Having a week’s vacation has been blissful. Half of it was spent in a near panic about not having enough time to accomplish all the things I’d need to, but by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I had pretty well settled into the week, was enjoying myself, breathing deeper, sleeping past my usual 6 am rising time, and not thinking so much about the break being over, but more about wishing I’d have a bit more.
I think this may be the last year we do a traditional Thanksgiving with such a small crowd. It was just Nate and I and a few select friends for a total of 5. Not enough to properly devour a turkey and the numerous sides we prepared. It’s a great excuse for pie, though, and I need to make pies more often – and of the savory kind, too. But overall, it’s just too much excess when we could spend as much money or less on a new and adventurous meal that we don’t usually have the time to splurge on or prep for. My schedule doesn’t allow for as many cooked together and eaten together meals as we’d like…
Black Friday wasn’t spent in line anywhere or shopping at all, but instead we went to an old fashioned Cane Boil. Our friends Jon and Debbie Butts out in Plant City have their farm and water buffalo, and an old school mule-driven cane press where they process their sugar cane and bottle it up for their market sales. Instead of a mule or one of their buffalo (which I suppose could work just as well) Jon rigs up a solar powered golf cart that we get to drive in circles to power the heavy duty crank machine.
Those sugar cane poles managed to get me with some glochids – wear gloves! – but for the most part I drove the cart, helped skim off scum, and took photos of the event for posterity. I posted them on facebook, will stick a few up here later for those that gave up the ol’ internet crack-cocaine that is facebook. A good handful of kiddos came out with moms who are interested in teaching them the more useful and harder-to-come-by skills of today. I love watching the short people enjoy adventures like that – getting close to the nitty gritty of life.
When the cane syrup had boiled down from somewhere around 60 gallons to 8-10-ish, it was filtered, bottled, and biscuits came out of nowhere (thanks to whoever made those!) and we dredged out the bottom of the boil basin, grit and all, to enjoy the sweet leftovers.
Just got back today from camping out in Arcadia with more good friends and new friends. Love seeing Andy at his grove and got to hang out with people who know way more about all manner of plants than myself. Around 4 am this morning a screech owl was within 10 feet of our tent and woke us up with a loud and beautiful call. The weather was stunning, the whole place smelled like earth and green, and the conclusion is that we need to camp more, I need to get in the dirt more, and I can’t wait until I don’t have evening classes so I can be enriching and educating myself with the amount of effort I’ve been pouring into my kiddos education over the last 3 1/2 months or so.
Hope you got to experience and remind yourself of the things that aren’t actual “things” that you are so grateful for over the holidays.