Category Archives: Plymouth Rock

November: Sensing Grace and Showing Gratitude

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Every month seems to come a bit faster! Closing a door on one vibrant and exciting

month of October. Opening a door on the more serious month of November with

moments full of gratitude, sensing persons who exude grace and giving thanks for

all we have.

Looking at my Halloween decorations and wishing that Jack o’ Lanterns, ghosts,

goblins, the Ty teddy bear in its adorable pumpkin costume, the black glass bottle

with the words, “Love Potion” on it and the owls could all stay up. I take them down,

slowly placing each item in a large orange tub, automatically trying to wrap some of

the glass, ceramic and wooden treasures with newspaper, I layer the embroidered

October cloths, fall handkerchiefs and needlepoint given to me by my aunt and my

cousin.

Next come the September lingering ‘culprits.”

The little scarecrow figurines, sunflower basket and gold candles are no longer

needed.

 

I like a simpler decorative theme in November. The month deserves a less crowded,

less busy appearance. The Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving come to mind and

make my mood more respectful and subdued.  My decorations reflect this traditional

look. I have a few pumpkins that fit in and around the metal cornucopia with yellow

woven reeds along the edge of the opening. I leave the ‘fake’ bittersweet vine wound

around and inside of a basket on my coffee table.

 

Putting the burgundy candles into the pewter candle sticks from 1978, gifts from my

first wedding, I think of the Turley’s from Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  I feel gratitude.

There is also a pewter creamer, sugar bowl and a little tray to keep them on, which

remain in my little apartment kitchen.

 

I will never forget this lively family using washboards, zithers and guitars, their melodious

voices singing Blue Grass music. Afterwards, Jim telling Scottish tales and Helen telling

old Greek folktales. Their combined heritage made their three boys’ lives rich with the

knowledge of distant lands. Our family has some history, the half from my father’s side

not really detailed but his family tree with Scottish and English roots. Mom’s side is more

interesting, since her parents had stories to share with us of Germany and Sweden.

I would get excited when we drove up through Pigeon Forge, to get to their house built

from the local rocks. My Dad had met Jim in his work at Oak Ridge Nuclear Reactor (in

the state of Tennessee.)

Once they came North, went to see Plum Brook’s reactor in Sandusky. But mainly,

they were the overnight, genial and entertaining stop for our family along the way

to our grandparents’ trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Waves of memories, longing and nostalgia take over me.

 

Does this happen to you when you change seasons and decorations?

Is there an old memory that comes forward to be fondly remembered?

 

New chores and tools are needed with snow coming.

I will take my portable shovel out of the closet and put into the trunk of the car.

 

The songs that come to mind for this month are:

“November Rain,” sung by Guns N Roses

and

“Peace of Mind,” sung by Boston.

 

NOVEMBER, 2014

 

Birthstone:  Topaz

Flower:  Chrysanthemum

 

National Animal Appreciation Week goes from 11/1-11/7.

Local animal shelters or humane society have their needs suggestions posted.

 

1st- All Saints’ Day

(Catholics, Episcopalians and others celebrate this day)

 

2- Daylight Savings Time

(where applicable)

We set our clocks back one hour.

The old saying goes, “Fall behind.”

 

4- Islamic New Year.

Wishing all those who practice the Islam faith a Happy New Year!

 

Election Day in the U.S.

I encourage you to use your citizens’ right to vote!

 

6- Full Beaver Moon

Native Americans call this month’s moon the Beaver Moon,

but it is also called the Frosty Moon.

 

11- Veterans’ Day in the U.S.

Honor those who served and gave up their lives during wars.

Respecting those who are continuing to serve and put their lives on the line

for their country.

Remembrance Day in Canada.

 

14- Last 1/4 moon.

 

22- New Moon.

 

27-

Thanksgiving Holiday (U.S.)

28-

“Black Friday”

One of the biggest shopping days in U.S.

Some consider this part of their family’s traditions.

 

29- First 1/4 moon.

