Turkey Truths Tuesday, Nov 22 2022 

The popularity of turkeys in North America came about in an interesting way. Turkeys are thought to have been domesticated more than 2,000 years ago in Pre-Columbian Mexico. In fact, turkey fossils found in southern United States and Mexico date back more than 5 million years.

During the 1500s, European explorers captured turkeys on our continent, brought them to Europe, and then later brought them back to North America in the 17th century. If you think about it, turkeys could have walked their way up north faster than journeying back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean to get here!

Following are a few turkey facts. Much of this data was gathered from the Farmer’s Almanac website. This site is an excellent resource for an array of fascinating articles on animal and plant life. You might want to check them out.

 

  • Male turkeys are called toms
  • Female turkeys are called hens.
  • Baby turkeys are called poults.
  • Male turkeys gobble to attract hens.
  • Females do not gobble. They make a clicking noise
  • Turkey eggs have an incubation period of 28 days.
  • Wild turkeys can be aggressive toward humans and pets in attempt to show pecking order.
  • Wild turkeys eat seeds, nuts, insects, and berries.
  • A wild turkey lives from three to four years. A domestic turkey lives about 26 weeks.
  • The bright red, loose skin on a turkey’s neck is called a wattle.
  • A group of wild turkeys is called a flock. A group of domesticated turkeys is called a rafter or gang.
  • Mature turkeys have approximately 3,500 feathers.
  • Turkeys are cable of making more than 20 distinct vocalizations.
  • Domesticated turkeys cannot fly, but wild turkeys can fly for short distances.
  • The bird’s gizzard helps break down food and other objects such as stones.
  • 46 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving
  • The ratio of white to dark meat on a turkey is typically 70 to 30.
  • The average person in the U. S. eats about 15 pounds of turkey in a year.

**Jesus’ mother Mary was an extraordinary woman who understands our human pain. If you ask, she will pray your prayers with you and guide you closer to her son. See the books Grieving with Mary, The Rosary Prayer by Prayer, and Fatima at 100. Fatima Today.

Thanksgiving Mussels Monday, Nov 23 2020 

The aroma of turkey roasting in the oven along with stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie lures us to the kitchen every Thanksgiving. However, this traditional meal has evolved since the first historic dinner. According to the pilgrim writer, Edward Winslow, crustaceans and mollusks were an important part of that first feast.

Europeans ventured through North America and established settlements since the 1500s. Friendly and hostile interaction with indigenous people occurred from the beginning. The holiday we celebrate today goes back to an event between the English setters who landed in Plymouth in 1620 and wanted to give thanks sometime in the fall of 1621 for their first abundant harvest and the assistance of their neighbors.

The little documentation we have tells of a three-day celebration between 90 Wampanoag indigenous people and about 50 English settlers. The food was prepared by the only four women (Eleanor Billington, Elizabeth Hopkins, Mary Brewster, and Susanna White) who survived the Mayflower voyage and first year in the New World. Young daughters and male and female servants likely assisted the women.

In addition to crustaceans, mollusks, and fish, one account states that the settlers hunted for fowl for the celebration. They returned with turkeys, venison, ducks, geese, and swans. Herbs, onions, and nuts were added to the meat before roasting.

Local vegetables likely included onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and carrots. Corn was ground, boiled, and pounded into a thick porridge that may have been sweetened with molasses. Neither white nor sweet potatoes were yet available in the area.

Fruits indigenous to the region included blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, and cranberries. The pilgrim’s sugar supply was depleted by then, so no sugared cranberry sauce reached their table that year.

The settlers also lacked butter and wheat flour to make pie crust. That prevented pie or bread stuffing from being on the menu. Nor did they have ovens for baking. Some accounts do say that early English settlers in North America roasted pumpkins by filling the shells with milk, honey, and spices and baked the pumpkins in hot ashes.

Although the holiday did, and continues to center on food, the occasion was to show gratitude. This year has been a tough one for so many, but we likely have things to be thankful for, none-the-less. It’s a good idea to take a few moments this week to recognize our gifts and give thanks.

***

Looking for gift ideas for caregivers? How about the uplifting book, Inspired Caregiving, or The Alzheimer’s Spouse, or Navigating Alzheimer’s?

Do you know there’s a New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Masked Since Antiquity Tuesday, Jun 30 2020 

Mandated or recommended, masks are the talk of the day. Do we have the right to choose wearing them or not? Which ones are best? Why do we dislike them? And do we really need them?

Personally, I see mask wearing like cigarette smoking. I understand the desire and choice to smoke but I hate the smell, and I don’t believe anyone has the right to inflect their second-hand smoke on me and my health. In the same way, I understand the discomfort and inconvenience of mask wearing, but I don’t believe anyone has the right to spread their potentially deadly germs in my face. If they won’t wear a mask, they can remain in their home.

