Daily Stuff 4-1-21 April Fool’s Day

Hi, folks!

 Minus Tide at 10:18 AM of -0.8 feet. The shop opens at 1pm. Winter hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm. Featured photo by Ken Gagne.

Clear still and not all that chilly. It was a lovely day and a beautiful sunset that we saw through a lot of high cloud. 42F, wind at 0-2mph, AQI 27-40 , UV4. Chance of rain 14% today and 8% tonight. Today should be dry with a nice break in the clouds later in the afternoon. Tomorrow and Saturday should still be dry, but more likely overcast. There’s a slight chance of showers on Sunday. Monday through Wednesday ought to be dry again and then it’s back to showers. Temps are pretty much they way they have been, low to mid 50’s day and then below 40 at night. The big change is that the grass pollen is climbing and other pollens are starting to add their bit.

What a day! Not a rest day by any stretch…. Tempus did a little shopping before he came home and brought me strawberries! We did sleep in, although I was up around 10 for a couple of hours, but crawled back in and we slept until 3 and weren’t really awake and doing until past 4pm.

At that point I was “triaging” plants and planters and Tempus trotted them out to the car. We got some more boxes of stuff (books, <grin>) and cookware and then the van was full. I managed to get into our place despite the lack of steps, although it was a strain and left me with a numb arm again, drattit. After Tempus unloaded the plants he brought stuff inside and we spent about an hour putting things away and exploring and measuring and deciding….

There was a whacking lot of stuff left in the trailer, a bucket and a lawn tennis racket, some tools and miscellaneous junk that needs to go, also with a couple of the air “fresheners” that make me ill. We’re going to have to scrub a bunch of drawers and things, but the cabinets were ok. We still need to get the jacks under the bump-out before any more weight ends up there.

We came back to the shop and Tempus went up to storage to clear out the car and scrabble together another load of the necessary stuff (the table!) We’re going to get rid of the provided mattress (ew….) and use our old one which has been in storage, but is still a good mattress. …and then take it out there, unload and come home. He just got here (past 10pm) and is setting up to do burgers for supper.

I’ve been writing and doing some planning. There are things buried in storage that we’re going to need and we’re planning on some days of just digging to find things and sort stuff. (There are boxes of papers of Mom’s to deal with yet). We’re going to want more glassware and dishes and some baking dishes just for starters, and there’s bedding and blankets and pillows and more things of that sort. I have to unearth the easy chair that I’ve had in the office space because that’s going to be my usual chair at home, now, and we’re also going to need the old fishing stool. Well, it’s getting to be a long list!

Today Tempus is going to have to go to the PO first thing. A bunch of stuff that I ordered went by UPS to the post office. The last time that happened, the PO bounced it, so we want to get them looking before they send it back. He’s going to need some sleep and we’re going to open the shop at 1pm. I’ll be by myself most of the day, since he’s going to be running back and forth. He’s hoping to scrub down the bedroom and then get the mattresses exchanged and an air purifier in there before it starts raining again.

Tonight is bulk route again, but he’s not planning on any real shopping they way he usually does. If I have enough oomph I’ll go with him and do it, but I’m not taking bets.

“Jonathan Livingstone Seagull wanted a new profile pic!” photo by Ken Gagne on 3/29/17 Used with permission

strawberry frangaria vesca

Today’s Plant is the Strawberry. We have two wild varieties out here, Wood’s Strawberry, Fragaria vesca, the Coastal Strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, and of course the Garden Strawberry, Fragaria × ananassa, which is a hybrid.The leaves of vesca have been used to make a tea to help with diarrhea and the whole plant is used as an anti-depressant, from flowers to leaves to fruit. – Feminine, Venus, Water, Freya (and many other deities) – Carry the leaves for luck, use them in love spells and sachets, sleep on them to dream of your love. Pregnant women should carry a sachet of the leaves during the last few months of pregnancy to ease labor. The berries themselves are simply an aphrodisiac, often combined with chocolate for this purpose. Yum! Wood’s Strawberry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_vesca and Coastal Strawberry here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_chiloensis  Garden Strawberry here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_strawberry

feast 0401 April Fool jester

Today is April Fool’s Day. There are a lot of suggestions as to how this holiday came about, and I *still* don’t know what fish have to do with it, but it’s a fun one all the same, as long as the pranks stay harmless. I’m looking forward to what NPR puts in their “news” today! I still like the Scottish version, Hunt-the-Gowk. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day

The shop opens at 1pm. Winter hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm. For appointments contact us at 541-563-7154, anjasnihova@yahoo.com, on Facebook or here on the blog, or just leave a note on the door!

