From our house to yours this Thanksgiving Day…
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
I am not sure there is a rougher week for teachers than the week of Halloween. And if Halloween is on a Monday, as it was this year, the week stretches into almost two weeks.
Our Fall Festival was on Friday then they had a Haunted House at the school on Monday evening. We are still feeling the effects two days later.
In times like these, I find myself doing more correcting than cheering.
As I greeted students this morning, I noticed one of my “happy notes” in the outside pocket of a backpack. These are just small pieces of paper with a positive message that I hand out to kids who have done a good job in music. It made me smile. I forget how much it means to students to be recognized.
In a culture that gives trophies for everything, sometimes just a small note can make a huge difference.
I am determined to look for students doing a good job from now on. It is an important reminder as we head into more weeks of craziness between now and Christmas.
On October 12, 1492, after a two-month voyage, Christopher Columbus landed the Santa María, the Pinta, and the Niña on an island in the Bahamas he called San Salvador. From there, he and his men traveled around the Caribbean for five months.
The Italian explorer believed he’d reached East Asia. He sighted Cuba and thought it was China, and when the expedition landed on Hispaniola, he thought he’d found Japan.
His discovery has been celebrated since the 18th century. Columbus Day became a U.S. federal holiday in 1937.
Columbus’s contribution to world history was introducing Europeans to the New World, which led to cultural exchange, commerce, and exploration, and eventually to the discovery of the real westward route to the Indies.
But Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have also generated controversy.
Many argue that Europeans got land, slaves, and gold, while the aboriginals were dispossessed, enslaved, and infected. Those protests of Columbus Day celebrations resulted in the creation of Indigenous People’s Day in the 1990s, which coincides with Columbus Day.
South Dakota became the first U.S. state to recognize Indigenous People’s Day in 1989. Many states and cities officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. Only Alabama and Oklahoma observe both.
I’m not taking sides on which day to celebrate, but I will forever recall the jingle I memorized to remember the man’s accomplishment.
Now you’ll have the jingle sailing through your head all day today too.
FYI, I do recognize the inaccuracies in the jingle. Columbus never really set foot on US soil, but I will forever remember when he discovered the Bahamas. =)
Happy Columbus Day/ Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
This year at school, we have new procedures in place to increase security. These have been added to the procedures regarding illness creating what could be a tedious morning duty routine.
However, as the self-appointment Campus Morale Officer this year, I am trying to stay positive in as many situations as possible. This includes morning duty.
My assignment is to greet the youngest students as they enter, take their temperature, and send them directly to their class. The older students who come through my door are headed to breakfast. All others enter a different door. Everyone has their temperature taken.
For this task, we have a rather bulky thermometer that is intended to rest on a stand. It monitors temperature as people walk by. The problem is that our people are too short. So, we take the thermometer off and point it at the students as they walk by.
This makes for some interesting situations.
Some students come in with a juice box and insist I check its temperature also. My favorite student believes I am taking his picture each morning.
He gives me the biggest smile! I smile back.
The principal put out a rotating duty schedule. I refuse to move from my duty station. I look forward to my morning smiles and don’t want to share.
Bottle tree art is a southern tradition that goes back to ancient Egypt. African slaves carried the bottle tree tradition to Europe and North America in the 17th century.
Many African tribes and communities believed that the talents of the dead could be stolen or could escape from graves. Bottles placed around the gravesite captured the good talents and kept them safe and trapped evil spirits.
That belief came with the slave trade to the American south when enslaved Africans placed bottles in trees around their slave quarters to keep evil slave owners away.
Interesting side note, the Victorians incorporated the same idea with witch’s balls placed inside their homes. Witch’s balls look like Christmas ornaments and were added to the base of marble top tables, hung, or placed on stands.
Though the superstition has been all but completely lost over time, bottle trees are now entrenched in yard art.
Blue bottles are most often seen. Originally Milk of Magnesia bottles, which were blue, were used. They’re too hard to find these days. Most folks settle for blue wine bottles.
The blue color is important because it is believed to discourage the haints. That’s southern speak for ghosts. A special shade of blue called “haint blue” is used on southern porch ceilings to ward off evil spirits and stinging insects.
Whether you believe all the hocus pocus folklore, bottle trees make an interesting piece of yard art. If you don’t want to use a live tree, you can find lots of iron trees at garden shows and plant nurseries or make one yourself.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Rachel has moved into her own place. She is starting her first year of teaching and she, Penelope, and Cooper have found their own home. This has been quite a journey for her. The most recent leg of this journey occurred this past weekend when she gathered all her belongings into her new home.
We started Friday evening by moving the things from Miler Farm. We have had a record-breaking drought. Friday it rained. It didn’t last long and it left a rainbow – a nice reminder of new beginnings.
We finished by lunch and then gathered the remaining items from in town. This included a table from our storage unit and a sectional given to Rachel by a friend.
The last step was to move the dogs to their new home. They were most excited by the new couch.