I just want to wish all our friends out there a very Happy Thanksgiving. This time of year, our turkeys might be thinking all the tea parties they had to attend with Annalee and all the petting they had to tolerate was probably well worth it.
Our Thanksgiving was a little strange, as this was the first year my mom wasn't able to do all the cooking on her own. I've never been a cook (I wasn't allowed in "her" kitchen growing up so I was a much better hand with a manure fork in the stable than with a skillet in the kitchen) but I pulled off stuffing, four pies, a purple sweet potato dish, and even wild rice with chorizo in little acorn squash shells. And nobody even got sick!
This Thanksgiving was a bit of a changing of the guard. It has been a crazy year, with family changes all around, not the least of which being the arrival of Miss Virginia. I was laid off my job, but don't miss anything but the wage and the folks (I don't miss the on call and nights even a little bit). The challenge of the job was fun, but the hours were just brutal, and were taking a toll on my health. I am trying to find a teaching job now, still hoping to fulfill a lifelong dream to teach high school English. I have had stuck in my bathroom mirror for many years now a small metal bookmark with a quote by George Eliot: "It's never too late to be what you might have been." I truly hope that's right, and as strange as it sounds under the circumstances, I am thankful to have to opportunity to start over in a new profession. Not many of us get paid to make a fresh start and that is basically what this has been.
I have so much to be thankful for - the friends we have made over the years, the farm we have had the opportunity to use, and even though I did have to pull off the side of the road on the way to Grandma's house Thanksgiving day to address an extreme non-sharing incident - three absolutely wonderful children. Each is a unique individual: one, coolly logical and analytical casting a critical eye on the world around her; one, an emotional dreamer in whose eyes the world is a place to be pondered; and the third, just becoming known to us, is seemingly a small island of calm in the storm. She is my little eye in the center of the hurricane, looking on life with calm acceptance, and smiling with her entire body. They all amaze me and inspire me, and often exhaust me and challenge me, but always fill my heart so profoundly I'm surprised there's room for anything else.
There is a moment of quiet also on the farm. The heat of the summer and all its challenges has subsided, and we are just approaching the beginning of the kidding season. The first set of does to be due is getting wide and we are putting some Goat 20 N tubs out so they can get extra energy as they need it. We've never had a case of ketosis before, and I don't want to start now. The sheds are going to get some straw in them so if anyone kids out and there is a cold rain, there will be a dry spot out of the elements. When they were out in the woods, there were lots of nooks and crannies to safely kid out, but in the pasture, they are going to have to rely on what we provide them. One of the things I heard the old timers around the horse barns say was that animals can get wet on the top or on the bottom without ill effects, but you'd have problems if they get wet both top and bottom at the same time. We have to get kidding kits together, because I am a true believer that if you are prepared for a disaster, it likely won't come, but Heaven help you if you don't have the kits at the ready! That just tempts fate more than it can resist.
We are slowing down in one sense, getting ready for the holidays, but gearing up at the same time for kidding season. We're looking for "town jobs" and wishing all the while we could hit the lotto so we could move to the farm and be with our children in that setting full time. If I had enough money, I'd offer to teach school for free, too. I love literature and language so much, and to me, the study of literature translates to the study of film, television, commercials, and all parts of life, even our personal relationships. If kids learn to "read" commercials as something targeted to an audience, with an agenda, for the profit of some company, maybe they will be more informed consumers of not only products, but also political ideas and the (in my opinion) junk being mass produced to make our kids holler "oo ooo ooo I want that" and think they need some product to be popular and achieve personal fulfillment. That goes double for the stuff being marketed for them to eat!
Now I promise to hop off my soapbox and settle back in, and again, wish a very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. We do have so much to be thankful for, don't we?