Love & Light,


Today’s Astro & Calendar

Moon in Sagittarius

Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 4/11 at 7:31pm. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. – Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 4/4 at 3:02am .

NGC 6826 – The planetary nebula NGC 6828, also known as the Blinking Planetary Nebula, lies about 2,200 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. – Al Kelly

Want to play an April Fool’s joke on your eyes? Wait until late this evening to find NGC 6826, also known as the Blinking Planetary Nebula. This magnitude 8.8 object gets its name from its ability to easily play tricks on the observer’s eye, appearing to “blink” in and out of existence without actually changing at all. To see this for yourself, first locate the nebula in a medium-sized (6-inch or larger) telescope — you’ll find it about 1.4° east of magnitude 4.5 Theta (θ) Cygni. Once you’ve got the planetary nebula centered, looking directly at it reveals its central magnitude 11 star. Then, use averted vision to glance away from the star — and the hazy, spherical nebula will appear to immediately pop into view! Looking back and forth, at and away from the central star, produces this blinking phenomenon because the cone cells in the center of your retina are more sensitive to bright objects, while the rods capable of picking up fainter objects lie outside the center. Looking away from dim objects, then, makes them appear at the edge of your field of view.

This is the time of year when the dim Little Dipper juts to the right from Polaris (the Little Dipper’s handle-end) during late evening. The much brighter Big Dipper curls over high above it, “dumping water” into it. They do the reverse water dump in the fall.

Jupiter and Saturn have been slowly emerging into dawn view for the last month. Look for them low in the southeast about 50 or 40 minutes before your local sunrise time. Saturn is the higher of the two, but it’s much dimmer at magnitude +0.8. Jupiter shines at magnitude –2.1 (not counting the atmospheric extinction for something so low). Find Jupiter some 12° to Saturn’s lower left, roughly a fist at arm’s length.

 Runic half-month of Berkana/ Beorc, 3/14-29 Half-month ruled by the goddess of the birch tree; a time of purification for rebirth and new beginnings.

NIGHT SKY MAP FOR MARCH 2021: THE BIG DIPPER – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-march-big-dipper
NIGHT SKY FOR APRIL 2021 – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-april

Sun in Aries

Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17
Celtic Tree Month 
of Fearn Alder Mar 18 – Apr 14
Color – Turquoise
©2021 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright


Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fern (FAIR-n) Alder – The common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner) is common along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens, poplars, and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps. This allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protect sites they may grow to 20 m (65 feet) tall. Their leaves are more blunt-tipped than most North American alders, which look more like the grey alder (A. incana (L.) Moench). This species is more common in the mountains of Europe, and is not restricted to moist soils. Like ashes, European alders are not widely cultivated in North American (they are often sold as black alders), but several native species are. Alder wood is said to resist rotting when it is wet, and was the wood of choice for pilings in many regions. Alders are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae).

Fearn – Alder Ogam letter correspondences
Month: January
Color: Crimson
Class: Cheiftain
Letter: F, V
Meaning: Help in making choices; spiritual guidance and protection.

Ogam letter correspondences to study this month – Ailim – Silver Fir
Month: None
Color: Light Blue
Class: Shrub
Letter: A
Meaning: Learning from past mistakes; Take care in choices.


 Tides for Alsea Bay

Th   1     High   3:26 AM     8.7   6:56 AM     Set  9:25 AM      87
~     1      Low  10:18 AM    -0.8   7:44 PM
~     1     High   4:39 PM     6.7
~     1      Low  10:09 PM     2.3


Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Who is? – Who is your ideal presidential candidate?


 Journal Prompt – Who is? – Who is your ideal presidential candidate?



~   Let us rather run the risk of wearing out rather than rusting out. – Theodore Roosevelt
~   Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give — which is everything. – Anonymous
~   The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay. – The Salary Axiom
~   This wallpaper is killing me; one of us has got to go. – Oscar Wilde, Irish author and dramatist, said to be his dying words

The first of April some do say
Is set apart for All-Fools’ Day;
But why the people call it so
Nor I nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment;
And though the day is known before,
Yet frequently there is great store
Of these forgetfuls to be found,
Who’re sent to dance Moll Dixon’s round;
And having tried each shop and stall,
And disappointed at them all,
At last some tell them of the cheat,
And then they hurry from the street,
And straightway home with shame they run,
And others laugh at what is done.
But ’tis a tiling to be disputed,
Which is the greater fool reputed,
The man that innocently went,
Or he that him design’dly sent.


