People have asked me, “How do you celebrate Thanksgiving at your homestead?” They know we are not connected to the power, water or internet grid and they also know we are not into modern day societal norms. Well, we do celebrate a bit differently I guess you could say. So what is a Thanksgiving like off the grid at the homestead…
Well, you won’t find any turkey butchered and sitting in a thin aluminium pan on the table, after cooking for most of the early morning in a gas or electric oversized oven. You won’t find Stovetop brand stuffing all fluffy sitting in a big bowl next to the genetically modified cranberry sauce that, from its shape, obviously came straight out of a tin can.
There are no empty cans of processed gravy sitting in the trash can waiting to be taken out by mom or some unlucky kid after lunch or dinner. Our plats are not fancy glass or moms best china that only gets used around the holidays. We don’t have a driveway overflowing with cars from friends and family clogging up the street.
There is no football game playing on a big screen TV where all the guys are crowded until time to eat or a Christmas parade with Santa leading the way for kids, both grown and not, to sit and enjoy. There are no Christmas lights decorating the house, yard and fence just in time for Thanksgiving day and early enough for the neighbourhood to enjoy before Christmas day.
You won’t find any oven heated previously frozen bread rolls, that got a bit to brown on the bottom, or highly processed, recently frozen, pies for dessert. No loud Christmas music playing all over the house or a Christmas tree decorated with bright LED lights that were just put up the day before Thanksgiving, by the kids and those that arrived early.
No, you won’t find any modern day Thanksgiving celebration here on our homestead. But what you will find is a traditional Thanksgiving, being celebrated just as it was way back when, before modern day consumerism stepped in and changed tradition. Instead, a wood-fired wood stove heats the cabin for all those that cross her doors thresh hold this day.
Smells of homemade warm apple pie linger in the cabin air. Fresh handmade, Amish style apple and pumpkin pies sit on her counter. A pot of freshly butchered duck and old-fashioned homemade egg noodles cooks in the dutch oven on the wood stove, just made that morning. There are no store-bought bread rolls, instead, round loaves of fresh bread line the shelf of canned veggies.
Gravy, made from the ducks liver, heart and kidneys sits steaming in the cast iron skillet, recently removed from the little 2 burner camp propane stove. Already on the table sits a wooden bowl of homemade mashed potatoes, recently taken from their dirt mounds still sitting in the garden covered with straw.
Also, some homemade blackberry wine is available to all the adults, recently pulled from their outdoor cooler, where they have sat, ageing, since summer. For the children, there is fresh strawberry/peppermint tea. The peppermint was grown in the homestead garden and a recent trade landed some fresh strawberries, grown without pesticides, from another local homesteaders freezer.
LED light bulbs light up the cabin as the sun sets, the warm glow of the wood stove illuminates the cabin living room as everyone sits around talking about whatever, watching the children playing. No, you won’t find any turkey on our table, there was no turkey at the first Thanksgiving. You won’t find loads of store-bought, highly processed, genetically modified, overpriced “food” here either.
We do not decorate the homestead with Christmas lights and use up all our energy from the sun that we harvested the day of. We celebrate Thanksgiving as it was meant to be celebrated. You won’t find us shopping for those last minute deals after Thanksgiving dinner either. Any gifts we share, this holiday season, will be handmade as usual and just as it was way back when.
So there you have it, an off-grid Thanksgiving on the homestead. We wish everyone a very happy holiday season!