 

Looking at my cornucopia filled with fruits and leaves, with pumpkins spilling out of it,

colorful and familiar, I think it is as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers to me.

The words of Thomas Kinkade (2001):

“The color within us

can color the world around us.”

 

With Thanksgiving and gratitude:

“A thing of beauty

is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases,

It will never pass

into nothingness.”

(John Keats)

 

Those who bestow Grace upon us, as a gift:

“A friend is as it were,

a second self.”

(Cicero)

 

Freedom to express our Faith:

“Were there no God,

we would be in this glorious world

with grateful hearts

and no one to thank.”

(Christina Rossetti)

 

“You have possibilities. . .

so celebrate that you are

who you are,

where you are,

and affirm the

inherent

goodness of

living

by saying,

‘Thank You.'”

(Thomas Kinkade, 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Raise Your Glass” to Hard Cider!

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I have eclectic drinking tastes, which include some of those malt-flavored

drinks that resemble ‘wine coolers,’ from the seventies. I have an occasional

beer, support Fatheads’ micro brews, since they help my brother’s artistry in

their logo-painted walls. I enjoy wine, savoring the layers of flavor, such as

can be found in Lake Erie wineries. I enjoy the reds like Cabernet Sauvignon,

Merlot and Pink Catawba wine made from Catawba grapes. Recently, though,

I have ‘discovered’ the Cincinnati, Ohio company of Boston Beer Co. which

produces the biggest hard cider in the U.S. I think you will recognize, even if

you are not a hard cider drinker, the name of “Angry Orchard.” Business in

the hand-crafted apple cider area of beverages is booming! From 2007 until

last year’s total sales of hand-crafted hard cider, it went from $200 million

dollar business to a tripled amount of $600 million!

The largest areas producing hard cider can be found in New York, Michigan,

Washington and Oregon. Great locations for apple orchards and to create

this hard cider, you need to be close to where they grow. A man named Peter

Moon, used to have a shop in Columbus Easton Town Center called, “Color

Your World.” He has been working on his own personal recipe for hard cider,

seeing great potential in the Central Ohio area.

Historically speaking, we may consider the American apple pie an icon for

our country, but apple cider made into hard cider came over on the Mayflower,

with those Pilgrims. We can find records of barrels of fermented apple juice

packed along with all the other necessities needed to start a community in

America. This makes sense since apples were readily available to farmers and

the Pilgrims needed to ‘brace’ themselves, so to speak, for a whole different

World! This could be considered America’s first ‘drink’ they toasted safe arrival

here…

To go even farther, this article I found discussing apples being fermented into

hard cider, it is totally possible that the signers of the Declaration of Independence

had pewter goblets of this ‘brewed’ cider.

I am happy to soon ‘ditch’ the Angry Orchard brand of hard apple cider for a new

‘brew’ made by Peter Moon who is calling his cidery, “Mad Moon Craft Cider.” You

know my fascination with the moon? This means it is ‘fate’ that I travel southward

and check out this new place he has. I need to try this!

In a recent Columbus Dispatch article, introducing this new company, it mentions there

is a humble organization and simplicity in the Mad Moon company’s headquarters.

There is a sign hanging by the office,

“Cider for the People.”

It is representative of the company’s signature. These 4 words are a ‘take off’ of a Populist

slogan and sentiments from William Henry Harrison’s 1840 Presidential campaign. W. H.

Harrison was known to be a ‘hard-cider-drinking frontiersman.’ (Sept. 12, 2004 Columbus

Dispatch article.)

When Prohibition came along in 1920. hard cider lost its’ place in the people’s popularity

of beverages to imbide in. There was moonshine and illegal brews, but when Prohibition was

repealed, beers were the most popular drink.

Today’s society is always looking for something ‘new’ to discover and try. There are many of

the population trying homemade beer and apple cider brewing, along with winemaking.

They ‘crave’ unique beverages and as hosts and hostesses, offering a variety of choices.

