Hen Party & Holiday Happenings

My farmgirl sisters wanted to have a holiday “hen party” and gift exchange. We managed to squeeze it in even though everyone is very busy this time of year. I was the hostess hen for our luncheon. It was a cold and blustery winter day, but spirits were warm and bright. Hey, why don’t you c’mon in and join us …

Anita brought some of her homemade wine for gifts and for the meal. The rest of the hens came bearing gifts too. Oh did we have a grand time … as usual. We’re “absotively, posilutely” addicted to our hen party shindigs.

On the menu: Stuffed Pumpkin (recipe to follow), a creamy chowder, Waldorf salad, homemade pickled beets and dilly beans … and Anita’s fudge for dessert. I made Christmas ornaments for the girls – tucked into old-timey bags. Jenny gave us each a trio of really old bottles to put vintage Christmas balls into … and flowers in the summer. Lisa gave us gourmet coffee and candy inside coffee cups that wear the new logo of our local newspaper that she owns … oh and a “company pen” too. Anita gave us each a couple of beautifully wrapped bottles of her homemade wine. Michele gave us stockings made from old quilts and the most adorable log cabins which she also built. The cabins have a window on one side and when you put a tea-light inside the cabin, Ohhhh, it so charming at night. I’ve said many times that when we have our farmgirl hen parties we laugh a LOT. Ok, so, Jennie asked Michele the name of the quilt pattern that her stocking is made from. Michele innocently answered, “Drunkard’s Path”. Simultaneously, the rest of us burst into laughter!! Jennie loves her wine and she laughed right along with us. Michele was a wee bit taken by surprise, but she quickly got it and joined in the giggle fest. People are at their funniest when they don’t mean to be.

Along with old china, I collect old silverware. But, these red & cream colored dishes are by “Country Living” and available right now at K-Mart. The dinner plate has a hen and chicks on it, the salad plate sports a rooster. The day before our luncheon, I managed to decorate the tree. I promised myself to organize the Christmas box after the holidays. Oy, I need to do some serious culling.

Back to lunch, I had a smallish pumpkin that I filled with stuffing – just right for the main course and plenty for four hungry farmgirls. This recipe is based on using a pumpkin about 8″ around. You can use a variety of ingredients for stuffing options. I used what I had on hand.

Stuffed Pumpkin (serves 4-6)

8″ Pumpkin (cleaned out), save top. Heat oven to 350.

Dried bread and cornbread (about 8 cups)

1/2 pound cooked bacon bits

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup shredded cheese

Dash of Thyme

1 Tbsp chives

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup heavy cream

Combine stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl – the mixture shouldn’t be too wet & sticky; it should kind of fall apart. Add a little more bread if you think it is too moist. Spoon it into the pumpkin cavity and press it down very firmly as you go. Fill it to the brim. Place top back onto the pumpkin and bake it in an oven proof dish for about an hour and a half – remove top for the last 30 minutes. When done, the pumpkin will be softened and very shiny (the color of cinnamon). Take it to the table whole (since it so pretty) and slice into quarters. This is truly one of the best things I’ve cooked in recent times – everyone loved it.


After my “hen friends” left for home, I took the luncheon leftovers out to my real hens…

Like all you other busy-bees out there, I’ve been busy too. I submitted a log cabin quilt design to MaryJanesFarm (published in the online magazine for MJF sisterhood members (The Cluck); directions are in the new December issue). Oh, and I took some of my jewelry to a bazaar that a friend invited me to. She specializes in art glass and stained glass. I bartered jewelry for the two oil paintings in the photo collage below. Bartering is fun. Very soon I’ll have to begin baking for the holidays and these coconut candies are at the top of the list. One of the other artisans brought them to the bazaar. My dad and I love anything “coconutty”.

Some of the “baubles” I took to the bazaar…

I bet many of you will be going to (or have already attended) Christmas programs at schools or churches. I helped to organize one here in our little town that took place this past weekend. Such things are as American as apple pie and baseball. My farmgirl friend, Anita, played in the bell choir, my sister’s fiancee sang “Ave Maria”, my husband read a funny and darling story entitled “The Christmas Pony”. The story was a perfect fit for his cowboy appearance, his witty personality and he is a natural born storyteller anyway. I found the story online, it is a true tale written by Newt Harlan and you can read it here: http://usads.ms11.net/christmaspony.html

Here are some highlights…

So, on to the next bunch of Christmas happenings. I went shopping yesterday and although other shoppers were out & about, lines weren’t long and I enjoyed it. Before heading home, I took myself out for a Mexican dinner. Tomorrow, I’ll string lights on the little spruce and juniper in my landscaped area in front of the house (I planted everything this past May). They’re little fellas, but they might as well get used to dressing up for the holidays. We’re not down to the last minute details of this festive season, but I bet many of you are in the thick of baking, making gifts, wrapping them and organizing time to be spent with family & friends. Enjoy all of it … savor the laughs, cherish quiet reflections and commit to memory those ‘once in a lifetime moments’. What more can I say? Just two things. Please remember to pray for our fellow Americans serving in the military (many of whom will not be home for the holidays) … and have yourself a peaceful and merry little Christmas.

