Beau February 17th, 2007
A day of indoor quiet after snow last night. Outside the wind blew snow swirls across the pond, and the birds huddled by the feeder. The sun finally came out again to provide a beautiful sunset before dinner. Seems I spend too much time on the computer, (especially while working on the graduate program). I am an avid “netizen” and enjoy researching diverse topics on the internet. Much of that time is also looking up stuff to use at Fox Haven… plants, gardening, farm equipment, on and on.
But I was looking for some free clip art for using on the blog and came across some neat stuff about Pennsylvania Dutch and German hex signs. Some say the word “hex” was derived from the German “sechs” for “six” with the early designs being six-pointed. Others say the word came from an early 20th century book about the signs and mythology or superstition. In any event, the signs have little to do with superstition or otherwise, but were used to decorate barns. Paint was not very affordable centuries ago, but as it became cheaper the Dutch, German and Irish settlers in Pennsylvania took great pride in their farms, and barn decorating peaked in the early 20th century. But many of these signs bespoke personal values of family, love, happiness, faith and good luck.
I really liked one of the designs… the single distlefink. “What the heck is that?” I thought. Well… a little more research and it seems the Distlefink was the good luck sign of the Pennsylvania Dutch. It was a mythological bird incorporated in many hex sign designs… and some say “distle” means “thistle”, while “fink” refers to “finch”. So the Distlefink was derived from the finches. I know both the Goldfinch and Purplefinch love to eat thistle- we have them at the feeder every day. Some of the hex sites say the single distlefink sign is a symbol of good luck and happiness, with tulips for faith, and a heart for love. I think that’s a great symbol…. especially since I’ve always enjoyed birds. So here then is the Distlefink.