21 November 2010

21 November - Stir-up Sunday; North Carolina; Blue Moon Tonight

Weather: As November 21, so is the winter.  
Clear, sunny, a little chilly.   
Astronomy: Tonight is the Full Beaver Moon, also known as the Frost Moon or the Snow Moon, and (for those who didn't get enough game in their larder last month to see them through the winter) the Hunter's Moon.

Also, this is a Blue MoonAs EarthSky tells it, a Blue Moon can be the third of four full moons in a single season (and in fact, this is the original meaning); tonight's moon is the 3rd of the four that take place between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, skunks hibernate now.  Uh-huh.  For some reason, my yard always hosts the insomniacs convention.
Today is also known as 'Stir Up Sunday', from the traditional collect of the day: "Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of Thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen."

The schoolboy's rendition of the above collect was:
"Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot
And when we get home, we'll eat it all hot!"

This became a signal that it was time to make the Christmas puddings, or at least stir together the ingredients for the puddings, some of which, like the Widow's Mincemeat, will be stored in spirituous liquor until baking or steaming time (Christmas Eve).

Today in 1789, North Carolina became the 12th of the original 13 Colonies to ratify the Constitution, and true to the independent nature of its people, would not do so until a Bill of Rights safeguarding the liberties of the individual against the power of the Federal government was written and proposed.

There is just no way to be bored in this state!

The Outer Banks is, of course, everyone's favorite vacation spot; visit Roanoke to see the place of the first English attempts at colonization and the home of the Lost Colony, or Kitty Hawk, site of Orville and Wilbur Wright's more successful attempt at flying.  If you are into pirates, check out Bath, where Blackbeard lived between acts of piracy, and Ocracoke, where he was killed in battle.  That Charles Eden, the first governor of North Carolina, was in cahoots with Blackbeard is still a matter of speculation.

Moving inland, there is the Town Creek Indian Mound NHL near Fayetteville, the Alamance Battle Ground, site of a 1771 attempt by the colonials rid themselves of excessive British taxation and mismanagement, and Historic Bethabara Park and Old Salem Museums and Gardens in Winston-Salem.

Ready for a wine tour? Check out wineries and vineyards on the Wine Trail of the Yadkin Valley.  Move up into the mountains and travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can visit Mount Mitchell (the highest point in the United States east of the Mississippi), Blowing Rock, and Grandfather Mountain, with its Swinging Bridge, and maybe even see the Brown Mountain Lights!

(By the way, North Carolina has more ghost stories and legends per square inch than any state I've been in - judging by the number of books on the subject that I've collected.)

Try your hand at mining and look for rubies in Franklin, emeralds in Hiddenite, or pan for gold at the Reed Gold Mine NHL, site of the first documented discovery of gold in the United States. Or try to strike it rich at the Cherokee Casino.

For more things to do, see VisitNC.com, the state's official Travel site.  The images there will give you more than enough ideas.

For a taste of North Carolina cuisine, you can choose anything from a fish fry (with hush puppies and cole slaw) to Barbecue (scroll down for Secret Sauce recipe), washed down with gallons of Real Ice Tea (I always drink mine unsweetened.  Yes, I know.  Heresy!)