Thanksgiving tradition is the topic today. I try not to date my podcasts, and today is no different this will be appropriate today and for many years to come. I promise.
Let me take a minute to say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast for every episode. I appreciate you all so much. I’m so excited to share with you today George Washington’s First Thanksgiving Proclamation and a little bit about Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates
Let’s do just a few homestead updates. Some of you will be upset with me if I don’t let you know how Claire and the girls are doing as well as the donkeys, sheep and goats. And then there are those quail.
Let’s start with the cows. Cloud finally got some relief for her overgrown hooves. I mentioned this ages ago. We even had to stop milking her because she was so sensitive to us getting close to her rear hooves. Both were quite overgrown. Well recently she had begun to limp quite profoundly. And we just don’t let our animals live in pain. They must be treated as soon as possible. That required finding what is called a squeeze chute to be able to get to her hooves. It holds her comfortably without Cloud being able to kick the vet in the face and anywhere else she could land a hit. It took a day or two to get the device, set is up and coordinate with the vet. But it has all been accomplished. Yay!!
While the vet was here, we also had her cut off the sharp ends of Rosie’s horns. That didn’t go as well as we would have liked, but Rosie is fine and no longer able to intimidate the young calves with very sharp horns. While the vet was doing the trim, Rosie decided to kneel down. That caused the vet’s angle on the cut to be off and Rosie caused herself a bit more bleeding than we would have liked. It’s all over now and she will heal up just fine. I was biting my lip with anxiety and it was all for naught. She is fine. Rosie is a strong young lady. Scott says she is doing very, very well. She is alert, attentive, in no apparent distress.
The donkeys are still awaiting their pedicure appointment. With the holidays and company arriving, this was put on the back burner for a few days. We are looking to get that done in the next few days.
Both sets of donkeys came up to say “hi” to the vet. There was a substantial amount of braying and hee hawing. There is nothing quite like a chorus of four donkeys trying to outdo one another.
Sheep and Goats
Nothing really much to say about the sheep and goats. They are all just grazing, chewing their cud and wandering around the pastures. We are blessed to have no problems with these beautiful animals.
The quail, which also seemed to easy, are proving to be a little bit of a challenge right now. I talked about the one white bird that was beat up by her companions. And I mentioned the one that had a mite infestation. Neither faired well when we tried to re-introduce them to their cage mates. Both ended up back in their individual brooder housing, completely separate from the others and also from each other.
Shortly after that, another hen from the same cage as the one with the mite infestation got bloodied. Because of recent experience, I moved her out immediately. And one of the roosters from the same group showed signs of being pecked on too much. He is also in his own brooder condo. Four birds in four separate living quarters. At this point we may just cull that whole cage of birds and be done with it. Once they show they will be too aggressive with each other, I don’t know that there is anything we can do about it. As I mentioned in the last podcast, Pecking Order, it’s a real thing. These birds can be vicious with each other.
Praise be to God, the rest of them seem to be doing fine. And the eggs are starting to come in at a much faster rate than we can consume them. It seems that 35 breeding hens is a bit much. We have plans to cull out eight birds, six of which are hens, so that should bring down the egg population a little bit.
There are 10 hens on each side of the penthouse. Yesterday, I got nine eggs from side and seven from the other. Previous to that day I was regularly getting seven and four respectively. It looks like we could be getting 10 on each side soon. On the bottom level are 12 hens out of the usual 15 in those cages. Three are in quarantine in the brooders. Those 12 hens are laying 10 to 11 eggs each day. I harvested 26 eggs yesterday. So you see, way too many. Realistically, we only need 15 to 20 eggs a day. We may have to cull even more before winter is done. Else we will be overwhelmed with tiny, cute quail eggs.
If you are interested, I will have them for sale at the farmer’s market. Three dollars a dozen. I’ll even have some recipes for you to try.
That’s it for the homestead updates. I’ll talk more about the creamery next time.
I briefly mentioned that I had company earlier in the week. My son and daughter-in-law came all the way across the country for a visit. It was wonderful to see them again. Their Thanksgiving tradition is to arrive here on Saturday or Sunday before Thanksgiving and spend three to four days with us before moving on down the road to visit the other parents in South Georgia. Then a quick swing back to Oklahoma and back to work for both of them.
