Friday, November 29, 2013

Traditional Thanksgiving

That's what Elv said he wanted this year... a formal meal in the early afternoon.

So: Clark bought the biggest turkey out there not unlike Bob Crachit's own, long ago described in the pages of A Christmas Carol by Dickens. He marinaded it in apple juice and other goodies, of which I have no clue, for a day or so.  Yesterday day morning at about 7 AM when most people were still lounging abed he called and ordered up a cherry wood fire built in the home-made, barrel smoker, pronto. Then he packed his family and the turkey up in the sleigh (Jeep), cracked the whip, and came over the river and through the woods to our house. The turkey came out of the brine and went into the barrel and got such a smoking you ever did see. It was the moist and yummy.

And Amy made pie. She dug out her journal and found Grandma Graber's famous traditional Brown Sugar Pie recipe she has written there.  Brown Sugar Pie is a poor man's custard pie that only the great-grandmother Graber knows how to make perfectly where there are no layers and nothing falls in and it miraculously "sets up"correctly...anyway, you get the picture. Our girls continue to try. Jenny and Amy each have actually "gotten" it once or so. She also made pumpkin pie and then spent a long time over playing with the top crust of an apple pie making flowers and stems and leaves. I love this sort of thing. Not doing it, watching it done, and admiring it, that is. And of course, it is all about actually being related to someone with this much creativity and talent. It's like living in Better Homes and Gardens everyday, kinda. Only better, because it isn't Pinterest, it's really real where it actually matters. Does anybody know what I mean? Pinterest is a terrible waste of perfectly good  creativity if it stays there. Bring some of it home in actual work/time/material and then I'll be impressed! Oops, off the subject.

And I boiled the two lovely sweet potatoes I bought at Wal-mart, peeled them after they cooled and sliced them into wedges, long-ways and julienned them to perfection. The guys don't eat this traditional dish. Just us girls.

And mashed potatoes, Mennostyle. (Creamed to a spotless white and smooth perfection with little a cream cheese and a lot of butter.) None of your lumpy, grey looking brown speckled mashed potatoes of Perkins or the like, for us, thank you.

And the pretty table. Frank used cranberries, goblets and tea lights adding loveliness to our table length centerpiece. We could; so we did. White cloth, china, good food.

The most important element of Thanksgiving is us and our gratitude. The rest is a bad joke if we aren't thankful and happy. The guys played games in the afternoon. Us girls took a walk through the snow leaving the babies with the men. And visits. Important stuff.

The day closed with done dishes, a tidy house, half eaten covered pies on the table, depleted candy dishes, and stoked fires. The winter temperatures outside dropped from 3 degrees to 1 degree Fahrenheit in just a few minutes as the lights were being blown out for the night.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

How shall we best be thankful? Reading THIS post today inspired me to really want to make Thanksgiving and Christmas a special memory this year.
And HERE is another great post on how to be thankful.

How about a list of expectations:

* Gatherings. In living rooms and around tables. Rows of shining faces along long tables laden with pretty things and tasty food.
* Singing. Caroling outside neighbor's kitchen windows. Family singing times. Congregational Christmas songs on Sunday mornings.
* Visits. Snail mail letters/pictures/cards from family and friends. (Must send ours, too.) Around the hearth late at night because nobody has to haul off to work in the morning.
* Food. I want to have a doughnut making day. And pies. And have the menfolk smoke a turkey.
* A puzzle or two to piece.
* Christmas music on the radio.
* Handel's Messiah, again.
* Gifts of glossy, thick-painted mugs and warm-speckled, cotton socks.
* Morning snuggles with grandchildren by the fire. Tousled heads, wide awake eyes, rumples pajamas, and cozy toes.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Thousand Word Picture

  This picture tells Elv a lot of things. Which machine, which pickup, which job, the circumstance of having the travel trailer on the job. I put it here for the record. The date is July 2013.  It wasn't a very good piece of stumpage.
   I saw the color: red geranium, red pickup, red processor head on the yellow CAT machine and the lit up work area on the tailgate. Also here is Elv's work world for hours every week day.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just Before Thanksgiving

Gabes came for a quick weekend. Here's my one and only picture of that wonderful time. Gwen and Benny are entirely mesmerized by Elv's unconventional method of story telling. 

 Yes! The sidewalk is in! Praising the Lord every day for same.

 Lisl asked for a picture post.  This is a pittance, I know, Lisl. I haven't been running the camera as I should.  Let me work on that here in the next couple of days.
We are on a salvage job just now: siding, t&g, windows, wood flooring, doors, a furnace&duct work, etc.  This is exciting and a lot of hard dirty work. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Morning In The Swamp

Sunrise this morning on the way to Elv's job. Canadian geese had settled all along the shore for the night and as we came by, they made V's in the water paddling away. The sun rose an orange ball behind the moving fog everywhere. Lovely November morning...the perfect harbinger to freeze-up just around the corner.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Selections From The Weekend

"We must learn to look for miracles. We can't decide ahead of time how God will answer our prayers, lest we miss His unique way of doing it. Miracles are happening all the time...are we seeing them?"  - a friend from church shared this during Sunday School
" You must be willing to be expended emotionally in your writing to make it come alive for your readers." - a friend who writes for CAM
"When I decide to shut down and be quiet because I realize that my words are not being appreciated or I am afraid, something dies inside of me." These words resonated with me. - one of the women in my world who with her husband is raising up godly children besides helping with leadership in their little fellowship.
"I believe that my prayers for our children will produce fruit someday, even though today it may seem hopeless. I chose to believe and to pray continually." -Another friend I meet only a couple of times a year

God gave rich encounters this past weekend. There is a story behind each of the these selections of tried faith and commitment lived out.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hearth Moments

Mid afternoon at home by a crackling, flickering fire, just me with a cup of coffee and the computer.  It is a surprise quiet after a fortnight of wedding rush and work. As we were leaving the reception hall today the last of the chairs and tables had been parked in the hidden away places and vacuums were running about in the hands of tall boys. Just like that it was over.  Bride and groom waved away. 

Sometimes after the last flurry of goodbyes there is this slump. Just feels bad to turn from all the fluttering skirts and white shirts and flowers standing there by the leaving car, back to the mess left to clear.  What was beautifully and gracefully arranged tables and backdrops a few hours ago is now just a lot of paper and plastic to clear away. None of that feeling today.

We used the church plates and silver ware, and simple decor of purple and calla lilies planned by a smart bride. Lovely! and clean up was over almost before it started. All that is left is a happy feeling of a ceremony well done. The reception was fun and done. 

In my small break here, I am immediately thinking of next week: raking, flowerbed cleanup, and fall cleaning. No more sewing until the snow flies and piles up. And hoping for tea with friends stopping by or at their hearths, as the case may be. Next weekend is quarterly leadership meeting which we might be able to attend for once. (We wives get to spend a little time together doing what women do: sharing about our triumphs and trials.) Or we could go up to the cabin and have church with the family there at their request. Or we could just stay at home. 

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