by Alissa

It’s American Thanksgiving eve. As I write this your pies are probably cooling, your turkey is brining, and you’re about to wake up and prepare to feast with your friends and relations on the fruits of your harvests. Happy Thanksgiving!

In Australia it’s already Thursday night. The high today was near 106 F, and I was utterly unprepared for a feast. No guests. No groceries. We are a few days shy of summer and the glut of other out-of-season holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, my used-to-be-snowy birthday, New Year’s Eve. Tonight when Ace came home from work, we reheated leftover turkey meatballs and made a small bowl of sauce from frozen cranberries.

We managed Canadian Thanksgiving in a similar fashion: eating pre-sliced deli turkey and fistfuls of dried cranberries on the train to Sydney for a day trip with my parents when they visited in October. THAT was a Thanksgiving. We walked the Botanical Gardens and art galleries and celebrated my mother’s birthday together for the first time in probably 20 years.

Our first Thanksgiving here, I hadn’t yet found Bibina and its freezer-portal to the cranberry bogs of North America, so I made up this, in case you still need a side for dinner:

Cranberry Salad

Combine in a pleasing proportion: grated carrot, diced apples, finely chopped kale, dried cranberries, minced candied ginger, orange or lemon zest or minced preserved lemon. Dress with: lemon juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and seeds as desired.

After dinner the wind changed direction and cooled. It may even rain on what’s left of the garden. We’re on version 6.2 by now, I reckon. [=Ozism for “I think”]

The garden has become like something out of the book of Joel. What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. Except in this case, it’s been successive visits from the property management’s lawn contractor and a vat of herbicide. Also snails, birds and cats. Also scorching hot western winds. There’s something here to repent of, apparently, but it’s beyond me to figure out what it might be.


Volunteer sunflower.


Rocket blossoms. Aren’t they beautiful?


My co-gardener a few weeks back when things were still green, and her bounty of third generation lettuce. 

Lest you worry about the children’s exposure to pesticides and my mental health, I’m giving the plot a rest to let the poison dissipate, and we have planted yet again in pots near the house. Since we’ve started gardening on the patio, we’ve made a new friend. I haven’t gotten a photo yet, but an Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard the size of my arm comes out to sun sometimes right where I let my toddler play with the hose.

Happy Feast, America! Tomorrow I anticipate a newsfeed full of pumpkin pies and Brussels sprouts and a glimpse of your gratitude and family shenanigans.