Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, here in Canada. Thanksgiving is officially tomorrow (the second Monday of October), but we had our dinner today.

We did pretty much everything different this time! Including the turkey. I had hoped to brine the turkey overnight, but didn’t have the energy for it. Well. Mostly, my hands were hurting too much. Either way, we normally would just roast the turkey, covered in bacon. To keep the turkey from sticking to the bottom of the roaster, I would put a layer of some vegetable under it, depending on what I have at the time. An onion sliced into rings, long stripes of carrot, pieces of celery, that sort of thing.

Turkey takes a long time to roast, though, so I decided to try something different.

I spatchcocked it. Something I’ve done with chicken, before, but not turkey.

It’s surprisingly easy to cut that spine out, even with the pain in my hands.

Once spatchcocked, however, it no longer fit in my roaster. Using a baking sheet meant I could use a rack under the turkey. I still added some thick slices of the Tropeana Lunga onions we need to use up first, under the turkey.

For the bacon, I would normally weave the sliced right on top of the bird, but tried something different there, too.

In another baking tray, lined with a silicone baking sheet (parchment paper would have worked, too), I wove the slices from an entire package of bacon. That got topped with another silicone baking sheet, and then I used a heavy marble rolling pin to flatten it out. After removing the top sheet, I used the bottom one to transfer the bacon mat to the top of the turkey. The final step was to add some water to the bottom of the pan.

I forgot to take a “before” picture, but this is how the turkey come out after it was done.

It took a lot less time to roast it, too.

After the turkey was in the oven, I got the mixed vegetables prepared, then spread out on another baking tray and added to the oven about 40 minutes into the turkey’s roasting time.

The mixed vegetables included some Uzbeck Golden carrots (I didn’t want to use the Black Nebula carrots, as they’d discover the entire dish!), more Tropean Lunga onions, the last of our own potatoes, plus a few store bought potatoes, some Red Kuri squash, sweet potatoes and, of course, the sunchokes. That all got tossed with some salt, pepper, garlic granules, paprika and olive oil. It turned out awesome.

When the turkey and vegetables were getting close to done, we made a soup as well. Something else I’ve never done before…

Peanut soup.

When I was able to visit my brother not long ago, we had peanut soup for lunch. I’d never tasted peanut soup before! My SIL had spent a long time trying to recreate one that she’d had at a restaurant. A recipe for West African Peanut Soup was the closest recipe she found, and she modified it to get the flavour she was after. I was able to take a picture of the recipe she used, along with her own notes for the things she changed.

What we made was a mix of the original recipe, plus some of her modifications, and it turned out really well. Among the optional ingredients was shredded chicken, which we skipped this time. The instructions also suggested one way to serve it was over rice. My younger daughter helped me make it, and we both found it funny when, after her sister had some of the soup, she commented on how it seemed a bit like a curry, and that she was tempted to put it over her turkey, adding that it would probably be great over a bed of rice!

Once the idea was brought up, both girls did use the last of it over their turkey, and decreed it delicious.

This is definitely something we will make again!

By the time we were done our dinner, none of us had room for desert, so that waited a few hours. For that, we just had a purchased pumpkin pie and some butterscotch swirl ice cream.

Meanwhile, I’ve also set aside a turkey dinner, including the soup, to bring to my mother tomorrow. She should have enough to last her a couple of days. 😊

If she’s willing to eat it, of course. No mashed potatoes and gravy, this year. 😉

The Re-Farmer

A Crespo surprise

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day, but we are having our big dinner today. My mother loves her turkey dinner, so I will be bringing her some tomorrow, while my brother visits with her today. Right now, the turkey is in the oven, as are most of the potatoes that were harvested yesterday, so I can take a break to post about our Thanksgiving garden surprise. 🙂

Last night, as we headed outside before the light faded completely, I took my daughters over to see how quickly the Crespo squash is growing. In the process, we discovered a hidden squash!

Hidden Crespo squash

It had been hidden by leaves until now!

