A Thanksgiving adventure – Kicking around Wilsonville
Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. This is my first year being single in half a decade, and thanks to the COVID Pandemic it’s also the first year that I can’t travel, and don’t have any friends still in town. I’m flying solo, have a ton of vacation to burn, and am feeling energetic...
From Saturday, 21-Nov-2020 through Monday, 30-Nov-2020
I did a lot, this week.
It’s weird though… it really didn’t feel like a lot, at the time. I relaxed, I had a really nice, calm, quiet and reflective time. Waking up when I felt like it, walking and lifting weights and relaxing on the couch when the mood struck. I gamed, I walked, I ate excellent food (lots of un-photographed BLTs, for one reason or another), and I enjoyed the quiet solitude of living alone in the midst of a pandemic.
As we’ve established, I enjoy visiting my Aunt. Her house in Connecticut is amazing; she just creates this perfect atmosphere of warmth and serenity, no matter what season it is, or what’s happening in my life. This winter has been rough for me, as most winters are… I dislike being trapped, and the longer commuting times due to the snow, combined with a lack of sunlight and general “you can’t do that, because it’s zero degrees out and there’s a billion feet of snow on the ground” makes me more than a bit blue.
So, I drove down to CT to visit and recharge my batteries.
The drive wasn’t too bad – it had snowed pretty hard earlier in the week, but there had been enough time and snow and plows to clear the roads out pretty nicely. Of course there were a few spots that I had to slow down and be careful at the wheel, but for the most part the drive was the usual relaxing. It did help that I’d stopped in Cambridge for a bite of breakfast before hitting the highway – that way I was able to just drive straight, and had a belly nicely full of pancakes and coffee to keep me going.
Once I got into Connecticut, there was a short bit of hanging out and catching up – chatting about my job, her writing, my lack of writing… the usual stuff that my Aunt and I chat about. Eating kumquats, and playing with Einstein (pictured above, with me).
The main goals of the weekend were to eat delicious pizza, do a bit of shoveling, get grain for the goats, and get hay for the goats. The pizza part we killed off that first night, along with picking up the grain (if I remember correctly). However, the shoveling and hay had to wait for the next morning…
My Aunt, as we’ve established, is amazing. So her goats are, obviously, amazing as well. But that means that they need amazing food, and amazing hay can be hard to find. So, we went to a small farm, with a large barn. And an owner who scours the nearby farms (and some not so nearby farms) for bales of hay, and then organizes them all up into the huge barn.
And from the huge barn? Tetris skills man. Tetris skills to get six huge bales of hay into one small Volvo. I mean, not a tiny car by any means, but definitely not a monster van or anything… or even the usual pickup that you’d expect. But it can be done, and it was be done, because it done got done. Yes.
And then – we belted up to do battle. See, the path down to the goat’s barn was all well and good for walking, but not for trucking bales of hay down from the car. So we shoveled it out. Nice and light and fluffy snow, and the job was made easier by the fact that somehow Boston’s been a magnet for snow this season – meaning that there was only ~8 inches of snow on the ground, vs. Boston’s 16-30 inches.
So it was a simple job. Moving the hay was a bit tougher, but definitely fun due to the wicked hook that we used to haul it from the car into the wheelbarrow… Seriously, that thing reminded me of Captain Hook…. but scarier. I loved it.
Once the hay loft was stocked, we played a bit with Violet and SweetPea, helped them do their nails (Trimming their hooves, really only Violet, since SweetPea was too big for me to hold onto), and ran around the pen like crazy people. Sometimes I chased the goaties, sometimes they chased me. Usually we just ran around crazy, enjoying the outdoors and the winter as only Swiss goats can.
In all honesty, I couldn’t pinpoint any single bit that made it worse than a normal day… I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I guess. And then had the bed explode, and stab me with a knife made of doom. It wasn’t pleasant.
The workday didn’t make it any better, especially when I had a last-minute project dropped on my lap, which kept me at work just long enough to have to bail on a date. Seriously – one of my biggest frustrations is how everything is always timed just close enough that it reminds you how it could have been… instead of definitely being absolutely too late to keep my plans, instead I was only 15min late… so that little voice in the back of my head kept reminding me that, maybe, I could have made it. That this other option was still just close enough that I could maybe rush and make it only a little late…
But no – Instead, I cut my losses, canceled plans, and drove home.
I knew how to make it a better night though – delicious dinners, with delicious drinks, and delicious relaxation.
An alternative title to this could be: “the night I practiced shucking oysters”
Because that is exactly what I did – I stopped in at the butchers shop to get a pair of steaks. One for dinner, and one for lunch tomorrow.
Then, I salted them, and left them to sit while I walked down the street to whole foods, while listening to an amazing album. At whole foods, bread and oysters (along with sauce, and an oyster knife) were bought.
Then I walked home… taking just long enough for the album to finish playing all the way through.
Oysters were shucked while the oven was heating up – then eaten while I was cooking the steak and cutting up the tomatoes to go with it. The bread was tossed into the oven to warm up right before the steaks were ready, and it was done by the time they had sit and rested after being cooked.
Scotch, of course, was sipped liberally throughout the process.
By the time I was done eating? Well, nothing had really changed in the real world. But my outlook on it was markedly improved.