Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving week

Following the Turkey Run, I headed up to Mom and Dad's for a whole week. What a treat! I have not had a full week off in about three years, so that was a very nice break.

I ran four times up there. Nothing crazy, just a bunch of 5 milers to burn off some of the calories. I am not really training for anything at the moment, so I decided to forgo doing a usual weekend "long" run. The weather ranged from low 40's to low 20's, from fog, to rain, to overcast, to partly sunny (we actually only saw the sun briefly on Saturday and Sunday!). Good running weather.

As per usual, I spent a lot of time in the woods. The mountain ash trees are loaded with berries, so they will no doubt serve as treats for the birds over the winter months. The wildlife is not as diverse at it is in the summer, but I saw some of the year round residents, including deer, grouse, chickadees, nuthatches, numerous woodpeckers, blue jays, ravens, and eagles. My parent's neighbors, along with some of their family members, also joined us for a hike to see "Dad's birds" as they are becoming known, which was most enjoyable.

Hanging out with Dad's birds



A few squirrels enjoyed my company in the woods as well



I did add a new bird to my life list - the white-winged crossbill. Approximately four dozen of them flew in to raid the pine cones at the top of a large spruce. They were beautiful, and my glimpse was only fleeting, as they departed rapidly. But what a thrill! These guys have eluded me for many years.

Of course, food plays a special part of any trip home, but even more so at Thanksgiving. Mom and I always make homemade lefse at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This batch turned out excellent. In fact, I boldly proclaimed that not even Pearl Johnson (author of our recipe that has been used for three generations) could make these as thin and fluffy as we did! A little lefse making with Christmas music playing in the background - what could be better? Good stuff.

The lefse makers



Yours truly, turning out some lefse (notice I am even using an official lefse stick!)



Our Thanksgiving dinner has one tradition - that is, it is never traditional! We always have the turkey and fixings at some point over the weekend, just never on Thanksgiving Day. This year, we had some wild pheasants from Nebraska, grouse, and polse sausage from near my Dad's hometown (it is something of a traditional Norwegian ring sausage). Yum! It was a legendary meal. I also did some cooking over and made my recipe for Hungarian pörkölt one night, which everyone enjoyed. Other items included Mom's homemade pizza, Dad's seafood chowder (a day-before-Thanksgiving tradition), turkey on Saturday, and we even hit 2 for 1 burger night at Moguls up on the ski hill. Needless to say, I did not come home hungry.

Thanksgiving dinner



Of course, there was turkey as well... :)



Otherwise, I didn't do much of anything, which was great! We watched an endless amount of football, Mom and I made a trip into Grand Marais on "Black Friday" to bum around and do a little shopping, and I had a lot of fun hanging out with Mom, Dad, my brother and sister-in-law, and my nephew, who is becoming quite personable. I think he likes his uncle, which is good, since I am the only one he's got! :)

Grand Marais harbor on a cloudy day



A wonderful week. It was something of a shock to return to the real world, but isn't it always? In any case, Christmas is only a few weeks away, and I am looking forward to my return trip home!

Until next time,

Jean
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