We are constantly looking for ways to help parents get kids away from the video console to the outdoors. Brian Crecente's article Backyard Adaptations Of Video Game Classics references a way to do it on Kotaku's website:
Years later, as an adult, I visited the Waterford Fair in Northern Virginia every Fall with a friend. It brought back memories of when my sister and I spent our summer vacations on a farm between school terms. The Fair had, and still has, it all – homemade crafts, art shows, weaving, and even blacksmithing (though I can't tell from the website if it's still included.)
We always started the day with the tour of the Heritage homes and gardens; then off to the marketplace and quaint little shops. A huge kettle was in the middle of the main cross street where apple butter was being stirred. We bought jars of it to take home.
Since those days of yesteryear the town of Waterford has received the distinction of being designated a Historic Town. If you're ever in Northern Virginia in early Fall, go to the Waterford Fair. They have planned activities for the kids, too. It'll be an experience you and they will never forget.
And finally, here's something for a real-life fantasy page
When I was 9, and my sister was 8, we loved to go play at a small clearing by a little stream in the woods on our property. We'd break off a fresh limb to clear away dead leaves and twigs and declare it as our territory. I was Wonder Woman! She was the victim and I used to swing across the stream on a vine that was hanging from a tall tree to protect or rescue her from the wild animals. (We never saw anything wilder than a squirrel or rabbit.) We'd celebrate by eating our packed lunch while telling stories before returning to the real world. Such was fantasy in our wondrous little world!
How did you spend your summer vacations when you were a child? Leave a comment, short or long, and tell us how you had fun. And what was or would be your fantasy vacation?
NOTE: Below is a cute childrens' book that takes place on a farm: A sleepy boy puts the farm animals in the wrong place for the night! The chicken, cow, goat, pig, rabbit, horse and the duck are very confused. It is up to Dog to match the animals with their correct beds. Can Dog figure out just who sleeps in the coop, barn, pen, sty, hutch, stable and pond? And, what about that chicken in the dog house?
A typical Review: We adore this book. It helped teach my little urbanites some fun farm definitions all the while keeping them entertained. The art is amazing.
The family took care of the garden. When it came time for planting and harvesting the fields the farmers helped each other, going from farm to farm planting and harvesting. Not all farmers could afford to have all the heavy equipment needed for the different crops. They gladly helped each other knowing that they, too, would be helped with their fields. Some of the most fun was when they mowed the hay and we'd slide down the haystacks or carve out a small shelter in the side of them.
We helped with the preparation for canning, making jellies and pickling; e.g.,
stringing and snapping the beans
shelling the peas
shucking the corn
picking the berries and cherries
When we picked the corn and shucked it, the boys saved the dried corn silk and later stuffed it in a corncob pipe and smoked it. It didn't last long though, it always burned out fast. And they didn't want to risk get caught trying to light up another one. And NO, I did not try smoking it – cross my heart and hope (not) to die. Smoking was never a vice of mine.
There was a trap door in the kitchen floor that covered the steps leading down to the cool "dirt" cellar. That's where the bins were for storing potatoes and shelves for all the jars of canned vegetables, jellies, and meats. My favorite canned meat was the pork tenderloins. It was saved for special occasions.
There was no smoke house on the farm where we spent the summers, so the butchered meat was taken to a smoke house. Virginia is famous for its smoked, salted or honey cured hams.
We were already back at school when the apple butter and cider were made.
Such was life for kids on a farm during summer vacations. Then, it was back to school in the city and indoor plumbing. Looking back, to those days, in some ways spending the summer on a farm was like glorified camping with chores.