November Notions and A Happy Thanksgiving

F477CEFC-E17E-4D49-8029-7C39AEB7673F

Hello, dear readers! Here we are at the holidays, again! Let me wish you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING! The past two years have been difficult for us all. I had high hopes for 2021, but I can’t wait to say goodbye to this stress-filled year! However, this Thanksgiving, I am trying to stay thankful! Despite stores and the internet pushing all things Christmas before Halloween, I am trying to slow down and enjoy the last bit of fall and November before the rush of the holidays! 

Last year, by this time of the calendar, I had decorated for Christmas indoors and out. Holiday baking had started, and even though we were all in “lock down”, I was really looking forward to all things Christmas. However, even though Thanksgiving falls late and Christmas comes early (there’s only three weekends between the two holidays this year), I just can’t bring myself to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving has come and gone. It just doesn’t seem right! I love Christmas as much as Santa’s top elf, but Thanksgiving often seems like a “lost” holiday, especially when “Black Friday” morphs into Thanksgiving Day! (I never leave the house on Black Friday, choosing instead to decorate for the holidays).  But I digress, I want to “close out” fall by cooking a yummy holiday meal, spending a relaxing day with my family while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television. I wish with all my heart that I could have a “big” family Thanksgiving, with relatives surrounding us at the table. However, with the way the world is right now, with family so far away and getting older, I am still so thankful to have a special day with only the three of us and our pups at home, relaxing. I am thankful for my family.

Did someone say, “Snuggle”? These two are always ready to be cozy!

Did someone say, “Snuggle”? These two are always ready to be cozy!

When I was a child, I developed a dairy allergy, and was unable to eat any milk products for several years, just like one of my grandmothers. Eventually, I grew out of it, and have been able to eat dairy since a teen. Unfortunately, my daughter can not eat dairy now. I am thankful that there are alternative options to milk these days (that weren’t around when I was a kid). Oat and almond milks, plant butter, and cheese alternatives mean she doesn’t feel like she loses out. Sometimes I make a different meal for her than for my husband and me. However, we don’t need two whole pies for three people, so last year, I experimented until I got it right. I make my favorite, classic pumpkin pie recipe, but substitute the canned evaporated milk for a can of coconut milk. The result is delicious – creamy, fluffy and perfect! Keep this idea on hand for those who can’t eat dairy (or as an alternative in case you can’t find the evaporated milk at the store due to supply issues). 

97C955CB-02CE-43B9-97E2-2B806CFD1D23

I am thankful for my friends. I used to not really decorate for Thanksgiving, but my best friend has given me some Thanksgiving goodies over the years, because Thanksgiving is one of her favorite holidays.

A Thanksgiving parade snow globe my best friend gifted me once comes out after Halloween

A Thanksgiving parade snow globe my best friend once gifted me comes out after Halloween. I made the felted pumpkins years ago.

4959BE91-34DB-45F0-B387-F1420D80FBFB

While I don’t have a lot of “Thanksgiving” themed decor, (just a few odds and ends like a turkey platter, a few ceramic turkeys, and a vintage postcard), I love to see them between Halloween and Christmas. “Back in the day”, people not only sent Christmas cards, but they sent cards for Thanksgiving! (I did receive one from a dear farmgirl friend this year; it meant so much to find a hug in the mailbox). I also leave my uncut pumpkins out until the day after Thanksgiving. 

A1AC8AF5-A877-425A-8F50-3FAA707EB2BA

Speaking of pumpkins, I read it’s estimated that 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins are discarded in the trash, filling up landfills each year! They cause quite a bit of methane gas. Luckily, there are pumpkin collections in many towns (check your local areas). Pumpkins can go in the compost (scoop the seeds out first or you will have a patch growing), and chickens LOVE them! Mine are devoured as a special treat by my flock. I am thankful for my chickens. They make me smile with their antics, and the eggs they provide us are super delicious.

64C7604A-25F1-4F27-B48D-AEFCFB401F14

Late fall colors

Late fall colors

Most all of the leaves have fallen off the trees, but this young Japanese maple still has stunning color.

Most all of the leaves have fallen off the trees, but this young Japanese maple still has stunning color.

I’m thankful that in New England we have had such a beautiful fall. The weather has been beautiful much of the time. I’m thankful I’ve been able to grab a nice walk here and there, especially with my little dog, Pip, who has (thankfully) been feeling well!

With my lil’ buddy, Pip. We may both be small, but we walk TALL!

