Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We got up at 5:30 this morning and it was not by our choice. The duck hunters went ballistic at 5:30 and it was quite a few hunters blasting away. It was not on our property or we would have called the police. We don’t allow people to hunt on our farm.

Each year, our area is one of the stopping grounds for the migratory fowls. We get Swans, Snow Geese, Canadian Geese and a multitude of ducks. Our marsh gets blanketed with a quilt of many colors from the wildfowl. There are hundreds of ducks and sometimes all you can see is an undulating mass of ducks as they swim across the water. As they take to the sky, the sun is blocked by a large black mass and they cry out as one.

We often watch this with a hot steaming cup of coffee and relish in the fact, that we can see this from our windows, a scene directly from National Geographic. Sometimes a Bald Eagle will circle and the ducks look warily up, and then explode in a flight. The Bald Eagle will try to snatch one but will get confused when the ducks scatter about him. It’s a technique that has saved many a ducks from certain death.

Sometimes I will see a coyote hunting for mice in the neighbor’s field. The coyote will stand and peer at the ground, then leap up like a gazelle and pounce on a mouse. If the coyote is not successful, then it is repeated. Occasionally, a Red Tailed Hawk will join it and will try to get the mice that the coyote missed; it is a slow dance among the various players.

But this morning, we did not have our hot cups of coffee in hand and did not appreciate the early wake up call. I rolled back in bed to snatch a couple of more hours of sleep while Getty went to finish prepping the turkey and start to cook it.

I got a free range Turkey in exchange for a sheepdog lesson. It was a good trade and I recommend getting a free range Turkey. If you want one, get in touch with me and I can connect you with the person that I got the turkey from. Our turkey was about 15 lbs and butchered and delivered on Tuesday. Getty soaked it in brine and then roasted the turkey with herbs, butter and his special fixings.

While the turkey was roasting, we went to feed the animals. The dogs got an extra long play time and extra rations and treats. The livestock got extra alfalfa and treats. All were happy in this glorious day.

After the turkey was cooked, we loaded up the SUV with our portion of the Thanksgiving dinner and the girls hopped in the back. This year, Nelson was hosting the dinner and he said we could bring the girls along. The road was empty of traffic and we drove in peace.

We arrived and I walked to the front door and the girls ran and barked at the door. They never have been there but could smell my brother’s scent. They love my brother and waited anxiously at the door. They raced in and began their happy dance of barking, racing and begging for pets. Getty and I unloaded our food into the kitchen and Getty began to prepare the rest of the meal. Mom and Kimiko brought sushi, asparagus, salad, tempura and other goodies. Nelson made yams, sweet potatoes and Asian potatoes. Getty made gravy, Dijon asparagus and stuffing. It was a feast for a King.

The delicious scent wafted around us and we filled our plates and began to enjoy the tasty meal as well as the wonderful company. Everyone had seconds and finally we all pushed ourselves away from the table, all sated from the meal. It was a real delight for me to be able to enjoy a dinner and eat and laugh and not feel sick. The dinner was a blend of a traditional Thanksgiving combined with Japanese and Cajun influence.

Tess and Nan were on the rug in front of the fireplace. I had put them there and told them to stay. They did not move a muscle but their amber eyes followed every movement at the table. Occasionally, a half hearted wag of the tail would accompany the stares. Henry, the fat cat was in the mud room and not happy about being left out.
"Feed me!!"
Henry was one of the cats that survived the Barn fire. After the fire, we were all standing at the charred remains of the barn and Nelson heard Henry meowing. Henry came strolling out of the woods. We thought he had died in the fire since he was very fat and lazy. Nelson took him for for a few months until we could get the barn rebuilt. As always, when a cat goes home for a visit with one of my family member, the cat never comes back here. Henry was no exception.

Henry belongs to Nelson and is very happy. Nelson has him on a diet and he looked big but not fat. Henry was not too thrilled about Tess and Nan being in his house so he watched them from a chair. Just to make sure that the dogs knew their place, he swiped at Tess as she walked by him. Satisfied with her yelp and her bolting off, he fell asleep in his chair, well assured, that he was still, afterall, the King of his Castle.
"King Henry"

Since Tess and Nan were well behaved, Mom and Kimiko gave them some turkey and potato Tempura. The girls danced in glee at their good fortune. Cleanup was quick and we all went outside to look at Nelson’s backyard. The last time I was at Nelson’s place was three years ago when I spent a night since I had a class down the road. He has done a lot of work on it since I have been there. In the backyard, he has taken down the dark and overbearing evergreen trees and Junipers. He put in beautiful boxed gardens, a small orchard and a stunning stone walkway. Also, he put up wood fencing to enclose his little piece of Heaven. He is very talented and gifted in the “green thumb” department.

Dessert was pumpkin and pecan pie. Still full from dinner, we managed to eat pies and have tea. If we weren’t full before, then we were very stuffed now. It was a good way to end Thanksgiving and relish in the fact, that we have a great family and we have a lot to be grateful for. We all have our blessings.

Do you know what your blessings are?

Happy Thanksgiving to All of You!!

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