Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning

There aren’t just bad people that commit genocide; we are all capable of it. It’s our evolutionary history.

James Lovelock

If you are interested in learning a different story of what happened after the pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock, please read on!

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Winston S. Churchill — ‘History is written by the victors.’

Those who are indigenous to the North America have been misrepresented and effectively banished in American history textbooks in favor of glorifying European colonialism. Why does democracy refuse to teach that thousands of American Natives were unjustifiably slaughtered in the name of conquest and imperialism?

From the book The American Tradition.

“After some exploring in 1620, the Pilgrims chose the land around Plymouth Harbor for their settlement. Unfortunately, they arrived in December and were not prepared for the New England weather. However, they were aided by friendly Indians, who gave them food and showed them how to grow corn. When warm weather came, the colonists planted, fished, hunted and prepared themselves for the next winter. After harvesting their first crop, they and their Indian friends celebrated the first Thanksgiving.”

This is what is taught here in the U.S. Some of it is the truth; the Pilgrims did come to America in 1620. Most didn’t survive the first winter because of their lack of stored food and supplies. They did meet Native Americans. That’s pretty much where the truth ends.

The Wampanoag people did not truly trust whites, having dealt with European fishermen who had enslave or kill them for the past 100 years. However, because it was their culture and religion to help those in need, the Natives took pity on the settlers and helped them. On March 16th, 1621, a Patuxet Indian (Neighbors of the Wampanoag) named Samoset met the settlers for the first time. Samoset spoke excellent English, as did Squanto, another bilingual Patuxet because the British had taken them into slavery in the past. Squanto acted as an interpreter for the Wampanoag Indians, led by Chief Massasoit.

The next harvest season, the settlers and Natives people agreed to meet for a 3-day negotiation. As the meeting fell during the Wampanoag Harvest Festival, the Native community agreed to bring most of the food for the event. The peace and land negotiations were successful and the Pilgrims acquired the rights of land for their people. This became the base for the Thanksgiving story.

In 1622 propaganda started to circulate about this “First Thanksgiving”. A book called, “Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth” publicized the greatness of Plymouth and told of the meeting as a friendly feast with the Natives. The Pilgrims glamorized the situation, possibly in an effort to encourage more Puritans to settle in their area. By stating that the Native community was warm and open-armed, the newcomers would be more likely to feel secure in their journey to New England.

What started as a hope for peace between the settlers and the Wampanoag, ended in the most sad and tragic way. The Pilgrims, once few in number, had now grown to well over 40,000 and the Native American strength had weakened to less than 3,000. Not only did the battles lower their numbers, contagious diseases never seen by the Natives were also to blame. By 1675, one generation later, tension had grown between the Europeans and the Native Indians. The Wampanoag called in reinforcements from other surrounding tribes.

Many Native communities throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut rallied with the Wampanoags, but the power of the English was overpowering. After the war was over, the remaining Wampanoags and their allies, were either killed or deported as slaves for thirty shillings each. This slave trade was so successful that several Puritan ship owners began a slave-trading business by raiding the coast for Native American Indians and trading them for black slaves of Africa. The black slaves were then sold to colonists in the south. Hence, the Pilgrims were one of the founders of the American-based slave trading industry.

This is why I will not be celebrating Thanksgiving the same way as in the past. I will still be thankful for my friends and my family. However, I will also remember there’s more than one way to weave a story.

Lunch With Lady Downey Woodpecker

I was waiting in my car for an appointment and this little lady was right outside my window. This is a female Picoides pubescens or Downey Woodpecker. They are the smallest woodpecker in the U.S. The male looks very similar, except he has a splash of bright red on the crown of his head.

Many people wonder when a woodpecker pecks at their house if they have bugs. If the bird is making an even ‘jack-hammer’ type racket, this is a call, just like a song from a songbird…. but in a heavy metal kinda way!

The video is what a typical woodpecker sounds like while dining.

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Any layman can improve their winter tree ID skills by remembering the woodpecker removed bark of an ash tree.

©Ilex Farrell

You Didn’t Say, “Dibby-Dabs!”

While growing-up we all learn many lessons. In my house, a powerful lesson is to say “Dibby-dabs” when you are leaving your seat to ‘save’ it when you came back. If you forget to say it, you just lost your seat.
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As you can see, I forgot to say Dibby-dabs.

