I’ve always loved this carol. It was one of the few my Dad could sing on key!
Before we left for a three day trip to the mountains, we went to see Hamilton. I can’t say enough how I enjoyed it. My daughter and her husband bought us tickets in the orchestra, about eight rows from the front, so we were really in the musical. The voices were wonderful, the story great, with lots of humor and also some pathos. The fellow playing King George had us rocking with laughter. I had listened to a CD of part of the production, following along with the libretto, and had no trouble understanding the rap. If you get a chance to see Hamilton, do it. The ticket cost is worth it, and you will learn a lot about our early history from the all minority cast!
So we spent this past weekend up in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains, near the Pisgah National Forest. Our friends built a house on a low mountainside with spectacular views of Grandfather and Tabletop mountains. It was just what we needed after the energy we expended over Thanksgiving!
We visited a small arts and crafts store where I bought my first decoration of the season. Yes, that’s Garfield in the background – he liked the poinsettia, which it turns out are NOT poisonous to cats but can give them a tummy upset if they decide to chew some leaves. He was alone while we were gone and has been purring and sitting all over me since we got back. I’m sure he’ll have something to tell you soon. He’s been talking to me non-stop!
We returned home to find our Japanese maple in its full fall glory.
Take a deep breath, make your holiday list, and enjoy the season.
I hope you are all enjoying the posy-turkey glow of a full stomach and lots of football and basketball. We had a terrific meal with turkey and all the trimmings (including my great-great-grandothers meat stuffing and creamed turnips) and my two favorite Thanksgiving pies – sour cream pumpkin and bourbon pecan. Belch!
I want to recognize that I have a goodly bunch of new followers. I wish I could recognize you individually as I used to do, but the numbers are overwhelming my time! I thank you so much for being willing to read my scribblings as I wander where my little gray cells lead me from one topic to another.
Since I can’t follow all my followers, here’s a challenge. If you stop by a post of mine that interests you and leave a comment, I’ll wander over and visit you! That way we can keep in contact,
Thanks so much for your support – you are the jewels!
I just came back from selling books in Maine and spent a week in Plymouth, MA, my home town. Amazingly, I never visited many of the historic sites when I was growing up, although I did work as a tour guide at Plimoth Plantation.
I had a long list of places to see, people to contact and questions, questions, questions – a product of my attempt to write a historical novel about Mary Allerton Cushman.
I decided to do the most strenuous visit on the first day: Plimoth Plantation. My feet aren’t what they used to be so I knew I would be torturing my tootsies. After purchasing a ticket, I walked up the long hill to the Crafts Center, where I met a potter who was more than happy to tell me about New England potters and their wares. The Pilgrims did not pot. They purchased what they needed from England or through trading with the Dutch. The first potter to come to New England was Phillip Drinker who settled in Charleston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. His son Edward Drinker carried on his work, but HIS apprentice John Goldsmith left to become a chocolate grinder.
This is early , typical blue and white Delftware from the 17th century that the Pilgrims could have.
I asked about pipes because I’d never seen any reference to the Pilgrim men smoking pipes. It turns out they did have pipes made of clay with a very small bowl. Being fragile, the stems would frequently break, so they used shorter and shorter stems. The pipes had a tiny bowl because tobacco was in small supply. Some Pilgrims planted tobacco for their own use, but it didn’t grow well because of the thin, rocky soil. The bowl size of their pipes increased as tobacco became more common and available. You can date dig sites by the size of the pipe bowls.
Then I walked further up the hill to the village and meandered up and down what would be First Street or as is now called, Leiden Street. Along the way I talked to the interpreters and made other discoveries.
Spinning wheels were not common until after 1640s. The first sheep to come to Pimoth were fat but had poor wool – they were bought for meat. The sheep good for wool – merino sheep – were scrawny and not good eating. Merino sheep would not have been common after the middle of the century.
Small spinning wheels were used for spinning flax fibers into linen.
The wool spun at home would be homespun and likely thick, spun on a huge walking wheel, but not until the late 1630s because there were no merino sheep. Sometimes a woman would wear a path in the wood floor planks walking back and forth as she spun. Most of what was spun at home would have been used to weave blankets.
The Pilgrims got their clothing ready made from London for a long time and would alter the clothes to fit.
The Pilgrims had candles but they were imported and expensive. They would have burned oiled paper for light until wax for candles was available. There were no honey bees in North American until the European honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, was first introduced to the American colonies around the year 1638, and was not firmly established in New England until 1654. Thus the Pilgrims did not use honey to sweeten their food in the beginning and had no source of wax.
The Pilgrims made lye soap for washing clothes but relied on soap from England for washing themselves.
There were no horses in Plimoth because there were no roads. Travel was done by boat. When larger land grants were made in1627, the parcels all had five acres that were either ocean front or river front. That way, when the owners built houses there, they could travel back to the main Plymouth settlement by boat for Sunday services. When the rivers froze over, the Pilgrim families would move back into their houses in the settlement for the winter.