Sunday, October 10, 2021

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving rituals seem different now -- at least, for me --than they were in my childhood.  Back then, as I recall, this holiday was almost -- but not quite -- as "big" as Christmas.  There were special decorations in the church, and special hymns and anthems (I was in the children's choir -- very amateur, and mostly female...).  

There was a big dinner in the dining room with all the good dishes, glassware and silverware: a turkey with all the trimmings, and gravy, and mashed potatoes and carrots and maybe creamed onions and dinner rolls and butter and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and apple pie with cheese or ice cream...and extra guests, like our Grammie and Uncle Rex with Aunt Ena, and our cousin Georgina (aka 'Nina').

After I married and had a family, we had a slightly scaled-down version of this meal, but there were still decorations in the church (always given away to the food bank or families in need) and special music (again, by the nineties, I was often singing on a music team that Sunday).   Grammie, Uncle and Aunt were all long gone, and Nina and my parents lived miles and miles away in other provinces.  Sometimes my sister would come -- but she also had her own friends with whom she marked the holiday.

Nowadays, Thanksgiving for my and my family is not forgotten, but has definitely taken a back seat to Christmas, all things considered.  

My sister and I have celebrated together from time to time, but not this year, as she has to be in Calgary for work and will be marking the day with friends.  My kids are on their own; we've not celebrated Thanksgiving together in years. 

 Church?  Well, yes -- "pre-COVID"  there was a grand celebration, with harvest produce and flowers (later given away to those in need) and favourite music.  After the service, the Anglican Church Women of the parish put on a turkey dinner, and parishioners contributed salads, rolls and desserts.  There was much fellowship and much left over to share. 

This year, as last, we've been unable to worship in person. Parishioners with overflowing gardens have undoubtedly shared them with family, friends and foodbanks.  There was a lovely pre-recorded service with special prayers and the familiar Thanksgiving hymns that those of us of a certain age know and love.  I'll be having a friend join me this afternoon for some knitting time, and a larger dinner than I usually create (I'll be sending her home with some!)  A bumbleberry crumble is in the oven as I type...

Over time I've added other "rituals" to this time of year.  Although some are weather-dependent, I do my best to honour them -- in part because I'm blessed to have the resources with which to carry them out, and in part because they involve preparations for winter that must be done anyway.

In the past few weeks I've been preparing the yard and garden for winter.  I still have my spring bulbs to plant -- croci, narcissus and tulips this year -- taking special pains with the process because in the last couple of years, my tulips in particular have not fared well.  I've enriched the bed in which they'll be planted, will be placing them in deeper holes, and adding bone/blood meal to the soil for nutrients and to repel deer.  They'll go in the ground tomorrow -- the tulips, under my south window and the croci and narcissus out on the "East Lawn" because deer are less likely to go after them (or so the literature says...)

Another ritual I've undertaken since I'm on my own and now live in rural Alberta where wintry roads can be icy and aren't always ploughed in a timely fashion: car prep!  

Around Thanksgiving, this means scheduling winter maintenance and the semi-annual "tire swap", which refers to exchanging my "not really all season tires" with winter (i.e. snow) tires.  That happens later this week, prefaced by my personal 'around Thanksgiving' ritual: changing out the 'spring/summer' floor mats for 'autumn/winter' ones, and giving the inside of my car a good cleaning.  Yesterday I must have done well, because Miss Pookie went inside for close inspection and definitely approved!

And let's not forget progess being made on preparing for gift-giving...

I finished my Kye toque in honour of Canadian Wool Month, and will be sending it away before too long.  The CloseKnit yarn, from Topsy Farms in Ontario, is rather "crisp" -- even after a rinse with hair conditioner -- but is quite comfortable as a head covering.  Here it is, being blocked on my favourite hat-blocker: an upturned 1 kg jar that used to hold peanut butter!

Pattern: Kye 'beanie' 
Source: (free)
Yarn: CloseKnit 2-ply Double Knitting
Supplier: Topsy Farms

Once I finished that toque, I found my 'hat mojo' had been triggered, so I finally began the toque I'm making my son for Christmas (by request, instead of socks this year).  I'm using a decent acrylic yarn for easy care -- Cascade Yarns 'Anthem' -- in black (main colour) and red (motif), to make the "Ribbed Toque" from Sylvia Olsen's pattern, Two Toques, published in her book 'Knitting Stories...'  I've chosen to knit the motif as a 'stand-alone' in the black background, as my son wanted only a 'touch' of red.  Knitter's privilege! 😉

Both pair of baby socks were finished and mailed to their new home this week...and the yarn on the far left of this photo has been cast on for the Socks from Stash October Challenge, as it was the hands-down (feet-down?) winner of the Yarn Poll:

And I've been quilting -- working away on that Rail Fence commission.  The top is now finished:

And pin-basted -- taking a good hour on my hands and knees on my bedroom floor!

It's now quilted and trimmed, ready for me to cut and apply the binding. (No photo yet.)  It's a blustery, windy day, so perhaps before my company comes later this afternoon, I'll get a start on that.

As far as art new work under contstruction, but I did take the plunge this week and sent in my application for Lacombe's "Under $100 Art Market: 2021 Edition".  It's due to be held in late November.  Last year it was switched online at the last moment, and I was thrilled to sell 4 pieces before it went 'live' -- and one piece after it was over!  I'm steeling myself for another postponement -- or switch to online again -- and have taken new pieces of the work I plan to submit (only 4 so far this year):

Abandoned: Alaska - 5" x 7" in a floater frame

Between the Woods and Frozen Lake - 5" x 7"
in a *deep* floater frame that can hang or stand alone

December Dusk - 5" x 7"
in a *deep* floater frame that can hang or stand alone

Canoes on Cranna - 5" x 7" in a floater frame
("Cranna" refers to Cranna Lake in Lacombe, AB,
one of my favourite places, with a walking trail around it.)

Well, Gentle Readers, it's time for me to clean up and get ready for my guest...but not before linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week she's slow stitching -- another tradition for which I am thankful.   Thanks to Nina Marie for enabling the sharing of these posts, and thanks to all of you for reading!

May those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this month have a wonderful holiday.  Till next time...adieu!


Bethany G said...

Really so pleased to hear that you are doing great and having some time with a friend for this Thanksgiving weekend...we have had strange weather here, and today MAY have some sunshine. Love your projects and hope the Lacombe show works well this year...beautiful art! Always...

Teri said...

LOL....that yarn poll yarn looks oddly familiar.

Missing Thanksgiving with the Canadian side of the family. My sister is in Toronto with her new fella (finally dating again after my BIL's death in 2018). Mum and brother in Nova Scotia altho mum spent the holiday with some friends (my brother isn't big on holidays). K's kids are in AZ at school. So, even if I could have gone, not much point. At least US Thanksgiving will be with my oldest and his family and my BFF and her family. Her one granddaughter is 3 and the twins will be 2 on Christmas Eve and I've yet to meet them and none of them have yet met Emerson so it will be interesting. Good thing Shawn (my goddaughter's hubby) is very much about having as many people around as the house can hold.