Don’t be a turkey. Look around. Breathe it in. This is where the heavens have kissed the earth.
Once you start, it’s easy to notice things to be thankful for here in these Santa Lucia Mountains and all along our Pacific coastlands. And as luck would have it, November is the ideal time of year to focus on thankfulness.
November is when the volume of life begins to turn down. After an uproarious summer and before the whispers of winter, there’s this pleasant hum of autumn activity. It’s when we attend to the business of preserving that which we have harvested.
It’s when we offer thanks and we celebrate.
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Did someone say, “Party”? Not the kind of get together where you let your hair down, but the type where you put it up.
Food preparation for future consumption, with family and friends, is so enjoyable.
At my house it’s apples and walnuts. Walnut shells are cracked with hammers and the nuts are divided up among the partiers. Leftover shells are used as kindling or tiny boats if you can manage to save half shells intact. (Plus you need a wad of chewed gum, a toothpick stuck in the gum, a piece of paper on the toothpick for a sail, and a water trough, tub or stream.)
I like it when the meats of the walnuts are also in halves. There’s a fine art to smacking the nut just hard enough, in just the right spot, to achieve this.
If you’re too heavy handed, you’ll end up with mashed nuts in the freezer jar — and no water vessels.
While mulled cider warms your insides, it’s also fun to make applesauce.
Is there a worm in that apple? No worries. Cut it out. Any bruises, blemishes, some of the skin and the cores are fed to the chickens. A wormor two is always a welcomed treat to “the girls.”
They love organic produce. To a hen, good grub really is a grub.
When the preserves are put up, then it’s time to feast. Step outside into falling leaves. Smell the scent of smoke from warming fires mingledwith fragrant damp earth.
Feel the embrace of contentment, comfort, and overwhelming thankfulness.
It’s delicious. Take big bites. And a second helping.
Grandpa Red, Mom and Dad, Mother Earth, and the Great Spirit — thank you for this peaceful place to hang my hat and write my stories.
Here’s to a grand month of giving thanks.
Michele Oksen (firstname.lastname@example.org) lives in Cambria’s mountain community in the Santa Lucia range.