Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Let the holiday preps begin!

This week has been a flurry of activity. Feathers literally flying as we prepare our birds and assisted others in dressing out theirs for the Thanksgiving Day feast. The temperatures have not been my friend though as it’s been quite chilly for plucking. 

Matt and Mary great friends!
Tony holding the goose

Now is the time I can slow down and while still preparing for our feast I take time to reflect on the last few decades that I have been blessed with the ability to create memories. Memories my children will carry with them and hopefully traditions too.  Life before off grid was much different than now. Not only did I have a huge meal to prepare but we used to have 30 or more join us. Now it’s a small affair with 9 or 10 as we have friends joining us this year and it will be a party like atmosphere once again. 

One thing I started many years ago was making my dressing in advance. It’s cornbread dressing full of sage sausage,dried apples, cranberries and walnuts. I bake one pan in a loaf pan, cool then slice it. The morning before thanksgiving I brown these slices and serve them with maple syrup. I know it’s one of the kids’ favorite treats but only now when they began talking about it a week ago did I realize how important it truly is to them. Funny thing is it all began when I was trying to save time and it started a whole new tradition!

My friend called me the other day to let me know he was doing his part to reduce the wolf population. They have become so aggressive and are now chewing through chicken coops and destroying livestock. He stepped out in his back yard just in time and was able to remove this threat from the equation. A big male wolf that won’t be a problem any longer.

The weather is finally leveling out and snow is in the forecast. I’m anxious as it always puts me in the holiday spirit. I love the snow, especially at night when there’s a full moon and it twinkles and glistens on the ground then you look up and see the stars doing the same. It’s such a mystical time and makes me feel so alive and blessed to witness such a sight.

The sun is now in the south and our daylight is limited but still enough light out to accomplish chores and have some play time outdoors. It’s a great time for taking pictures as the light casts shadows that create paintings of light and texture even with my phones camera.

It seems I’m literally running the wheels off the little green giant. Coming home I must of hit a stick frozen in the ground as I lost the front tire due to a huge gash. So many hazards that cannot be seen but they are pretty weatherchecked so is to be expected. I love that little machine though-I can’t think of anything that I’ve ever driven that makes me feel so alive-it’s like driving a little tank-I do believe it’s personality is much like mine:pushy, aggressive and even when broken keeps going until the job is completed. She’s definitely got attitude!

Even the elves have been busy around here-little Ellie “or Cinder Ellie” as she is now called helped with the cleaning and getting ready for company. You’ll be seeing more of the little elves of Two Moose Farm in the future. They are always popping up in the strangest places.

The girls and I had the pleasure of spending the night out with our friends Jody and Roger. It was nice visiting and Jody is such an awesome cook, she made a chocolate cake that was to die for! I never have had anything so delicious in all my life! I’m going to ask her permission and if she gives it I will share her recipe in a later post. 

Well folks I need to stoke the fire and get things going but I’ll share the pics of high noon in Alaska. Please excuse the green dot that appears in some, not sure why it does that if someone knows please tell me how to make it stop. 

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving all.

Do you see the salmon in the clouds?

***for those looking for dried fruits and veggies check out my friends at Carolina Food Storage they will not only provide you with excellent quality dehydrated and freeze dried non gmo foods but the customer service is outstanding and they are having a huge sale now!

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s just before 4 a.m. And was a very short night but I am so Thankful for the many blessings I have. My beautiful bird (almost 30 pounds) is now snuggly in the oven. When I say snuggly I am not kidding, there’s only about an inch before he hits the roof. He will be fine though as I will pamper him, bath him in broth and nurture him right until I take him out of the oven for his hour long rest. Alright, seriously now once the bird has roasted ever so slowly until the temp of the thigh is at 165* I will cover with foil and then a heavy towel to hold in heat and let it rest for an hour. Smaller birds you can reduce the rest time on but please let your bird rest before carving for it makes it oh so juicy! 

Bird roasting breast side down for first 2 hours 

 The pies are all baked, dressing is waiting it’s turn in the oven and I literally have enough food for a small army. Sadly our guests that planned on joining us are dealing with a rapidly rising creek and cannot join us and the other couple are dealing with health issues. Please keep them in your prayers. 

