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Celebrating the season of Thanksgiving

Celebrating the season of Thanksgiving. We should always celebrate the season of Thanksgiving and not just the day itself. We should give daily thanks because giving thanks to God is always in season. Thanksgiving began in America, not as a feast, but as an offering of thanksgiving by Christopher Columbus when he reached the shores of the America’s on October 12, 1492 after a stormy journey across the Atlantic and the loss of one of his ships. Columbus offered prayer and praise to God who spared his life. In 1620, which was 128 years later, the Pilgrims thanked and acknowledged God for sparing their lives on a hard journey from England across the Atlantic. In both of theses events, God was given the priority and glory. In 2020, our mind and thoughts should be on what really matters most. We need to think of who God is and what He has done for us, as well as the country we are privileged to live in. God bless America and God bless you and your family as we give thanks and celebrate.

The 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing at Cape Cod. On Saturday, Nov. 11, 1620, 400 years ago, the Mayflower landed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, after leaving Southampton, England, on Sept. 6, 1620. The Mayflower carried 102 passengers and a crew of 26 plus the captain. Of this number, there were 32 children. On this 66-day voyage, Pilgrims stayed below deck. They could not use lanterns or candles so they were in darkness day and night. They were not able to take baths or change clothes each day. Most food was dried fruits, fish, and hard biscuits. The second half of the voyage was stormy, windy and bitter cold. Their clothes were wet and beds were wet and clothes froze to their bodies. Many were sick because of the food and the harsh conditions. Added to these conditions was the crew of 26 harassing them in these overcrowded conditions. Even after a 66-day voyage, and landing at Cape Cod, they had to remain onboard while they searched for an area with fresh water, a river and land to build. The captain of the Mayflower described Plymouth harbor, they explored it and on Dec. 16, 1620, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth Harbor. After all the hardships of that first winter, 43 of the Pilgrims died. We should never forget the Pilgrims and the conditions they endured to arrive in America, but what they went through to survive. When the Mayflower left the next spring, not one Pilgrim returned to England. No wonder that America is called, “Land of the Pilgrim’s pride.”

Pumpkins on the table at the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrim’s did not have pumpkin pie at their feast in 1621. We know they had deer and fish as well as corn which was probably dried and boiled. Today, we call it hominy. Instead of pumpkin pie, the pumpkins were used to make soup because they are members if the squash family. Another use for pumpkins was that they were hollowed out and used as bowls with lids. For dessert they made hasty pudding with dried ground corn, molasses, and meal mixed with eggs. Dried beans, dried fruit, and turnips found their place at the feast, as well as onions, barley, bread, greens. Butter was used to season many foods and a main ingredient of breads, puddings and soups. Whatever else that was on the table was bountiful because this feast lasted for three whole days. The meal was great but they gave thanks to God.

Don’t let black Friday black out your season of Thanksgiving. Next Friday has become known as “Black Friday,” as it officially kicks off the Christmas shopping season. Many people will stand in line or camp out in front of a big box store for a chance to get a bargain. The truth is there are not many bargains worth staying out in the cold all night for. Wait until Monday when the crowds all go back to work and aisles will not be crowded. Meanwhile, you can stay home, enjoy the children and grandchildren and make the most of the holiday. Do not allow Thanksgiving to become America’s most taken for granted holiday.

Grandma’s Northampton county collard patch. Grandma’s collard row resembled a row of hedges when Thanksgiving rolled around each year. We had never seen anything quite like that until several years ago when we spent Thanksgiving at Myrtle Beach and on the way there on highway 28 between Rockingham and Bennettsville, we saw a house with a hedge of collards landscaping the house. They were beautiful and reminded us of grandma’s collard row. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, she would scald the black washpot, she rendered lard in and readied it for large collard and also to boil a huge Peanut City ham in. Early Wednesday morning, she had a fire under the pot with the ham inside. The aroma of smoked ham and oak wood was filling the Northampton County country side air. At noon, she would test the ham for tenderness, remove it from the pot and add collard heads one by one as they cooked down. On Thanksgiving, all the families, kids, and grandchildren would be there and the table was filled with food and desserts, but nothing could top smoked ham with collards, corn bread, and sweet tea.

Making a three-layer pumpkin cream cheese pie for Thanksgiving. The cream cheese layer really enhances the flavor of this pie. For this pie, you will need a nine-inch unbaked pie shell. For the bottom cream cheese layer, you will need one eight ounce pack of cream cheese (softened), one fourth cup sugar, one teaspoon vanilla, and one egg. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until very smooth, add egg and beat into mixture. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. For the pumpkin layer, mix together one and a fourth cups canned pumpkin, one cup sugar, two teaspoons pumpkin pie spices, pinch of salt, one cup evaporated milk, one teaspoon vanilla, two eggs. Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spices, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Add evaporated milk and eggs. Mix all ingredients well and pour into pie crust over top if the cream cheese layer. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and ten minutes. After the pie cools and before serving, top with a layer of Cool Whip.

Watching for creepy crawlers in outdoor sheds and buildings. As the month of November grows colder, the creepy crawlers and four legged pests such as mice and rodents will be trying to slip into your barn or shed for winter. You can do quite a few tasks to keep them out. First of all, remove any seed that may be left over as well as any straw that may be on the floor. Sweep the floor and apply a handful of moth balls all around. Spray with a strong insect spray and spray once a month. If you see signs of mice and rodents, take measures to control them. Inspect outdoor buildings often during winter.

Observing the Northern Cross constellation as it appears on the western horizon. The Northern Cross is actually a part of the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. It is now getting a bit closer to the westerns horizon each night when it gets totally dark. By Christmas Eve, it will be in a upright position early in the evening. The Cross can be seen above the tree line in the western sky each evening as it draws a little closer to the horizon. For a better view drive out on a Surry County country road, look westward above the tree line when the Cross can clearly be seen. The swan is a symbol of grace and it is fitting that God placed the Northern Cross in Cygnus the Swan. It is God’s Christmas card in the western skin as the heavens declare His glory.

Happy Thanksgiving to all readers. Thank you to all readers of the Garden Plot in beautiful Surry County and we appreciate your reading the Garden Plot every Sunday morning in the Lifestyles section. Thanks to the Mount Airy News for publishing the column and enhancing with their colorful graphics. We hope the articles make your garden fun, easy, and productive. It is our hope that you learn to live a richer and fuller life, and that all of you have a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving filled with love.

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