Thanksgiving on the Homestead

Don't you just love harvest time?

Celebrating the harvest at Thanksgiving.

Thankful for Our Homestead Harvest

Thanksgiving on a homestead is much like anywhere else. As a modern homesteader I am thankful for my family, friends, and for this good life. Our family will enjoy the company of close friends and too much food this holiday. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?

This holiday, like many, has evolved over the years from humble beginnings to a celebration of excess. Many families will rush around this week visiting family, eating copious amounts of turkey and pumpkin pie, loosening their belts for seconds, then dashing off to an early shopping trip for Christmas gifts. Sound familiar?

Perhaps I’m a little bit old fashioned. Maybe I’m a scrooge. To me, Thanksgiving isn’t about Black Friday deals and stuffing. This holiday is meant to be a celebration of the harvest, a time when we slow down to appreciate the bounty that our land has produced and the people we care about.

This turkey hen is one of the lucky ones. She'll stick around to raise our turkey for next Thanksgiving.

This turkey hen is one of the lucky ones. She’ll stick around to raise our turkey for next Thanksgiving.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving table will offer up such fare as a homegrown and home butchered turkey, stuffing from home baked bread, and vegetables grown in our homestead garden…potatoes, onions, pumpkin, and squash. There will be a few ingredients I didn’t raise myself…cranberries, pecans, wheat, milk and butter. I am thankful that I can purchase them from the grocery store down the road.

Since I began raising my own turkeys for Thanksgiving, I feel a deeper appreciation for this holiday meal. I knew the animal I’m eating. I hatched my own turkeys and raised them. In the end, I was the one who took their lives, after apologizing and thanking them for their sacrifice. It wasn’t easy…it never is. But I feel so much better about eating an animal that had a good life than I did about buying a processed turkey from the store. It is a bittersweet feeling.

I imagine that our ancestors felt much like I do about Thanksgiving. There were years when the harvest was good and the table was full, and other years when the harvest celebration was pretty skimpy and belts were tightened for a long winter with little food. We are very fortunate today that we can purchase food when our homestead suffers a poor harvest.

Nice haul on pumpkins and Red Kuri squash from my garden this year!

Pumkins and squash from the garden.

Be Thankful

This isn’t meant to be preachy. I know that there are many people who can’t raise their own turkey and vegetables. This is just a reminder to be thankful for what you have and use it to the best of your ability. Don’t toss out the leftovers, make Thanksgiving Soup. Please, don’t shop on Thanksgiving at stores that require that their employess work the holiday or lose their jobs. Black Friday? Why not shop on Cyber Monday the following week and avoid the grumpy crowds fighting over the ‘deals?’ Stay home and enjoy what you have and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that you really don’t need as much as the tv ads say you need.

Are You Interested in An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Too?

You might like to read a few of my other posts about preparing for Thanksgiving…

Dressing a Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving

How to Make Cranberry Jam

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins


How do You Celebrate Thanksgiving?

I’d love to know how your family celebrates. Do you go shopping? Grow your own Thanksgiving feast? Or is your homestead too small to raise it yourself?




  1. Emily Davis
  2. Donna Frost
  3. cherylwissler
  4. Francisco Sarmiento

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