Last year at this time, we were residing in a motel in town. We missed being out here where the kids could run and play, and we could have our traditional BBQ, but we had our fun just the same. We had gotten to know the management of the motel quite well, and invited both the manager and the housekeeper to join us in lighting our personal fireworks, as well as watching the more extravagant show in the distance from the Mill Casino.
The area we live in makes a two day event of the 4th. On the 3rd, the Mill Casino goes all out. They have specials, kiddie fun, and a most spectacular fireworks display. A very large percentage of locals show up for the festivities, as well as many folks from outside the area. I wouldn't be surprised to learn our population doubles over the weekend.
The following evening another nearby community lights off their fireworks. Many folks attend that event, as well as setting off their own personal cache at home. Whole neighborhoods gather at a central point and light up the sky as children scamper about. At a certain point the fire chief announces, over the scanner (probably 75% of the local population owns one of those gadgets) that the fun is over. Everyone rushes to pick up the "evidence" before the patrol runs through their neighborhood. It's all rather entertaining to watch, and nice to wake the next morning to an amazingly trash free street.
This year, we're back home, in the normally quiet countryside for the 4th. However, this is one time of the year that we don't count on enjoying the quiet evenings. You see, we live quite near the dunes, a major tourist destination. At first the noise bothered us, but as time passed we realized it is a small annoyance that we are willing to put up with, as it is a great economic shot in the arm for our community. Rather than be annoyed with it, we now find it a source of amusement.
Many folks look forward to making the trip to the dunes each year, and the month of July is a big one for them. Last night we sat outside and listened to the ATVs roaring in the distance until their curfew of 11 PM. Tonight we expect the same, but that will be nothing compared to the weeks to come. This year our area is sponsoring an even bigger dunes event than in the past. There will be several organized events having to do with the dunes. There will be races. They are even planning to set up an outdoor theatre for the ATVer's viewing pleasure. Being one of the many families in our area who owns and listens to their scanner on a regular basis, I can't help but wonder at the wisdom of supplying such a diversion to the temporary populace racing about in the dunes, providing our local Police,EMTs and hospital with their seasonal business influx. Then again, I don't know exactly how it will be set up. Surely they will have safety in mind...
This last week I had hoped to get started on our summer science project. Due to the holiday, and the resulting short school week, as well as the children's excitement level over the fun to come, we opted to start slowly. We read the introduction, to get an overview of what is to come. I read it out loud as the kids followed along on the pages I had printed for them. I paused on occasion, both for effect, and to allow them plenty of time to underline, with their colored pencils, all the words and phrases that were unfamiliar to them. By the time we had finished reading, they had some rather colorful pages! Great! A bonus vocabulary lesson! We discussed what had been underlined, looking up some words in the dictionary, and we discussed some of the things the author had mentioned in this introduction which was written a couple years ago. He mentioned the oil crisis of the 70's, and the resulting wake up call for many Americans. We were then able to include some discussion on current events, and how what he had written may be even more relevant today.
By the end of our first little lesson the kids were pumped! They wanted to know more about what we were going to be doing. It was then I pulled out the box. The box itself is descriptive enough there was no need to remove the contents in order for the kids to become even more excited. They were talking about it for the rest of the day, and are eagerly anticipating the plunge in next week. They're not the only ones!
Last night I decided to read ahead a bit in the manual. I'm even more excited than I was initially. It looks to me like this is going to be a fun and educational project for the whole family.The way the manual iswritten is nothing short of brilliant! We will be following along with the adventures, the trials, and the lessons learned by a group of young people, living on an island, attempting to create a self sustained, ecologically responsible home and life, via their journal entries. As we follow along, we will be building projects, and performing experiments which directly relate to their experiences. For a sneak peak at what is to come, take a look at Power House, by Thames and Kosmos.
Wishing all a very happy and safe Independence Day!