Beltane Magick – April Fools! Let’s Celebrate! (edited from Pip Wilson’s Almanac, sadly defunct)

April 1 is the 91st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (92nd in leap years), with 274 days remaining.

April birthstone: Diamond, signifying innocence and light; quartz.

She who from April dates her years
Diamonds should wear lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone
As emblem of innocence is known.  Traditional birthstone rhyme


April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 30 days. The month is traditionally personified in art as a girl clothed with green, with a garland of myrtle and hawthorn buds, holding in one hand primroses and violets, and in the other the sign of Taurus

“The opening month (Lat. aperire, to open) when trees unfold and the womb of nature opens with young life. In the French Republican calendar of 1793 it was called Germinal, the time of budding (21 March to 19 April).”
Ivor H Evans, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Cassell, London, 1988

Robert Chambers* doesn’t agree that the word comes from Latin aperio, ‘I open’. He suggests it comes from Aphrodite, the Greek version of Venus, as the Romans considered it Venus’s month. The first day was Festum Veneris et Fortunae Virilis. Others have it that a Roman goddess of love, Aprilis, was honoured when naming the month.

Anglo Saxon Oster-monath, probably meant east winds prevailed. The term Easter may have come from the same origin (Chambers 1881).

Nigel Pennick (The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, p. 56) says that name comes from Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love).

“It is the fourth month, in which thou art honoured above all others, and thou knowest, O Venus, that both the poet and the month are thine’.”

April is the month of the house of Aries (March 21April 20) and the house of Taurus (April 21May 22). In the American backwoods tradition, the full moon of April is called pink Moon.

* Robert Chambers, (Ed.), The Book of Days: A miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, etc, W & R Chambers, London, 1881 (1879 Edition is online and 1869 edition here with CD-ROM available; See also The English Year: A Personal Selection from Chambers’ Book of Days)

April, month of the goddess Venus, ancient Rome

“April is named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite – Venus to the Romans. Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She was known to the Phoenicians as Astarte and Ashtoreth to the Hebrews and King Solomon, who built a temple to her. On her birth the seas bubbled and turned rosy, and she arose, full grown and standing on a seashell, in all the surpassing glory of her loveliness and arrayed in the panoply of her irresistible charms. She floated to Cyprus, arriving in April, and as soon as her white feet touched the shore, grass and flowers sprang up at her feet and she was sweetly received by the Three Graces.”   Source

The pentagram: origins in Venus

The pentagram is a fascinating arcane symbol and well known to Neopagans and occultists.

In my own view, the pentagram’s origins are in part associated with the passage of the planet Venus through the skies, a view propounded by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, but don’t let that put you off. Others, such as this Freemasonry website, dispute it, and I would hazard a guess that’s because of the sacred feminine associations of Venus, as the Freemasons are a very masculine association.

I know there’s a lot of current interest in this question, and Dan Brown’s assertion that a four-year Venus cycle informs the Olympics periodicity seems wrong to me. As far as I know, the Venus path is on an eight-year cycle. After that period, Venus, the Sun, Earth and the stars are in the same relative positions

However, I certainly ain’t no astronomer and can only go by what I read. If you have any information at all associated with this matter, or anything to do with the pentacle and its origins, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.

Pic April Fool Wilson1

April Fools’ Day (Noddy Day, Gowkie Day, Gowkin’ Day)

If this year’s first day of April is like any other, you’ll have to keep your guard against the practical jokes that others can play on you, much to your annoyance and their delight. But what are the origins of the strange cult of April Fools’ Day?

There are a couple of explanations put forward by scholars to account for the trickery that takes place throughout much of the Western world on April 1.

One theory suggests that, because of the tradition of sending someone on ‘a fool’s errand’, the practice might derive from the Biblical story in which Jesus Christ was sent uselessly back and forth between Annas, Caiphas, Pontius Pilate and King Herod, each of them not being able to resolve what to do with him.

Sending people on fools’ errands has a long history. These days a teacher might send an unruly pupil to another teacher with the message, “Please give this boy a long weight”. All that the lad gets, of course, is a long wait. Or else he might be sent to the Industrial Arts teacher for a “left-handed hammer”. Either way, the joke’s on the boy, who probably deserves it.

