In the interest of supporting local farms, I purchased a turkey from the Good Farm. Violet and I had been enjoying those particular turkeys. They were in the big field on Music street. One day we stopped and watched three “wild turkeys” leading all the white domestics around en masse. Crows continued to land, probably to steal grain. The three brown turkeys would chase them away. I loved seeing the birds on the pasture in the sunshine.

I had my own turkeys for several years. They are a bit tricky to raise, not the brightest bird. Not only do they need to be taught to drink when they arrive from the hatchery as day-olds, but they seem to have a bit of trouble figuring out the food situation. I read a book called Raising Small Livestock. The section on turkeys said, Don’t! Some of the domestic breeds get quite large. A live tom can weigh 40 pounds. They take more time and effort than meat chickens.

With the exception of the aforementioned turkey, I grew the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner myself. I enjoy preparing a meal with my own ingredients. It gives me pause to truly give thanks.

On Sunday I dug the rest of my potatoes. I had forgotten one patch when I harvested. Even after rain and cold they were still wonderful. I had a productive year in the potato department. Good thing our family is very fond of them.

Of all the squashes I attempted to grow, only the butternut made it. This is thanks to the squash bug. For some reason the butternut seems to resist them. I think I’ll save money and effort next year and only grow butternut.

I made up a recipe for squash. Cut into half-inch cubes and sauté with onions until tender. Add a splash of either cooking wine or balsamic vinegar and a handful of chopped honey cashews. I’ve never been crazy about the baked squash or sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Another American classic that I cannot take is the French style green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup. Yikes, I hope I’m not branded as unpatriotic.

In my family of origin the men were glued to the football game, the women were in the kitchen, and we 25 cousins sat at our own tables. This was only one side of my extended family. Every family develops its own traditions. In my early years with young children I think we always listened to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant while cooking for various friends and wash-a-shores.

In the eighties we had, and still do, the ceremony with five grains of corn to remind us of the hardships of our Pilgrim forefathers and mothers. A beach walk is always a favorite of Vineyarders, either before or after the meal.

The Vineyard Gazette has a quirk that I find curious. Certain words do not get capital letters. For example, street as in Main street. And in the case of this column, many of the proper names in plants do not get capitalized. I’m just saying . . .

A tiny group of us met on Sunday afternoon for Homegrown at the Agricultural Hall. Thanks to Abigail Higgins, we discussed permaculture. This is a way of thinking about a perennial agriculture for human settlements. I promptly came home and found my Permaculture One book. I bet I haven’t opened it since the early eighties.

It is no surprise to any of you that this book reaches into politics on a basic level.

Let me leave you with this poem from the introduction. It certainly fits today’s news.

Three Voices

There are two kinds of men, that seems quite clear. One sees bamboo as grass and one a spear.

Bamboo is grass. How is bamboo a knife? The grasses give us seed, and seed is life.

One thinks of ownership and one of earth. One shapes the forms of death, and one, rebirth.

And what is fear?

It is the eye that sees bamboo as spear.

And one makes war with wheat and one makes bread. One signs of hope, the other arms in dread.

Let others labor, we shall own the land. They’ll work for bread, and place it in my hand.


Homegrown meets again on Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. Hope to see you there.

The American electorate has an incredibly short memory. They cheered Newt Gingrich in Iowa for telling the Occupy Wall Street protestors to “Get a job and take a bath.” This is the man who took over a million dollars from Freddie Mac and stepped down from his House of Representative’s speakership over an ethics scandal. He is leading the pack of Republican candidates for president of our country???