Ethan spent most of Friday and Saturday chained to the pig roast, but otherwise the birthday/holiday celebration went quite well. Thursday was of course full of scalding, scraping, field-dressing, the crisis of making the ice-and-hay cooler (which worked very well actually), and a very late drive across town to get the extra-large roasting equipment from PJ’s dad.
Friday involved Ethan driving out to the farm twice (once to check on the ice level for the pig, and again for the evening chores), and for us at home it was a day of cooking frenzy, which Clothilde and Rose both enjoyed and Mirin shrugged, slunk off, and avoided. We started with squeezing lemons for lemonade and moved on through sugar plums, ambrosia, carrot salad, and cream cheese frosting to the gingerbread house – it turned out lovely, except when it was assembled on Saturday, the weather was so warm it melted and never turned out into a proper house at all. Mirin joined in for the gingerbread – it is that popular – and everyone cut shapes from the left-over dough. Afterwards the table looked like a scene from an I-Spy book and I had to take the raisins away because they were being abused.
By Saturday we were all quite tired – Mirin and Rose had gone off to see the play “Mary Poppins” and spend the night with the grandparents, and Ethan stumbled out to the farm long before it was light to start working on the pig, so Clothilde and I were quite on our own for the rest of it. She was a good sport and took a trip to the farmer’s market with my mom (that’s when I actually got everything done).
I missed all the drama involved in getting the pig-roast set up, but I heard it was hairy in some places (sorry, that’s a pun, isn’t it?). PJ’s dad hadn’t included some vital piece to help the pole run properly through the pig, so actually getting the pig up required feats of strength, a pointed wooden stake, PJ’s dad yelling over the phone, and a miracle. They started off by using the motor to turn the spit, but the turning mechanism kept getting off track and almost burned up the motor. Naturally, it didn’t have an off-switch, so to rescue it from itself Ethan had to sprint over to the plugs and desperately tug them apart with pig-grease covered hands. They went to the hand-crank and it got easier.
Clothilde and I were late to arrive, and we had just gotten everything set out when people started showing up. It was hot – much too hot to be roasting a pig, and the hot plate I had brought to heat the hot mulled cider was never plugged in – we just had cold spiced apple juice instead. Everyone loved the food, the roasted pig was a hit, and the children wandered in big mobs, laughing and playing. Clothilde ate so many chocolate chip cookies, she reeked of chocolate (and woke up early with a mad storm of chatter and fast tumping footsteps the next morning).
Ethan spent most of the party trying to get the pig to finish cooking, and then cutting it up and storing it in plastic bags. He had about an hour and a half of pig-free time, and most of that was taken up with chores. And I had wanted to just roast a couple of chickens…..just sayin’.
“Never again!” was what he groaned before falling into bed that evening, but we’ll see. He had also at one point promised never to build any more chicken coops with doors that open from the bottom, and we’ve seen from that example that he can’t be trusted on those kinds of things.