Since the Stone Age, masks have been worn by nearly all cultures. The oldest known mask is from 7000 BC. Traditional ones were used for protection, disguise, hunting, entertainment, punishment, membership in secret societies, celebration, healings, and rituals. They were made from any number of materials including leather, wood, and feathers. I have one from Hawaii made from volcanic ash and covered in carved symbols.


One of the few collections I have is a wall grouping of masks, carvings, and a painting I’ve acquired from my travels. In addition to the one made from ash, the collection includes a ritual mask from Papua, New Guinea purchased in Hawaii and one made by the Incas and purchased in Aruba, festival masks from Venice, Italy, face carvings from Alaska and Jamaica, a totem from Hawaii, a leather work from Portugal, and a painting of a turtle on tapas, a type of fabric carefully and arduously made from softened wood bark. My attraction to these items stemmed from their craftmanship, symbolism, and personal contact with the artist or vendor.

When I purchased the ritual masks, I was assured that they had been cleansed. The spirits of the dead or other beings were no longer attached, so I needn’t be concerned about carrying those spirits home with me. That statement opened up a greater fascination and appreciation of the artifacts. I had no knowledge of the historical or cultural meaning of them or that death masks were created in the likeness of the deceased.

Some ritual masks, such as those in West Africa, are used to communicate with ancestral or animal spirits. They can be quite symbolic. For example, closed eyes may show tranquility while bulging foreheads means wisdom.

Today we are familiar with masks of protection such as those for welders, gas masks, police shields, oxygen masks, and our all so familiar, medical and health masks. I don’t plan on adding any of these to my wall.

***

Have you read “Angels to Guard You Wherever You Go” and “Easy Test with Big Answers” on Mary K Doyle Books?

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TP Deal Breaker Thursday, Apr 23 2020 

I’ll share a little personal story with you, one that is often passed around the family. I’m a kindergarten dropout. The deal breaker was the school’s toilet paper. It was too scratchy. Once I tried that paper, I told my mother I’d never go back to school again.

The school I was supposed to go to burned down and was being rebuilt (Our Lady of the Angels, Chicago, IL), which actually was the cause of my anxiety and school. In the meantime, I was sent to a public school, a very long walk away. (It seemed like five miles but probably was one.) My mother felt much the same way I did about sending me to school and dragging my baby sister along for the walk, so she allowed me to stay home.

I’m hearing lots of TP discussions. People can’t get the good stuff, or any at all. Many overbought and are hoarding (bad karma), so now there are shortages. Who would have thought one of our challenges today would be getting toilet paper?

My ex-mother-in-law once told me when she was a child, her mother sent her to the fruit stands to ask for the papers that oranges were wrapped in. They preferred that over the Sears catalog, a common alternative. Imagine using that stiff, inked paper on your behind?

Only the wealthy early Roman citizens had it better. They used rose petals. Most other Romans used public potties and wiped themselves with sticks with a sea sponge on the end, that also was used publicly. Throughout history, and still today, people simply used their hand. Scots are said to have used sheep fur, sailors used the knotted end of a line (Yowie), Native American Indians wiped with moss and leaves, and early Americans used corn cobs.

Now wouldn’t you rather use any kind of toilet paper than those substitutes?

***

See my latest post on Mary K Doyle Books, “Shopping in an Apron Mask.” And visit my website.

Inauguration and Presidential Trivia Monday, Jan 21 2013 

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Congratulations to President Barak Obama on his second inauguration to the presidency of the United States. After a lively election process, he was reelected to serve as our nation’s president.

President Obama used two bibles for his 2013 swearing-in ceremony – the one used by President Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “traveling” bible.

As the technology has evolved, so has the publication of each inauguration. President Obama’s inauguration’s was transmitted via multiple forms of media; James Polk’s reported by telegraph in 1845; James Buchannan’s photographed in 1857; William McKinley’s documented via motion picture in 1897; Harry Truman’s coverage was televised to the few households that had televisions in 1949; and Bill Clinton’s streamed live across the Internet in 1997.

Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president to be sworn in after the death of William McKinley. He was 42. John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected president to be formally inaugurated at the age of 43. Ronald Reagan was the oldest at 69 and the oldest to leave office at the age of 77.

Abraham Lincoln was the tallest and James Madison the shortest. Madison weighed only 100 pounds. William Howard Taft was the heaviest weighing in over 300 pounds.

Blood lines ran in several pairs of presidents. John Adams and John Quincy Adams were father and son as well as George H. Bush and George W. Bush. William H. Harrison and Benjamin Harrison were grandfather and grandson. James Madison and Zachary Taylor were second cousins. And Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were fifth cousins.

Many of our recent presidents are/were left-handed including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan (who was ambidextrous), Gerald Ford, and Harry S. Truman.

President Obama is the 44th president of the United States. However, known to few Americans, there were other presidents before George Washington who held office in a limited way. They led the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation as Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled. The Articles of Confederation was an agreement among the thirteen founding states that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states.

God bless our president and our country.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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