Saturday, November 26, 2016


It is that time of year when we traditionally consider giving thanks.  Thanksgiving comes to mind but of course the tradition of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest goes back in time.  The Greeks the Romans, the ancient Chinese and Hebrews all had or have similar traditions.

Here at Rocky Acres we have much to be thankful for. I started prepping for the big dinner early that morning.  First I fed the keets, they got a little extra dose of seed.  I tuned the radio to the local NPR station which plays jazz, they seem to be especially talkative when jazz in on.  Next I fed Chairman, he seemed his normal not-so-thankful-self and to let me know that something more 'special' than dry cat food would be  appreciated he planted himself squarely in the middle of the 'kitchen triangle' (you know, that space between the fridge, the sink and the stove) with his tail laid out as far as it would go.  he wanted some ham lunchmeat of which the 'cupboard was bare'.  I microwaved some bacon for him (and me) which was accepted.

I put out some extra seed for the wild birds, this being a particularly cold, wet and windy day of thanks.  The ground feeders arrived quickly even though it was still pre-dawn gloamy.  Once it was light, the doves arrived in several flights and then by ones and twos, till the feed trays were covered with gray birds.

As I was prepping the dough for the dinner rolls

 I saw a flash out at the feeder and looked up to see the Cooper's hawk take one of the doves.  I always feel bad when this happens but if you look at the numbers you realize that dove populations are in no danger. All the birds scatter when he comes but as soon as he has his prey on the ground the seed eaters immediately flock back to the feed tray.  I guess it is like what happens after a cop pulls someone over on the freeway; Everybody seems to speed up, knowing the cop is busy. I guess even the Cooper's hawk has something to be thankful for just as the seed eaters do.

He came the next day but was unsuccessful.  Here he is sitting on the fence contemplating.

I made a pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust the day before, this is something of a new-ish tradition for us.

The rest was a dinner from the past.  We had mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with brown sugar, the old standard green beans w/mushroom soup and fried onion topping, and of course a turkey.  It all came out well, the turkey might have gone just a little longer in the oven, but was fine otherwise.  I found a plastic packet in with the bird which turned out to be ready made gravy, something new to me.  I gave it a shot and was very disappointed, tasted like Herb-Ox beef bullion with too much corn starch, it jelled almost to pudding consistency as it cooled, but made a good topic for jokes around the dinner table.

We hosted a couple and their son from our church who are serving as missionaries in China.  They live in the very far west of China, in the Lisu Autonomous Prefecture among the Lisu people.  This remote area is home to about one third of China's ethnic groups.  She was born in China though not in this prefecture.  

They are back here just now because he is suffering severe pain as a result of having several ruptured discs, something I can completely sympathize with. He is trying to get medical assistance through the VA and is not having much luck.  Another data point on the spotty chart that is our patchwork health care 'system'.

So, this is a thankful time for us, which is a stark contrast to all the commercialism which seems to overtake every form or social media.  It seems too easy to me to switch from thankful to buying, I wish there was more of a transition to help me focus on the notion that giving gifts could be connected with my thankfulness, a way of paying forward my good fortune.

Some time ago I came across this, the national day of giving, actually it has gone global.  Never mind that, the idea is that there are many ways to give something, to pay forward your good fortune.  Do we need a special day for this? I don't know but if you do have a tradition of charity around this time of year, this day is a good reminder to uphold your tradition early so that it does not get overshadowed by the hectic commercial side of the season which looms ahead.

Thanks for reading.

Dr C

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