November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving has come and gone . Apple/almond pie, pumpkin pie, sauteed cardoon, sauteed mushrooms with parsely and garlic, spiced cider, two of our own turkeys, cranberry sauce from scratch, and a layered apple/squash/potato dish called Pommes Anna. Our farmer neighbor who was able to eat with us after working all day on our field brought a lovely sparkling wine, and a good time was had by all. Sometimes I have to step back and realize how odd our dinners are at home. No one sits at a table. We fill plates with food that is all laid out at the table, and then eat from the comfort of armchairs, sofas, etc. We hold our plates in one hand or in our laps. This custom is a permanent remnant of my time spent sailing, where eating at tables didn’t happen. The tables moved, the food moved, and spilled….what was the point? At our house the tables usually stand still, but the happy habit remains. One of the birds we ate was a year and a half old. She was full of fat, and I think we may have invented the self-basting turkey. Tasty! We improved our processing time considerably while still doing all my nitpicking rituals to ensure food safety. Live bird to refrigerated turkey in under one hour, not bad.

November 18, 2005

Our lives have been so busy! This installment will qualify as the Great Turkey Update. I recently joined an online forum for people who raise heritage turkeys. This has been an amazing experience! In a matter of weeks, I have been able to make contacts near and far. We met and have already visited one amazing person who raises an impressive flock of unusual poultry. Their farm had Spanish Blacks, an extremely showy black (duh!) turkey. We traded a pair of Royal Palms for a gorgeous Narragansett tom, who we have named Ishmael. Today’s Narragansetts descend from the turkeys our pilgrim ancestors would have known, so we’re striving for names of old New England.We also met a farmer from southern Oregon, from whom we will be purchasing one or two breeding pairs of Beltsville Whites. In January we will travel that direction to pick them up at the farm. We hadn’t planned on this, but they are really a find. Beltsvilles are a sort of miniature turkey, and are very rare and difficult to obtain. So, by one means or another, we are gearing up to really raise turkeys next year, three breeds! We very much hope to be one of the many farms supplying the growing Slow Food movement, and the consumer demand for heritage turkeys to eat.

November 2, 2005

I hate standard time. Overnight our world is taken from daylight and shunted into the long dark of winter. Coming home in the dark. Checking animals in the dark. Trying to do this and that in the dark–and cold. Partly, it’s the price we pay for having to drive 40 minutes to get to and from work. But it seems puzzling–I’ve always heard that the time changes were invented to help the farmers. If that’s the case, why only help the farmers for part of the year? And if you get right down to it, no farmer that farms full time cares what the clock says. Sunlight is sunlight, and you start and end your day according to when it’s light. Perhaps it’s not meant to be understood.