Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

A Day of True Thanksgiving

Almost ready for the feast!

Our 3rd Annual Thanksgiving in the Greenhouse was a blessed success! The food was delicious and perfectly timed; my six-hour cooking marathon utilizing two rugged kitchenettes was one of the smoothest I have experienced in my 39 years of Thanksgiving preparations. The weather could not have cooperated any better had I custom-ordered it.

An Early Start

Our Thanksgiving celebration was held on the Saturday after the holiday, as I was on call Thursday and other family members had work. Friday afternoon the prep work began: Scrubbing the kitchens and chopping up vegetables was my first order of business. I made the most awesome homemade cranberry sauce. Friday night, the stuffing went into the fridge to blend the flavors, and the still-frozen turkey (oops!) came out and was placed in ice water to thaw overnight (many water changes took place throughout the night; no danger of spoilage).

At 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning, the work continued. The now-defrosted turkey was stuffed and placed into the roaster. The rest of the stuffing went into a crock pot and was put into the greenhouse. Ten pounds of potatoes were peeled and cut up.

By 11:00, the turkey was done, potatoes were mashed and keeping warm, and it was time for the final push to get everything done at once. Our goal was to eat at noon, as Jenny had work at 3:00 (We sat down to eat at 11:56; I’m THAT good lol!). I pressed my sweet granddaughter into service preparing the crescent rolls, while I made enough gravy to sink a battleship. Brussels sprouts and sweet corn rounded out the menu, and the rest of the bountiful feast was carefully carried into the greenhouse.

Our first year doing this it was quite cloudy and cool, and we needed sweatshirts and jackets to eat our dinner. Our second year was cool and rainy, and moving between the two kitchens and the greenhouse was not fun and a bit treacherous. This year was perfect: Temps in the 60s, with a bright blazing sun warming the greenhouse so much that we had to leave the door open to keep it from getting too hot.

One Small Black Cloud

My sweet granddaughter Libby loves Thanksgiving nearly as much as I do. She was so eager to help me as I decorated and prepared dinner. Libby set the beautiful table for us and gathered chairs. Just as we were getting everything put into place to sit down and eat, she developed a massive migraine and started throwing up. Poor baby had to miss our feast! Fortunately, it subsided not too long after, and she was able to enjoy some incredible leftovers later that afternoon.

Counting My Blessings

A benefit of cooking the entire Thanksgiving dinner and being an old(er) matriarch is that once the food is consumed and I am unable to eat another bite, I have the privilege of getting up, putting on my jammies, and taking a lovely post-Thanksgiving nap! No cleanup for this grandma! The rest of the family cleared all the food away and did the dishes. Taking down decorations could wait for another day.

As I lay in my bed snuggling with my sweet Dobby, I reflected on how very much I am thankful for. The cast of characters may have changed over the years, but I feel so privileged to have been able to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for my family for 39 years now. After all of us suffering through Covid in July/August, I am grateful that none of my family was missing from our celebration. I know many this year who are devastated, looking at an empty place setting.

I am humbled beyond measure that I am living the lifestyle I have dreamed of for decades. No, things aren’t perfect. Money can be tight at times, work can be too demanding and stressful, and every project seems to take way more time and money than anticipated. Tiny space living can get, um, tense. But I am homesteading! I am writing, and growing food year-round. I am seeing some very big plans finally coming together which will drastically change the way we are living here.

I am blessed to be able to live with my grown kids and to watch my grandchildren grow up into amazing, brilliant, and talented young people. I am honored to have helped heal the generational dysfunction that had plagued my family for many years. To see my grandkids grow up without all the baggage that their parents and grandparents had gives me great hope for their futures.

May we all find more joy, bliss, and peace in this coming year!

Getting Ready: 3rd Annual Thanksgiving in the Greenhouse!

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First Annual TITGH

It was way past time. My greenhouse was a mess-overrun with overgrown summer beds, empty pots scattered everywhere, and my work table laden with long-forgotten mosaic projects. 

I started this clean-up a few weeks ago, and finally feel like the greenhouse is just about ready for winter. The nights are getting colder now, and it’s time for the final summer-to-winter transition. The sun shade was taken off today.

There are still a few things left to take care of: A most unfortunate burn hole in the wall of the greenhouse needs to be patched. The fan needs to be taken down. And my little greenhouse-within-a-greenhouse needs to be set up. 

My main reason for the cleaning frenzy has nothing to do with gardening, though. I am working on our 3rd annual Thanksgiving in the Greenhouse, and everything has to be spotless.

Our 1st annual TITGH was borne out of necessity. We basically had nowhere to seat our entire family for a large meal, so to the greenhouse we went! It was so much fun, we did it again last year. I think once our house is done I would like to continue the tradition.

Our temporary digs do not afford us a kitchen large enough to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner in the normal way. Preparing such a feast is nothing short of a logistical nightmare, requiring some creative solutions. The turkey goes into the roaster on the kitchen counter. The camper kitchenette and table are scrubbed and organized and is veggie- and stuffing-prep central. 

Stuffing is cooked  in the turkey with a second batch going into a slow cooker. Cranberry sauce is homemade, with whole fresh cranberries.

Aside from running back and forth between two kitchens, the actual cooking of the meal is not bad, as long as the weather is good. The real challenge is in the serving. Crock pots full of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing are taken out to the greenhouse and plugged in to keep warm while the rest of the meal is finished. The turkey is removed from the roaster, gravy is made from the juices, and the turkey is then placed back into the roaster and run to the greenhouse while the dinner rolls and last minute items are getting finished up. 

Last year I decorated by hanging up sheets and curtains to make a cozy “room” with a bunch of LED Christmas lights. I just went thrifting and got a bunch more linens this week. Soon it will be time to start hanging the lights and linens. I can’t wait.

We have a big old Rubbermaid table that accommodates all seven of us. We will probably use Crystallyx containers for seats for some of us. A $5.00 auction purchase, a big glass display case, will be covered and pressed into service as a buffet. It is going to be rugged, but our Thanksgiving dinners in the greenhouse have become a beloved tradition for our family. I plan to take a lot of pictures of the process this time, and share them here.