Archive for October, 2009

Another folk tale

October 23, 2009

A local weather meteorologist has been talking lately about the woolly bear caterpillar and the old folk tale about it being used to predict the severity of the coming winter. I have seen a couple of these caterpillars in my backyard and I am not sure what to make of it – one was solid black and the other was half-brown and black. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the woolly bear:

“Folklore of the eastern United States and Canada holds that the relative amounts of brown and black on the skin of a woolly bear caterpillar (commonly abundant in the fall) are an indication of the severity of the coming winter. It is believed that if a woolly bear caterpillar’s brown stripe is thick, the winter weather will be mild and if the brown stripes are narrow, the winter will be severe. In reality, hatchlings from the same clutch of eggs can display considerable variation in their color distribution, and the brown band tends to grow with age; if there is any truth to the aphorism, it is minimal.”
Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrharctia_isabella

Makes for interesting conversation, anyway.

Joe

Clearing up a misunderstanding

October 21, 2009

I just finished reading a book titled Delaware’s Forgotten Folk; the Story of the Moors and Nanticokes by C. A. Weslager, written in 1943. It helped clear up a misunderstanding about one of my ancestors, Sarah Nisa Hansor. Since she was listed in birth records as being mulatto, I assumed she might be of either African-American or Native American descent, or both. Turns out the term mulatto was applied to everyone who did not appear white.

So now she appears to be of Native American descent, probably either from the Nanticoke or Lenni Lanape tribes of the DelMarVa Peninsula.

It was interesting to read about the customs of the the locals in Delaware, some of whom are considered part of a group of people known as the Delaware Moors. They are not sure of their ancestry, and keep pretty much to themselves. Another interesting group of folks are members of the Nanticoke Indians, whose tribe was recognized by the State of Delaware. According to some local history, all the Native Americans had been run out of the DelMarVa Peninsula area, but it turns out that some remained and acclimated to life among the whites.

The book lists a few medicinal/herbal remedies that were part of the Nanticoke tribal history, some of which are still in use today. And several folk tales that were interesting to say the least. Some of them sounded pretty scary.

Fascinating history – thank goodness for interlibrary loans. And thank you Kenny Brown, who suggested I read the book.

Joe

Howdy, world!

October 21, 2009

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
– Andy Warhol, 1968

This is the start of my blog. Here goes……..