With my lil’ buddy, Pip. We may both be small, but we walk TALL!

Fall has been beautiful…a hike at Kent Falls revealed this stunning scene

Fall has been beautiful…a hike at Kent Falls revealed this stunning scene

My favorite hometown trail

My favorite hometown trail

I am thankful for my neighbors. Because of them, I’ve become more “Bear Aware”. We all let each other know when we’ve seen a bear in the area through texts, an email list, and a neighborhood Facebook group. Though I’ve lived in Connecticut for almost thirty years, it was this year that I first saw a bear in the wild! It was magnificent – it ran in front of the car one hot summer day. It was so shiny with stunning black fur, and paws that were gigantic! I could not get over how fast it moved! I always thought they were slow and cumbersome, but learned that they can move very, very quickly.

Big Bear visits the neighborhood! Scary, but stunningly beautiful from a safe distant

‘Big Bear’ visits the neighborhood! Scary, but stunningly beautiful from a safe distance inside. A friend sent me this photo; I am sure it is the same bear I saw not too far from my house. 

I also recently took a webinar on bears, and learned that the months of August to November are when they are in a feeding frenzy! (Think Thanksgiving for bears)! Did you also know that bears in the Northeast don’t hibernate completely and can be seen anytime of the year, including winter? I am thankful for modern technology so that we can stay connected, staying safe and respectful of these beautiful bears in the area. 

056BE81D-B4A9-47C1-A23A-BA0EB771CBC2

I am thankful for special days (like Thanksgiving), busy hands (knitting is my yoga), and for unexpected acts of kindness seen amongst the stress in the world today.

 2010. The first photo of me as the Suburban Farmgirl…

2010. The first photo of me as the Suburban Farmgirl…

…and eleven years later. A little squishy around the edges  but still an apron-wearing, dough-making farmgirl!

and eleven years later. A little squishy around the edges but still an apron-wearing, dough-making farmgirl!

I am also thankful for MaryJanesFarm, and for YOU all, dear readers! This post marks my ELEVENTH year blogging as The Suburban Farmgirl for MaryJanesFarmMy first ever post was at Thanksgiving, more than a decade ago. You’ve watched my daughter grow up and my family grow older, and I am thankful to have my farmgirl friends here, making this great, big world a little cozier. Who knows where the road will lead in 2022, but I am thankful to know you are all here with me along the way!

76B2F897-5008-48D6-8A82-2244B6F135D9

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! Leave me a comment so I know you dropped by! See you in December!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 30 Comments

  1. Martha says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Prudence Diem says:

    Beautifully written with gorgeous photos. Thank you for the time you took with this.

  3. Laurel Pries says:

    Wonderful post Nicole, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  4. Kim Diener says:

    Happy 11 years Thanksgivingversary! Ain’t we all a little squishy around the middle 11 years later…

  5. Sandi King says:

    Hi Nicole; I love the pictures you posted and the written part for each of them. I like the fall colors of tree leaves also – we don’t have any trees on our property but the neighbors have plenty. There just wasn’t much of a display this year in our area though. So glad you have been with MaryJanes this long. I always enjoy your posts. We will celebrate with a dinner on Friday after Thanksgiving so my child can spend time with his inlaws. I have invited many friends to our dinner and neighbors too; having a regular turkey and dressing and also a smoked on the grill turkey and also ham and all the extras besides. Gonna be a great and wonderful Thanksgiving for us and hope it is for you and yours too.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandi, thank you so much! It really means a lot that you enjoy my posts. I guess Mother Nature decided we were to be rewarded with a pretty fall after a very wet, humid, yucky summer. I just heard our Thanksgiving Day will be beautiful – perfect for a walk after a big meal! Enjoy your holiday – it sounds like you will have a wonderful, family-and-friend-filled Thanksgiving (and a yummy one, too)! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Marlene Capelle says:

    Happiest of holidays. We’re on our way to the cabin for Thanksgiving. Just went through a snow storm at Vail and are now in bone dry desert territory with sunshine. It’s beautiful. Thankful for that.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marlene, oh wow! That sounds so very lovely! Have a wonderful, safe trip and a great holiday! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Sounds so cozy for Thanksgiving at your home. Love that you enjoy your traditions despite the rest of the world. What makes us happy is important! I am having Thanksgiving with my 2 fur babies and couldn’t be more content. Happy Thanksgiving

  8. A lovely Thanksgiving post…so much to be grateful for. I appreciate you taking the time to post so regularly…I’m sure your days can be hectic, but somehow you always seem to drop us a note.