In merry olde England the errand was for a gullible person to be sent to the saddler’s for a ‘pen’orth (penny’s worth) of salad oil‘. In this ruse, the pun is between ‘salad oil’ and the French ‘avoir de la salade’, to be flogged. So the poor dupe got a beating for his innocent pains.

Other nasty people would send youths to a bookshop for the ‘History of Eve’s Grandmother’, or to a cobbler for a little strap oil (the butt of the joke would indeed get the strap).

The Scots have always loved April Fool’s jokes. They call an April Fool a gowk (or cuckoo; Anglo-Saxon geac, origin of the word geek), a name which even today sounds as descriptive of its meaning as it did in olden times. The trick was to send the dupe with an envelope containing a message to someone else’s house a long way off. The letter inside would only read  

This is the first day of April:
Hunt the gowk another mile.

Pic April Fool Wilson2

The wise fools of Gotham

Gotham (pron. ‘goat ham’) is a village in Nottinghamshire, England. On a hill was a bush known as the ‘Cuckoo Bush’, which was planted as a memorial to the fabled population of the town.

In about the year 1540, during the reign of Henry VIII (14911547), an amusing collection of stories was published, by the name of The Merry Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham, by the mysterious ‘AB of Phisicke Doctor’ (actually, Pizisicke Doctour).

The tale has it that King John of England (1166 or 11671216) was marching towards Nottingham, intending to pass through Gotham meadow. Believing that any ground traversed by a king became forever after a public road, the citizens of Gotham decided to try to prevent John from passing.

Angered by them, the king sent messengers to find out the reason for their rudeness, and perhaps to impose a fine. Hearing of the messengers’ approach, they quickly decided to act as stupidly as they could, to avoid punishment. Some were trying to drown an eel in a pond; some dragging their carts and wagons to the top of a barn to shield a young tree from the sun’s rays; some tumbling cheeses downhill hoping they would find their way to Nottingham market; some trying to hedge in a cuckoo which had perched on a old bush …

It is said that the Gothamites say, “We ween there are more fools pass through Gotham than remain in it.” There is another Gotham, in Sussex, that lays claim to the tales, but it is generally accepted that Nottinghamshire’s village is the place that gained the reputation as the ‘town of fools’, an archetypal concept that is found in other cultures …  

How New York City came to be called Gotham

In 1807, New York-born writer, Washington Irving (17831859), invented the name for New York in the humorous article, ‘Salmagundi‘. By Irving’s time, Gotham had long been associated with stupidity, even though we can see that the original story was actually about an ironic kind of cleverness. Washington Irving thought this just the name to give to a city that he believed to be inhabited by fools. He used the term of his fellow city people because it conveyed the sense of New Yorkers as know-it-alls and cunning fools – but they had method in their madness.

“Thomas Nast’s cartoon about All Fool’s Day actually appeared in the April 2, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly …

Pic April Fool Wilson3 – April Fool cartoon by Thomas Nast (1840 – 1902) (click thumbnail)

“Nast’s cartoon is a mosaic of several April Fool’s pranks. The inset pictures on the upper-left and upper-right depict Union soldiers and sailors, respectively, tricking their comrades about where the Confederate enemy lurks, and obscuring their vision. The small circles in the middle of each side show a phony newspaper headline announcing that the Union has captured the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. On the center-left, ‘Mr. Shoddy’ is upset because he will no longer be able to supply his inferior goods to the Union military at inflated prices. (See the archive for the cartoon of February 7, 1863, ‘One of the Effects of the War.’) On the center-right, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley (‘Mr. Fogey’) is surprised (and fooled) to see that his headlines continually urging ‘On to Richmond!’ have come true …” Robert C Kennedy

Pic April Fool Wilson4 – From Harper’s Weekly, March 30, 1861 (click thumbnail)

“WE publish on the preceding page a picture of the morning of the 1st April, opposite the Astor House, on the Park, in New York City. Some of the personages in the picture are enjoying the usual frolics of the day.

 “The origin of this fool-making custom, like that of may other of our oldest customs, is involved in considerable doubt and uncertainty. It prevails, besides in this country, in Scotland, Germany, Sweden, and France—in which latter place the victims of the jokes are styled poissons d’Avril, or April fishes. But in none of these countries is its origin reasonably explained. Some suppose it to be derived from the abduction of the Sabine women by the Romans under Romulus, at the feast in honor of Neptune, which occurred on the 1st of April; others trace it from the mockery of our Saviour by the Jews ; while still others ascribe it to the act of old father Noah, in sending out the dove from the ark before the waters of the deluge had subsided.

