Our First Thanksgiving…

…in our off-grid home. As far as I’m concerned, this was the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. we have been here for nearly a year now, a few days before Christmas will be one year, it’s been a challenging time, but we have done it, and with style!

It was a year ago when I quit working in retail, we were preparing to move from the city to our off-grid home. This time of the year used to mean getting very little sleep, working too many hours, getting the store ready for black Friday, the infamous day after Thanksgiving. 10+ years of masses of people waiting, sometimes camping out over night, to be one of the first in the door to begin buying Christmas presents. I must say that all those years working in retail, in malls, soured me to the holidays. All Thanksgiving and Christmas meant to me was long hard hours, not enough sleep, impatient grouchy customers, screaming kids, frazzled co-workers…

Last Thanksgiving and Christmas were the first holidays where I didn’t have to work, but we were so busy trying to get things together to get moved out here, that it still wasn’t a relaxed time for us. But now, this Thanksgiving, I am so relaxed, so calm, I actually get to enjoy the holidays with no stress. This is a good Thanksgiving indeed!

I am happy that we don’t have malls and major retail stores near by, the closest big box retail location is some 3 hours away. You will not find me anywhere near a retail location, I will be working to improve our lives, to improve our home, to be more self sufficient. We have been so blessed in so many ways, I still can’t believe we are getting to live this dream.

If you are curious about what our first Thanksgiving meal was, here it is: I started out making a homemade loaf of bread, as that baked, I fixed a box of chicken stuffing, I put it in a cast iron skillet, I placed 4 chicken breasts on top of the stuffing and placed in a hot oven, I cooked them for about 45 minutes. I took a canned ham, placed it in a large pan, I poured in a bottle of hard cider, the juice from a can of pineapple slices, the juice from a can of mandarian oranges and a half cup of brown sugar. I started these on a medium boil while the chicken baked. I opened a can of sliced carrots, placed them with their juices in a pan, added brown sugar and started them on a medium boil. I opened 2 gravy packets, mixed them with a can of chicken stock and started that on the stove.

The bread came out of the breadmachine, I added the pineapple and oranges to the pan with the ham, I removed the chicken and stuffing from the oven, I finished everything and loaded up 2 plates with lots of food. We ate until we thought we would burst, then we cut into the pumpkin pie, topped with sweetened whip cream. Oh, the dog ate pretty good too, she got 2 servings of everything we ate with the excpetion of the dressing, it contained onions, a definate no-no for dogs. I’d say it was a great meal considering I didn’t really go to the store to get anything special except for the pie and whipped cream.

I did miss my family today, we always had a houseful at my dad’s house for Thanksgiving, and this one was no exception, I called home and was able to chat with my family, I know they ate well and had a good time, missing my family is the only dark spot on an otherwise wonderful day.

I wonder how many people are lined up outside the store where I used to work, in a couple of hours the crew of people I used to work with will be getting to work to set up the store for black Friday, while I miss them, I am so glad I’m here and not there. :)

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