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Fried Turkey, Stuffin’ et al!

We’ve been frying our turkey for years now. I’m not going to get into all the rules for frying here, although there are some funny EPIC FAILS on this topic!

I will share my recipe for stuffing though. Many who have come over to my house for Turkey Fry Friday in the past have asked me for it.

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I am horrible about placing ‘amounts’ on ingredients, as I add more of what I like and less of what I don’t. With this recipe, there really is no wrong answer. However, have these thing for the base and add things you like including: pork sausage, celery, carrots, use cornbread instead of plain bread, cranberries, raisins, water chestnuts (nice crunch!) or even nuts.

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Melt a stick of butter in a large pot. Cut up and combine everything except the chicken broth and stuffing. Here you see: Onion, Mushrooms, Celery and Apples.

I’m not really cooking it, just getting it started. I then add my seasonings like: Onion powder, salt/pepper, garlic, rosemary and of course some thyme. After this, I add my chicken broth.

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I then put my stuffing into a large bowl.

**As my family celebrated Thanksgiving November 2nd this year, ironically, I could not find stuffing (dried bread quarters) to save my life. I used fresh bread this time and the stuffing turned out like a bread pudding. Actually, everyone liked it more than normal!

Back to the directions…

Pour the pot mix over the stuffing and mix. Depending on how you like your stuffing (dry or moist) add more chicken broth or more stuffing to compensate. At this point I take a taste to see what I came up with. I tend to make mine moist, however you will loose some moisture cooking, be aware.

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Smash either into your turkey or into a oven safe dish if you are frying. Remember, you CANNOT fry the turkey stuffed. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

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Although you really don’t need to inject anything into the bird for moisture, we like to add some garlic butter for some zing.

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Although my family loves the jelly-type cranberry sauce, I find it quite disgusting. This year I made fresh cranberry sauce, something I never thought of doing. It was a big smack to the head as to how easy it is and why I’ve not been doing it over the years.

  • 12oz of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Other additions (after cooking): orange slices, raisins, cinnamon..

Boil all 3 ingredients while stirring until the berries ‘pop’. You will hear it. Then remove from heat, let cool and add other enhancements if wanted.

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Turkey Time!!

Most of the fails happen upon entry. Be sure your turkey is defrosted, dry (water will make it splatter) and you use the ‘2 person + pole’ method of dunking for safety.

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Almost down!

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It only takes 3 1/2 minutes per pound @ 350F. Pretty quick, IMO.

Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!!

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Ilex vs. Tar Spot on Maple

There are several fungi in the genus Rhytisma (most commonly Rhytisma acerinum and Rhytisma punctatum) that cause tar spot on maples and sycamores. These fungi commonly survive in over-wintered leaf litter, where they produce spores that lead to leaf infections.

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The first symptoms of the fungus usually start in mid-June as small (less than 1/8 inch diameter), pale yellow spots. The spots enlarge and their yellow color deepens as the season goes on. Next a black spot will develop in each yellow spot by mid-July to early August. The black spot grows in diameter and thickness and soon looks like a spot of tar by the end of summer.

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This fungus is only unsightly and NOT detrimental to the tree. Treatment is usually not necessary, costly if attempted and most of the time, ineffective.

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The best defense in keeping tar spot out of your trees is to rake up and destroy all infected leaves in the fall. Leaves should be burned or properly mulched. The fungus can overwinter on fallen leaves and provide a source of inoculum to re-infect the trees for the next growing season.

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Softy Hands

GAAA! I’m melting!

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I remember when I was a child and used to coat my hand in Elmer’s glue, let it dry and peel it off my hand. Of course the point was to peel it off in one piece. This was only done out of boredom.

I have now graduated to using paraffin wax to soften my paws, not to make skin sculptures. Since this last week I’ve been making winter pots and I hate wearing gloves when I work, so my hands are beat to sh*t. I will need to do this nightly for a week to recover from the abuse!

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This is great to do in the winter. It’s warm and really softens dry, cracked hands. As it solidifies, it’s fun to squish it between the fingers.

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Ahhhh, mushy!

 

Copyright – Ilex Farrell