    I agree…I just can’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving gets it turn. I can’t even play Christmas music, silly as it sounds, it just seems unfair to Thanksgiving! And 11 years has flown by…so glad you’re still filling us in on the happenings in your corner of the world; your posts are always fun and written as if you lived next door to each of…thanks so much! Enjoy every minute tomorrow, Mary

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary, thank you so much! It means a lot that you take time out of YOUR day to leave me a comment!

      As for Christmas vs. Thanksgiving, I was tempted this year since Christmas comes fast, but just couldn’t do it…but come Friday, I will start decorating for Christmas! We did pick up a tree already but it is bare. We didn’t want to deal with the crowds and now the tree farm says you have to make an appointment on weekends!

      Thank you for your wonderful comments. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving on your farm! XOXO Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Deb says:

    Hi Nicole,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
    I always enjoy your writing and lovely pictures.
    We were able to visit the North American Bear Center in Ely MN when my husband’s parents lived on a lake in the Ely area. They knew the founders of the center, Dr. Lynn Rogers and his wife personally. His research taught us many things about these beautiful and yet “wild” animals.

    I love fall and Thanksgiving and enjoy displaying a Jadite-looking turkey. Soon it will be time to bring out my 50’s Christmas tree decorations from my childhood. I enjoy Hallmark Christmas movie and a cup of coffee and the simple escape it provides from the daily hustle and bustle of life.

    Happy Thanksgiving and blessings

    Debbied

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, I bet that was so interesting to attend the North American Bear center! They are such majestic creatures. Also, how wonderful you have your decorations from your childhood! I have a few little ornaments from mine. They are so precious to me. Have a wonderful holiday season! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole (PS I LOVE Hallmark movies, too!)

  10. Joan says:

    I am 75yrs young and live in Athens, Ga (home of the Univ of Ga- Bulldogs)….and love most things quiet and simpler. I enjoyed reading your blog and found myself nodding my head as I read your words– My life spans farther than yours, but I agree with so so much of what you wrote. These past 2 years have had my family quarantined– my adult daughter has lupus and the four of us (husband, myself & her husband ) all continue to protect. Covid is still lurking and at her expense we cannot take chances…the four of us enjoyed such a wonderful day together….Parade, Dog Show and a meal that we are grateful for. Again, thank you for keeping me grounded …..xoxo Joan

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan, thank you so much for this wonderful comment! My mom and her husband live less than an hour from where you live…love that part of Georgia! This Covid thing is so hard, especially on those with autoimmune issues. Big hugs to you and your family, and wishing you a wonderful Holiday season. Weren’t the pups adorable on the dog show? We love watching them after the parade, and then after lunch we watch a Christmas movie. Though it was the three of us, we did have a nice Thanksgiving! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Jean says:

    What a surprise to relish this day after
    Thanksgiving! OUR family’s favorite holiday .Your blog popped up in my mail! My husband and mine especially as our wedding anniversary
    can and has falllen on this day!
    Happy year round days of thankgiving to you
    and your family !

  12. Gail Larson says:

    It has been a tough year but there is hope, always. We had a wonderful but quiet Thanksgiving, my husband, son and me. It always brings memories of my mom and past celebrations. I’m thankful she passed her cooking skills and recipes to me.❤
    Christmas is coming as it always does. Wishing you joy in your preparation. Every day is a gift…enjoy!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Gail, yes, this has been the toughest year we personally have ever faced, but there is always something to be thankful for! Isn’t it wonderful that we can remember special loved ones, like your mom, through special recipes? I feel like my grandmother is with me whenever I make her special cookie recipe at Christmas. Much love your way! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Judy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all that. I always enjoy hearing from you.
    Happy Anniversary & Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
    I’ve enjoyed watching that little girl grow up.
    Since I never had children of my own, I’m (thankful)to you for
    sharing yours!
    Hugs&Squeezles

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Judy, you are such a sweet farmgirl! Thank you! Audrey is sitting with me currently, and she says to give you a big hug just from her! Thanks for reading and commenting through the years! It means a lot! Happy holiday wishes to you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Roberta says:

    So enjoy your Blogs. Keep up the good work and may you and your family have a Blessed Thankful time.

  15. Deanna Taylor says:

    Eleven years later and prettier than ever! Have a blessed Christmas season!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>