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Thanksgiving & Evergreen Care
November 25, 2013

(I like my ducks.)

Deadly thunderstorms and tornadoes one weekend, Winter cold, and snow the next.

Seasonal transitions in full swing.

At the bottom of this letter are the 'Fur Kids' groomed and ready for Thanksgiving.

'Ziggy' the Toy Poodle and Akita (Keet), the Pomeranian, Chihuahua mix ( called Charmanion designer dog).

'Bobo', one of our Lovebirds has taken to plucking himself almost bald.

A nice vet bill, some meds and a collar later, Bobo is starting to perk up a bit.

Bebe, noticed the collar, instantly noticed a weakness and went into attack mode.

These guys are brothers.

From the same clutch.

Something is different.


Bobo is in a separate cage for now.

At least until the collar comes off in another week or so.

The Bradford pears are still hanging on to about 1/3 of their foliage. I'm hoping I can get on last rake in before the snow really starts to fly. These trees were here when we moved, I would never recommend them for any landscape.

If you haven't received enough rain, you are wise to water your new plantings and your evergreens thorough and deep.

Continue to water when necessary or until the ground freezes.

Here is why..........

Winter cold and whipping winds can be harsh on your landscape.

Evergreen trees and shrubs maintain foliage throughout the winter months where they continue to lose moisture.

With winter temperature fluctuations, moisture loss and the if the ground is still frozen, transpiration occurs from the needles and leaves increasing water demand.

When the roots cannot keep up with these demands the needles and leaves start to turn brown and die.

Winter burn or desiccation is a dehydration of the plant due to water loss from the leaves through transpiration.

(We've all experienced that.)

Some broadleaf evergreens such as holly, rhododendron, laurels, skip laurel, Japanese skimmia, leucothoe, aucuba and boxwood are even more susceptible to winter drying and long-term damage.

An easy way of avoiding winter damage to plants is to apply an 'anti-desiccant' spray like 'Wilt Pruf', to the upper and lower parts of the foliage before the temperatures drop below freezing or during a winter thaw.

Another technique is to wrap your prized evergreens in Burlap.

The burlap serves double duty.

It slows the harsh winter winds from drying out the foliage.

Burlap also keeps hungry deer from munching on your evergreens.

Tree wraps work wonders for keeping hungry critters like rabbits, deer and some mice from chewing off the bark as well.

Tree wraps also prevent sun scald (bark splitting) on young trees and trees with thin bark, that are susceptible to the freeze and thaw of sap like Japanese maples.

Sun scald is caused by the heating and cooling of the tree trunk, usually the south to southwest side of a tree where the flowing sap freezes, swells, and splits the side of a tree.

This can often be fatal to a young tree.

Get your wraps on now.

If you are only concerned about hungry animals, wrap the tree with hardware cloth or chicken wire.

Don't stuff with leaves, this is an invitation for other issues.

With Thanksgiving upon us, this is some though provoking or even conversational topics at your dinner table this week.

The first Thanksgiving,

What food and drink was possibly consumed at that celebration so long ago.


The First Thanksgiving:

The event we now know as "the First Thanksgiving" was in fact neither the first occurrence of our modern American holiday,

Nor was it even a 'Thanksgiving" in the eyes of the Pilgrims who celebrated it.

It was instead a traditional English harvest celebration to which the colonists invited Massasoit,

The most important among the Wamapanoag.

1621 harvest celebration, a three day party.

Food, drink, fun.

Before all feasts, there is much preparation.

Pilgrims and Indians went out on hunting parties.

Bringing back Deer, duck, geese, other game birds.

And yes, I'm sure a wild turkey or two.

History also tells us that a variety of fish were also on the menu.

Now here is a possible list of some other food items.

Most gardeners have heard of the 'Three Sisters'.

Corn, beans, and squash planted together.

All three complement each other, and is a Native American specialty.

0ur word "squash" comes from the Massachuset Indian word askutasquash, meaning "eaten raw or uncooked." Although the Indians may have eaten some forms of squash without cooking, today we like our squashes cooked.

The late-growing, less symmetrical, odd-shaped, rough or warty kinds, small to medium in size, but with long-keeping qualities and hard rinds, are usually called winter squash. They belong, almost without exception, to the species Cucurbita maxima or C. moschata.

The small, quick-growing forms that are eaten before the rinds and seeds begin to harden are called summer squash and belong to the species C. pepo.

