We finally polished off the rest of the Thanksgiving leftovers. By Saturday, I said “Uncle” and popped the rest into the freezer. I cooked for way more than I actually ate. I was pleased with this year’s cranberry sauce. My friend, Joyce Collins, gifted me with a package of berries from Maine a year ago. They were lost in the freezer until recently. I’ve never cared for the homemade sauce with orange peel — I’m not a fan of citrus. At any rate I boiled them until the skin popped and ran them through the ricer to remove the skins. I reboiled the juice with an equal amount of raw sugar for just a minute. When it cooled it had a thick texture and was enjoyed by everyone.

I purchased pies from the First Baptist fundraiser. We were particularly fond of the apple. The baker had sliced the apples very thinly. It was a much better pie than when the apples are in big chunks. Both my mother and grandmother made great pies. I’m rather impatient about the whole process. I never understood the expression, “Easy as pie.”

I have been spending a couple of wonderful hours every day in the vegetable garden. Can you believe this fabulous weather? I have been spreading compost on all the beds. This is no small feat since the pile of compost has tons of undigested twigs, sticks, and even logs. This is a result of various landscaping companies dumping their debris. The leaves and grass clippings have turned into a beautiful black soil.

I have mentioned this big garden several times. I have been using the area for three years. It was hardpan clay to start and still has very poor drainage. The raised beds barely show after a hard rain. One needs waders to navigate the paths. Each year, thanks to the addition of compost, the beds get higher and therefore drier. The good news is that summer’s droughty conditions do far less harm.

I had started a shocking number of lettuce, spinach and kale seedlings in early October. They are much too close together and I am loathe to think of them except for eating. I spent last weekend transplanting them into the hoophouse where they have settled in for a winter’s stay. Hopefully, they will develop into heads by mid-February.

Because the weather has been so great there seems to be some confusion in the plant world. My white rhododendron is covered with blossoms. A pink one is in full bloom at the exit at down-Island Cronig’s. One unpleasant effect is the number of flies. They seem to love my vehicles during the heat of the day. I find myself nearly wrecking the truck trying to chase them out. I laughed to myself remembering a conversation between Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. They told of being too poor to have screens on the windows. When company was about to arrive they ran around the house flapping towels to remove the flies. For some reason the thought of seeing little girls doing that really tickles me.

I’ve been thinking about the other Thanksgiving news. Why would a person in their right mind leave their warm house, probably in a turkey coma, to camp out at a Best Buy in order to get a deal on more cheap products made in China? There are so many ways to make Christmas special for your family. How about some handmade ornaments, done together as a family? Every person has a gift to give that is within themselves. I hate that we as American consumers and the media have been misled by the “Walmart Effect.” We honestly believe we are saving money by shopping at those stores. If we, instead, bought one American-made, possibly local item, a job could be saved here. We keep talking about jobs but as a society we are supporting jobs overseas. I might mention those jobs are often done on the backs of little kids. Where do we put our moral outrage when we buy that inexpensive flat screen?

The Republican party is in cement. They refuse to budge on any plan that President Obama supports. Now they even want to allow the payroll tax cut on regular workers to expire. I guess only tax cuts to the super wealthy are important and sensible in their world. Have Mercy!