I came back this morning to get a photo, but of course my phone’s camera decided to focus on everything but the squash itself! 😀

This is easily the biggest of all the Crespo squash we have developing. This is the only pumpkin type of squash we’ve got this year, so it seemed appropriate to find this on Thanksgiving weekend.

I didn’t get any photos, but the Ozark Nest Egg gourd is also showing us surprises. There are SO many female flowers showing up, with their little gourds at their bases, and it even looks like quite a lot of them got pollinated! A few have wizened away, but more seem to be making it.

If the weather can just hang in there! I’m now seeing overnight lows of 2C/36F by Friday, with rain at the same time. The squash and gourds seem to actually like these cooler temperatures, and are producing like crazy, but I doubt any of these will survive such lows, even without frost. We shall see. It would be so awesome if they managed to mature! For that, though, I think we’ll need mild temperatures through half of November, too. Which does happen. It’s whether or not we get frost that will make the difference.

That we haven’t had frost yet is something to be thankful for, this Thanksgiving weekend!

Just in case I’m not able to post tomorrow, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

The Re-Farmer

Thanksgiving lunch, mulch experiment and outside kitten progress

Lats this morning I headed over to my mother’s place with a turkey dinner to have lunch with her.

On the way out, I spotted three sets of ears in the window of the cat shelter.

Tiny sets of years belonging to the little kittens! I didn’t dare go closer for a picture, though, because I didn’t want to startle them away. There may have been more cats inside with them that I couldn’t see, too. I’m so glad to see them in the shelter, rather than hiding under it!

My mother and I had a very nice lunch and visit (how visits turn out is always touch and go with my mother! LOL). I brought a mask exemption card to tape to her door, and another she can carry with her. Hopefully, that will help reduce the harassment from the caretakers. Unfortunately, I think more has happened than she is telling us, because she kept insisting she “doesn’t want a war” and even started asking me not to call the housing department responsible for her building to talk about the caretaker’s abusive behaviour. She wore a mask – under her nose! – to meet me at the side door that’s very close to her own apartment door, and even in that short distance, by the time she was back in her apartment, she was struggling to breathe. She had also mentioned to me on the phone, waking up and struggling to breathe again. So I brought a foam wedge we got for my husband that he ended up not being able to use. Depending on how it’s positioned, it can be used under the knees, to lean against while sitting up in bed, or to sleep in an inclined position. The doctor had recommended trying to sleep more upright to see if that helped. When she saw it, however, she flat out refused to even try it and told me to take it home. Eventually, she said it was because it looked ugly! Which I highly doubt is the real reason. Frustrating!

Still, it was a good visit and my mother was very happy I was able to come over. I think the pandemic social restrictions are really getting to her. There used to be many events and gatherings, either in her own building, or in nearby venues, that she attended. Now, there are none. It seems the only real “social” interactions she’s getting these days are with the nasty caretaking couple. The restrictions seem to be bringing out the worst in people. I think she is getting very lonely, and some serious cabin fever!

Once at home, I took advantage of the warmer weather. With the garlic ready to be picked up when the post office opens tomorrow, I was thinking of how I wanted to mulch the beds. The straw is not breaking down as I had expected, and I decided to try an experiment.

Using the new push mower to chop it into smaller pieces!

The bag filled up very quickly, but it wasn’t until I had already started that I realized I’d forgotten to check the height of the mower. It was at 7; the highest setting! So things weren’t quite as chopped up as I wanted.

I lowered it to 3 and that chopped things up much better.

It took only 2 bags to fill the wagon, it’s so fluffy. LOL I laid out a tarp near the beds the garlic will be planted it, to make it easier to work with when it’s needed – plus I can fold half the tarp over the pile to keep the wind from blowing it away.

Unfortunately, I had an unexpected problem.

The new lawn mower stopped starting.

Right from the beginning, it was harder to start, but every time I had to turn it off to empty that bag, it kept getting harder to restart it until, finally, I just couldn’t start it at all. It had been so easy to start, before! In the spring, when we had so much rain, I was using it a lot and had no problems. Then the rain stopped, and the grass never really got long enough to make it worth cutting again. So it’s been sitting in the garage for the last couple of months. That on its own should not cause the problem. I couldn’t find any reason for it. It just won’t start. After getting only 2 1/2 wagon loads done, I finally gave up.

