WELCOME TO NICKER STORIES
Starting next month there will be some changes made to Nicker Stories. We want YOU to be a part of that. Of course, to be a part of it, you have to BE a part of it. Your goal is simple. Tell three people about Nicker Stories. That’s easy because you can give them a Nicker calendar page to enjoy with you. Then, take a moment to let us know how we can make Nicker Stories even better. What do you like best – and least? Please enjoy each issue … and then please take a moment to send us a note.
WHAT’S GOING ON FOR MARCH?
Nicker’s Calendar is full of great stuff. Print a copy for yourself, one for the fridge and some for your friends, relatives, neighbors, the squirrel in the tree out back …. It’s a busy month with lots of fun and strange holidays.
It might be cold outside (or warm if you live in Australia). Up north, the birds are coming back. The ice is melting. March tends to be to come roaring in like a lamb and leaves like a lion. No, no. no. It’s the other way around. The weather in March can get crazy. Next month, in April, it might calm down. Then the April showers will bring the Mayflowers … which brought the Pilgrims. But that’s another story.
For now, welcome to March, as we march into Spring, then hop into Summer. Meanwhile, March is full of great fun. Be sure to print out Nicker’s Calendar. Keep it handy to remind you of what is coming up. Make extra prints for others.
Along with all the other fun stuff, Nicker Stories is going to look out across the world. Last month we went Ireland to look at the Giant’s Causeway. This month brings World Folktales Week, so Story Hour will give a small selection for you to enjoy and to share. They come from all parts of the world. It’s interesting that a story you’ve heard and thought was from one place … well, the same story or something very close to it, actually comes from somewhere else.
That’s okay. The STORIES are fun!!!
So, as things warm up and the ice melts, go to the library and learn more folktales.
And get ready for SPRING!
SPRING IS COMING
Earth is spinning. That is called rotation. It makes the days and nights. It also travels in a path around the sun called an orbit. That’s revolution. It takes one year to get all the way around. While this is happening, the tilt of our planet makes days longer or shorter. How much longer or shorter depends on where you live – how far north or south of the Equator.
For many, Spring Equinox means that the day and the night are the same number of hours. (That’s what “equinox” means.) That happens this month, on March 20. Then in the north, the days get longer – and in the south the nights get longer. The north gets warmer – and the south gets colder. If you live in New England, it’s time to plan for the beach – if you live in New Zealand, it’s time to get out the warm clothes.
In six more months, that will reverse. Look at the illustration. Maybe you can figure out why it happens this way every year.
March 1 – Peanut Lover’s Day
Everyone knows that Nicker’s favorite food is peanuts, or anything that has to do with peanuts. He loves peanuts. Do you love peanuts? They’re not peas and they’re not nuts. They are what is called a legume. Most often they are roasted, but many people boil them, especially in salt water. A recipe for making your own peanut butter is in Lunch With Nicker.
March 2 – Old Stuff Day
Old Stuff Day is not how it sounds. In fact, it’s the opposite. Someone asks, “What are you doing today?” and you answer, “The same old stuff.” That’s what this day is about. Do something NEW! Yet to others, the day is just what it says. Be nostalgic. Look into the past. Go visit a museum. Talk to a grandparent. Hmmm – make this two holidays rolled into one. Go to a museum you’ve never visited before.
March 4 – Mardi Gras; Shrove Tuesday
Mardi Gras is “Fat Tuesday.” It’s a huge celebration. It’s the day before Lent. It’s the day to feast like crazy before giving up so many things you love for Lent. It’s also Shrove Tuesday, a day to confess the bad things you have done and make up for them. A neat thing about Shrove Tuesday is that it is connected to pancakes. What a day! Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday both mean to eat up and eat up and eat up. Include a HUGE stack of pancakes! Have a party. Have a parade! Celebrate because tomorrow begins Lent – a time to sacrifice.
March 5 – Lent (to April 19); Ash Wednesday
Lent is a 6-week period that leads up to Easter. Many fast. At least they don’t eat certain things they love. They also give up other things – other pleasures. Lent is to represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness challenged by Satan. For many the idea is to give up something you love and enjoy for a while so that you can appreciate what you have.
March 6 – Oreo Cookie Day
The Oreo is said to be the most popular cookie in the world. It’s made by Nabisco, with two chocolate cookies and a white cream filling. These days, the Oreo can be almost anything, especially the filling. It might be chocolate, doubled, minted or any variety of things.
March 7-9 – Festival of Owls
Owls are very interesting birds. The ancient Greeks and others thought of them as being wise, even more wise than people. Most are nocturnal (night time) predators (they hunt). Why waste words here? Go to http://festivalofowls.com/ for owlvery thing you need to know.
March 8 – Peanut Cluster Day
Peanut clusters are basically chunks of chocolate-covered peanuts – but that’s not all they are. In making them, some people use peanut butter, some use butterscotch, and there are other varieties. Here are three links just to get you started with some ideas of how to make them.
March 9 – Panic Day
EEK!!! The sky is falling!!! OH NO, the volcano is going to erupt!!! How terrible, you might go out today and be struck by a falling comet!!! Or … you might stub your toe on the kitchen stool. HORRORS! It’s time to panic.
March 11 – Johnny Appleseed Day
Also Sept 26
There are many folktales. Many of them are based partly in truth. This is one of those. That wasn’t his real name, but he WAS a real person. He didn’t wander around tossing apple seeds, but he did set up many orchards to raise apple saplings. You can read more about Johnny Appleseed in Nicker Stories.
