Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our First Thanksgiving Alone.... a cabin, a wood stove and a chicken

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  
It is even better than Christmas. 
Well, it has all those things I love about Christmas (good food and family) and none of the things that makes Christmas stressful (the shopping and gift giving). 
Thanksgiving has always been this big family event where we bustled around in the kitchen for days rolling and stirring and baking and then all this food is brought fourth and set onto a beautifully decorated table (or two).  People could be counted on for certain dishes.  I would make sweet potato casserole, my mom cardamon bread, Linda and Gigi would bring this cranberry salad I yearn for, my grandmother her Swedish fruit compote, etc...   and then we would all sit together and eat and laugh and go on a walk through the neighborhood and start all over again.  
The last few years, we have spent Thanksgiving with friends and neighbors, sharing food and laughs and listening to a few folks jam while the children played.  
This year however, I just felt like I needed a time out - a breather - and for weeks I have been suggesting that we just get in our car drive a few hours and spend a few days nested in the Swan Valley away from everything in a cabin with no running water (yes, it has an outhouse, but the view is amazing while you use the facility), no electricity and barely a phone signal.  And that is just what we did.

It rained.  
I can't think of anyone else I would rather be rained in with.  
We also didn't stay in the whole time.  
Ivory and Sylvan took a short ride in the old truck.  The truck took them half way to our destination: the creek. 

The big task of day number one was to walk down to the creek and fill up our jugs with water.  The wheelbarrow took them the rest of the way.

Ivory ground our coffee beans.

Our Stew simmered away on the wood stove...  as our clothes from our earlier adventure dried.

We brought blocks, crayons, paper a few books and stuffed animals and the kids were entertained the entire time.  (Most of the time playing with a set of flowerpots and a bottle they found at the cabin.)  I read an entire book, curled up in an armchair by the fire, while the kids jut played! AMAZING!

Thanksgiving morning a slight dusting of snow was on the ground.  Adam snuck out early to try his luck at tracking elk and while he was away we explored the woods.

 I started cooking while Sylvan napped and Ivory and Adam took turns shooting a .22 at a target in the clearing bellow the cabin. She walked in, waving the target excitedly. "Look Mama, I am practicing to shoot deer", she pointed to her shot that had hit the large orange circle.  (This is definitely something I never imagined my little girl doing or saying, but hey, she is growing up in Montana.) I had planned on keeping our dinner simple.  A turkey wouldn't fit into the propane stove, so we had a chicken baked with carrots, potatoes and celery. I steamed broccoli and made some gravy.  "What else are we eating?" Ivory asked. We all stared at the table in silence for a moment. "I forgot the stuffing." I got up to grab it off of the wood stove where it had been staying warm...  and the macaroni and cheese and suddenly our little table was crowded.  In spite of my effort to keep the dinner simple it turned out to be excessive and we were all holding our bellies even before the apple and pumpkin pie were brought to the table.

The evening was spent just as the ones before: huddled up in front of the stove reading a book.

I miss sharing Thanksgiving with family.
I am going to have to make myself that cranberry salad sometime soon (and eat it all myself - no one else in my house likes it).   Between now and Christmas I will bake Cardamon bread, and make sweet potato casserole and serve fruit compote.  Little tastes to celebrate the people we love while we give thanks for all those little things that make our lives, well, our lives.


  1. Sounds like a nice Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing, Heidi.

  2. So wonderful, Heidi!

    This was my first Thanksgiving away from home...ever. That makes it the first time in 28 years that I wasn't at my grandma's table, a couple miles east of where I was born. We didn't have a wonderful cabin to go to, but we did have two turkey dinners in three days...still not the same, but sometimes things aren't always the same.

    Xs & Os to you all!

  3. I love you, Heidi! That looks so cozy!