I will just have to take it in to the small engine shop in town to get it looked at, later in the year.

So the experiment worked, as far as chopping up the straw to make a finer mulch. It was just the lawn mower that failed!

After giving up on that task, I took the time to take the sun room replacement door off in preparation for painting the frame. I plan to get at that as soon as possible tomorrow morning, then go to the mail to pick up our bulbs. I will get the garlic in, while the girls will be doing the digging to get their flowers in.

While working at the door, I spotted this.

That is two little kittens in there! One of the orange tabbies, and Creamsicle Jr. As I walked around after taking the picture, Potato Beetle came out of the entry. I hadn’t seen him at all in there!

So I decided not to go inside after taking the door off, and stayed to see if I could get the kittens to play.

I had a target in mind.

This little lady. In the interest of trying to reduce future litters, we are hoping to get her friendly enough to bring her inside.

Yeah. I know. We have too many cats inside already!

Nostrildamus, meanwhile, couldn’t get enough attention! It was only a couple of weeks ago that we were lucky if we could pet him at all. Now, he’s all over us, asking for pets! He still doesn’t like to be picked up, but he does like chewing on fingers!

The two napping in the shelter eventually came out to see what was going on, and joined in on the play. I was able to pet the little orange one – the smallest of the 4 younger kittens – and even managed to pet Creamsicle Jr. a bit. The calico, however, would not let me touch her! However, my daughter came out to join me for a while, and she tried to play with them. Not only did she get the calico close enough to pet, she was even able to pick her up! Only briefly, and she didn’t like it, but she didn’t run away after jumping down, either.

Aside from Nostrildamus, we seem to be having a better time of socializing Butterscotch’s second litter than the older kittens. Though it didn’t help that Butterscotch was around and growling all the other cats away, including her own babies!

Still, we have made some socialization progress!

The other little orange kitten came by later. That one, the gender is still in doubt, but from what little we’ve been able to see, I suspect it is female.

I thought it was supposed to be rare for orange tabbies to be female, but here, they seem to be the majority! Of the older kittens, Nostrildamus is the only whose gender we are sure of. His one confirmed sister is now inside, but with the luck we’ve been having, his other sibling and Rosencrantz’s baby are also female! And we can’t get anywhere near any of them. 😦

Ah, well. We will just have to do what we can. Mostly, I’m just really, really glad the little kittens are going inside the shelter.

The Re-Farmer

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend!

The kitties got an early Thanksgiving breakfast.

Someone is looking like I woke him up too early!

Nostrildamus and his sibling were sleeping in the cat house. From the red light on the timer, I could see that the heater was on. Now I’m thinking of getting a thermometer to put inside, facing the window. LOL I’m such a suck, when it comes to the cats!

Not only does Nostrildamus (aka Nosey) now allow me to pet him, regularly, he’s picked up Potato Beetle’s habit of going between my feet while I’m trying to walk!

Mystery is giving me attitude!

I’m good with that. She and her mom usually run away!

Though Thanksgiving is officially tomorrow, we had our dinner today. The brined turkey using apple cider vinegar in the brine, apple pieces added into the cavity along with the lemon halves, and more ACV added to the roaster, turned out fantastic. I made a mushroom gravy this time, frying up a mix of sliced white button, crimini and oyster mushrooms in advance, adding them when I made gravy from the drippings, then using an immersion blender to whiz the mushroom pieces. That worked really well.

Also, we still had some of the Poor Man’s Hippocras left, and it most definitely tastes better chilled. 🙂 It also went well with the pumpkin pie and whipped cream! Which makes sense. They both have a lot of the same spices

Meanwhile, I’ve already packed up some take-out containers will be taking them to my mother for lunch tomorrow. When I called to arrange the time, she was asking me right away, if I had mashed potatoes and gravy! LOL Yes, Mom, I do. Just for you!

