A little told story about the First Thanksgiving; Squanto - A special instrument sent by God
Squanto (whose birth name Tisquantum) was born in 1580 near present-day Plymouth. He was a member of the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag Indian Confederation. His tribe was the most influential tribe in an area where the English would first settle. He has been called Squanto throughout history.
In 1614 Squanto was captured by English explorer Thomas Hunt and taken to England as a slave. Over the next few years Squanto traveled extensively throughout Europe and Newfoundland. While there he learned the Christian faith and the language of the English. In 1619, as an indentured servant in the employ of John Slaney and explorer Thomas Dermer, he was able to return to his homeland as an interpreter and peacemaker between the English and the Indians. Unfortunately, in 1617 - 1618, a devastating plague, described variously in historical sources as either tuberculosis or smallpox (and perhaps a combination of both), wiped out the entire village at Patuxet, and many surrounding areas were heavily hit. Squanto found he was the sole survivor of his tribe!
In 1620 the Pilgrims landed at a place they called Plymouth Rock. They labored all through the winter months of December, January and February living out of the Mayflower and ferrying back and forth to land to build their storehouses and living houses. Weakened from their journey and hungry, they kept their distance from the Indians during the first winter of their residence. Half of the Pilgrims died before spring. They didn't start moving entirely to shore until March 1621.
In March, the Wampanoag felt the time was right to approach the English and send word to reassure them of the friendly intentions of the Indians. On March 16, the Pilgrims got a surprise: an Indian named Samoset walked right into the Colony and welcomed them in broken English. Samoset had picked up a few English words from the fishermen who came into the harbors there. He informed them there was an Indian, Tisquantum/Squanto, who had been to England and could speak better English than he. Squanto made his first appearance on March 22. The Pilgrims used the opportunity to negotiate a peace treaty and to establish trading relations.
Squanto would soon become an integral member of the Plymouth Colony, translating and negotiating between Plymouth's governors (John Carver, and later William Bradford) and tribal leaders. Peace was negotiated with the Wampanoag and other Indian tribes within the Wampanoag Confederation. Squanto was a guide, taking the Pilgrim ambassadors to various locations, and helping them establish trading relations. He also taught the Pilgrims how to better utilize the natural resources. Tradition has it that Squanto taught the English, most of whom had not been farmers in their native country, to plant Indian corn and other local vegetables, and to insure the success of the crop by the use of fish fertilizer. The English believed the practice of fertilizing with fish to be traditional among the Indians. In recent years, however, this has come into question among historians, some believing that Squanto learned the practice in Europe or in Newfoundland.
With Squanto’s help, the pilgrims grew enough food to survive the following winter, prompting them to invite the Wampanoag leader along with 90 of his tribesmen and Squanto to the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. The first Thanksgiving was a three-day feast to celebrate the successful fall harvest. No exact date for the feast has ever been recorded but it is believed that it most likely took place sometime between September and November. The pilgrims served fowl and the Wampanoag brought five deer that they had killed for the occasion. The group also played games and “exercised our arms.”
At one point Squanto was formally accused of spreading a rumor that the Indians planned to attack the English settlers. Once caught the Wampanoag leader Captured Squanto and intended to put him to death. William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony, saved him from punishment and acknowledged all of the good he had done and his role in helping the settlers survive.
But Squanto's life was not to last long anyway. On one trip to trade for some corn seed for the subsequent growing season, he went with Governor Bradford south on the ocean-side of Cape Cod, and they pulled into Manamoyick Bay because of dangerous weather conditions. There, in November 1622, Squanto's nose began to bleed. He told Governor Bradford it was a sign among the Indians of death. According to Bradford’s journal:
“In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose (which the Indians take for a symptom of [impending] death) and within a few days died there; desiring the Governor [Bradford] to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmens God in heaven, and bequeathed sundry of his things to the sundry of his English friends, as remembrance if his love, of whom they had a great loss.”
Squanto was later buried in an unmarked grave in an unknown location.
Squanto’s guidance proved so indispensable to them that Plymouth Governor William Bradford was moved to declare him a "spetiall instrument sent of God for [their] good."
Ready for El Niño? El Niño's fingerprints are all over this winter's outlook. During an El Niño the Jet stream warms up because of above normal temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. This brings warmer, wetter weather than normal across the Southern US. The NOAA has reported that there is a greater than 90 percent chance of El Niño lasting through the upcoming winter. What does this mean; a 60-70 percent chance of above-normal precipitation this winter. The warm wet temps we have seen in the Atlanta area at the beginning of November are probably going to last several months. Note these are impacts that are typically expected, but they aren't always the rule. The forcast:
DECEMBER WILL BE ABOVE NORMAL
JANUARY WILL BE NEAR NORMAL
FEBRUARY WILL BE COLDER
2015-2016 WINTER SNOW
2 to 2.5"
This means you need to clean up your lawn. Clear your lawn of any debris like logs, toys, or gardening equipment. Once the snow/wet comes, these objects can smother your grass, damage your turf, and leave your lawn more vulnerable to diseases. If the leaves are very thick, it's best to remove them from the lawn so as not to increase the acid content of the soil. Continuous mulching of the leaves on the lawn will turn the soil into an acidic soil, making it necessary to apply lime in larger doses than you may have needed to.
Just in case, you might want to look up the number of an emergency tree removal service to keep on hand! Soggy ground around Atlanta has been causing trees to fall all over the place.
In late fall, be sure to give your lawn a final fertilization. Your lawn won't use the fertilizers immediately. Much like mammals bulking up for the cold, your lawn will store these nutrients in its root system and take full advantage of them at the first signs of spring. When spring comes your lawn will be full of healthy, lush, green grass that has been feeding on good fertilizer nutrients throughout the winter.
For warm season turf maintenance as winter approaches begin to gradually reduce the cutting height on your mower until you are almost, but not quite, shaving the lawn. However, be sure to do this in several steps to avoid suddenly removing all the green leaf tissue and damaging the turf.
You can still plant some Fescue grass if you are in a pinch and have nothing but mud around. If it gets later in the year and you just need some grass to come up to give you something other than mud you can plant either Perennial or Annual Rye Grass. These will germinate in temps down to the 40's. It's not a permanent lawn for the south, but it gives you something green and gets rid of mud, then in spring or next fall you can work on getting a permanent lawn.
Be sure to winterize your irrigation system to prevent freezing.
Bring houseplants & tropicals indoors, chances are they will not survive outside during winter.Mound Roses with 10” to 12” of extra dirt for protection. After ground freezes, mulch Roses that have been mounded with leaf mulch, seasoned wood chips, hay or straw.
Store breakable items like terra-cotta pots before it freezes and cracks. Terra-cotta can be saved in an unheated shed or garage.
Remember our feathered friends during the winter….keep plenty of birdseed & fresh water available.
Decorate outside or inside with gourd candle holders. Simply cut off the tops and hollow out the center. Place orange, yellow, and brown candles inside.
Warm your home with a harvest garland. Make a garland from died ears of fall cornhusks. Mix colors like ruby red, yellow, and purple by twisting small eye screws into the wide end of each ear. Bend the husks into loops and seal the pointy ends together with hot glue. Finally, string the ears onto twine, alternating with cornhusks as you go. Hang above your door or along your porch.
To create a leafy monogram for your home, collect bright leaves from your yard and purchase your family name’s first initial from a local crafts store. Use a hot glue gun to glue the dried leaves to the letter.
Have fun in the Lawn and Landscape and enjoy the downtime for winter!