Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Day Book Entry - Good Bye October

I have enjoyed the Day Book entries of my "Canadian neighbor" Honora on her blog - Pondside.  Do stop over and visit - she always has something interesting, gorgeous photos and thoughts to make us ponder.

Outside my window  it is dark and chilly.  The weather has changed to our autumn pattern, rain and rain and rain. It is a good thing I love the rain. I grew up in Southeast Alaska (for those not from around here, that is the chain of islands that runs down along the west coast of British Columbia, Canada)  We played out in the rain when I was growing up; if we didn't, we would have spent a lot of time indoors.  I love the sound of rain plinking on a rain hat and rain slicker and love the splish splash splish of boots in the rain.

I am thinking about the Johnny Jump Ups in my railing planter boxes.  They are growing and blooming and sopping wet from our autumn rains.  They still hold up their smiling faces, no matter what comes their way - it reminds me to be happy more often.

From the kitchen comes the smell of toast, it just popped up in the toaster and my tea water is hot.  Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.

I am reading   The Garden Letters, by Elspeth Bradbury and Judy Maddocks.  This is about my fifth or nineteenth time reading this wonderful book.  Two friends live and garden in New Brunswick, until one of them moves to the other side of Canada - to Vancouver Island.  Their letters share their  love of gardening and the plants they grow, the weather, their families and lovely sketches.

I am thankful for the warmth of my home and the safety of living here.  When I see the homeless people on the street corners I want to give them enough money for a house of their own so they can get back the feeling of safety that they hopefully had at some time in their life.  It saddens me to think that someone's brother, sister, father, mother, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin or even grandparent is standing in the rain - holding a sign and hoping for a little bit of money to ease their discomfort or their hunger for just a little while.  I have so much and share with them whenever I can - it makes me feel good and I hope it makes them feel a little better too - and I always give them a smile at the same time - for it might be one of the few smiles they will see that day.

I have just finished folding several baskets of towels.  Fresh and warm from the dryer, towels give me the feeling of happiness. I like my linen closet organized - by color and by size of towels, sheets, etc.  I have a lovely stack of vintage embroidered pillowcase and for fun I sometimes take them all out and iron them, fold them back up and put them in their proper stack, until it is their turn on the pillows.  A lovely linen closet - sigh.

I am smiling because of three little boys, all wearing their Candy Corn hats that I crocheted for them.  Well, I guess I have to say, two little boys and one young man, Jahn-Zyel is now 11 (and humors his grandmother - thank you Jahn).  In the first frame can you see Jahn standing behind Ben?  It looks like Ben has on two hats.

I am planning our Thanksgiving dinner.  Now you might think that takes a lot of time and effort, and while it does entail writing down the foods we will eat and the serving dishes I'll use, the menu remains about the same every year - for about 45 years now.  

Our  3 year old daughter decorating cookies for our Thanksgiving company.

I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner for Don's family when we lived in Wisconsin.  We had only two children then, a 3 year old and a baby (cutest children you ever saw).  The family gathered,  and I think there were 19 of us - but I'm not sure.  

I had baked 6 pies, everything was cooked and ready to serve.  The house smelled wonderful.  The family came up the outside stairs to our apartment in the upstairs of a big old farm house, and our 3 year old daughter came out of the bedroom with baby cream all over her face - she didn't miss one single spot (I told you they were cute kids, I didn't say they were angels) everyone thought it was hilarious - but that wasn't what was going through my mind as I wiped her sweet little face clean.  We sat  down to eat, and it began to snow.

Not your ordinary snow - but Wisconsin blizzard snow - thick and heavy flakes - so much snow that you couldn't see the yard light just outside our window.  Everyone was nervous - I was anxious - we ate our dinner and the family gathered up their coats, hats, scarves, boots and gloves and off they went.  No one ate the pies.

 It took the local people well over an hour to get home (usually 15 minutes), and those that lived an hour away had to spend 3 treacherous hours on the road (they had animals at home that needed tending to, so couldn't stay the night).

Almost as soon as they left, our electricity went out, so we gathered up the babies, snuggled them into our bed and went to sleep.  It had been a disappointing day, but everyone got home safely and we had a gas stove to keep us warm - and pie to eat for a week or more.

Thanksgiving menu

Appetizer - our son-in-law Jason Davies' famous cheese ball 

Stuffing - onion and sage
Mashed potatoes - piles of them
Gravy (my cousin Penquin taught me to make the best gravy - it is our family secret) - yes, his name IS Penquin
Cranberry relish (this has changed - it used to be cranberry sauce - but our youngest daughter makes the best cranberry relish, which is always requested by her dad)
Bread and Butter pickles - sometimes I forget them
Deviled eggs - two platters - one spicy, one plainer
Celery stuffed with cheese
Homemade rolls

Pies - pumpkin, mincemeat, apple - or whatever strikes our fancy

We set the table with fancy dishes - this year - the Loon Dishes or Desert Rose that belonged to my grandmother?

Serving pieces - green depression glass, crystal bowls and crystal gravy boat, vegetable shaped dishes (carrot, radish, corn), green water pitcher - lots of vintage silver for serving up the food, cloth napkins to match the dishes.

And so I say - Good Bye October - Welcome November!


Pondside said...

Ah, what a lovely post, JoAnn. I've said before that I love blogging for the window into other lives that it gives me. I enjoyed this glimpse very much! I'll have to look for that book. I've heard of it. I remember quite a long time ago hearing about two women (could they have been the same?) whose letters across the country were read on Morningside with Peter Gzowski. I listened every time the letters were going to be on. I had a wee baby and was living in a foreign country and the letters made me long for home and a life that included time to garden!

regan said...

A lovely post.....and fun hearing about your first family Thanksgiving dinner. Glad everyone made it home ok, and that you could have all those pies to yourselves! HA! Fun!

Brown Dirt Cottage said...

What a GREAT read Joann!! In your usual creative style you have soothed my soul with another trip down your memory lane!!

Wow, your turkey dinner sounds scrumptious......just let me know what time to be there!!! I'll bring my famous broccoli/rice casserole!!!

nanci said...

loved the post Jo, and like Pondside remember moving to the country with only Peter Gzowski to keep me company. (I was his bridge partner for a few summers at the cottage) The whole dinner plan looks amazing to my thinking, you haven't missed a thing! Not even the napkins....right?

castord hanna said...
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