It's been a busy weekend here. We had seven people over, ending up with 10 of us at the table. All three of hubby's children were there, along with my sister and her daughter, various housemates, and our grandchild. You can barely see the top of his head on the left side of the picture.
It's a good thing my husband's had lots of practice cooking turkey. With contributions from guests, we had turkey, three kinds of stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, green salad, and made-from scratch pumpkin pie.
I used some kind of small, green-skinned winter squash for the pies this year. Not sure which variety, but they had a lot more water in them than the small pumpkins I've used before. After a few tragic attempts in the past at cooking pumpkin from scratch, using boiling, microwave steaming and stove-top steaming, I finally found oven roasting works best. The last thing you want to add to fresh pumpkin is more water. It's hard enough to get rid of enough of the liquid already in there. So I squeezed what I could out of these after roasting the halves. The eventual mixture was a bit more liquidy than I like, but the pies really set well during cooking and the filling didn't split after it cooled.
His oldest daughter, her son, her housemate, and their dog were here all weekend. It was a busy, noisy house these past few days. We had sunny, if freezing weather, so at least we could go outside. My poodle and the Shih Tzu puppy they brought got along well enough, thank goodness, even if our cat was emphatically not thrilled with a second dog in the house. He spent a lot of time outside when he wasn't perched on the highest piece of furniture he could find.
The only black mark of this long weekend was Thursday morning, when we discovered a stray dog or dogs had attacked the duck enclosure. There were large holes dug all around the pen, and IN the pen, so somehow this dog, or whatever it was, got into the pen, chased the ducks and managed to run off with the two females. Probably more than one dog, since they got two ducks. The lone male, my beautiful black Cayuga, has been limping around very quietly ever since. Were these strays, or just a pair that got loose that night and stumbled on our ducks? Why didn't we hear the quacking, as we have so often before for lesser disturbances? If they weren't strays, we wonder what the dogs' owners must have thought that morning when their dogs came home covered in dirt and possibly duck blood and feathers? We haven't found any chewed up carcasses anywhere. It's very mysterious, and shocking. We're relatively sure it wasn't foxes or coyotes, as we haven't seen any in the area. But we really have no idea.
At any rate, the chickens and the duck are due for butchering this winter. The chickens are over four years old and their egg production has really dropped off. It's hard to justify buying their food when there's no return on it. The male duck may still be young enough that he'll make a reasonable dinner, so we'll give that a try. Next year we may try a mix of rare breed chickens and guinea fowl. We'll see.
Anyway, aside from that, we had a good Thanksgiving. There are so many things to be thankful for, I can't possibly name them all, but my husband and family, good friends both near and far away, a job I like, the time to pursue our interests, and good health are all near the top of the list.
Blessings of the season to you and yours.