Thanksgiving. What a great holiday. You spend hours cooking a huge amount of food, you spend about 30 minutes stuffing yourself silly, and then you are miserable for the rest of the day.
I love it!
We had great food. We had a wonderful time, but you know how there are always some odd things that happen during the holiday? It could be the crazy uncle that does something embarrassing in front of the co-worker that you invited to dinner. It could be the turkey that turns out miserably dry or the dressing that just won't cooperate. It could be the family members that don't necessarily get along, and you have to play referee for the day. I personally think the use of a whistle and flags would make it more manageable, but I am not sure it would be socially acceptable. The possibilities are endless, and if you can keep the right frame of mind about it, it can be down right amusing.
We had our share of odd moments this year, but none that I have listed above. Our moments were not typical to say the least, but they were every bit as comical. I would like to share some of them with you today.
First off, we procrastinated a little on our cooking duties. When I say we, I mean me. I went to Ft. Worth and watched the NCHA Cutting Futurity on Monday. I did get my grocery shopping done that night. On Tuesday, I cleaned the place up and got that out of the way. Wednesday rolled around and I went back to Ft. Worth and watched more of the Cutting Futurity. Then, I went and did some shopping with the Full-Timer and we came home and took a break. A long break. My Part-Timer blew in late that evening and we visited with her for a bit. We didn't start cooking until about 8:30 p.m. I have to give a lot of credit to my Full-Timer, she really kicked it in gear and went to work. We stayed up until 3:30 am.
What were we thinking?
The alarm went off at 7:30 on Thursday, and that was a little more than painful, but the bird needed to be in the oven by 8:30. The Man in Charge always has bird duty. He is great at it, and his recipe is amazing. By the time that Turkey was done cooking, we only had 1/2 cup of drippings in the pan. There were never any drippings to baste with. They all stayed inside and it was the juiciest turkey that we have cooked yet.
Odd moment #1: As we stumbled out of bed, the Man in Charge came to the kitchen and let the dogs out. As he stepped out on the back porch with them, he heard...
"Gobble, Gobble, Gobble"
Apparently we have a wild turkey in the area. I have heard it over the last several weeks. We have only seen one in the early years of living out here, but that is it. Well, as the one that was about to stick a turkey in the oven, this was a little unsettling. Could this be an omen? We shook it off and went about our cooking.
I had to drag my Full-Timer out of bed because I needed her to go to the barn and wrap up all of those duties before the day really took off. She forced her eyes open, and headed out.
Odd moment #2: She was definitely awake when she came back in. She immediately tracked me down, and said...
"Guess what?" (her)
"We trapped the skunk in the chicken barn!" (her)
(If you are behind on why we would be doing this...you can catch up here, What do you do on Monday night? )
"What are we going to do?" (me)
"We don't have time for this." (me)
"What did you do?" (me)
"I slammed the door and ran back to the house!" (her)
Now ladies, for those of you that have been in the throws of putting together a Thanksgiving Day feast, you know that there is never enough time to do what you need to do. If you are like me, you have an extensive, Martha Stewart day planned, and then you start cutting corners or cutting things out all together, because it is not all possible. We are not Martha Stewart! We do not have a team of 20 to help us pull it all together. I can live with that fact, but this extra chore was out of the question.
After a little discussion, we decided it was best to leave the barn shut, and leave the little guy in the trap. My girl said that he was curled up sleeping soundly when she stumbled upon him. I am sure he was exhausted from spending the night trying to get out. We agreed that he could wait. Besides, there is always the risk of getting sprayed when you have to deal with one of these things, and I don't care how good the food was going to taste, it would not be desirable if any one of us smelled like a skunk.
We proceeded with our list. We wrapped up all the cooking and got the table set. We had a good friend come over to join us, and we all feasted. Slowly we made it to the living room, and everyone settled in for the Cowboy game. Some of us decided to see if we could watch it with our eyes closed, and some of us watched it the regular way. It didn't matter. We were all full, content, and comfortable enough to make the choice individually. We enjoyed ourselves and had a relaxing afternoon.
