I don’t host Thanksgiving but I am the traditional baker of the pies, a task I really enjoy. So the shopping is done, ingredients are at hand, the weather is lovely and the doors and windows are wide open. I’m ready!
There will be two pies baked today and the pumpkin gets done tomorrow morning. Today’s pies will not be refrigerated but wrapped in cloth and left on the lanai for the overnight. And tomorrow’s pie will come to the table still warm.
I’ll bring two to Thanksgiving dinner, but the third is for my neighbors across the street.
They are the future – at least I hope so! This is an interesting family who appear, on the face of it, perfectly normal. They are six, which is larger than most these days, but with school, hockey, soccer, an SUV and pickup, bikes, flower gardens, chores and electronics, they are otherwise a normal and handsome representation of a U.S. family, circa 2011.
Except for one thing . . . they are about one year away from taking their home life entirely off the grid. They’re fully integrated into the community and school activities, but at home they will be independent (Okay, they’re keeping internet and cable.)
They’ve converted the house (and pool!) to solar. Two rain barrels supply the pool and kitchen. The rest is on a well. A big wood stove heats the house in winter. They have a kitchen garden. Actually, two – one in their backyard and a much larger garden on a bare plot of land about half a mile away. Both are fenced. Both are watered from wells, and tended by Dad and the four kids. They’ve also got chickens and guinea hens out back and share the eggs. They’ve begun playing with grape vines, thinking of making their own wine.
Dad owns a small business and employs a few guys; as such his income is mostly secure. (If necessary they could probably get by on the earnings of son #1 who mows my lawn!) They fully own that business as well as the house and cars. There’s a fishing boat too, which goes to the Gulf regularly and comes back with lottsa fish on a good day.
I’m sharing this story so I can tell you what happened one night last week. At about 6pm, Dad showed up at my door – with a wide and proud smile – holding a full dinner plate. On the plate were a quarter guinea hen, red potatoes, broccoli, corn, string beans and onions. “Enjoy” he said. (UPDATE: When this post first went up, I’d failed to say that every single thing on that plate was from the garden. You probably got that, but in the interest of crossing all the ‘t’s’ . . . )
Earlier they’d had guests and fed 11 people. And they did it with the grill and the solar oven. So come the revolution, our plan is to run the fence to enclose my property inside theirs, make the gardens bigger and have the kids man the turrets.
Good thing I love brocolli.