“The following extract from an old poem will certify to the antiquity of the custom: 

“‘The first of April some do say
Is set apart for All-Fools’ Day;
But why the people call it so
Nor I nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment;
And though the day is known before,
Yet frequently there is great store
Of these forgetfuls to be found,
Who’re sent to dance Moll Dixon’s round;
And having tried each shop and stall,
And disappointed at them all,
At last some tell them of the cheat,
And then they hurry from the street,
And straightway home with shame they run,
And others laugh at what is done.
But ’tis a tiling to be disputed,
Which is the greater fool reputed,
The man that innocently went,
Or he that him design’dly sent.’

“A city reporter says

“‘The number of tricks and hard practical jokes played upon unsophisticated persons, such as sending Jimmy for a bottle of “stirrup oil,” dispatching Betty in search of a pint and a half of ‘ pigeons milk,’ or requesting your illiterate friend to buy you a copy of the Life and Adventures of Eve’s Mother,’ in the Bowery, would require several volumes for their description. The most common methods of fooling people practiced in this city consist in pinning endless rag-tails to ladies’ dresses, fastening paper appendages to the men’s coat skirts, perpetrating cruel stories about the arrival of rich cousins from California with bags of the auriferous metal, and sending people extraordinary letters, containing extraordinary intelligence, and asking the most extraordinary things. Sometimes these nonsensical jokes result in the most serious consequences, and we have known “pistols and coffee” for two to be the not unfrequent denouement. Latterly the sport of fool making is confined principally to little boys and girls, who indulge in a regular carnival of merriment. Those whose mammas and papas allow them “the freedom of the city” kick up a most beautiful excitement among their grown-up superiors, while “—in-door young ones club their wicked wits, And almost frighten servants into fits.'” http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/march/april-fools-day-history.htm

Festival of Venus (Veneralia, or Festum Veneris et Fortunae Virilis), Roman Empire

This was a women’s festival, seeking good relations with men, ruled over by the goddess Venus Verticordia. She was the Roman goddess of beauty and sensual love, identified with Aphrodite. Some accounts say she sprang from the foam of the sea, others say she was the daughter of Jupiter and a nymph named Dione. Her husband was Vulcan, but she had affairs with Mars and many other gods and demigods. She and Mercury had a child, Cupid. By Anchises she had child Aeneas, through whom the Romans regarded her as the founder of their race.

In Rome, women removed jewellery from the statue of the goddess, washed her, and adorned her with flowers, and similarly bathed themselves in the public baths wearing wreaths of myrtle on their heads. It was generally a day for women to seek divine help in their relations with men.

The worship of the goddess Fortuna Virilis was also part of this festival.

“Venus Verticordia

This Roman festival was consecrated to Venus Verticordia (the Heart-turner), ‘Goddess of Beauty, Mother of Love, Queen of Laugher, Mistress of the Grapes.’ At the temple of Venus, women washed Her statue, replaced her golden necklace and other jewelry, and offered Her roses and other flowers. Women bathed in myrtle and scented water and wore crowns of myrtle. Ovid says Venus requested them to bathe beneath the green myrtle. English folklore says myrtle won’t grow unless planted by a woman.”   Source

“The Kalends of April are sacred to Venus, as is the entire month, and this day has been called the Veneralia. Public games, ludi, would be held in honor of the deity.

“This day was also known as All Fools Day to the Romans, and they would spend the entire day celebrating with comic hilarity, doing things backwards, wearing women’s clothes, dancing in the streets, and generally carrying on in the most in the most foolish and congenial manner. This is one of the few Roman holidays that has preserved some of its original character, under the modern name April Fools Day.

