On our first day of Thanksgiving Break, we drove about an hour west, to Vernon-Douglas State Nature Preserve. If our destinations seem a bit random, know that they’re often motivated by Sydney’s attention to bird alerts from around the state. He thought we might be interested in joining him for this trip because the preserve has a hiking trail of a bit over four miles, with a lot of elevation change. We packed plenty of trail mix to keep the kids fueled, and gloves and heavy coats, and we all enjoyed the lovely open beech and oak forest. We’re learning that tramping on leaves can get a bit slippery for downhill sections, obscure the trail, and mask tree roots, but having the leaves down let us look through the trees for miles around.
We’ll be having a pretty low-key Thanksgiving, for which we’re all grateful. We’re not traveling (though we’ll be flying to see family for Christmas), and for one Canadian and four vegetarians, a turkey-themed holiday right before Christmas is a bit less alluring than to some. I also have just four weeks until my book manuscript is due, so I’m keen to take advantage of any sizable chunks of time that are free from school obligations. But we’re all off from school for a few days, we love to eat, and Sydney kicked off the week with four cushaw pies. Yum. Thankfully, we had help eating them, but it’s still a nice start to lots of good cooking this week, some of it with Sydney’s remaining farm veggies. I think of this time of year as the beginning of “orange-veggie season”: sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkins, and carrots. I know we eat other things, but we use all of these pretty much interchangeably, and we love that they can be used for pies, cookies, stews, soups, lasagnas, and oven-baked fries. With sweet potatoes in the basement, carrots still in the ground at the farm, and large winter squash sitting around our house, we should be set for a while.