How was your Thanksgiving? When people found out I was going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, they were shocked. The queen of make-it-from-scratch frugality was going out to eat on the most food centered holiday of the year. Well, it was terrible! My son treated us to the dinner which was nice but the food was, maybe not terrible, but bland and boring. Where were the pickles and the stuffed celery and the candied turnips and the baby peas? Where were the hot dinner rolls and the sweet potato pie? Not on our table. Bruce and I held hands and without saying a word, each knew what the other was thinking (this happens after 37 years together). I don’t care if we have to go door to door to find people with no place to go for the holiday next year. We will gather up a bunch of strangers if necessary, just so long as I have somebody to cook for.

Out Potlatch was big success. Several families were able to find enough gently used gifts to give their kids a holiday without dropping a dime which was the point. When I watch the news footage of Black Friday shoppers looking crazed as they rush the doors of some retailer after spending hours sitting out in the cold, I get a bit nauseous. It is just scary that stuff matters so much to us.

My friends, Barbara and Sheri, dropped off a whole bunch of little sugar pumpkins to us. I am delighted as pumpkin bread and muffins are a staple around here and we had only a couple of little pumpkins survive the cold, rainy spring and the plague of woodchucks. I think I will process them, three of four at a time. To do that, I bake them whole until soft, then run them through the Squeezo. The result is a nice thick puree. I will dry some and freeze some.

I can’t believe I left out the coolest part of my weekend. Sharon Astyk came to visit! It was a lovely visit but way too short for all the talking we wanted to do. Her husband is just the nicest guy and her kids are beautiful. My Phoebe had a wonderful time running through the back field with them. We were joined by Kathy McMahon (the peak shrink) for tea. What we all think is that the Northeast is just crawling with peak oil and relocalization experts and we should have a conference! How cool would it be to have a place that brought together all of that expertise in one place. The big drawback for all of us is than no one likes to travel and we would want a zero waste event. Planning would be a chore but it is the kind of thing that should get a lot of attention to the cause. If enough people were moved to live a more self-sufficient life as a result, it would offset the energy usage.

I know this is a busy time for most of us but if you can come up with some extra time to scout out farm stands and markets, it is the perfect time to stock up on local produce like turnips, potatoes, onions and squash. Even without a garden, you can save a lot of money and eat better if you have a cold room, porch or garage that is protected from freezing and dry enough to store those winter foods. As we had such a bad squash year, I am heading out today to get a bushes of butternut and acorn squash to get me through the winter. Do any of you have a good recipe for a squash soup? Would you share?