July – Fireworks and Dog Days

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. I hope you had a chance to celebrate the Fourth of July in a special way. Cookouts and fireworks are typical occurrences, along with parades. My family enjoyed all three activities. The cookout food was delicious and included a fresh corn salad that is easy to make and can be tailored to your family’s taste. Barley Corn Salad If you don’t want to use the barley just add more fresh corn kernels.  The parade had bagpipe groups, marching bands, fire trucks and lots of floats, though I must say my favorite float is a root beer one! The fireworks were beautiful and something both young and old look forward to seeing.

USnews.com shared – Thought to be invented by the Chinese 2,000 years ago, fireworks have been a tradition of America’s Fourth of July celebrations since the country’s inception, with the founding fathers themselves seeing fireworks fit to mark the birth of their nation. In a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife, John Adams declared that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be a “great anniversary Festival” and “solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” A year later, Congress itself ordained the tradition, enjoying in Philadelphia “a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons,” according to the Evening Post. Boston also saw a fireworks display in 1777. In the following years, the tradition spread through the Boston area to New York and other cities,

Now that July has arrived it has been a bit humid and hot. My mother was from the south and she said days like that were “close”. She and my aunts would also say the dog days of summer were here.

According to almanac.com – The Dog Days aren’t just when your dog starts panting on a sweltering summer day. These days once coincided with the year’s sunrise rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Ancient folks thought that the “combined heat” of Sirius and the Sun caused midsummer’s swelter. The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather, but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the Nile River’s flood season. They used Sirius as a “watchdog” for that event. Because it also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all of time! According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. This is soon after the Summer Solstice, which of course also indicates that the worst summer heat will soon set in. The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids tells us all about the Dog Star, Sirius! Here are some of the most important facts: Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, if you don’t count the Sun. Under the right conditions, it can even be seen with the naked eye during the day. Sirius is one star in a group of stars that form the constellation Canis Major, meaning “Greater Dog.” It’s no surprise, then, that the nickname of this big, bold star is Dog Star.

Well, hot or not the farm is a nice place to visit in the summer. There is always a good breeze wafting through the valley and the buildings are fairly cool. If you get a chance come out for a tour of the historic farm this week. As a bonus on Tuesday enjoy a Pottery Highlight, on Wednesday it is Quilting, Thursday is the Paper Craft Highlight and Saturday is Bake Oven Day. These activities are no additional charge to your admission and are worth seeing.

That’s all for now and I hope to see you soon.        Aunt Eunice

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