“In Egypt, this day was celebrated as the Birthday of the god Hathor.”   Source

  • Day of Hathor, ancient Egypt
  • Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar
  • Corn Planting Festival, Iroquois
  • Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar
  • Kalends of April, ancient Rome
  • Expulsion of Demons of Bad Luck, Tibet
  • Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar
  • Birthday of Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus Christ (German traditional belief)
  • Day of Loki, Norse trickster god, patron of April 1
  • Feast day of St Caidoc
  • Feast day of St Catherine of Palma
  • Feast day of St Cellach
  • Feast day of St Celsus of Armagh
  • Feast day of St Fricor
  • Feast day of St Gerard
  • Feast day of St Gilbert de Moray, Bishop of Caithness, in Scotland
  • King Alexander II appointed him archdeacon of Moray. Enemies set his accounting ledgers ablaze, but miraculously, they survived. He killed a dragon with an arrow. Fierce proponent of Scottish independence, often opposing the archbishop of York. Died 1245.
  • Feast day of St Hugh of Bonnevaux
  • Feast day of St Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble
  • (Annual mercury; Mercurialis annua, is today’s plant, dedicated to this saint.)
  • St Hugh of Grenoble (1052 – 1132) is a Christian saint who was bishop of Grenoble.
  • Feast day of St Irenaeus
  • Feast day of St Ludovico Pavoni
  • Feast day of St Mary of Egypt
  • Feast day of St Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in Libya

Australia: On this day in 1876, a local curiosity was referred to by Mr John Mason, of Belfast, Victoria, in the following letter to the Melbourne Argus newspaper:

Sir,-Riding along the beach from Port Fairy to Warrnambool in the summer of 1846, my attention was attracted to the hull of a vessel embedded high and dry in the Hummocks, far above the reach of any tide. It appeared to have been that of a vessel about 100 tons burden, and from its bleached and weather-beaten appearance, must have remained there many years. The spars and deck were gone, and the hull was full of drift sand. The timber of which she was built had the appearance of cedar or mahogany. The fact of the vessel being in that position was well known to the whalers in 1846, when the first whaling station was formed in that neighbourhood, and the oldest natives, when questioned, stated their knowledge of it extended from their earliest recollection. My attention was again directed to this wreck during a conversation with Mr M’Gowan, the superintendent of the Post-office, in 1869, who, on making inquiries as to the exact locality, informed me that it was supposed to be one of a fleet of Portuguese or Spanish discovery ships, one of them having parted from the others during a storm, and was never again heard of. He referred me to a notice of a wreck having appeared in the novel Geoffrey Hamlyn, written by Henry Kingsley, in which it is set down as a Dutch or Spanish vessel, and forms the subject of a remark from one of the characters, a doctor, who said that the English should never sneer at those two nations – they were before you everywhere. The wreck lies about midway between Belfast and Warrnambool, and is probably by this time entirely covered with drift sand, as during a search made for it within the last few months it was not to be seen.

—Yours, &c.,

Pic April Fool Wilson5

This is one early reference to the ‘Mahogany Ship’, which since the mid-19th Century many people have believed to lie in the sands between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, Victoria. In 1836, two survivors from a wrecked sealer at the Hopkins River mouth walked back along the coast to the whaling outpost at (now) Port Fairy and gave the first account of the wreck, describing an unusually designed vessel, already in an advanced state of disrepair.

It has been postulated it might be a 16th-Century Portuguese caravel lost in 1522 under the command of Cristovao de Mendonca (Cristóvão de Mendonça). (It has been claimed that the so-called ‘Dauphin Map’ (also known as the ‘Harleian Map’, one of the Dieppe Maps) of Portuguese origin and dated 1532 depicts Australia’s north and east coast, including Port Phillip Bay, Victoria and the mouth of the Yarra River, also in the state of Victoria.)

Another theory has it that the Mahogany Ship is an ancient Chinese vessel; still others suggest a French whaler, a Dutch ship and many others. Another theory links the ship to Portuguese sea captain Gomes de Sequeira, lost in 1525.

It is conventionally believed that Captain James Cook (1728 – ’79), the great English navigator, “discovered Australia” in 1770. However, it is probable that Malaccan traders (from what is now Indonesia) were frequent visitors for centuries before that. The pre-1770 Portuguese, Chinese, French, etc, connections are less certain but often conjectured. However, the first recorded landfall by a European was in 1606 when Willem Jansz sailed down the east coast in the Duyfken (or Duijfken, meaning ‘Little Dove’), part of a fleet of twelve ships.

Since the 1880s, the Mahogany Ship, if it ever existed, seems to have vanished, perhaps in the shifting sands. A reward of $250,000 posted by the Victorian Government in 1992 brought many searchers employing a variety of methods, but nothing was found. More recently (2000), a 3-metre-long plank of European white oak, the same timber used to build Portuguese caravels, was turned up in the sand, adding to the mystery as oak is not native to Australia.

