Tuesday Trivia

What is one of Washington’s best known and least liked animals???

SLUGS! They may be nature’s ultimate recycler but to most of us they are icky.

“One of Washington’s best-known molluscs is a slug….a very big slug, to be exact. The honorable banana slug is commonly 4 to 6 inches long and sometimes can reach 10 inches. Slugs are most active at night and in dim, humid conditions because they need the humidity to replenish liquid that is consumed in their prodigious production of slime. Slime is very important to the slug. It provides both traction and lubrication and also protects the slug’s sole.”

(This bit comes from The Washington Almanac, by Andrea Jarvela, 1999.)

According to author Jarvela, “banana slugs can be eaten. Fry them after removing the slime by soaking the slugs in vinegar. They taste just like the more expensive French escargots….”

Have you ever chomped a fried banana slug?????

Monday Mystery

Okay, you travel detectives, where is this? And what is this?

If you travel north on I-5 and take exit 207 (just north of Marysville) you’ll see this relic of the past……………a stump house!

Yes, in days of yore in Washington, when logging was king and giant cedars trees prized above all, the cutting of these woody monsters left huge stumps. These stumps were often hollow in the middle and so all an enterprising settler needed to do was put a roof over the stump and viola! Home sweet home. Kinda. Sorta.

Google the words “stump homes Washington” and then images, and you’ll be amazed at those old images of our pioneer ancestors’ ingenuity.

Friday Serendipity

What do you know about catsup? Or ketchup? Or tomato sauce, as it’s called in some parts of the world?

In New Zealand they call it Tomato Sauce but the bottle and the contents were quite familiar to us and worked dandy fine for dipping french fries.

Bet you didn’t know that (according to Google) our concept of catsup/ketchup comes from a Chinese condiment? The word originally meant fish sauce in a dialect of Fujian province and then people from there immigrated to America they brought their food tastes with them.

Here is a recipe for Tomata (sic) Catsup in 1817:

“Gather a gallon of fine, red and fully ripe tomatas; mash them with one pound of salt; let them rest for three days then press off the juice and to each quart add a quarter pound of anchovies, two ounces of shallots, and an ounce of black pepper; boil up together for half an hour, strain through a sieve and put to it the following spices: quarter ounce of mace, the same of allspice and ginger, half an ounce of nutmeg, a drachm of coriander seed and half a drachm of cochineal; pound all together; let them simmer gently for twenty minutes and strain through a bag; when cold, bottle it,a dding to each bottle a wineglass of brandy. It will keep for seven years.”

A “drachm” is 1/8 of an ounce; cochineal was for red color and came from a certain seashell.

Makes me wonder: what is the list of ingredients for modern-day ketchup or catsup??? No brandy, I’d guess.


Wednesday Nostalgia

What’s better than German Chocolate Cake? Nothing much, eh? Did you know it did not originate in Germany?? Nope, not a “German food.”

“German chocolate” was developed by an English/American baker, Samuel German, in 1852. The Baker’s Chocolate Company used Samuel German’s creation of a dark baking chocolate to ultimately develop a recipe for a chocolate-coconut cake. On 3 Jun 1957, a recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake appeared as the “Recipe of the Day” in The Dallas Morning News. It was created by Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from Dallas.”

General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers and sales of Baker’s Chocolate are said to have skyrocketed. The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications forming the “German Chocolate Cake” identity and giving the false impression of a German origin.”

(Thanks to both Wikipedia and Der Ahnenforscher, newsletter of the German Genealogy Group (www.TheGGG.org) ……. to which you might want to subscribe iffen you have German roots and not just a love of German Chocolate Cake.0



Tuesday Trivia

Did you realize there are 17 different species of penguins in the world? Not counting whatever species Opus belonged to.

We’ve been watching Planet Earth, the Frozen Planet series, and have become quite enamored with these black-and-white flightless birds. Asking Grandma Google for more information, I was introduced to a wonderful website, www.penguinworld.com . There I found descriptions and super photos of all different 17 species and a map of locations where they are found.

They live in Antartica primarily, but South America, New Zealand and the bottom of Africa. Those places may seem widely separated but looking at a map with Antarctica in the center those others places are just “inches” away in reality.

Hope you’ll click to that website and have a fun learning experience for yourself.

And how many flightless birds are there? You’d never be able to list them all and neither would I: 70 is the number!


Monday Mystery

Reading this article was laughable, mysterious and terrible all at once. The Oct-Nov 2018 History Magazine carried this article: “A Weighty Issue-Mailing Babies,” by David McCormick. Yes, this really happened!!

(Smithsonian image)

McCormick wrote: “Starting in 1913, people legally sent babies and toddlers through the mails. The rate of postage was far less than the price of a train ticket.  The U.S. Postal Service initiated its parcel post service on 1 Jan 1913, thus allowing millions of people throughout the country access to any and all manner of goods. An Ohio couple was the first known to have availed themselves of the new Parcel Post to ship their child. James, then eight months old was sent from Glen Este, Ohio, to his grandmother in Batavia, Ohio. James weighed just under the 11-pound maximum requirement at the time. The price of postage for James’s delivery was fifteen cents. And in an off-handed aside, they insured their son for $50.00.

Can you imagine? Did you have an ancestor who was mailed like a package via the U.S. Postal Service?

Friday Serendipity

What day is tomorrow???  A most auspicious day!

December 1st is day number 335 of the year (336 in leap year) leaving only 30 days until the end of the current year. And only 24 days until Christmas.

“According to the Zodiac, the astrological sign for December is Sagittarius and such people are said to be brave and full of confidence. They can take on the most difficult challenges in life, much more efficiently than most other signs. And one important reason for their positivity lies in their open-mindedness. They are the ones who believe in moving on and exploring. Indeed, they are great admirers of freedom. However, this want for freedom can sometimes make them impatient and tactless.”

So what, you are saying? You’d rather know that on this day in 1982 Michael Jackson released his Thriller album?

Just sayin…………………….

(Thank you, Wikipedia, for the quote.)

Wednesday Nostalgia

Do you YouTube? If you don’t, and you consider yourself a genealogist, you should. It’s a free resource, so why not?

Yes, there are plenty of funny cat or dog videos, “Wal-Martians,” how-to-cook-anything videos, travel logs, beginning crochet, wood carving and darling baby videos.

Of course there are “black” things to view; just do not go there. They won’t pop up unless you ask for them.

Did you know there are channels on YouTube? You can click to view a list of whatever topic you want………. and that includes genealogy! Ancestry! How tos! History of any topic you can think of!! FamilySearch!

You’ve heard the phrase, Try it you’ll like it! This applies to YouTube too. Do give it a try.

Tuesday Trivia

Perhaps this should have been posted under Mystery…….but I ask for your help to identify this darling little flowering plant:

It is growing happily in my daughter-in-law’s garden in Port Angeles. The thin woody stems are about a foot long. The red-and-white flowers are tiny and about the size of your thumbnail.  She says it’s a perennial.


Monday Mystery

To me, and perhaps to you, this is a real mystery………. but a non-genealogical mystery.

We’ve been watching a good many TV shows about space and the mysteries thereof. There have been several shows exploring the dynamics of each of our planets in turn. All have been fascinating.

The mystery here to me is this: If we were to think of them as siblings, all created to be part of THIS solar system, then why are they so very different??

A mystery for you to ponder upon as you pause before sliding into the holiday frenzy, eh?