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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The source of the sun

The Japanese refer to their country as Nippon, or Nihon, which means “the source of the sun”.   A typical Japanese breakfast is soup, rice and picked vegetables, however many people also eat cereal or toast and drink coffee. Chopsticks (a pair of equal length sticks) are used instead of forks, and may be made of wood, bamboo, plastic or other material. I couldn’t hold the chopsticks any better than I could a fork!  No matter what you eat, it will come with tea, which is Japan’s national drink.  For lunch or dinner, you may enjoy sushi (raw or cooked fish, seafood, vegetables and rice with a seaweed wrapper) , yaka-tori (shish-kabob) or domburi, sweetened or savory stews of fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredients cooked  together and served on rice.  Ramen is also popular. It is a Japanese noodle soup dish made of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, with toppings such as sliced pork dried seaweed, and green onions.  Purrs, Gulliver

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Mooooo, Cow!

Did you know cattle can walk up a flight of stairs, but once there, they can’t walk back down? Their knees just don’t bend the right way, so they have to use a ramp. The first cattle in the Americas arrived with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. Cow is the name for adult female cattle. Male cattle are bulls. Young cattle are called calves. In addition to butter and cream, foods like ice cream, cheese, yogurt, whipped cream and cottage cheese can all made from milk. To make all that food, cows eat about 40 pounds of grass or hay and drink about a bathtub full of water every day. Not only that, they have four stomachs. They must like to eat as much as I do!

Purrs, Gulliver

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Ukraine

Last summer I attended a wedding in Ukraine.  Many old traditions were used.  To become engaged, the man must take his parents and friends to the girl’s family home and have his father ask for the girl’s hand for him. If the answer is no, the poor man is given a pumpkin!  In Ukraine, a wedding is a three day celebration.  There is a civil ceremony where the marriage is registered. Then the couple goes to a church to be crowned. This ceremony is sung rather than spoken as the maid of honor and best man hold crowns over the couple’s heads.  Instead of cake, Ukrainians serve a special bread called Korovai.  It is made by the married women from both families as a symbol of two families becoming one.  We all sang “Mnohaya Lita” which means “many happy years” to the newlyweds.  Purrs, Gulliver

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Solvang

“Melting pot”: a place (such as a city or country) where different types of people live together and gradually create one community. USA is a land of immigrants, with many cities having a neighborhood or area that reminds immigrants and their families of food , arts and music of the places they left. Think Chinatown, little Italy, and even Solvang, which is an entire city built to look like Denmark did 100 years ago. There are copies of Danish windmills, statues of Hans Christian Andersen and the Little Mermaid, and homes that look like they are from Denmark. In addition, several restaurants and pastry shops serve Danish specialties like Æbleskiver “Pancake Puffs” which are traditional pancakes in a shape of an apple. The name literally means apple slices in Danish, and applesauce or bits of apple may be used in making the pancakes. What traditions, foods or sayings were passed down from your grandparents?

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Kauai

Mmmm, I love all the fruit I found on Kauai. The oldest island on the Hawaiian Islands grows guava, mango, banana, papaya, avacado, starfruit, kava and pineapple. Pretty amazing for a volcano that erupted with fire and hot rocks six million years ago!  The “Garden Isle” has a tropical rain forest covering much of the land, and it gets more rain than any of the other “Sandwich Islands” which is an old name for Hawaii.  I normally don’t like being in water, so I skipped the snorkeling and surfing and enjoyed stretching out on the sandy beaches for a nap every day.  I also went hiking in the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is a large canyon, approximately 10 miles long and 3000 feet deep.  I certainly got my exercise there!  Purrs, Gulliver.

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Germany

Sprechen sie deutsche? Do you speak German? Germany has 16 states instead of 50; its capital and largest city is Berlin. It has borders with nine other countries: It also has coastline on the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.  There are many castles there.  King Ludwig had three, including Neuschwanstein which was the inspiration of Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle.

I love to eat German food. Traditional foods include Wurst (sausage) Schnitzle (breaded pork or veal) Spaetzle (noodles or dumplings), Stollen (fruit cake) and Strudle (a layered pastry). I finish each meal with Marzipan, a sweet made with almonds and sugar.   Purrs, Gulliver

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Brazil

Oohhh, I ate too much Feijoada, it was so good!  Brazil’s national dish is a stew made of black beans, pork (including earns, knuckles, chops and sausage) and dried beef.  It is served with rice, decorated with collard greens and sliced oranges.  It is a hearty dish; restaurants regularly serve it on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Brazil is the only Latin American nation whose language and culture come from Portugal. The early explorers brought back a wood that produced a red dye, “pau-brasil”, from which the land received its name.  Brazilians are one of the most welcoming people in the world; foreigners are treated with respect and often with admiration.

Purrs,   Gulliver

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