And we had a big surprise. My daughter, Randie, who had been living on Cape Cod for the last 30 years came to dinner with Bill and his family and David and his family. She’s moved to southern Wisconsin where my oldest granddaughter and her family live and she and the “boys” decided to surprise me on Thanksgiving. I almost had a heart attack! But a very nice one. We all had a very nice visit, ate lots of good food, and even though it was cold, managed to show Randie a little of our homestead.

We were thrilled to have my daughter, Randie pop in with Bill’s family!
Everyone had a good visit and enjoyed a good meal.

I’ve got to give you an update on my new recipe, Gaucho Relish, that I created this fall, using the syrup from Cowboy Candy (candied jalapeño slices) and chopped Sugar Rush Peach hot peppers and red Ozark Sweet Snacks after I’d removed the seeds from both. I was afraid it would be pretty hot. But it was perfect! Even folks who don’t like “hot” peppers said it was great. I’m so tickled!

David and his family went out on Saturday and cut their first Christmas tree for their new home. Delilah was very excited about everything and helped hang ornaments and put the star on top.

David and his family went Christmas tree hunting on Saturday.

It’s gotten cold now and we’re looking a lot more like Christmas, with snow on the ground. The low last night was 3 degrees F. Pretty nippy after a week of forties! Will just looked outside and there are five Ruffed Grouse eating the buds on the hazelbrush next to the backyard fence. They’re just stuffing themselves. I hope they’ll come over beneath the bird feeder as there are always extra seeds that have gotten kicked off the platform feeder. I love seeing them up close.

Here’s one of our grouse visitors. The other four are back in the trees now.

Please excuse the delay in this post, it got lost in cyber space for a few days! — Jackie


  1. What a blessing to get to see your daughter! It looks like everyone had a wonderful day celebrating. It sure is fun to get together with family and eat lots of good food. I put my outside decorations up last week when we had a warm spell. It sounds like we are to get back up in the 50s the end of next week, do I will get out my inside decorations then. That Gaucho relish sounds quite good. I will have to try that next year. Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • I agree. We always have a great time when we get together with family.
      Gaucho relish is VERY good. I was so happy I tried that mix. Everyone is in agreement about that.

  2. Hi Jackie, surprises are wonderful, especially if it involves kids and grans. Your daughter is so pretty. Is she still there or was this a short trip?

      • Dang, that was a long drive home for her. I know how long it take me to get to Twin Cities and you’re north of that. Glad she had a safe trip.

  3. What a wonderfully pleasant surprise you had!!!!!! Kudos to the boys for keeping quiet until the right time!!!!!!!!! Gives me hope that one day my daughter will come home, even if it is just for a visit.

  4. Looks like a great dinner. Glad you got to see your daughter. We had two daughters, one son and a grandson to our dinner with about the same kind of feast. About ten days ago we had a low of -28, some neighbors got below -30 but then it warmed up to lows in +20’s and two highs above freezing! Last night it got back to +5. We are in the Copper Basin Alaska.

    • Glad to hear you had family for your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s so nice, isn’t it? We’ve been having weird weather. Forty one week, down to thirties, then -13. Now, back to thirty. Above!

  5. What a nice Thanksgiving surprise! I bet she loved the homestead, too. I have a troop of at least 50 (that’s as many as I could count before they left) blue head wild turkeys that show up in my yard this time of year. This week they strolled down the road as if they owned the place (and they do), so I understand how you feel about your visiting wildlife. I love the pictures and hope you have as nice a Christmas as you did a Thanksgiving.

    • We do too. I’m missing our wild turkeys. We had two hens and six poults hanging around this fall. But we haven’t seen them for weeks now. I sure hope they come spend the winter like our old mother turkey used to.

  6. Oh, I just LOVE those kinds of surprises!
    You have a beautiful daughter!
    I love seeing your family come together.
    Those grouse are so fun to see.

  7. what a truly wonderful, thankful surprise visit!
    brrrrrr. been only the 20’s here. front movin in tonight though
    we sure need the moisture!

  8. What a pleasant surprise and we all know you had plenty of food so one more did not matter! I remember the days of the kids decorating the tree and assembling it as they got older. After Xmas clearance sale “Charlie Brown” artificial – we had a wood stove and pets. It was just safer. The tree would just be covered with ornaments lol.
    While I’ve not seen any Ruffed Grouse in my area, I do see their habitat is just north of me. Given climate change, I would not be surprised to see some in my area in the future.

    • Heck, I always cook enough food that if the Marine Corps came for dinner, we’d have enough! Folks laugh about that, but I sure don’t want to come up short plus we love the leftovers.
      We’re going to get our tree up this weekend. I always worry that one of our pets will destroy it. But, that’s never happened, although Mom’s cats ran up hers one year and knocked it right over, decorations, lights and everything!

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