Busy as a bee

BZZZ BZZZ BZZZ!. A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers per trip from their hive (home). They go inside the flower to find nectar to eat, at the same time they pick up pollen and carry it to the next flower to help it grow.  Bees are really interesting. They have six legs, 5 eyes, and two pairs of wings.  They can fly forward, backward and sideways and talk with one another by dancing. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour. They are the only insect that produces food (honey) eaten by humans. It takes about 556 workers to gather 1 pound of honey from about 2 million flowers!  Bees also eat honey, and one ounce of honey will fuel a bee’s flight clear around the world!  Don’t try to eat the bee itself, though.  I did that once, and got stung for my efforts, and it HURT!

Purrs, Gulliver

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Basque Food

This little cat loves to eat! So when I went to Bakersfield to visit my older brother, we scurried down to have dinner at a Basque restaurant. Everyone sits together in long tables, and the food is served family style with big platters on the table and each person helping themselves. Since we are cats, we had our neighboring humans serve us. We had Soup, Salad, Beans, Bread, Salsa, Pickled Beef Tongue, Cottage Cheese, Pasta, French Fries, and Vegetables. And that was before the main course! At the end of the meal, we were served Blue Cheese and Ice Cream. Many of the Basque people who moved from their home in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain became sheepherders, so lamb is often on the menu at the restaurants. Purrs, Gulliver

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Ancient Olympics

While we were watching the Olympic events, Smokey and I talked about the first Olympic Games. Started over 2,700 years ago as part of a religious festival, it was a short sprint from one end of the stadium to another. Gradually more events were added to make four days of competitions including wrestling, boxing, and long jump, throwing the javelin, discus and chariot racing. There were no winter sports. The ancient Games were held in Olympia, Greece for over 1,100 years until they were outlawed by invaders of Greece. The modern Olympics were started in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Winter sports were added in 1924. In 2004 the Summer Olympics returned to Greece where 11,000 athletes from 201 countries competed. Purrs, Gulliver

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Here is the stadium where the first race took place:

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2018 Olympics

Woo hoo! My friend Smokey took me to the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The original Olympics were held in Greece during the ancient times. The modern Olympics move from country to country with athletes from all over the world competing for bronze, silver and gold medals. This is the second time South Korea has been host. The first time was the summer Olympics in 1988 in the capital, Seoul. I wanted to see the downhill skiing, speed and figure skating and hockey events. Smokey chose curling, alpine skiing, biathlon, hockey, luge and snowboarding. We had to compromise to see events together. The host city this time was PyeongChang, South Korea, and they used a mascot called Soohorang, who is a white tiger. The tiger represents trust, strength and protection in the Korean culture. Purrs, Gulliver

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You Have Served Us Well: The Pony Express

Another great trip back into time.

Map of Time | A Trip Into the Past

Old photo of Waddell, Majors and Russell, foun... Waddell, Majors and Russell, founders of the Pony Express Courtesy Wikipedia

“The mail must go through!” That was their motto and for the most part that’s the way things were. Pony Express riders and station managers braved not only tough weather, but also unfriendly Indians and bandits. So how did the Pony Express come about? Why was it so short lived, having only lasted a year and a half? And even better yet…What was the Pony Express?!

In 1848 the discovery of gold in California brought thousands to the West Coast. People flocked from all over the world, eager to make their fortune. But postal service was primitive. One could send a letter via stagecoach, ship or by stranger (with the latter you would cross your fingers and hope the letter got to its destination). By coach the letter would usually take about a month to get the receiver. Coaches…

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Achoo

Achoo! I caught a cold while traveling, and now my nose is all stuffed up. Did you know sneezes travel about 100 miles an hour and can send 10,000 germs into the air? Sneezes protect your body by clearing the nose of bacteria and viruses Old beliefs about sneezing are that if a person sneezes, company is coming over, but if a cat sneezes it is going to rain.

Never try to stop a sneeze, because it can hurt your body. It is rare but injuries can include broken blood vessels in the eyes or broken ear drums. Your teacher or another adult can tell you the best way to sneeze if you don’t have a tissue ready. Purrs, Gulliver

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Tulips

If only flowers could talk, what interesting stories they could tell! The tulip is not only a good traveler, but a migrant as well. Originally found growing wild in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, tulip bulbs were brought to Istanbul, Turkey for the gardens there. Tulips were prized flowers, and became a symbol of the Ottoman sultans. One sultan had 12 gardens of tulips with 920 gardeners to take care of them. As a gift, tulip bulbs were sent to the Netherlands, where people fell in love with the flower and spent a lot of money to buy bulbs. One bulb could cost as much as $1,500 in today’s money!

Tulip colors have different meanings assigned to them. Yellow tulips symbolize cheerful thoughts, white express forgiveness and purple represents royalty. A red tulip, similar to the red rose, means perfect love. Now tulips can be found in many countries. I would like to go to a tulip festival one spring and see the acres of flowers blooming. There are festivals in the Netherlands which are very popular, but also in Mt. Vernon, Washington; Ottawa, Canada; Kashmir, India; Albany, New York and Holland, Michigan to name a few places. That would be a lot of flowers to see! Purrs, Gulliver

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Williamsburg

I wish I could travel back and forwards through time.   Going to Williamsburg, Virginia is like traveling through time to when the original United States were still colonies of England. Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780 In the 1600’s and 1700’s, there were no airplanes, telephones, refrigerators or cars. People grew their own food, made candles for light (electricity had not been discovered yet), made their own clothes and tools. Kitchens and toilets (privies) were separate buildings from the living and sleeping rooms and there was no running water to the house. Everyone had to work hard- even the cats that caught rodents and kept them from eating people’s food.  Wow, I didn’t realize how lucky I am – I don’t have to go hunting for my dinner! Purrs, Gulliver

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An Irish Birthday

Would you like a cuppa? A cuppa what? Why a cup of tea, of course! The Irish drink an average of 1,184 cups per person per year. Tea in the morning, noon and night, for any reason or none at all. And always black tea, never green or herbal. A good thing I like tea. My host family speak both English and Irish (Gaelic), and it is fun to listen to them sing Irish songs together accompanied by a Celtic harp. They are celebrating my friend Shelagh’s birthday – she just turned 10. Her father treated her to an old custom by turning her upside down, and holding her by the ankles, gently bumped her head on the floor 11 times for good luck. They then told me of another old custom. Farmers would often have the family pig live in the house like a pet. The pig was called “the gentleman who pays rent” because at the end of his stay he became sausage, bacon and pork chops which were sold at market! Purrs, Gulliver

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Passports

 

Whew, I am sorry I have been behind in sending postcards. I was delayed in customs and immigration. They didn’t believe a cat could have a passport! A passport is a travel document given out by the government that proves a person’s identity. Like a birth certificate, it has my name, place and date of birth, photograph, and signature (a paw print in my case). Each country has a special stamp they use when I enter the country. Here are some stamps from my passport. Purrs, Gulliver passport stamps