Cati’s pumpkin pie 

My oldest son who lives in town did call his dad last night to say he would be coming out for a few minutes today I’m sure he will be surprised at the changes we have made at the farm in the year since he has seen it.
Yesterday was a busy day for sure-Cati made the pumpkin pies and rolls, I prepared cornbread for dressing and everyone else busied themselves with keeping wood in for the stove and staying out of the way. It rained the entire day and is still raining. It was a day of phone calls too. Well wishers for Thanksgiving, family and friends beating the rush and even heard from some folks in Wyoming we used to know. 

The rain appears to have let up some and my deck is loaded with turkeys who see the light on and think it’s an invitation-if they only knew! 

The roosters are crowing and coffee is perking, the only thing missing is snow and it doesn’t appear we will have any of that in the near future.

Well folks that’s all for now but I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and pray your all safe and warm. Enjoy your day and let it be filled with happy memories.

Holidays,birthdays and growing up

I often wonder if I will ever become one of those people known as adults. You would think by the time a person exceeds the half century mark it would happen. 

Holidays are the worst time for me to try to pull off being an adult. When it comes to keeping gifts a secret Do not tell me. Seriously I am the worlds worst secret keeper about gifts. I made a special gift for my sissy for her birthday and dear hubby mailed it today. I certainly hope she gets it by Friday or I just know I’m going to burst keeping this a secret.  I do believe God is sitting up there chuckling as he knows my heart and my weakness then bestowed upon me 2 beautiful daughters at the same time, during the holiday season no less, so I would have not one but two people to keep secrets from. Holidays, birthdays, oh all the secrets and I know someday I’m just gonna burst!  

Alright my secret is out, I fake being an adult very well when the truth is I’m a kid at heart and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. This weather is not helping at all. It’s currently 47 degrees, windy and the snow and ice are leaving at a rapid pace. How on earth am I going to enjoy winter-without winter? I want to race outside and catch snowflakes on my tongue! I want to build snowmen and toss snowballs. In case your not aware it’s almost impossible to do these things when it’s 47 degrees-in Alaska.

Well my rant is over and now I’ll share what’s happening on Two Moose Farm but I’m still almost patiently waiting for winter and I’ll try to pull off this adult thing for a bit longer.

My beautiful daughters turned 11 today. They have become young ladies right before my eyes. While I miss the little girls I’m in awe of the young women and their growing need to explore the new world they are just beginning to see. We try to make birthdays special but our children now have ideas of their own and we must let them grow. I will admit it saddened me to have Cati state she wanted to bake their birthday cake, I had a good “adult” moment-I smiled and relinquished the spatula to her capable hands. Of course the cake was delicious but watching them grow up so fast is bittersweet.

 The Thanksgiving preparations are in full swing now. Got the bird out for its final scrub, then checked to see if it will fit in the oven (ovens in the 30’s weren’t made for 30 pound turkeys) and it is now resting in the brine until 4 a.m. Thursday morning. The pics show how tight a fit the bird will be and I will have 7 hours of vigilantly watching so the fire does not get to hot and burn my little turkey. Tomorrow will be busy with baking pies, rolls and cornbread for dressing. I do love all the hectic preparations and I will have lots of help with Cati doing most of the baking now.

 The men will stay busy keeping us in firewood and water over the next few days. Caleb is quite proud of the fact he can be a part of this now. He’s growing into such a handsome young man and a strong one too. He has outgrown me by almost 2 inches! 

Caleb getting in firewood


Well as is the norm I’ll leave you with a few random pics and a prayer for peace in your heart. God Bless

Cami creating bear clothes


Let the holidays begin

It’s that time of year again! Let me say that again-It’s that time of year again!!!! In case you missed it I love this time of year! The crisp morning air mixed with the aroma of coffee perking and the anticipation of the coming days where the aroma of cinnamon, sage and roasting turkey will fill the cabin, yes I do love the holidays. I have so much to be Thankful for I am almost overwhelmed by the emotions. 

Holidays, for some can mean a time of stress, shopping and fretting over things that won’t matter in the coming years. For all of you reading this I would like to ask a favor-please take a minute to relax, breathe in a deep breath and ask yourself “What kind of memories are we building”? I posed this question to myself years ago and decided that very few fancy decorations and expensive gifts would be remembered in the future BUT laughter, good food and happy times would be traditions that would. With that realization I found freedom. My children have begun getting the holiday bug too with reaching the age where they too can take part in preparing the meal and atmosphere  that takes days to complete. 

