thanksgiving & beyond

early that weekend, we got a 10% chance of snow — 10% of the chance of snow fell on the farm, possibly, or possibly we got 1/10th of a snowfall. I took pictures before it melted. who knows; it might be the only snow we get this winter. though i rather hope not.

for the Thanksgiving feast, we had 19 people over. Not our largest gathering, but it was definitely a full house. Erin came to keep me company & read poetry while I made potatoes & pie and mulled up a pot of apple mead. the mulled mead was too dry — the mead was dry before mulling, mind you — so we hunted down a jar of honey and sweetened it. that worked neatly! warm spiced mead was the evening’s treat.

Jenny roasted up Old Tom, our last-year’s turkey. At 21 pounds, i think he was the largest tom we butchered this year, and he was delicious.

Jenny carving the turkey:

turkey carving is a collaborative project:

Tristan and I collaborated on pie, as we did for the harvest festival, to excellent results. He is a master of fine spelt pie-crust, and I am good with the apples. In spite of the many quarts of canned apples we put up this year, i went out and bought me some good crisp fresh organic apples for one of the pies, because really, apple pie is all about the apples, and the best apples make the best pie. Though the canned-apple pie came out fine, too. they were both delicious.

Pies, with cleavage:

Pies, with stuffing:

Jenny made up a pan of spelt stuffing, Britta brought several cranberry sauces, Erin brought a yam casserole, while Meggie & aunt Gay brought corn casserole & green bean casserole, respectively. Billy made stuffed mushrooms, which barely lasted until we sat down to eat. we whipped up a green salad at the last minute, realizing there weren’t any fresh greens on the table, and then spent all week eating it, as it barely got addressed. More friends came with bean salad & fruit salad. We made everybody sing again this year:

Come, ye thankful people, come
raise the song of harvest home.
All be safely gathered in
ere the winter storms begin.
The Earth our maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied.
Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

the end of the table i was at turned into a fabulous party, fueled by excellent food, mulled mead, and then Erin’s brilliant innovation of mulled cider with honey whiskey — an idea worth repeating, that. once everyone was stuffed to satisfaction, the party splintered into groups scattered here and there around the farm, then reconvened for pie. Pie! the pies came out fabulously, if i do say so myself. we’re going to have to keep up with that patricular collaboration!

my two favorite hooligans, clearly up to something

all in all, the best thanksgiving i’ve celebrated in a long time.

the rest of the weekend found me schedule-less and loving it — i got more small projects done in one day than i have in quite a while. starting with finishing Lois McMaster Bujold’s brand new Vorkosigan novel, Cryoburn. another winner, that. i love her work. i followed that up with making a necklace i’ve watned to put together for a while, then put the curtain on the yurt door-window, drew a cottonwood image for a project Jenny is working on, and hung out with Alan. it was an entirely awesome day.

saturday, Matt came over bright and early, and he and i and Ryan pulled the wall-canvas off my yurt and set about adding a layer of insulation to the whole thing. we cut sheets of R-12.5 polyiso foam to fit into the gap between the existing insulation and the roof-canvas, pushing them in with a padded pvc pole.

cutting insulation for the yurt roof:

pushing roof panels into place — you can see the foam edge beneath the roof canvas

i thought i’d have to be up and down a bunch, measuring individual pieces, but Matt figured a way to measure them accurately from the interior of the yurt, so we did not use the ladder even once! he also worked magic on the geometry of the foam sheets, so each piece yielded two panels readily. i had allocated two days for this project, on the basis of that projected measuring & climbing, and instead, we were done with the roof before lunch!

having eaten, we then set about wrapping the walls in cotton batt. this stuff is made of recycled blue jean fibers, and it’s marvellous; soft, fluffy, warm insulation that you don’t at all mind handling.

we just wrapped the body of the yurt in it, tucking the ends in behind the door frame, and taped it on.

the hardest thing about this part was cutting the insulation, which doesn’t make straight lines very readily. we were done with the whole project by 3pm, including lacing the canvas wall back on.

with the added pillow of insulation to work over, both on the roof and the walls, the canvas did NOT want to lace back on easily. i had to call in reinforcements, in the person of Rev.

but we did accomplish the task, and once it was all up, the canvas fits much nicer!

yurts in the afternoon

i had so much daylight left, that i went and cleaned up the greenhouse! actually, this was more like Reclaiming the Greenhouse from Forces of Chaos that had overtaken it since July. Alan was working on threshing and winnowing the amaranth, which had also taken over the greenhouse, and when he got the shelves clear of grain, i was able to attack the mess of stuff on the floor and tidy it up, evicting everything that had no place in a greenhouse, sorting pots according to size and usefulness, filling up all the water containers, and then clearing the floor on the north side entirely to allow for water-storage shelves. next step will be building custom shelves for the greenhouse, to accomodate more rows of water jugs. meanwhile, this got almost 100 more gallons of water into the greenhouse for thermal mass, and there is a real chance i’ll be able to start some sprouts in there this winter. going to try, anyway.

seeing that whole floor is such a relief! i don’t know when ten minutes of sweeping has had such profound emotional results. i feel like i can work in the space again.

after all that, sunday was almost antclimactic. i did a few small things –finished hemming a skirt, stuff like that, but couldn’t really bring myself to either jump into a project, or wholly relax. too many days off! i barely knew what to do. fortunately, this weekend is made of serious outdoor labor (on the wall), so i should be able to recalibrate. :-P