  1. Debbie says:

    YUMMY!!! All of it!
    Looks so warm and festive Shery! Thanks for sharing your little piece of Christmas from the Ranch.
    Love and Beach Blessings,

  2. Kathy says:

    Shery, I love your blog. I receive several but enjoy yours is the best of all. I wish I lived near you to share in all the fun things you do. Your friends are so fortunate.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  3. Veronica says:

    Looks lovely! How can you leave a picture of a delectable treat like the coconut things and NOT include a recipe 😉 Come on, where’s the recipe?

  4. Maura says:

    Hi Shery,

    What a fun time you and your ‘hens’ had and the food looks and sounded delicious. I’ve copied your recipe and will be trying that out…I can almost smell it looking at your picture! Merry Christmas to you and your family too.
    Maura 🙂

  5. Peggy says:

    Can’t wait to make that stuffed pumpkin with, be still my heart … bacon, cream, cheese AND cranberries. Yum. Thanks!

  6. Vicki says:

    I so look forward to your postings, love your piece of Heaven. I also live on a little farm in Eastern OK and love my animals, gardens and my own little piece of Heaven…Have a Blessed Christmas Season…..

  7. Shery,
    As always, you inspire me….Thank you,
    as for ‘kitty under the tree’,,,she is the purrrrfect tree skirt decoration! lol!
    Every Christmas tree should have a furbaby resting contentedly under it.
    Merry Christmas from our humble little farmette to your ranch.
    every year at this time I make Lavender Macaroons,,,,,’cuz we too love all things ‘coconutty’…. : > )

  8. MaryFrantic says:

    Wish I could have been there! Shery, did you brush vegetable oil or butter over the pumpkin to make it shine?

  9. bonnie ellis says:

    Shery, I want to move near you. I think you have the best hen house of all! My mom died yesterday and the holidays don’t seem the same. Your house seems so warm and cheery, I wish I was there. God bless you for sharing yourself and ranch.

  10. Sherry Considine says:

    Loved your hen party ideas, gifts & menu. I am going to check out those dishes at K-mart – I think Santa needs to bring them to me for Christmas! I would love the recipe for the coconutty cookies you have pictured. Also, do you sell your jewelry on line anywhere? I like your turquoise pieces & the bottle cap bracelet. Oh, if you don’t mind putting a picture of your "real hen house" on the blog I would love to see it. I have been searching for a good idea to put on my property for chicks I will be getting in the spring. Thank you for sharing you wonderful ideas.

  11. Peggy O'Neale Price says:

    Wow! What a wonderful report. I’m jealous because I wasn’t at the "Hen Party"…Can I come next year….all the way from South Carolina?? I could bring some oysters, shrimp, crabs and other good ole Charleston dishes. Your articles are really heartwarming. Thank you and Merry Christmas. My best, Peggy

  12. Julie W says:

    Thank you for sharing your country "doings"!!! I love all the creativity. You always inspiring.
    Merry Christmas.
    Julie W.

  13. Shery Jespersen says:

    Thought I would check in and answer a couple of questions.

    #1: No, I didn’t oil the pumpkin. They just do that…like magic.

    #2: I can’t give you the recipe for the coconut candies yet because I have to figure it out on my own…sort of. I was given a general guide. But, when I get mine together, I’ll post it. They don’t have to be JUST for the holidays, right?

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to comment and for your kind KIND words of encouragement. I wish I could meet every one of you in person. ~ Shery

  14. Debbie Strong says:

    As always, your "silver tongue and pen" shine like Christmas tree baubles! I smile as I read your wonderful words. Merry Christmas, Shery! Keep those stories coming.

  15. Michele Hieb says:

    I had a wonderful time @ our little get together. Laughter is the best medicine:) I always have a great time with all my farmgirl friends. I anticipate our next get together will be food for our souls…our progressive Xmas party and house tours will be delightfull…Can’t wait my friend:) Oh and your blog is fab! as usual:)

  16. Jan says:

    Thank you for letting us come to your Hen Party. Looks like you all had lots of fun and lots of yummy food! Can’t wait to try the stuffed pupmkins. I love your jewelery, beautiful!
    As always, I so enjoyed reading your latest blog. I really look forward to each and every one.
    Merry Christmas!!

  17. Cheri says:

    OK – you covered most of my bases too – love to quilt, tree and house decorated. My daughter helped me put lights on our pasture fence. No one would see lights out front of the house anyway. So we can enjoy the ones out back. Have used up over 20 pounds of flour and 21 pounds of butter this baking season. LOVED the pumpkin that is beautiful. You should try making marshmallows – VERY EASY and fantastic. Gifts bought and wrapped – but never done till it is all over. Merry Christmas, Cheri

  18. Cora Jo says:

    Sheri, wonderful Christmas to you and all your hen-friends…feathered and non. You cheer us all up. thanks, cora jo

  19. Brenda says:

    I wrote up a comment yesterday and when I hit submit it came back that I had an incorrect e-mail address and it was gone. Did not have time to re-type everything so I have came back to try again today. I’ll just sum it all up and say I love everything that you have pictured and would love to be one of your farm girl friends and be a part of your hen parties. Your baubles are beautiful! Have a Merry Christmas!

  20. Brenda says:

    Love the articles and pictures, I love so much of the things you talk about I too collect things that others think are too far gone. First time for me to read your connections, won’t be the last. Going to enjoy reading all the older ones.Thanks for putting so many of my thoughts in words.

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