“The shipwreck of a whaleboat at the mouth of the Hopkins river in 1836 remains Warrnambool’s earliest recorded shipping disaster.

“It was this event, which may well have gone unnoticed, which caused the three survivors to walk back to the whaling station on Griffith Island, at Port Fairy, along the shore line.

“It was during this return journey that they discovered an old shipwreck at the mouth of the Merri River, just south of Tower Hill. This shipwreck has since become internationally famous as The Mahogany Ship, believed to be a Portuguese caravel lost in 1522. The Portuguese, under the command of Cristovao de Mendonca, had sent and [sic] exploratory expedition down the east coast of Australia.”

“[Richard] Osburne recorded that he had seen the old wreck on several occasions when riding from Warrnambool to Port Fairy in the late 1840’s. Osburne first wrote of the ‘Mahogany Ship’ in his ‘HISTORY OF WARRNAMBOOL’ (published 1887).

“In his publication Osburne copied the 1876 ‘Mason Account’ (by John Mason, his confirmed sighting of the wreck in 1846). Osburne then wrote that he remembered the wreck

“‘…high in the hummocks between Belfast and Warrnambool in 1847 or 1848, but it was much nearer Warrnambool than Belfast – in fact only two or three miles from the former place – to the west of the big hummock which was supposed to fill Warrnambool Bay with drift sand washed by the Merri River, until the cutting was made’.

“Osburne went on to say that the wreck may have been one of the early Spanish or Portugese explorers, and a thorough search should be organised.” Richard Osburne and the ‘Mahogany Ship’

“In Europe, in 1519, learning of the voyage that Magellan was about to undertake – to map the Spice Islands into the Spanish sphere of influence – King Manuel of Portugal sent a fleet under the command of Albuquerque to Goa, and thence on to ‘find the Islands of Gold’. One of the ship’s captains was Cristoval de Mendonça. By all accounts Mendonça arrived, with another ship captained by Pedro Eanes, at Cape York (the tip of Queensland, Australia) which was the outer limit of Portugese sea-knowledge in January of 1522.

“By the end of 1524, Mendonça was to sail down the coasts of Australia and NZ, out into the Pacific, and finally to report back to King João III. If we allow him 5 months returning to Portugal from Goa, and 2 months returning from cape York, then his round-the-Pacific expedition would have taken 2 & 1/2 years. He described his encounters inside the Great Barrier Reef as ‘The Dangerous Coast’ and clearly marked the coastline as he travelled south, including the reef now known as Cook reef where Cook ran aground. Great Sandy Island is marked on the map, and he seems to have continued south as far as Botany Bay. What happened then ?

“One hypothesis is that Mendonça and Eanes opted to sail NE rather than SE to climb away from the onset of winter. If that’s what happened, then their course would have found Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, and finally Fiji – and all three islands are clearly marked on the map. Arriving in Fiji, it is likely that the two ships would have split up, now that they knew they were in a vast ocean, and while Eanes was to sail back west to the Australian continent and then south, Mendonça would sail to the south.

“Eanes reached Cape Howe. In 1963, in 250 feet of water, a local fisherman, Olav Mannes, trawled a vase to the surface. It was thermolinescence dated as 16th century, of Portugese origin. If Eanes had been in trouble with his ship, he may have been able to reach a safe harbour at Warrnambool. The ship was beached and abandoned. In 1991 the Victorian Government offered a 1/4 million dollar reward for the discovery of the sailing ship, known as the ‘mahogany wreck’; it is still buried in the dunes, but relics have been found. They include sword, rapier hilt, pewter jug, soike, and a galley latch. Eanes and his crew would not have survived long on the continent.”



Silliness – Hang-gliding

Here in Kentucky, you don’t see too many people hang-gliding. Bubba decided to save up and get a hang-glider. He takes it to the highest mountain, and after struggling to the top, he gets ready to take flight. He takes off running and reaches the edge– into the wind he goes!

Meanwhile, Maw and Paw Hicks were sittin’ on the porch swing talkin bout the good ol days when maw spots the biggest bird she ever seen!

“Look at the size of that bird, Paw!” she exclaims.

Paw raises up,” Git my gun, Maw.”

She runs into the house, brings out his pump shotgun. He takes careful aim. BANG…BANG…..BANG…..BANG! The monster size bird continues to sail silently over the tree tops.

“I think ya missed him, Paw,” she says.

“Yeah,” he replies, “but at least he let go of Bubba!”

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