A step back

I sure hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was a good one. Ours was for sure. We had some of Nora’s family as well as my brother over for dinner and things went very well. It seems like every year as I start to prepare the turkey, I am reminded of the year that I went to check on how the turkey was doing in its thawing out process Wednesday evening, only to find it still pretty much frozen solid. So I moved it from the fridge to the sink and filled the sink with cold water to thaw it out that way. I did manage to change the water a few times, but when I awoke Thanksgiving morning, I realized that had forgotten to take the turkey out of the sink and put it back in the fridge. So at roughly 5 am, I jumped in my truck and headed to Houghton to see if I could get a new turkey. The Walmart was open at that time of the morning on Thanksgiving and I actually had the entire store to myself! Anyway, I picked up a turkey and headed home. It was still frozen, so when I got home, I put it in a cold water bath and got it thawed out in time to be able to cook it and have it done for dinner later that day! A bit too much stress that year!

This year, was just the opposite. The turkey was thawed in time and made it to the oven and the table in good time. We divide the Thanksgiving chores up around here, with me handling the turkey and gravy, as well as any heavy lifting or getting dishes down from the high spots in the cabinets. Nora takes care of all of the sides and Gracie is now old enough that she loves jumping in and helping mom out. So Thursday evening, they got going on some of the sides and Gracie also made a dessert. Nora is probably going to kill me for putting that picture in, but she was concentrating pretty hard at the time and we all know how beautiful she is, so I will take my chances!

I must admit that I really love watching the two of them cook together in the kitchen. Its fun to watch Grace become more and more confident in being able to make things and it will probably not be too long before she is preparing entire meals. I am looking extra forward to the Christmas cookie making that will be coming up soon!

Another tradition that we have had around here for the past 10 years is to put up our Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. The tradition started the year that Nora and I were without anyone else for Thanksgiving. No dogs and Grace had not come into our lives yet. So we decided we would not even make a big Thanksgiving meal that year, rather we would volunteer to deliver meals made by Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly, for those that could not get out to one of the spots where they serve the meals. We were expecting that to take up the entire afternoon and early evening, but it ended up taking just 45 minutes, as two of the locations we were sent to deliver to did not have anyone home and the third thanked us for the meal, but did not need us to come in and chat for a while.

So there we sat, about 3 in the afternoon on Thanksgiving with nothing to do! So we decided to get a frozen pizza and put up the tree. I know it seems a bit odd to put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving, but it does not take up any space that we need for our Thanksgiving meal. Plus, the days after Thanksgiving are nice and relaxed, not having to worry about putting up the tree.

It was looking like the tree might not get put up before Thanksgiving day this year, as a pretty busy schedule had prevented us from doing it last weekend and earlier in the week. Plus we still had a bit of cleaning up to do for company, but Wednesday came and I found myself with a bit of free time, so I got the tree put up and all of the lights going. It is a large tree at 9 feet tall, but comes in three sections, pre-lit, so putting it up is not that hard. Only this year there were several strands of lights out, so I had to deal with that. After the girls were done doing their cooking Wednesday evening, they headed over to the tree and got the ornaments put on it. That is also something that is very fun for me to watch. I have stepped back from doing the ornaments the past few years, leaving that to the decorating pros. It did not take them too long and before we all turned in for the night, Gracie was adding the star to the top of the tree.

The day after Thanksgiving, Nora’s brother and his wife came over and the three of them spent several hours looking over some old family photographs. Nora’s family history is quite extensive up here and they also have lots of pictures, some even dating to the start of the 20th century. Nora is cataloging them and also learning a lot about her ancestors in the process. After a few hours of that, we decided to go and take a ride down to the place where it all started out for the Anderson’s and Berg’s- Jacobsville MI. There was a pretty stiff breeze out of the south and that made the air blowing off Lake Superior a bit chilly, but we still took a short walk onto the pier there, were I snapped this shot of the south entry lighthouse.

Saturday morning, the girls and Bleau headed out of town. Bleau will be starting his first round of training tomorrow and Nora and Grace headed down to drop him off yesterday and then spend the rest of the day and night with Nora’s aunt that lives not too far away. They are currently on their way home and should actually be home within the hour, so I am trying to finish this up before that happens. It has been very quiet since they all left. I miss Bleau, but am also enjoying the lack of stress that he added to the picture. When he returns, he will be trained well enough that a lot of the things that were causing the stress should be gone, or at least stopped with a proper correction.

The pups and I did have a nice relaxing day yesterday and so far today. Despite plans to have a huge bash and invite all of our human and doggy friends, we opted for a nice quiet evening. I made turkey soup in the afternoon and after putting some of it in our bellies, we headed to the bedroom to watch a Zac Brown concert on DVD. Huck did not last too long, falling asleep after the first song, but Millie hung out and laid next to me for just about all the concert and watched the entire time! I might have to take her with us when we go to see the ZBB in concert!

So the weather remained very winter-like through Thanksgiving, but then we warmed into the mid-40’s on Friday and even had some rain fall Saturday. It was one of those frustrating rains to watch fall, as it ate away at the snow some, but also because the air temp was 34-35 degrees the whole time and there were some wet and semi-melted snowflakes mixed in as well. Just a few degrees cooler and we would have had a nice little snow event. The rain did change to snow in earnest around sunset last night and we picked up around an inch overnight. Looks like a few more inches this week before another round of rain arrives next weekend. That too is currently indicated to change to snow and accumulate into early next week, so I am gaining confidence that the ground will not turn bare on us until spring arrives. However, those with thoughts of coming up to ride next weekend will likely have to wait. Be sure to follow the forecasts, because of things change enough to where we get snow late next week rather than rain, we could have enough to poke around. I doubt any grooming will be getting done, but folks could get out and scratch that itch if they wanted.

I guess that covers it for this one and I did manage to finish before the girls came home!

Good night from the Keweenaw..