Wren sits at her worn, wooden table making a Thanksgiving list. She has learned that her lists are usually too ambitious but she is determined to be organized this year. “Let’s see.” She hums to herself. “Well turkey of course. Seth and Devlin will go hunting this Saturday for a wild turkey. I am so glad Seth will be smoking it. He does such an amazing job with his prized hams. Oh, I need to remind Thayer to get some fresh oranges for me when he is in Boston for the brine. I harvested plenty of shallots. With the fresh orange juice, I think it will make a wonderful brine for the turkey.”
She stands and pulls the singing kettle off the stove. Then pours the hot water in a cup filled with fresh apple peels, a dash of grated nutmeg and a sliver of candied ginger. Her new favorite tea! With all the apple dishes she has been making, it is a nice way to use the peel. Covering the cup with a small plate, she continues on with her list as the peels steeps.
“Devlin wants me to make stuffing with apple-sausages and chestnuts. I think I will make some rosemary bread for the stuffing. Mash potatoes and gravy is a must! The boys will be so sad if we do not make any. I am making Mimi’s cranberries in port wine tomorrow. It will keep for a week. I think steamed green beans with olive oil and lemon zest will brighten up the meal a bit and a salad of bitter greens to clean the palette is in order. Mary is making an apple/cheddar soup and buttermilk pie for dessert.”
Straining out the peel and spices, Wren adds a dash of honey and takes her cup to the front sitting room. She sits down at Grace’s table with the floral mother of pearl inlay and looks out the window. This has been her favorite spot lately. She looks out over the fruit orchards, which is bare now, but she can see the lake and the rolling hills beyond filled with deep reds and flaming gold. Autumn is putting on a quite a show this year. Wren can see the cows out in the field and the steam coming from their nostrils. They will get culled apples for Thanksgiving. Last year Lily put a bow on each apple, which the cows ate. Seth was not happy!
She continues to write. “Lily and I are going to make apples stuffed with dried cranberries, walnuts and butter. Add some maple syrup and cream drizzled on top, yum! So what can I do today? I baked and pureed the long pie pumpkins yesterday. I think I will make a double batch of pumpkin pie filling and freeze it in the ice house. That and the pie crust. Then on Thanksgiving all I have to do is pull out the crust and filling, defrost and bake away. Plus I will have extra for another night. Or maybe I will take a pie to Miss. Larkin? She always has a wonderful book for me to check out of the library.”
After making a reminder to cut herbs from Grace’s garden early Thanksgiving morning, Wren feels like she has a plan and that helps her to relax. After a delicious dinner of ham, apple, potato pie with a cheddar crust, Devlin watches Wren glue slips of paper’s around feathers. She writes the name of a person on the paper.
“What are you doing my dear?” Devlin is always amazed at how Wren uses what she has.
“They are for the Thanksgiving table. I thought each person could write what they are thankful for this year on the back of the paper. Then they would have a keepsake.”
She looks him with those wide, gray eyes, waiting for him to laugh at her. Instead he leans over, kissing her neck and whispers. “I know what I am thankful for this year!”
Dear readers, this is a great time to make pie filling and crust for the holidays. One to-do, checked off your list xox