Pumpkins also belong to that species, but large, late, smooth, symmetrical forms of C. maxima and C. moschata are sometimes called "pumpkins" regardless of species.

All three species of squashes and pumpkins are native to the Western Hemisphere.

(All that gives me a headache, I'll stick with everyday stuff on the most part.)

It is possible the Native Americans offered squash and pumpkins raw, and the Pilgrims refined the process to cooking and adding spices to enhance the flavor.


'True Red Cranberry’.

Unique, round red beans; a New England variety .

A classic for baked beans; keeps its shape well when baked; used either as a shelling bean or as a dry bean; texture is dense and meaty; works well with smoked meats

'Mayflower’ or ‘Amish Nuttle’

A semi-pole variety; small, speckled beans; grown among the New England nations.

Used as a dry bean; a small-seeded variety that’s good combined with other vegetables, especially in soups and stews; excellent mixed with wild rice; flavor is similar to that of cowpeas.

‘Genuine Cornfield’ or ‘Scotia’

A true corn hill bean; grown by the Iroquois and other eastern nations.

Can be used like any Mexican pinto bean; turns creamy as a baked bean, which makes it excellent for cassoulet-type dishes.

There may have been other variety of beans as well, but you get the general idea.

Most beans were used as dry beans, food that would make it through the winter and seed to replant.

The first Thanksgiving may have had dishes of baked beans, or duck stuffed with the legumes.

Maize, we call it corn.

Corn as we know it today would not exist if it weren't for the humans that cultivated and developed it.

It is a human invention, a plant that does not exist naturally in the wild.

It can only survive if planted and protected by humans.

Corn has a long history.

Dating back to what archaeologists believe to be its origin in South America.

It is believed that corn traveled north and became a staple of every Indian Nation.

Used mostly as a ground product for flat breads and tortilla type shells.

Corn breads were more than likely a part of the First Thanksgiving.

And did you know, American Indians possibly shared popping corn with their new friends.


Pop corn dates back thousands of years.


In 1536 Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru, discovered the flavors of the potato, and carried them to Europe.

Before the end of the sixteenth century, families of coastal spain began to cultivate potatoes

Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland in 1589.

Potatoes arrived in the Colonies in 1621 when the Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler, sent two large cedar chests containing potatoes and other vegetables to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown.

Still, could have the potato found its way via American Indians over the centuries, and we simply don't know the whole story?

There are records of the potato in early colonial days, but no mention of the grand tuber being part of the First Thanksgiving.

Sweet potatoes are native to the Caribbean, so doubtful they were at the feast.

Still, there is always that 'could be' stature to the potatoes.


What's a three day feast without a few fruits thrown in.

Blueberries and Gooseberries might have been, but a bit out of season.

Though they could have possibly been dehydrated or dried fruits.

More than likely, native fruits would have consisted of Cranberries, Persimmon, and Paw Paws.

Wild concord grapes.

Possibly some native (only species native to America) Crab Apples.

The native apples were about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

Aronia (choke berries) and other wild fruits were also available.

Pour on some 'maple syrup' (American Indian original) and things are looking up.

Let's not forget Indigenous nuts.

Black walnut, Hickory nuts, Butternuts, even some boiled acorns.

Why not furnish some fresh groundnuts as well.

A plant for all seasons.

Apios americana, American groundnut was a staple in the diets of many Native Americans.

This explains why it grows profusely where they once encamped.

Almost every part of the plant is edible.

Shoots, flowers, the seeds that grow in pods like peas, but, most importantly, the tubers.

Fleshy, starch and nutrition filled tubers, often called 'Indian Potatoes'.

Wild Rice - Zizania palustris L.

Important as food item s well as in religious ceremonies.

A possible treat that was shared with the new comers.

The First Thanksgiving wasn't all 'Native American Foods'.

The celebration was to celebrate a great harvest.

Crops that Pilgrims brought with them from the old country.

Foods that were first shared with the native people.

Can you imagine................

For the first time American Indians had a taste of carrots, peas, cabbage, turnips, etc. (Peppers and tomatoes are native to the americas also, but believed to not be a part of the New World, just yet).

Breads and muffins made with wheat and other grains.

Well, it time to fly for now.

Before I go, I wish you a Blessed Thanksgiving, Even our friends that cross borders and oceans.

Stop for a moment and think of all the things You Do Have, to be thankful for.

Now your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

W. T. Purkiser

Read that again, but a bit slower this time.

Does something about that resonate with you?

“Be content with what you have, for God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.’”

Hebrews 13:5,6

“Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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