The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker.....

But not quite in that order!

The Thanksgiving weekend was a busy one, with lots of folks, food and fun. Though snow did not make an appearance, plenty of outdoor activities were happening. The weather was quite mild, unlike any Thanksgiving in my recent memory. This made for great hiking, as the trails have recently been cleared for the upcoming winter. Getting out into the woods was a good thing to do, following the many fine meals that we all enjoyed over the course of the weekend.

We fired up the bread oven on Friday and made a batch of ciabatta, and some potato bread with leftover mashed potatoes. Some of our guests made oatmeal bread, too, and it all turned out very well. The only challenge with the bread oven right now is how quickly it gets dark outside. Night falls so fast, we have to use flashlights to finish the baking. Pizza baking outside is on hiatus until next May. In the meantime, we will be making pizza inside with a large piece of slate as our "rock hearth". This works very well, especially if it is first heated to 500 degrees for an hour.

On Saturday, I pulled out the wax and pots, and we had an excellent day of candle-dipping. It is an all-day process, as it takes some hours to melt the wax in order to begin. I started at about eight, and by eleven, we were ready to go. In a kitchen filled with steam ( the wax needs to be melted in a double-boiler) and the smell of beeswax and honey, we cut wicks and patiently dipped until the candles were about an inch thick on the bottom. Several of the cabin guests and lots of the neighborhood kids joined us throughout the day to make their own batches. We went through at least ten pounds of beeswax and five pounds of paraffin, and we had lots of fun doing it. On Sunday afternoon, Addie and I finished up the project when we made several pairs of candles ourselves, some for gifts and some to sell at our Fiber Guild Holiday Sale next weekend.

We still had one deer to process, after a successful hunting season for Greg and Paul. So on Sunday, we sharpened the knives and set to work on butchering the meat. This is a necessary job, one that always takes me back to my anatomy class in high school. The two biggest challenges are keeping the knives sharp and keeping our hands warm. It took us about two hours, and then we were ready to package and label the meat, and put it in to the freezer. The bounty will keep us fed on good, natural meat for the next year. Some of it will be made in to jerky, but most of it will be cooked up for dinners.

Time passes so quickly this time of year....the holidays that we wait and plan for finally arrive, and then they are suddenly gone.