Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Running, wildlife, and food

The Thanksgiving weekend was a very fun time for me. I got to go running four times (which was probably good considering the amount of food I consumed!). Nothing too crazy and all of the runs were between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 miles. It was great to run on dirt roads and real trails again! The weather was the coldest I have experienced so far this season, with the chilliest being Thanksgiving Day morning when it was 8 degrees. But hey, I had better get used to it, because winter hasn't even officially started!

Gone are all the birds of summer, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some action in the woods. All of the resident chickadees, nuthatches (including our buddy Norris, as well as his new antagonist and competitive counterpart, "Norbert"), woodpeckers, jays (both Canada and blue) were very busy at the bird feeders. Of course, they were quite happy to see me out in the woods.

Charlie Chickadee stopping for a quick snack



Also, I am happy to say that "Bottlebrush" is still hanging in there. She has been mentioned here a couple of times before and is my favorite of the many red squirrels in Mom and Dad's yard because of her unique tail. On a couple of mornings she met me in the driveway hoping for her allotment of sunflower seeds.

Bottlebrush



Our Thanksgiving Day feast was, as is our tradition, non-traditional. We had baked scallops, jumbo stuffed shrimp, and grilled tri-tip. Everything was incredible. Other meals throughout the weekend included roast pheasant, Dad's signature applewood-smoked ribs, and the turkey dinner you saw in the earlier post (which, as always, we ate on a day other than Thanksgiving!).

The Thanksgiving Day feast



Mom and I also made our traditional batch of lefse, as we always do around the holiday season. I have talked about lefse on this blog before, and Scandinavian-Americans in the audience already know what I am talking about. Basically, it is a "Norwegian tortilla," an unleavened flatbread made from potatoes. For us, no holiday dinner table would be complete without it. And, in my humble and completely biased opinion, the stuff Mom makes is the best.

Lefse makers



Needless to say, I brought home a ton of leftovers (I enjoyed a combination turkey-pheasant sandwich for lunch today!), as well as some venison that my brother gave me from a successful hunting season. In addition, he bought himself a fancy new smoker and bestowed upon me some of his own homemade venison summer sausage, which was absolutely excellent. I did not have to do much grocery shopping when I got home!

That is a quick recap of the weekend up north. It was a very good one, and it is clear that I have a lot to be thankful for this year; a new job, a new apartment, a beautiful place to visit with an abundance of nature (and food!), and a great family. It is a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and here is to many, many more!
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