Thanksgiving—a day to give thanks, but that’s not exactly what the celebration for this time of year was about.
It originated as a harvest celebration—after a season of hard work and long hours raising and gathering crops; hunting and raising meat animals; gathering eggs, berries and herbs (both edible and medicinal), communities would gather together and have a feast, a party, a celebration using a portion of that bounty to thank ‘god/goddess/gods’ for gifting them with a productive growing season and enough food to ensure their survival over the coming winter months. They were completely dependent upon proper growing weather and plenty of game to hunt in order to survive. We have become so removed from all of that—most people are just numb to the thought of where their food comes from—trudging mindlessly to the grocery every week. Remember the ‘pumpkin crisis’ last year—the major pumpkin farm for Libby—the major pumpkin producer for the US lost its entire crop due to bad growing conditions. Our ancestors would simply have done without, substituting something else from their bounty—no big deal. But we instead, combed the stores hunting for any stray cans that we could find because it ‘just would not be Thanksgiving’ without our pumpkin pies!
I read a most interesting blog post just a couple of days before the holiday. A woman had purposed in the spring to grow her entire Thanksgiving feast. Closer to the original meaning of this time of year! Read her story here—very interesting. She has inspired me to do a version of the same. But, rather than planning our feast in advance, I’m going to plan it when the time comes, based on what we have, what we were blessed with during the growing season.
And back to the title of this post; Thanksgiving is different on the farm. We remember the night just a few weeks ago that we were out in a driving rain and tornado force wind replacing the tarp over the chickens to protect them. We remember how cold and rainy it was late into the spring; worrying that we wouldn’t be able to get many of our crops in the ground in time for them to grow to maturity—we didn’t get to plant potatoes this year. We remember the hours spent watering at crucial times when the rains didn’t come. We also remember harvesting okra almost every day and we look in our freezer and anticipate all the great soups and gumbo that we’ll enjoy this winter from that bounty. We remember ‘drowning’ in tomatoes! But we’ll be enjoying that bounty through this coming winter as well. We do still go to the grocery every week, but we will be just a little more mindful of where the food comes from!
I hope that everyone had a wonderful harvest celebration this year!
P.S. The pumpkin pie was just a little ‘sweeter’ because it came from the work of our hands along with the blessings of a good growing season, . . .