Column: Thanksgiving weekend all about gratitude

Like most of you, we recently had a Thanksgiving dinner at one of our son’s and daughter-in-law’s home.

Like most of you, we recently had a Thanksgiving dinner at one of our son’s and daughter-in-law’s home.

I have memories of my dad’s siblings and their families gathering for such occasions when they all lived at 150 Mile House and Beaver Valley.

No family fighting, just good times and good food. And we would toast those absent.

This year our family enjoyed the company of friends (neighbours) and visitors from Britain and Australia. Thanksgiving was new to them, which reminded me that it is a North American celebration. Celebrating the harvest and giving thanks to the Creator for the bounty of the land was the original purpose of the holiday.

Frequently at dinner time, our grandchildren are encouraged to say what they are grateful for. We all participate. It is a moment for reflection.

We read about this practice and it hit a chord. Yes, often young children are grateful for things and treats, like ice cream, but they also are thankful for special people around them.

This year as the dinner hosts formally welcomed their guests, everyone around the table was invited to say a few words. Invariably, everyone was grateful for the company and the beautiful place we share.

Many foreign guests here remark about the special place, Beaver Valley. Many around the table were thankful for the food: bread, chicken, salads and vegetable dishes, pumpkins pies, all from our gardens and farmyard. One guest brought wild Lingonberry handpicked from the Yukon for the chicken. We didn’t get to pick wild cranberries. Next year!

Of particular note this year was the homemade bread made from grains we grew. Threshing and cleaning the grain was a major weekend activity.

The leader of this activity was a daughter-in–law and son from Alberta, who grew the grain here, and experimented with some traditional varieties in order to learn what will grow on the ranch for human consumption. We grow a few acres of barley and peas to graze pigs on as a substitute for commercial organic feed, which is extremely expensive.

The trials this year were for human consumption.

How great tasting is bread from grain ground the same day the bread is baked! This experiment was a learning process for a beginning farmer. In a later article I will report more on this.

I expressed my gratitude for all the food grown by the family.

Closing here, I am grateful for a partner and family who all believe in feeding the healthiest food to our grandchildren and ourselves.

Susan, my partner, is a great food producer, preserver and cook. She even canned tomatoes over the campfire when we lived in a tent in the early days. We are grateful for pristine farmland on which to grow the food.

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which is starting at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.

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