March 12 – Plant a Flower Day
With Spring coming, it might be time to plant a flower. It might be too cold outside but you can start with seeds in pots inside. Then they will be ready to plant outside – or kept inside. Even if you don’t plant them, this is a good day to begin to decide. There are SO MANY kinds of flowers. Not all grow everywhere, so you have to choose something that grows where you live.
March 13 – Popcorn Day
Nobody is sure just how old popcorn is. One idea is that it is VERY old. The original, they say, was maize with a natural coating around each kernel that kept moisture in. As the corn heated, such as in a fire, the moisture trapped inside would heat and expand. The kernels would explode. POP!!! These days special varieties of pop corn are grown.
March 14 – Potato Chip Day; Learn About Butterflies Day
In America they are called chips. In Great Britain they’re known as crisps because chips are French fries – which aren’t French. Other places call them crackers. Whatever you call them, they are thinly sliced potatoes that get fried or baked. An uncertain claim says that they were invented in 1853 in Saratoga Springs, New York. Some (not many) still call them “Saratoga Chips.”
Butterflies might look a LITTLE like potato chips but aren’t tasty. In fact, some are poisonous and almost all taste very bad. That is one way they keep from being eaten by birds. What do you know about butterflies? This is the perfect time to learn more.
March 15 – Corn Dog Day
The invention of the hot dog depends on what you think of as a hot dog. The same is true of so many things, and the corn dog is one of those. Frying corn meal is a very old idea. In 1927, a patent was filed for coating a variety of things in corn meal and then deep frying them. That wasn’t just for hot dogs but for pineapple, eggs, cheese, peaches and all sorts of other things.
March 16 – St. Urho Day
St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland. Tomorrow is a huge celebration for him. In 1956 Richard Mattson thought it would be fun to invent a story. Finland would have St. Urho. His great feat was to chase giant grasshoppers out of Finland. (Originally, he chased out giant frogs.) Have some fun with it at http://sainturho.com/.
March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
The traditional color for St. Patrick is green. That’s because Ireland is often called the Emerald Isle. Much of it is green and beautiful. The tale is that St. Patrick chased the snakes from Ireland. But, St. Patrick was Welsh not Irish. The original color associated with him is blue not green. Ireland has no snake problem and never did. However, St Patrick did some wonderful things for that country. You can read about *St. Patrick* in Nicker Stories – and many other places.
March 17-23 – World Folktales and Fables Week
This is what Story Hour is about this month. We’ve selected some you may not know. This week, go searching for more. They try to explain things, teach things or just show a lesson on how to lead a better life. Nicker tried to a tale … but he got a little mixed up. Go to his story. Maybe you can help him.
March 19 – Poultry Day
Poultry means birds we raise, usually for eating. The most common is chicken, but it can include ducks, geese and turkeys, other birds. From some of them – mostly chickens – we also get eggs. Easter is coming soon. For many, that means lots and lots of eggs.
March 20 – Snowman Burning Day; First Day of Spring
It’s the first day of Spring. Some people have first day of Spring at other times, like January 1 or January 31 (this year – Chinese New Year). Modern Science uses a different idea. The first day of Spring is when the number of hours of day and night for most people are equal. It’s called equinox, which means equal. Of course, that depends on where you are on the planet, but … well, we had to pick out a day to say that Winter is over. And since Winter is going away, so is the snow. And … well, snowmen melt. Someone got the idea to hurry that. So, along came the notion to burn whatever snowmen happened to not have already melted. Snow doesn’t burn, but with a hefty bonfire sure can be made to melt fast. Bye bye until next year, Frosty.
March 22 – Goof Off Day
We all have lots of things to do. Every now and then we need a day to just goof off. Fiddle around. One thing, though. Everyone else deserves the same thing. Goof Off Day is for everyone. Mom gets to goof off, too. And Dad. And teacher. And ….
March 24 – Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
Gordie loves grapes. Let them dry and grapes become raisins. They are a wonderful treat known for a very long time. Chocolate is also a wonderful treat. A time came when someone figured out how to put chocolate on a raisin. The most common brand is the Raisinets made now by Nestle. In England, you might find them as Payne’s Poppets.
March 25 – Passover Begins
Passover is a Jewish holiday for when the Jewish people escaped slavery in Egypt. You can read about it in “Exodus.” It lasts 7 or 8 days, depending on where you are. It begins at dusk on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. Traditional is to have the Seder Feast. This is made up of six traditional foods.
March 26 – Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
There are lots of holidays through the year. THIS day is whatever you want it to be. This could be Dennis Day, Susan Day, Doris Day, Nicker Day or any Day you wish. So, make up a holiday and have some fun with it. It can be Toenail Day, or maybe Fopaw Day (whatever that means).
March 30 – Pencil Day; Take a Walk in the Park Day
When you think about it, the pencil is really an amazing thing. Way WAY back, people used brushes, or something hard to scratch into something also hard, like stone. Eventually, something a bit strange happened. It was discovered that a particular rock could be used to mark the fleece of sheep. It’s called graphite. It didn’t take long before pieces of graphite were used to mark other things – and not long after that someone thought of putting the graphite into a holder. Still later, graphite was turned into a powder with special binders used to make it as hard, or as soft, as wanted. That same idea began to be used with other pigments, and we got colored pencils. Then, of course, came the eraser – but that’s a whole different story.
Today is also Take a Walk in the Park Day. You can read one story about this here. Then, maybe you can take a pencil for a walk in the park!