Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Week

There has been a pleasant sameness in the weather this week, after the previous onslaughts of rain and wind.
Mornings have been silver-frosted-- grass, fence posts, roofs glittering as the sun rises slowly over the eastern ridge. 
Walking down the lane in mid-morning I note that the sheen of wet grass is over-laid with stripes of white where the shadow of a tree or power pole slows the strengthening warmth of the sun.

The boy cats clamor to go outside when I come downstairs a bit after 6 a.m.
The edge of the retaining wall offers a spot to warm and dry off furry paws that have gotten chilled in the first explorations of the day.
It was 22 F at 6:15 on this Thanksgiving morn. The 'boys' seemed disgruntled, surprised by the cold, almost expecting me to instantly fix temperatures more to their liking. 

With nearly all the leaves blown to the ground, morning light has a different quality, flowing over objects that have been previously lurking in shade.  Branches are sharply etched against  clear skies. Plumes of wood smoke announce that someone is stirring, greeting the day.

Jim has firewood harvest privileges at the Amish farm up the road. He and our neighbor/renter have spent several mornings this week pulling out 'tops' left from a logging operation, cutting them into stove lengths and then using the wood splitter to make more manageable chunks.
Both men enjoy the work, carried on in the crisp sunny weather.  They roar in with old Snort'n Nort'n loaded to capacity and stash the wood, turn about, at our place or the lower one.

On Monday, I kept Dazee Belle while our friends made a routine trip to Nashville.  Dazee has outgrown some of her puppy ways and is a more docile visitor than she was a year ago.  I take her out on her lead, let her rootle about in the fallen leaves, sniff along the fence.
She hears her owners' car chugging up the lane early in the evening and welcomes their return, wriggling with delight, bouncing about the front door as they pull to a stop.

Tuesday I drove to the South Fork community, wanting salad makings for Thanksgiving dinner. 
Bins and baskets of apples line the outer entry; the scent of apples is heady-sweet on the cool air.

A grocery cart has been heaped a variety of pumpkins.  A hand-lettered sign announces that they are 'pie pumpkins' for those purists who don't buy pumpkin tidily processed and packed. 

[Making pumpkin puree is a fairly lengthy task--cutting up the pumpkin, scraping out seeds and their stringy surrounding pulp, roasting the chunks of pumpkin, then finally scooping the cooked flesh from the rind and putting it through a food mill.  I buy mine in cans.]

This was our first Thanksgiving at home in several years. Daughter and her husband are in Vermont for the week, so grandson joined us for dinner.
I felt I was being quite organized. I didn't want to fuss with a whole turkey, so bought a hickory smoked turkey breast which was gently thawing after a week's incarceration in the freezer.  By Wednesday evening the kitchen was fragrant with pumpkin pudding just out of the oven, a pastry shell was ready to pop in, fruited jello settled in a glass bowl in the fridge, two extra pies tucked in the freezer for future reference. 

I nipped out early to record our  holiday morning weather, fed the outdoor cats, prodded the fire into renewed life.

 I squeezed fresh lemons for pie filling, whipped egg whites to glossy peaks. 

It was a temptation to be outside in the sun as the temperature climbed.
Instead I peeled potatoes and butternut squash, decided to cook them on the wood stove. 

Glancing out the window I noticed that Willis, his morning rounds completed, had settled for a nap in the buggy.

Jim acquired the Amish buggy along with the farm swap.  It has been stored at various places, and has now been lodged for the winter on a corner of the long front porch.
The cats were immediately interested, so Jim provided a thick old quilt for their comfort.

Our porch chairs and settee remain on the south facing side of the wrap-around porch and are layered with old rugs and throws for the cats. Two blanket-lined baskets on the  lower back porch offer another choice of snug cat beds.
If Willis has chosen the buggy as his preferred shelter I expect the other cats will need his approval to share the space.

To borrow a phrase from  Garrison Keillor, "It has been a quiet week"--one of beneficent weather, of unhurried accomplishments. 
I won't need to cook tomorrow--the fridge is stocked with appealing left-overs.
I can think of no urgent tasks to demand my attention.
A sunny day--and warmer--is forecast.
There should be time to meander outdoors with my camera, to visit the goats and the barn cats next door, time perhaps in the afternoon for a book and a mug of tea.


  1. A tranquil happy time, the lemon meringue pie looks delicious and the cats will just have to get used to cold weather. We have a similar cold front here, though flooding yesterday in Cumbria tells of rain and strong winds that flooded fields and houses.

    1. Thelma; Tranquility is to be cultivated~! I realize it is meant to be a thing of the spirit, but the outward trappings are most welcome. Winter as such in Kentucky is far more about rain than snow.

  2. What another delightful post from you dear Sharon. I always enjoy visiting here. Your descriptions, your photos make me almost feel as if I'm right there with you, enjoying it all.

    Happy holidays ~ Christmas is right on the heels of Thanksgiving ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I like to think of my home as a comfortable welcoming space--all too often parts of it are wildly untidy--so photos have to be carefully arranged!

  3. I always enjoy your well written post. Love the buggy.

    1. Janet; I think we can consider the buggy a 'conversation piece'--although the sight of one on the road or parked in a neighboring dooryard is fairly common.

  4. That is a first class cat home, that Amish buggy!! Willis knows which side his bread is buttered, that's for sure.

    I loved hearing about your Thanksgiving preparations (I bet they were well received), and amused that you are not a purist over your pumpkin pie filling! I am the same over Marmalade - if I make it, I use a tin of Mamade with a few extras.

    1. Jennie; Jim offered to sell the buggy through our Amish neighbor who makes buggies--he was told the Amish typically don't 'do' second hand buggies! Willis has laid very firm claim to it--Charlie-cat is allowed in to share the space when his majesty is in a gracious mood.

  5. Feeling that same sense of peace here in the WV hills, with plenty of leftovers in the fridge and the house still clean. I "butchered" pumpkins the past two days, cutting, cleaning, cooking and scraping out the meat for the freezer. And studied Christmas carols folklore and history for upcoming presentations. But the sense of peace and...comfort?... is strong. Frost is heavy in the mornings, the fire feels good. Simple things, simple homey pleasures.

    1. Sue; We cherish similar 'simple' things--which I consider to be bedrock necessities.
      There are so many 'carols' that are seldom used--one I've loved is 'How Far Is It To Bethlehem' can't now find the music I had.

  6. I so enjoyed my visit with you today, Sharon. The frosted mornings are so pretty and the preparations for your Thanksgiving sound so cozy and delicious. I love when life slows down to enjoy these simple pleasures of baking, firewood gathering, cats lying about, and a bit of sunshine to warm the spirit. Lovely. Sweet little visitor, too. xx Karen

    1. Karen, I think there is a kindred feeling amongst those who cherish the joys of home--the warmth of 'real' fires, baking, crafting, pets--winter weather is made enjoyable by such things!

  7. What a peaceful and productive life you open a window onto. Love your photographs and the Amish buggy is a thing of beauty.

    1. Elizabeth; So much beyond our doorsteps is anything but peaceful! 'Home' is the ultimate refuge--and living in the country there is always something to notice and photograph.