I don't know how it happened, but summer is slipping by faster then I want. The days are long, but they merge one into another. It's mid-July already.
Independence Day is behind us, even though fireworks still seem to be popping off here and there. Our Fourth of July celebration started on the July 3 when Rob brought his sons, Ethan and Seth, out for a two-day visit.
The plan was to have supper and then light firework fountains off in the backyard. To make it more of a party, we had other family members join us — Rebecca, Andy and Serenity showed up, as did Bob's sister, Ginny. It turned out to be a spontaneous party.
As we waited for the night sky to darken, Ethan, Seth and Serenity took turns riding in our cart. Rob gave his boys driving lessons, going down the farm lane where they couldn't hurt anything. Serenity went for rides with Grandpa Andy. To their surprise, they saw three deer in our bean field.
Big plans hadn't been made for the evening. Luckily for everyone, I had the makings for s'mores in the pantry — I like keeping those supplies on hand in the summer. Even though s'mores can be made in the microwave in a pinch, this evening we had a campfire.
It took a while for darkness to settle in. Still in the twilight, we had a few other things to do.
Rob set up our telescope and pointed it at the moon. When I had my turn to look at the moon, I was surprised. It wasn't made out of green cheese after all.
Actually, our telescope showed a lot of the lunar landscape — now that really surprised me. I never thought it would be good for anything except sighting deer and turkeys in our fields. There were a lot of "Oos" and "Ahhs" from our group as each took a turn at looking at the moon.
Finally, it came time for fireworks. There were no big bangs here or anything that went off the ground, yet we totally enjoyed the show — Serenity fought hard to stay awake. She's only 6 years old, and the light show was past her bedtime, and mine, too.
Ginny brought two hot air paper balloons for our celebration. Actually, the adults were more impressed when these were lit and sent into the night sky. The paper balloons didn't look like much until they were lit. It's amazing how far they flew until their fire burnt out.
As a very sleepy Serenity was carried to the car, Rob was back at the telescope. This time he had his phone out and looking at Google maps of the night sky.
"Saturn should be over there." Rob pointed in a southerly direction.
Bob switched off the yard light while Rob tried to locate Saturn with the telescope — I didn't have much faith in seeing anything but a glowing dot.
Finally, Rob got Saturn in his viewfinder, and we all took turns peering into the telescope. "It kind of looks like a little sticker of Saturn," Rob said, "but you can see the rings."
His description was perfect. Saturn looked like a tiny sticker, but the rings were clearly visible. That was a wonderful way to end our day.
Family always makes celebrations special, even little ones. We only had part of our family together this evening, but even with part of the Manzke clan here, we had a neat evening.
The following day, Rob and the boys tried feeding the chickens grapes by hand. Seth crouched down, trying to coax a red hen to come to him. She came closer and closer but always veered away before taking the grape. Somehow, she just didn't trust him enough.
The boys then took turns driving our cart with their dad. I'm happy to report that Ethan and Seth show improvement with their driving skills. Still, you won't find me standing too close to their designated path.