Tag Archive | black

Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning 2017

Every Thanksgiving, I like to republish this post and add a few thoughts.

My thoughts surround the removal of Confederate statues. I am against the removal for the fact that the act is removing history from our memories, just as what happened to Thanksgiving. I know most folks think that these statues are tributes to these leaders that fought for things that us modern folks aren’t too proud of. Some folks think they are offensive. Contrary to what many people believe, slavery was not high on the list of reasons for the Civil War.

Although some people think that black Africans were the only slaves in written history, slavery goes back to the beginning of time,  and spans all cultures, nationalities and religions. I don’t understand why some folks think this statement is considered racist. It’s the truth! It may not be easy to find collaborating documents to prove the many different peoples that were used as slaves, as much of this history has been buried in history books, because countries don’t want to be remembered that way. That’s a problem, in my opinion. People will soon forget about why the Civil War was fought and the people that are claiming to be repressed because of it will loose their footing in their arguments.

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ George Santayana

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

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

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

Those who are indigenous Indians to 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 Native Indians 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 American Indians. 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 Wampanoags 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 Native Tribes agreed to meet for a 3-day negotiation. As the meeting fell during the Wampanoag Harvest Festival, the Native Indian 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 Native Indians. The Pilgrims glamorized the situation, possibly in an effort to encourage more Puritans to settle in their area. By stating that the Native Indian 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 Indian strength had weakened to less than 3,000. Not only did the battles lower their numbers, contagious diseases never seen by the Native Indians 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 Indian 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.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

The Big Headed Ground Beetle ~ Scarites subterraneus

I’ve find these gals in my basement occasionally, wondering how she burrowed her way in. Unfortunately or fortunately, she will get returned to the great outdoors to enjoy her life outside of my basement. I placed her on the driveway to get some shots, however she was not feeling the love for the camera and quickly made her way to the nearby mulch.

These are called The Big Headed Ground Beetle, however it’s not really their heads that are large, it just looks that way because of their chests being connected to their heads. Personally, I think they should be called the Sir Mix-A-Lot Beetle… As in, Little in the middle, butt she’s got much back!!!

Adults are about ¾” inch (20 mm) long, shiny black, with antennae slightly paler and very broad, large jaws. They are commonly found in mulch, under stones, around illuminated areas at night, in basements and in damp soil. When discovered, they may play dead, hoping that their thick exoskeleton will protect them. They are easily picked up by their butts, as they can’t turn their menacing mandibles around to bite you. Although these gals are capable of giving a painful bite, the bites rarely break the skin or are medically harmful.

These gals are considered very beneficial, as they eat nuisance insects in the soil as larvae and adults. These girls like the night life and generally only hunt in the evenings.

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Common Starling – Sturnus vulgaris

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European Starlings were intentionally released by the American Acclimatization Society in 1890 because they wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned among other European birds. Every European Starling is a descent of the original 100 birds set loose in New York’s Central Park. Genetically, those from Virginia are practically indistinguishable from starlings in California. Today, more than 200 million European Starlings range from Alaska to Mexico, and many people consider them pests.
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Starlings are related to the mynah bird and thus are great vocal mimics. Many can learn the calls of up to twenty different species. Birds whose songs starlings often copy include the American Robin, meadowlarks, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, Northern Bobwhite, Wood Thrush, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Flicker, and many others.

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Starlings often participate in what is called a murmuration, where a huge flock shape-shifts in the sky as if it were one swirling mass. This is often caused by the presence of a predator and the flock’s movement is based on evasive maneuvers. There is safety in numbers, so starlings do not scatter, they move as an intelligent cloud, maneuvering from the hungry raptor, thousands of birds changing direction almost simultaneously. Scientists have been stumped as to how a bird, tens or hundreds of birds away from those nearest danger, sense the shift and move in unison?

Giorgio Parisi, a theoretical physicist with the University of Rome, published a paper about starling murmurations in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2010.

“The change in the behavioral state of one animal affects and is affected by that of all other animals in the group, no matter how large the group is. Scale-free correlations provide each animal with an effective perception range much larger than the direct interindividual interaction range, thus enhancing global response to perturbations.”

In 2012, Dr. Parisi published additional research showing that each bird is actually reacting to the birds nearest to it, that the movement is the result of a series of short-range reactions. With the 2010 study, the team looked at velocity; this time they studied orientation. Measuring how a change in direction by one bird affects those around it, the team discovered that one bird’s movement only affects its seven closest neighbors. So one bird influences its seven closest neighbors and each of those neighbors’ movements affect their closest seven neighbors and so on and so on. This is how the flock is able to look like a twisting, changing cloud with some parts moving in one direction at one speed and other parts moving completely opposite.

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