Odd Moment #3: Later that night we knew we had to go to the barns. My girls and I were sitting in the living room discussing our dilemma and I asked,
"Who is going to pull the trap out of the hay barn so that I can get inside the chicken coop to collect eggs?"
Immediately my Full-Timer said,
"I vote Part-Timer!"
My Part-Timer said,
"Hey! Not fair!"
Then we began to debate the fairness of Two against One. It didn't work. We all agreed that we were too full to deal with this issue. It was late, and we postponed the inevitable. The Egg Thief would live another day. After gathering my courage, we headed outside. I opened the door and the thing was curled up sleeping. I had originally tied about 10 pieces of bailing string together and fastened it onto the trap. It was late when I had stumbled onto the varmint earlier in the week, and I couldn't find any rope to use. Later, after finding rope, my Full-Timer had tied another rope onto the trap before setting it Tuesday night.
Carefully opening the door, I grabbed the ropes, and started easing the thing out of the barn. He woke up, but I had a good deal of distance between us, and he was still focused on how to get out. I pulled him out of the barn, and about 50 feet away from the building. We had decided that he could spend the night out there, and we would deal with him in the morning. We gathered eggs, fed the horses and went in for the night.
The next morning when I finally started moving around, I looked out to see what he was doing. I could tell he was moving around, probably still working feverishly to get out. My Part-Timer and I discussed how sad it was. Still, I knew we had to deal with him. Everyone got up, and we started our day. My Part-Timer was sad to go, but decided to get on the road back home.
Who did she think she was kidding? I know a Chicken when I see one!
After thinking about it all morning, I wanted to give him a chance. We had left the thing in the trap for about 36 hours. He had had no water, but had managed to eat the entire can of cat food that I had baited the trap with. I mean, on some level, this was just bordering being mean.
What was I supposed to do?
I decided, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and no, I do not really know what I mean by that, but I felt like I had to try to relocate him. This is not a course of action that I would normally consider. Loading a skunk up in my truck. Driving him to another location. Unloading him. Then releasing him.
No, Thank You!
What can I say, though? I am a softy, and so is the Man in Charge. For the record...my Full-Timer...Just shoot the thing!
Odd moment #4: He was sound asleep when I went out there. He had worked all night trying to dig out. There was a little trench dug around the trap as far out as his arm could reach. He had managed to grab the bailing string and pull the entire length of it inside the trap, and he had pulled the rope about halfway in. He must have been cold because as I was trying to get a picture of him, and I couldn't find his head.
You should know that my Full-Timer was beside herself while I was doing this. She couldn't understand why I kept walking around him. I was really glad that we had added the second rope. He had the first one completely inside with him. I then put a blanket over the trap and used the second rope to tie it down. I picked him up, and carried him to the back of the truck. He never moved.
We drove about 5 miles west of our place, crossing a creek, and passing by many houses. Once out in the middle of no where, I scouted a new home for him. Trying to decide where to release him, I realized that we were almost out of gas. This was the second heart attack that I gave my Full-Timer. She informed me how mad she would be if we ran out of fuel, in the middle of nothing, with a skunk in our care. After surveying our options, I found a place near a tank of water and a small brush pile.
We jumped out of the truck, and I unloaded the trap. After fiddling with the door for a few minutes, I was able to get it open, and loop the end of the rope around it so that I could step back a few steps and give him some room. Then, we waited. He wouldn't come out. I couldn't even tell if he was awake yet. I slowly raised up the blanket on my end to take a peak.
He stared at us for what seemed like an eternity, and then slowly started backing away. Once he realized the door was open, he took off right for the brush pile.
I knew we had done the right thing. I was glad that it all went well, and we headed home. We did not run out of gas, but it was close. Of all my Thanksgiving Holidays, this one will definitely go down in the record books.
Feel free to tell me about your Thanksgiving Holiday in the comment section. Any great stories? You don't have to use real names, and you can leave your comments anonymously.
We are all just thankful that we managed to get through ours without getting stinky.