Thanksgiving on the Homestead

      10 Comments on 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?


10 comments on “Thanksgiving on the Homestead

  1. Donna Frost

    We have a small family but our daughter-in-law’s mom and stepdad will be with us as well. The menu can get very boring because my husband wants the same things every year like he had growing up but his parents grew Buttercup squash and I grow a kabocha variety, Confection. I have started growing our own potatoes, thankful for the nice sampler of storage varieties I got from Fedco. We are very fortunate that my husband’s great-great-grandfather’s house is still in the family and we have it now. The kitchen hadn’t been remodeled since the 1940s and we were able to make it newer and older since my husband required an antique woodstove to be included. I am thankful he, like his father before him, loves to cut wood so we also have a wood furnace and both keep us nice and warm. I am the chief gardener however but I’m thankful he hauls manure for me. The family apple orchard is long gone but a neighbor farmer uses our hayfields and we are thankful for his skills, crew and equipment that put those fields back into production. We buy our meat but our daughter-in-law Is looking forward to when she and our son will live here and she can have more animals. She has layers right now and I enjoy her eggs so much. We’ll have a custard pie as one of our desserts. I am learning to bake yeast breads but with well insulated walls, it gets too hot to crank the wood stove up to baking temperature. I’ll use it, though, to do some cooking on the stove top and to keep dishes warm. And I am thankful for the modern internet that helps me find good recipes and sharing people.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Donna,
      Our Thanksgiving menu doesn’t vary a whole lot either…easier for me to plan! It sounds to me like you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’m so glad to hear that you are keeping the farm house in your family! Best wishes for a happy holiday and a home made feast!
      Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your plans!

  2. latebloomershow

    Hey, Lisa, I haven’t been over in a while because there have been a lot of posts on raising poultry and eggs which I don’t do, but I love your site and recipes and love this post and want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Sounds like you will have a great meal. I’m eating out this year, empty-nester now, so praying the restaurant will have pastured meat and organic veggies. All the best! Kaye

  3. cherylwissler

    I am new to your site and live on 2 acres. I raise most of our food and chickens for eggs. Chickens is what caught my eye for your site. And, lastly, thanks for reminding many of us for the true reason we have THANKSGIVING….it is a thanks giving for me and many of your followers. Many of my gifts are homemade as I am a creative sew and sew. I made wreaths from the molted feathers from my girlies and gave it to a neighbor friend I share my eggs with and she loves it. Living close to the earth and what has been provided is how it was intended to be….through thick and thin….as you said. Blessings to you and yours.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That’s wonderful, Cheryl! It’s always good to hear from a kindred spirit 🙂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and best wishes for a down home holiday!

  4. Francisco Sarmiento

    Dear Lisa Lynn,
    My name is Francisco Sarmiento.I am a construction worker by trade living in the suburbs of Chicago,Illinois.I landed here from Texas ,young full of energy and looking for work,sort of what many farmers did back in the old days when the farm just wasn’t making enough to survive and they had to move to the big city.Yet my farm roots and spirit never died! I feel as though I’ve been living in a dream,or more so a nightmare from which I want to wake up.Over the years I managed to save enough money to buy a small piece of land ,back in Texas of course, and live the life I have always yearned for .In a couple of years with God’s help,I will be selling my home here in Illinois and will be moving back South ,and my Thanksgivings there will be just like yours, although I am always thankful for the blessings my God has given me,I am thankful for people like yourself that inspire us and share their memories and thoughts so that we can also rejoice in your way of life! May God bless you and your family on this Thanksgiving,and may God keep sending you blessings so that all of your wishes may come true.

    Sincerely ,
    Your Friend,
    Francisco Sarmiento

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Francisco,
      I can understand how you must feel! I grew up on a farm, but spent much of my adult life in urban or suburban areas. How I longed to move back to the country, and we were finally able to do just that. I hope that everything works out for you and the move to Texas happens soon so you can return to living close to nature and the land. Best wishes with all you do! Blessings this Thanksgiving, and always!


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