In Columbus, Ohio we have around 13 beer breweries, some hobbyists and home brewers

are now opening ‘cideries.’ It is just a small beginning, the tip of an iceberg of beverages and

there is an ‘open market’ for this here.

Starting at the ground level, Peter Moon, has 750 gallons of apple juice fermenting in three

of Mad Moon Craft Cider’s 10 large tanks. The labels are still in ‘rough draft’ stage of the

business. I liked the bottle’s design in the photograph accompanying the Dispatch’s article.

Apples need to be originally grown from European seeds, what is considered “old seeds.”

They are stronger flavored apples, with savory and distinct ‘tones’ to their taste. Ohio farmers

find them to not be able to resist fungi and diseases. This seems to be a concern and a ‘work

in progress.’ So far, one of the farms that is selling their apples for hard cider has been able

to recommend the strength of ‘gold rush apples.’ I can relate to this search, when I make my

homemade apple crisp I like the softer apples of Rome, Gala and have tried others, too.

In Licking County, (Ohio), there is a hard cider being sold as, “Legend Valley Cider.”

This company has 50 accounts on their ‘books,’ so far. They await the end of the apple growing

year of crops to start their second year of production.

This is a stretch of my imagination, but I think Benjamin Franklin would have been proud of

the return to apple cider fermentation. It is what Early Americans would have respected. Freedom

to consume and continuing in the independent spirit of free enterprise, too.

So,  “Raise Your Glass” to toast the return of hard cider!

(Thanks to Pink, (2010) song, “Raise Your Glass!”)

 

What are you drinking?

If you don’t like alcoholic beverages, do you like apple cider?

I sure do associate apple cider with Fall or Autumn.

November Story

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“The First Thanksgiving” is more than a great book about Thanksgiving,

it is one that encompasses Plymouth Rock and how the area first got

settled. I read this with my oldest three grandchildren, one is 9 and

the others are 8 years old. It was written in 1993, by Jean Craighead

George and illustrated by Thomas Locker.

This book starts out with lovely and dark “paintings” of Cape Cod and

it describes how the mountains of gravel came from the Ice Age that

deposited along the coast of New England. It tells that above the top

of the gravel, the glacier deposited huge boulders from distant places.

This became known as Plymouth Harbor.

The unusual facts about the boulders, include how they are called

“Dedham granite” and they are believed to have arrived from Africa

over 200 million years ago. This is when the continents, scientists say,

broke apart and floated to their current locations.

The largest rock, all 200 tons of it, is described:

“It came to rest in lonely splendor, on a sandy beach in a cove.

This boulder is Plymouth Rock.”

Somehow, years later, this area became inhabited by the Pawtuxets,

a tribe of the Wampanoag:  “The People of the Dawn.”

Their customs included thanking Mother Earth for Her harvests of corn,

beans, squash and pumpkins. They hunted deer, turkey and fished the

ocean and streams. Their celebration annually was named the “Green

Corn Dance” which lasted many days.

In the 1600’s, Englishmen arrived on big ships killing animals with guns

and kidnapped some of the Wampanoag men for slaves. Indians were

afraid of the newcomers, white men, with their loud weapons.

On man tricked to come aboard a ship with the 17 Pawtuxet men, was

named Squanto. His life is complicated, being traded from England to

Spain to eventually Newfoundland, sailing back to London and then

finally back to New England (America) in 1619. When he arrived back

and saw his village, many tears were wept for the homes were merely

skeletons and the mighty crops were reduced to weeds.  All of his

people he believed were dead of European plague.

I thought I might “pause” in this devastatingly real and sad story to

tell you that the grandkids were fascinated. I asked if they were a

little sad, they said, “Yes, but Nana, tell us the rest of the story!”

Squanto traveled northward to Maine, where he joined the tribe

named Massasoit. They were a branch of the Wampanoag Indian

community where he felt accepted.

During this time, over in England, King Jame I was making everyone

join the Church of England. There was a group of people known as

the Puritans, who when they traveled across the ocean, became

known as the “Pilgrims.” Their great ship was called the “Mayflower.”

