Holiday Plans

This time of year we all gather round large tables full of amazing food and sing Christmas carols and forget all about the sibling rivalries, family feuds and all around negative feelings and vibes from the past year.  It is a blissful couple of months full of heartwarming gift exchanges and meals.  Hahahahaha!!  Ok, I couldn’t even keep typing without laughing.  What is the holiday season famous for really?  Stressful family events, Black Friday, holiday meals attended by family members that barely speak the rest of the year.  And joy.  I love this time of year.  Gifts are fine, but what really makes me feel full of holiday spirit is cooking for other people.  This past weekend, Hubby and I drove over 6 hours to spend 4 days with our family that is not blood related.  My best friend and her husband, and their 7 week old sweet baby boy.  They weren’t going to be able to travel for the holiday so we decided to go visit and cook them a big fancy Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, dressing, sweet potato pie, mashed taters, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry relish and I’m probably forgetting something.  Hubby had never cooked a turkey day feast and neither had I, so we were jumping in with both feet and baby floaties.  It was a resounding success though.  Not to toot our own horns and all, but the girls left the new dad with the baby and my sweet hubby to figure out a meal by himself and we went to a movie.  The Hubs needs to be under pressure like this more often.  We ate until we were about to bust and all promptly fell asleep on the couches.  I have mentioned we love to eat, I know I have.

One of the cool things about what we do is when we get to reap the reward of the year’s butt-busting work.  For the green bean casserole, we popped a couple of jars of our green beans grown that year and the Hubby had the idea of using our homemade cream of mushroom soup base that I had canned.  We will never go back to ploppy canned store bought mushroom soup again.  Actually, eating our own produce has pretty much ruined us on eating grocery store food.  Once we figured out how to make and can different kinds of soups, we dumped Campbell’s like an 80’s hairstyle.  My bestie and her hubby have stopped buying canned green beans, they don’t like the way they taste as much.  So if we triple the amount of green beans we grow next year, we will be canning a bunch for them too.  This Thanksgiving we used some of our own food, and all the vegetables were either ours or from a farmer’s market.  Next year we want to cook our own turkey and increase the amount of the vegetables on the table that came from our garden.

So while we are trying to manage the holiday stress, buying gifts, planning meals and schedules, the Hubs and I are also sitting down and planning next year’s garden.  We are using the experiences of these holiday dinners and this winter to decide what we need to plant and how much.  We will be at least tripling the size of the garden and expanding what kinds of vegetables and fruits we grow.  We are going to try root veggies in huge pots and potatoes in laundry baskets.  The stress of trying to schedule time to see everyone is peppered with plans of garden work next year.  Until we can get back into the soil, we will be eating the spring and summer’s harvest and enjoying taking our food to different dinner tables to our friends and family.

Happy holidays (all of them are an excuse to eat!) and hoping your holiday season is full of laughter and joy!



Decisions, Decisions

It has been a rough couple of weeks.  For reasons that will be revealed later (oh mysterious!), and for the obvious ones, we recently decided on a name for our little piece of this Earth.  And it was a nightmare!  I know that it made me a little (LOT) crazy and my poor husband; I drove him nuts.  Well, I mean, more than I usually do.  We had casually been kicking around the idea of naming our place for a while, but it didn’t seem pressing until the last few weeks.  Again for reasons that will be discussed later; can’t tell you now, I might jinx it.  But the place needed a name, and thus, the debate began.  Honestly, as long as I didn’t name the place “Cutie Patootie Chicken Derrieres Acres”, my husband wouldn’t care too much what name we came up with.  He felt that the right name would present itself when the time was right, no need to rush things.  I, on the other hand, went with the more logical approach which was, “What the crap are we gonna do????  It needs a name, like, yesterday!!!”  Insert overly dramatic swoon here.  It went on like this for a week or more.  Hubby:  “What would you like for dinner?”,  Me:  “What about naming it after an old timey saloon?  Oh! The Drunken Rooster!”

Hubby:  “Do you need anything from the store babe?”  Me:  “Or a scary name, as a joke, like in a movie or something.  That’s good, right?”

It went on like this, and it got worse.

Text from hubby:  “I think I nicked an artery working in the shop.  I’m calling 911”  Me:  “We could name it after our favorite superhero.”

Name it after a place we both like?  After a favorite video game location?  Steal the name of a farm or homestead we saw somewhere?  Do we name it using attributes of the current property and change it later when we move?  And go through all this again?  Or name it once and take it with us?  How about “Damnit Cats! Acres?  Or BadRabbitStopThat Farm?  What about ThereIsNoHopeWeWillNeverGetItNamed Homestead?  Hopeless Homestead?  I Give Up Acres?  I Hate This Place Farm?  There has to be something out there that we like.

In a resigned kind of way, I Googled it.  Of course I did, what did you think, I am just that smart?  I wish.  Those two weeks would have been so much easier on my mental health.  So I caved and Googled “what the hell do I name my farm?”  That is the honest to goodness, obviously frustrated almost in tears search parameter I typed in.  And the internet saved the day.  I looked through posts that others had made about how they named their places, which were all the questions I had already been through.  But I finally came across something that made my face meet my desk in such a magnificent fashion, I saw stars for a week.  Initials.  Really?  I mean, seriously interwebs??  I have lost my damn mind, made my husband question why he ever agreed to marry this psycho in the first place much less start a farm with her and that is what you come up with?  INITIALS????  Brilliant!!  Why am I so stupid?  How could I have missed it all this time??  I began to question whether I was even intelligent enough to function in society, much less hold down a job and have responsibilities.  Good gracious sakes alive, how could I have overlooked initials?  I am a consumer of old westerns and sci-fi TV shows based on old westerns.  I was almost embarrassed as I texted my frazzled and potentially bleeding husband, “What do you think about T&E Acres?”  I chewed my nails waiting for him to answer.  The phone pinged.  My stomach did backflips.  The moment of truth.  He loved it.  Eureka!!  We have a winner!  And honestly, it was perfect, not because it was simple, which it is, but because this farming, gardening, homesteading, blacksmithing, canning, eating, growing adventure is us.  It started with us.  It encompasses us.  The name was perfect because the piece of land we were trying to name isn’t what it’s about; it’s about this grand experiment we embarked on together.  It’s the central location, it’s home base, it’s our sanctuary from the stress of the world.  It is wherever we are together and this farm and shop and business are us because we decided to do these things together.  So here we are, coffee cups in hand, looking at our backyard and planning next springs’Home Sweet Home 039 garden.  In 25 years, we will be sipping coffee, looking out over our acres of farm and forest and life, and planning the next springs garden.  T&E Acres was born and it will always represent the way we live rather than a particular place.