Today was perfectly delightful and I'm so thankful for it! I had thanksgiving with my family. My sister said to me the other day that she gets irritated when she cannot spend holidays with her family. I told her that even though I was not going to be there that she would be with her family. I don't think she liked that but the truth is the truth. Let me explain. Yesterday the kids and I prepared some of the food and today I finished up the rest of it. We started by ironing the table cloth that belonged to Meme' my great-great grandmother. It was just recently handed down to me by my grandmother and there were some creases that just didn't want to come out so I didn't force the issue. It was nice to have Meme' at our table. Then we cooked the turnip, I called my mother-in-law to see if there was a specific way that she cooked it as hers always tastes so delicious! I was glad she could be at Thanksgiving too! The squash that I picked with my sister and her children this fall, was cooked next, I cooked it in the microwave as my grandmother once suggested and seeing as it's her favorite vegetable I knew she'd know how to cook it the best way. It was nice to see them too. I made a personal favorite of mine; a summer squash casserole, and put it in a casserole dish that a neighbor of my mother and dear friend of mine gave to me as a birthday gift one year. I was so pleased that she stopped in as well. My children decided they wanted to help prepare the fiesta; we call it that because it is a celebration instead of just a plain ole' boring dinner. They decided they'd like to make the pies. Faith won a ribbon for her apple pie baking ability, so she made that, using one grandmothers recipe for the crust and an other's for the filling. I was so happy both of my grandmothers were able to come, one traveled for a very long time to make it. Speaking of grandmothers, Ron's father's mother was able to make it too, and she was very pleased I used her potholders to remove some of the pans from the stove and oven. Andrew decided he was up for the pumpkin pie. I don't know where the recipe came from, I just know that it's the one I've used since Faith was knee-high to a grasshopper, I know this because one year she was helping make the pies and scribbled all over the recipe card. Her artwork still gets me, straight in the heart.
I made some dinner rolls and a loaf of bread, I remember Thanksgiving as a child and mom had to have the corner piece because of the crust; in fact, after a while she started using a small little pan that was the perfect size for 4 rolls, all corners! Perfect! Mom hasn't been here for a while; she's been so busy, so it was nice to see her as well. Dad of course made it too with Mom, and thoroughly enjoyed the boiled onions and Faith's apple pie.
Today, I cooked the vegetable lasagna, Andrew's alternate request for Thanksgiving. The Tofurkey was sold out. Ron's meal was a roasted chicken; a broiler that I'd raised this summer, since the alternate turkey I had as insurance croaked mysteriously this summer, but as he's the only one who eats it, he was ok that. We had potato prepared three different ways, Andrew wanted latkes, Faith wanted mashed potato and Ron and I wanted to have them oven roasted like when we shared Thanksgiving with our neighbors at the US Air Force Academy. Rebecca was the first one who made them like that and it's a rare treat to make them that way, because it's not exactly healthy, but oh so delicious! I haven't seen them in years, so to have them here to share our meal was delightful. Ron's sister likes the homemade stuffing I've made for some Thanksgiving dinners we've shared, but it makes so much I don't generally make it unless we have a big dinner. My English friend prepared the best stuffing ever, it was sage and onion stuffing, cooked then baked in the oven in oil, so it makes a nice crispy crust on the outside of a really delicious stuffing ball. She was here today too, but didn't bring my favorite stuffing, but I was just happy to see her so it didn't matter that didn't bring the stuffing. I made a simple stuffing that was similar to both guests likes.
As the time for the fiesta meal approached Faith offered to come help if I needed it, I had her do a few things, ans was glad to have her help. I had her go check on the animals and collect eggs if there were any. She came bolting back into the house and said the alpacas were headed down the road! I was in the final stages of preparing the meal, so I shouted "Go get a grain bucket and shake it and they'll come back. Andrew go help! I cannot go right this second." Faith headed to the barn and Andrew headed out after the boys. Then it occurred to me that if we had a few burned things that that would be better than lost animals or an injury to a passerby because of the animals. (Ron was in the living room so if it got really bad he could have handled any kitchen disaster.) So since I had a bag of beet pulp in the house; because I have to soak it for Garlic, I grabbed a scoop and bucket and out the door I flew. I sprinted out the driveway and down our road. It had snowed a bit and it was cold, I'm running down the road in my crocks and t-shirt shaking a grain bucket, ugh what a sight! I kept running until I hit the second road and finally saw the boys, they were not too far ahead of me now and Andrew was finally on their heels, er hooves rather. Faith had made it to the barn and was bringing up the rear. A few cars had stopped or pulled over. Andrew had finally caught their attention and they decided that he is generally associated with food and opted to follow him. After following him a bit they heard me shaking the grain bucket and started running back up the road towards me. We were quite a herd I'm sure and a couple passersby had some very quizzical looks on their faces. As we turned onto our road a woman who lives up the road a bit and also owns alpacas stopped to help prevent them from heading back onto the other road. We got them closer to home and she figured it was all under control and headed home. Dakota, (our llama and apparent ringleader in all this) decided that the house across the street from ours looked mighty inviting so instead of turning into our driveway, he plowed through the cedar trees bordering their property and when in to visit. They were not home, so he allowed himself to be caught and led back home with the other boys bringing up the rear. Andrew did a great job of staying behind them and using his body to work pressure points on the alpacas, he really did listen to the old cowboy who taught him to rope, work and cut cattle! We got them home and back into the barn and settled and went into the house to finish up fiesta preparations, albeit we were all winded from a quarter mile sprint after the alpacas!
We finished the prep and sat down to a delicious meal and I had a glass of wine in a glass that I bought in New York when I went to visit my best friend from high school. We've both been really busy raising our families, living our lives and living 5 states apart that we don't get to see each other very often, but I was so delighted she stopped in today as well. I knew my sister would stop in to make sure that we had the correct cranberry sauce, she did and we were ok; I told Faith that it had to be Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce as according to Aunt Jenny anything else is a waste of money. I turned the tv off; we'd been watching a sappy Christmas movie and knitting before lunch, and turned on a CD of Christmas music by Anne Murray, one that Ron's oldest daughter Erika gave me for Christmas one year. Though she's now grown and gone, out making her own way in the world I'm glad that even with her busy schedule she managed to visit today too. We talked about things we were thankful for and when we were nearing the point of being stuffed Ron looked around at all the dishes of food and mentioned that lots of them looked nearly full! Well that was about the time his dad arrived. At that point I said to Ron well, like your dad says, "Too much is just right."
After we were full Ron headed to bed with a headache and the kids and I cleared the table, and set out the pies. You know something funny, with all the guests we had around our table we only cleared off four plates. We had a wonderful time today and it's fine that not everybody was able to make it this year for Thanksgiving, we enjoyed those who shared our meal and missed those who couldn't make it, besides there is always another meal.