Their arrival to the New World, was on December 11, 1620. They

landed on Plymouth Harbor beach. The sight of Plymouth Rock.

Once ithe Pilgrims arrived,  they called the natives or citizens that

belonged there, “savages.”

Their Governor John Carver and the Pilgrims all struggled through

the winter, until they were able to plant the seeds they had brought.

The women planted English herbs in “kitchen gardens.” The men

dug deeper into the land, creating huge gardens of vegetables,

wheat and barley.

Samoset, a Massasoit Ambassador, traveled to greet the Pilgrims

in English. They formed a “Peace Treaty” and the Massasoits stayed

in Rhode Island, while Squanto stayed behind in Plymouth.

Squanto showed the men how to catch hibernating eels, showed

them where the herring ran in the Spring, and taught them how

to make “weirs” and nets to catch cod and salmon. He also showed

them how to put herring in the holes they dug for planting, along

with 4-5 corn kernels in the soil. This was not noted as “first use

of fertilizer” but I thought this was very interesting, as did the kids!

The seeds that Squanto shared were considered by historians, ones

from ancestors as far away as Mexico and Peru. These included corn,

squash and pumpkins.

Squanto also taught them where to hunt for the turkeys, showed them

leaf nests of squirrels adn the hideouts of skunks and raccoons. The

Pilgrims were shown where there were blueberry patches to pick from.

In the Late Spring, meadows were filled with wild strawberries where

the children could pick also, sweet roots of Jerusalem artichoke.

In the Mid Summer, cranberry bogs and gooseberry patches’ locations

were shown and shared.

In September, chestnuts, hickory nuts and hazelnuts were found on the

ground under their trees.

The boys were taught how to make dugout canoes and paddle out into

the sea to set lobster pots, made of reeds and sinew. There were all

kinds of edible creatures in the tidal pools to show the Pilgrims, too.

Philosophy of the Native Americans which is the tenet in why Squanto

shared his learnings:

“The Land did not belong to the people; People belong to the Land.”

Such a peaceful and meaningful message right there!

When the following harvest came, after all that Squanto had taught

the Pilgrims, they felt the need to rejoice and invite the Massasoits

to join them in a Feast. Governor William Bradford sent a message

of invitation and the response was 90 guests! For three days they

shared the Feast, played games and the Pilgrims shared their guns

in contests. The Native Americans shared their bows and arrows,

using targets to just enjoy the harvest.

When I heard of the games, shooting for pleasure and the many

dishes that they ate, I thought, WE should do this, too! How many

people sit down and watch football or some form of stationary

activities after they eat their Thanksgiving dinner? We all should

hike around, play games and enjoy each other’s company!

The end of the book summarizes that the Pilgrims called this day a

“Harvest Feast” and the Native Americans called it the “Green Corn

Dance.” They must have included dancing, but the book did not

mention it specifically, it did not show any dancing in the beautiful

painted pictures.

President George Washington declared and named the first national

Proclamation of celebrating Thanksgiving during his Presidency.

President Abraham Lincoln named the annual day of Thanksgiving

to be the last Thursday of November and called it a day of

“thanksgiving and praise.”

In my family, we include two types of meats, two types of dressings,

usually more grilled or fresh vegetables lately (not so many casseroles)

and our big splurges on calories and not so healthy food are lots of

pies and two kinds of potatoes, both baked. Sometimes I will drive

home from my brother and sister in law’s house in Cleveland missing

my Mom as I drive. She and my brothers and sometimes my sister in

law’s children will be there but the rest of my own family are back in’

Delaware.

After my “goodbyes,” I head directly to my son’s house, where Jamie

and Trista still serves green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn

pudding, hamburger mixed in with onions in the stuffing, sweet potato

casserole with marshmallows and pecans mixed in. We finish our meal

with pumpkin pie served with whipped cream in a can (not Cool Whip.)

We eat white rolls with real butter, too!

What are some of your favorite foods, your traditions and if you are

from another country, do you have a harvest time meal?