Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thoughts

Hello to all of you, I hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving. Our day was relaxing and enjoyable, as well it should be after the months of preparation that go into it! Plans begin in May when we plant the garden and decide which varieties of squash and pumpkins to plant, the very ones that will grace our table come the holiday season. We had Delicata squash this year, and oh! what a delicious tasty variety it turned out to be! This is a variety that dates from the 1880's or 90's and will definitely be something that we will plant next year. The pumpkins were a variety called Connecticut Field Pumpkin, a very old variety that dates back a few hundred years. They make the best pies, a process that begins the day before Thanksgiving when the pumpkin is quartered and baked. The cooked pulp is then scooped out, seasoned, mixed with fresh cream and baked to perfect doneness. A real homemade pumpkin pie beats any other kind! Whilst Katie and I were in the kitchen on Wednesday, the men and littler girls were outside butchering the Thanksgiving turkey. It was one that had been raised on our farm, outside in the fresh air and sunshine. We raise Narragansett turkeys, another old, heritage breed that is no longer commercially grown due to their slow growth. Your typical store bought turkey was a confinement raised "broad breasted white" hybrid monstrosity. They reach market weight in less than 6 months, whereas Narragansetts take a year or more. Slow is good. :-) The whole butchering business goes quickly, so quickly that I didn't get pictures and I really did mean to. The ambiance of country life, eh Ken? :-) However, I will describe how we go about it. A lot of folks have a killing cone but we don't, so we use the good, old fashioned chopping block. A piece of twine is tied loosely around the turkey's neck to keep its head stretched out so that it can be killed in one quick chop, I abhor the thought of torturing anything. Aleks sights the spot where he wants the ax to fall and thwack! its head is off. I've only ever seen a bird *run* after its head was cut off once, usually they just flop around which is what this one did. They also butchered 3 chickens that day and one of them flopped around so wildly that it ended up in the corn field, much to the amusement of the children. Then the bird is hung by its feet to bleed out, after that it is dunked in the cast iron cauldron of boiling water to loosen the feathers which are then pulled out. After the bird is plucked then it is gutted and immediately thereafter put in a tub of ice water to cool down. And that's it! About 12 hours later it was in the oven to slowly bake to perfect yumminess!

Later that evening we played tableaux vivants. This is an old form of entertainment where people in costume, with or without props, put on a scene. They don't move (so it's unlike charades) or speak and then we guessed what it was they were. For example our first tableaux of the night featured Asa, Abigail and Elisabethe sitting in the cast iron baby tub. Elisabethe held a knife, Abby had a rolling pin and Asa held a pewter candle stick. Can you guess what they were? Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub, and who do you think they be? A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, throw them out, knaves all three! Other children did scenes from fairy tales, the pilgrims landing, a scene from Of Mice and Men, a scene from Fiddler on the Roof , and even one scene from Bugs Bunny, lol. We had such a good time and already everybody is planning what they will do for New Years. We finished off the evening by listening to records on the phonograph player. I have a treasure trove of 78's that we play, including a lot of Bing Crosby Christmas carols. There are waltzes that we love and even some FDR speeches if the mood strikes us. The younger set like to wind the handle before placing the needle on the record and they like to discover a new favorite from the box of records that we haven't yet listened to. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day!

6 comments :

  1. That sounds heavenly. Thanks for sharing. I think tableaux vivants would be an interesting game to play. But in my family, "no talking" would be an impossible chore!

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  2. Sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving! Your descriptions put me right there - they also put my wife in a dream-state! She's not big on the computer so I send her the links of your details of country life.
    Listening to 78's on the record player...I was a collector of 78's (including the magnificent Mr. Crosby). I don't believe there is a finer sound than what comes out of those grooves!
    Thanks for sharing - - -

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  3. That...is my dream Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for sharing!! I would love to know where you get antique varieties of seeds. I hope to have a big garden one day and one of the things I always thought would be fun was to raise antique varieties -- not just of food, but also flowers (esp. roses).

    Blessings to you,
    Amy

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  4. Amy, Baker Creek Seeds has a good, albeit pricey, selection. Heirloom Seeds is another. I assure you, it gets addictive trying different things! Several years ago we did an entire garden with Civil War appropriate varieties.

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  5. Oh Mrs. G, how I do love to read your posts. They take me back to a place that I'd like to be but can only dream of. Thank you for blessing us all with these tidbits of your wonderful life.

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  6. P.S.

    Would you mind posting you entire pumpkin pie recipe, i.e. the amount of cream that you add?

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