The Thanksgiving tradition of families getting together has been around for a long time in this country. Today, I want to talk about how that tradition originated. Likely there is going to be some information here that you have never heard. Or perhaps, like me, you may remember some of it vaguely and other parts are completely new. Let me start by going over some of the things that happened at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
It is unlikely that any of you learned of the political disagreements between the native tribes. And there is a great deal of history leading up to 1621 that is left out of history books, and indeed today, is even being rewritten. I’m going to leave it to you to investigate this information. There are two articles that I will link in the show notes to get you started. The first is “History of the First Thanksgiving” by Rebecca Beatrice Brooks and published on the “History of Massachusetts Blog” on August 31, 2011. The second, “The First Thanksgiving Was Nothing Like What You Were Taught” by John Daniel Davidson was published in “The Federalist” dot com website on November 22, 2017.
These articles look at this bit of history as seen through the political eyes of the native population. One is written with a politically left vision and the other from the right. It is fascinating reading. The same native peoples appear in both accounts and the factual events are nearly identical, but the motivations for the events as told by the two authors are vastly different. It was very educational for me to say the least.
Neither of these perspectives speak to the motivations of the settlers which is what was presented in the history books of my childhood. The popular story is that the Pilgrims put on a feast and invited the natives to attend to thank them for their assistance in teaching them how to fish and hunt the local fowl and animals. The Pilgrims also learned how to use the hides of the animals to make clothing. There was much to be thankful for that year.
I’ll give a very brief historical account as I know it. I’m not vouching for the complete accuracy of what I’m about to say. But I think it is pretty close. You can fact check me. I’m okay with that.
The Pilgrims landed in November 1620 far north of their intended destination in the Virginia Colony. After a failed attempt to head south and go ashore in Virginia, they landed their ship, the Mayflower, in the bay that would become known as Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts. Winter was already upon them and they pretty much stayed on the ship throughout the winter of 1620-21.
In the spring of 1621, they emerged and began treating with the natives. I won’t get into all the details there. The politics are deep. Again, I’ll link to two articles that will give background on politics and motivations of the natives. It wasn’t all roses and daisies on either side. The settlers wanted to survive to fulfil their contracts with those who had sponsored them, as far as I can tell. The natives were trying to recover from a pandemic a few years back and rivals were vying for control of the area. Should they fight these newcomers or help them? What would benefit them the most.
As I mentioned, the natives did help the settlers – of the 102 that made the journey across the ocean, only 41 were the religious sect known as Pilgrims so I will refer to the entire group as “the settlers”. There is a lot more to that story as well. Anyway, the natives helped the settlers with planting, hunting and fishing. That assistance got the settlers through their first spring and summer and produced some provisions for the winter. When the harvest came in, they held a feast in honor of their success. They thanked God for getting them through this very trying ordeal where many died.
Now fast forward to George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation. It was delivered October 3, 1789 and was a one-time event. It was Abraham Lincoln that created the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday to be held every year. Indeed, there have been many thanksgiving celebrations given in many different parts of the very young country even before Washington’s proclamation. But the text of Washington’s is inspirational. I’ll read it. It’s not that long. I’ll leave a link for this document as well.
“‘Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.’
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
“Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”
Do I have time to read Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation? Sure, why not? It is also delivered on October 3rd. This time in the year of our Lord 1863 in the midst of the civil war.
“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
“In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
“In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. Abraham Lincoln.”
That’s it. I know people say that our founders were not religious; that they didn’t have much to do with religion at all. Some say they were atheists or agnostics. But George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation tells me otherwise. The holiday tradition we know as Thanksgiving is about turning our attention to being grateful for the blessings in our lives. And it truly is about giving thanks to God for each and every one of those blessings. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Let all celebrate as they choose, with or without thanking God, but the truth about this traditional holiday is indisputable. The Pilgrims thanked God. George Washington thanked God. Abraham Lincoln thanked God.
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Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.
- History of the First Thanksgiving
- The First Thanksgiving Was Nothing Like What You Were Taught
- George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
- Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
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