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The Twin Cousins visited!

For the past several years, we’ve been fortunate to have one side of the family or the other grace us with their presence over Thanksgiving. It certainly makes the holiday more lively and easier on me (cooking is split in half–hooray!) and most of all, I love watching my kids play with their cousins.


Most of the kids are old enough to remember who their cousins are and run happily to greet them when they arrive, immediately falling back into their happy relationships that fill the house with neverending noise. Usually, the good kind, even, not the bickering, yelling type.

Millie is not happy with our crowing rooster.

There is some adjustment for the city kids when they make it out to the farm, though. There’s manure to dodge, mud to navigate, and loud, obnoxious animals at every turn. Some of the kids are not impressed.


The whole weekend was relaxing, with lots of downtime, especially centered around the pool table. It was occupied from early morning until well after the kids went to bed.


The only exception being when an electronic device was pulled out. Then everyone focused on that. Set a timer and everyone got their ten-minute turn, then it was back to playing pool.

He’s sure he’s handsome.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was the surprise arrival of three beautiful bourbon red turkeys. Jack surprised everyone by finding a free coop and sneakily bringing them home after picking them up from a coworker who has a little hobby farm. The tom is quite impressive and friendly (he loves to gobble back when he’s spoken to) and the girls are so docile and gentle. Name suggestions welcome!


After a few days of preparation, there was food in abundance ready for our Thanksgiving meal, everything from butterhorn rolls to no cans allowed green beans, peanut butter pie, creamsicle jello, and everything in between. It was more than enough to feed us that day, and every day thereafter. In fact, we’re still finishing off turkey and pie.


And somewhat miraculously, we managed to find more than enough seating for us and our guests, something I wasn’t quite sure we were going to be able to pull off.

After Thanksgiving, it was back to work. None of us went Black Friday shopping but I was up bright and early with an ear infection (yes, I still get them in my ripe old age) but that didn’t stop us from doing some chores that we’d been needing to get done.

Sadly, as we’d suspected, both our honeybee hives perished before winter really got started. One queen was old and the other hive was too weak since being split a tad late in the year. Live and learn and next year, we’ll start again. Thankfully, they left us a parting gift of honey, so we uncapped the combs…

That honey extractor is a workout…and it nearly broke my mom’s hand.
 …spun it in the extractor to get it out…
…and maybe snuck a few taste tests to make sure it was good. It is.
Our usual trek to Steak ‘n’ Shake was on the menu…
…and we may have taken up the entire pool at my grandma’s hotel for a couple of hours of fun.
Dolly gave us plenty of cream and the cousins learned all about how to separate and pasteurize the milk and cream. Then, we happily turned it into several batches of homemade ice cream (and we still have a quart of cream left!). 
There were plenty of card games played at our magnificently huge table, which was built only a few Thanksgivings ago.

A couple of the days were warm, sunny, and dry enough to play outside, so the kids all raced up and down the driveway on bikes, stakeboards, scooters, and on foot.


And even though the nights were chilly, that didn’t stop us from visiting one of our favorite novelty ice cream shops, that turns liquid cream into delcious ice cream concoctions using liquid nitrogen. The kids would probably be happy just watching them make it. The ice cream is an added bonus.


Since we were downtown, we drove around Monument Circle, apparently along with the rest of Indiana. It was crowded and bustling with pedestrians, carriage horses, cars, and even Santa on his motorcycle.


We managed to get our Christmas lights up before cold, snowy weather struck again and if the kids got too cold, they enjoyed the view from the front door while staying in the warmth of inside.


And, as suspected, Evelyn and Kate were in a near-constant battle over holding Felicity, the youngest cousin. It’s all in preparation for their next brother.


 Probably just as much as the rest of us, Raven enjoys having Ruby come for a visit. They wrestled and chased balls, took a trip through the ravine and Raven managed to roll in something incredibly smelly, resulting in a cold bath outside before she could come in. Otherwise, they were in doggy heaven the entire time.


And just like that, it was time for my girls to go back to school and the family to head home to Nebraska.

Don’t ask me why Kate has bling on her forehead…I have no idea.
They packed up and were on the road before I even had to take the kids to school and managed to make it home through a blizzard before bedtime.

Goodbye won’t be for long, though. We’ll take our annual pilgrimage to Nebraska for Christmas, so we will see everyone soon. Still, the house is so quiet without everyone here. I guess that’s good for catching up on housework and book writing goals. Otherwise, it’s almost eerie. But, the week was one to remember and full of happy memories, where we were able to reflect on our abundant blessings–even with the challenges we’re given–and how fortunate we are to live where, when, and how we do.

Best buds.
 Hope you all had a happy, blessed, fulfilling Thanksgiving!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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