Archive for the ‘squash’ Tag

11-22-2015 Journal–A New Thanksgiving Tradition!   Leave a comment

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‘No Thanks’

Why turkey? The tradition started with the Pilgrims struggling to survive and supposedly the Indians brought them food, they had dinner together, and so it began . . . but why turkey? It could just as easily have been lobster or maybe even groundhog. I doubt seriously if I would have enjoyed a big, fat, roasted groundhog for Thanksgiving every November for the rest of my life but it could easily have happened.  We could have easily combined Groundhog Day with Thanksgiving and had Punxatawney Phil as an entre.

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‘This is Phil’s cousin Bill’

I guess we can blame or credit one lonesome Indian out foraging for food for our Thanksgiving tradition that ended up lasting for hundreds of years. What we haven’t been told is that he took the good food home to his family and stuck the Pilgrims with some scrawny turkey he had left over.  That tradition has also created a number of cottage industries like raising turkeys by the millions for our eager consumption and all of the accompanying paraphernalia required to prepare them.

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‘Bill Before’

Don’t get me wrong I like turkey well enough but as a kid it was a special meal we had only once a year. These days we eat turkey year-round and have it readily available at food stores and even some gas stations and convenience stores. Not so special anymore, at least not for me.

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‘Bill After’

This Thanksgiving is a unique one for both my better-half and for me. Most of our family members are spread across the country and the ones remaining in Maine are visiting other family in northern Maine.  After some discussion we determined that because it’s just the two of us this year, we can do whatever the hell we like.  They’ll be no turkey this year and trust me, there won’t be any roasted groundhog or lobster either.

This years feast will consist of some traditional items such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, corn, and squash. The meat of the day has been upgraded a little as well. Picture a large standing prime rib roast dripping flavor from every pore and as tender and soft as eating marshmallows.  That’s what I call a proper dinner to give thanks for.  I eat turkey on an average of three times a week and won’t miss having it on the table at all.

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I hope this year goes well because this is a tradition that is long overdue and that I fully support. I may miss some of the turkey leftovers but truthfully I’ll get over it. I can taste and smell that prime rib already and it’s making my mouth water. A good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and the fixings’ and we’ll both be fat, dumb, and extremely happy.

SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN PHIL, YOU NEVER KNOW.

09-21-2014 Journal Entry-Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!   Leave a comment

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Well to continue the story as I promised in the last post, we (my better-half and I) were in dire need of pumpkins.  Why, I honestly don’t know but we can’t live without them apparently.  We especially need to find those ever so illusive white pumpkins which are just ghostly enough to make Halloween worth celebrating.  After checking prices at Walmart and Lowes the decision was made to go elsewhere so as not to feel any more extorted than normal.

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These days the prices continue to climb on just about everything. The love of the almighty dollar leaves little regard for us customers and with the advent of the big box retailers the days of lower prices at roadside stands are slowly disappearing.  The farmers no longer try to beat the prices of the larger stores but are certainly happy to match them.   That translates to an end of bargain prices for all of us.

Fortunately if you want to spend the time and effort there are still a few farmers who’ll sell their wares at a decent price, collect their profits, and retain their customer base.  It’s one of those places that we headed to after our drive to Kennebunkport and the southern coast.

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As we arrive at the farm there are piles and piles of pumpkins and squash of all sizes and kinds.  These folks cultivate just over a hundred acres every year and they always seem to have excellent results.  They actually sell a large portion of their products to local school districts for the kids lunches.  I’ve always been a firm believer about "buying local" and supporting the farmers in our area and it’s folks like these that make that happen. They also give me an excellent place to take incredible Fall pictures. Here are a few.

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My better-half made her purchases of an assortment of orange and white pumpkins with a promise to return and pick up a few cornstalks and a bale of hay or two.  She feels the need to reassure me that we’re almost ready for Halloween and the Fall season.  I’m so relieved.

08-26-2013   3 comments

It feels like a good day for a journal entry.  As the summer winds down my better-half and I have been very busy with the garden and the canning of everything possible.  Even though the weather’s been a little strange at times this summer overall it’s still been very productive.

I’ve been forced to work very hard this week due to the subpar garden fabric I purchased at Home Depot earlier his year.  Because of the failure of the fabric to eliminate the ever present weeds I’m now faced with several days of back breaking work to clean up weeds and begin to remove plants that have run their course.  I worked on my hands and knees for three hours removing weeds and pieces of surviving fabric and being ever so careful not to damage the hot pepper plants that are still producing.  I have a small trailer for my lawn tractor and I filled it twice with weeds in almost no time.

The Cayenne, Serrano, and bell peppers are still going strong and should continue for a few more weeks.  The cold nights aren’t helping but what can I do? I’ve removed fifty percent of the cucumber plants because we are becoming overwhelmed with them.  I canned more than forty pints of hot Bread & Butter pickles and could have done at least that many more.  Truthfully I ‘m just tired of looking at them.  I found myself dreaming about pickles a couple of recent nights which was a little disturbing to say the least. I’ve taken three handful of rhubarb seeds and planted an area behind the house with them.  If we’re lucky next spring might bring us an entire new patch of rhubarb.  The plants from last year have done well and next summer we’ll be making some killer strawberry-rhubarb jam.

I’m really tired of this weeding.  I’ll need to check with a nearby friend for advice on what fabric to buy for next year. I don’t plan on ever doing this again even if it cost me a few additional dollars.

We’ve successfully filled the larder with pickles, relishes, herb flavored vinegars, vegetable mixes (for stir-fry’s), spicy pasta sauce, salsa (2 large batches), and three batches of jams.  We spent one recent day at our favorite blackberry patch and within a half hour collected close to three quarts of blackberries.  The triple-berry jam recipe is to die for and we’ll now have more than enough for the winter and as gifts for friends.  I might even consider a small batch of black berry wine if we have enough berries.

All in all a very successful summer.  We’ve now started winding down in preparation for winter and it already feels like Fall and it’s still only August. I’m planning on rebuilding a portion of the garden and changing things around a little.  Then it’s soil preparation, fertilizing, and waiting for the snow to fly.

I’d like to chat further but I’ve got more work to do before my better-half gets home from work.

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Just as an afterthought here’s a little something I just received from my sister. It made me laugh out loud and that’s always a good thing.  Enjoy.

HOW IS NORMA?

A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph ‘s Hospital. She timidly asked,
"Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing ?"

The operator said,
"I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number of the patient ?"

The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said "Norma Findlay, Room 302."

The operator replied,
"Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse’s station for that room."

After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."

The grandmother said,
"Thank you. That’s wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news."

The operator replied,
"You’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter ?"

The grandmother said,
"No, I’m Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me shit."

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