We have much to be thankful for and right now, as I look out the window, I am thankful we aren’t having a blizzard right now, like we did last year! 😀

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Re-Farmer

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Before I start, I want to say Powitaninia! Dziękują za odwiedzanie! to my sudden spike of new visitors from Poland. To jest cudowne mieć wy tutaj.

Today is going to be a busy day for us – and it was a busy day of cats this morning!

On the list of things to do is clean out the eaves troughs (aka gutters), so I left the ladder out after bringing it to the well for the plumbers. The cats don’t seem to mind it there at all. 😀

The painted bird feeder stand is now ready to be put up again, so that’s another thing on the to-do list.

Can you see the little snoot of a hidden kitten?

There he is!

The little kittens now come out to the food bowls here, consistently. Though I have seen one or two explore inside the cat house, they prefer to hide under it, rather than in it!

Also, their mother is getting nasty! Butterscotch has been growling and hissing other cats away from the food bowls, which is not all that atypical. It’s when she goes after her own kittens that it concerns me!

Also on the to-do list is building a simple shelter to keep the snow off the food bowls. One that’s long enough that I can spread them out, instead of crowding them under the makeshift shelter I’ve made on the sawhorses to keep any rain off.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. While the holiday falls on Monday, we will be having our dinner tomorrow, and some preparations are starting today. I’ve got a turkey that should be thawed out by now, and I just finished preparing a brine. I decided to try something different this year, since I happen to have the ingredients. Along with the usual salt, brown sugar and herbs, I’ve added a generous amount of apple cider vinegar (the one that I used as a “starter” for our own vinegar that is still fermenting). Once the brine is cooled down, it will go into our giant stock pot with the turkey, adding enough cold water to completely immerse the bird. Then it will go into the old kitchen to chill for the night.

Having an un-insulated room has come in surprisingly handy for things that need refrigerating, but don’t fit in our refrigerator! It’s not quite cool enough in the summer, but this time of year, it’s perfect for the job.

Probably not too good for our fermenting vinegar, though! 😀

We never stuff our turkey, but I do like to add aromatics into the cavity. When it comes time to roast the turkey tomorrow, I will continue the apple theme. I like to rub the turkey all over with lemon, then put the pieces inside the cavity for extra flavour and moisture. This time, I plan to add apple pieces as well. The bottom of the roasting pan will have some celery sticks, onion slices and carrot pieces laid out to act as a roasting rack, while also adding flavour to the juices that will be used to make a gravy. The turkey itself will be topped with a woven mat of bacon – a trick I learned from my late mother-in-law.

I picked up some things yesterday, to help me with finishing the sun room door, so I will be heading out to work on that right away. I neglected to check the mail yesterday, though. It turns out our bulbs and garlic arrived, but with Monday being a holiday, I won’t be able to pick them up until Tuesday. So the girls and I will use the time to prep where the bulbs will be planted. Given how late in the season it is, and that we are dipping below freezing almost every night now, we will have to make good use of mulch to help the bulbs get the start they need once they’re in the ground.

Lots of work to do before the cold! But we will still take the time to celebrate the many things we have to be thankful for. For all the problems we are finding in this place, it’s still better than where we were before moving out here! 😀

The Re-Farmer

The Aftermath

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and after the blizzard that hit us, we have so much to be thankful for! Parts of the province are described as looking like they were hit by a tornado, and I just learned that my sister was without power for 2 days. Thankfully, they have a wood stove and fireplace for cooking and heat, as well as a generator.

When I drove my daughter to work on the Thursday, things were still looking good. By the time we reached town, it was starting to snow, but it was on the way home that I drove into the beginnings of the storm, locally.

When it was safe to do so, I pulled over to get a picture.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend, here in Canada, and our turkey is ready for the oven. 🙂


Though Thanksgiving is officially tomorrow, we decided to have a quiet family dinner today.  A large family dinner is being planned for later in the month.

The turkey was brined overnight, rubbed with lemon halves (which were then tucked into the cavity) and covered with bacon.

A trick I learned from my late mother-in-law. 😀

The Re-Farmer