Thanksgiving for us has always been a time of sharing and caring. Being off grid some things have changed but the meaning has not. It is a time of Thankfulness and building memories. This year is going to be a turning point for me. My children are already coming into their own with Cati taking on the responsibility of official pie baker  last year was her first “almost by myself” run and this year I will resist all urges to “help” and quietly sit on the sidelines and relinquish that department to her. I have so much to be thankful for but I might add there’s a bit of me that will shed a few silent tears at the thought of my babies growing up. Cami is not much for cooking, she doesn’t have the desire and I don’t push but I am sure she will find a project to commemorate the holiday with. A true artist in mind, body and soul she will create something memorable. Caleb, my youngest son who is at the age where he wants to be a man but still not sure how, will busy himself with getting firewood to keep the stove stoked. Caleb will have the most important job of all. My dear son who is warring with himself right now and looking for the direction he wants to take in life, will provide the most basic element yet the most crucial to keep both our bodies and our hearts warm. I hope each child realizes how each has a unique talent and gift that completes our family circle.

Yesterday we butchered a turkey. Let the preparations begin.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes. 

Cornbread dressing *note* this is one of those recipes that require self adjusting, meaning if you have to add a bit more or reduce the liquid then do so. Begin by baking the cornbread a day or two before. 

Cornbread-2 cups cornmeal, 1 1/2 cup flour, 2 eggs beaten slightly, 1 stick butter melted, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt. 2 1/4 cups milk. Mix the dry ingredients then together well then add milk, eggs and butter stirring only until combined-you should have a thick batter.coat a cast iron skillet with oil and sprinkle in some cornmeal to coat bottom before pouring batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. *note this recipe is not what we call “eatin” cornbread it’s “dressing” cornbread. Cool then crumble into bowl and set aside. ****If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use a large cake pan to bake.


Cornbread crumbled

6 cups dried bread crumbs

2 large onions diced

1 bunch diced celery

1 whole clove garlic minced or 2-3 tsp jarred minced garlic

6 eggs slightly beaten

1 stick butter melted

2 pounds breakfast sausage crumbled and cooked and drained

4 cups chicken broth 

2 cups apple juice you can substitute water

2 tbsp rubbed sage

1 tsp salt 

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp poultry seasoning

Optional-1 cup dried apples, 1 cup dried cranberries 1 cup chopped walnuts-I use all 3

Sauté onions and celery until transparent.

Mix it all up well in a large bowl-it should be thick like brownies for a drier dressing or for moister add chicken broth to thin like a cake batter. Pour in a couple large cake pans and bake at 350 for about an hour or until center is firm to the touch. I like to bake some in a loaf pan for later. Remove from pan and wrap in plastic wrap, chill and slice then brown in skillet for breakfast. Served with maple syrup and butter it’s much like scrapple but with a twist!

This makes a huge batch. It freezes well though or you can cut in half.

Brine for turkey-

If you want a turkey that will be moist, tender and look like it came out of a cook book -brine it!

24 hours prior to cooking-

1 1/2 cups canning salt

1 orange unpeeled cut in wedges

1TbSP rubbed sage

1 TBSP minced garlic

1 TBSP dried  rosemary 

Large container like a cooler

Squeeze oranges to juice and toss juice and oranges in container-add remaining ingredients. Add 1/2 gallon hot water and mix thoroughly. Add enough ice to chill.

Place turkey in brine then add ice and water to cover bird. Stir it around to mix brine and let sit 24 hours adding ice if needed to maintain a temp 36-40 degrees. 

To prepare turkey remove from brine and pat dry-butter the entire bird lightly and place in pan breat side down. Add just enough water or broth to pan to cover bottom 1/2 inch. Roast in oven at 325 for 2 hours. Remove from oven and carefully insert 2 meat forks (one in each body cavity) then flip breast side up. Return to oven for remainder of cooking time. It takes about 15 minutes per pound of bird but the easiest way to check for doneness is a meat thermometer inserted in thigh it should read 165

Let bird “rest” 30 minutes covered with foil and a heavy towel before carving.