holiday!