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Kids have a big advantage when it comes to picking strawberries because they grow close to the ground. With just a little know-how, you can be a berry good berry picker.
Tips for picking terrific berries:
-Break the stem about a half an inch from the top of the berry.
-Don't pick berries that are mushy-soft, nibbled on by insects or birds, green or pink
-Don't pile your berries in a big bucket. Strawberries are heavy and have delicate skins. They can get bruised if they are piled thick, one on top of another.
-Keep your berries cool, either in the shade or the refrigerator.
-Don't wash them until you are ready to use them.
-If you are going to eat your strawberries right away, you can go picking any time.
-If you need your berries to last for longer, try to pick in the morning or in the early evening when it's cooler.
-Wear a hat and sunscreen so you don't become red as a berry yourself.
-Strawberries taste wonderfully good and are high in vitamin C, which helps your body heal, resist infections, and keeps your bones, gums, and teeth healthy. There are lots of ways to enjoy strawberries: in muffins, jam, salad, salsa, and simply by themselves.
Do you love cats? Whether you have a cat as a pet now or dream about getting one someday, it's still fun to meet cats in stories you can find at the public library. Click on the link for our list, Cats and Kittens Everywhere, to see what adventures the feline furballs are having between the pages.
Pet rocks are back! Or, maybe they never went away. They've got a really, really long lifespan, after all. These throwbacks (careful where you aim them, though!) to the 1970s can be a lot of fun to collect or just use for interesting paperweights.
Officially, May Day is the 1st of May, but really anytime during this splendid spring month is a perfect opportunity to share small gifts of the season with everyone: teachers; friends; neighbors; and family. You can do that with May baskets—a wonderful, old-fashioned tradition.
On July 4th, burgers sizzle on the grill, and cold drinks are passed around. Happy dogs play with frisbees, and sunburned kids finally climb out of the pool. In the growing darkness, fireworks begin to crackle and zoom overhead. At last a special song starts playing, and all the people get quiet as they remember the reason for the celebration.
When the American colonists declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, they were doing a very brave thing. They knew that there would be no easy way to make the words they put on paper real. The Continental Army would have to fight for the country's right to exist. You can read more about Independence Day with books from this holiday list.
Whether you’ve got a pool nearby or just a yard and a hose, you can have fun staying cool in the sun with outdoor water games.
They're cool, tangy, and sweet—all at the same time. Best of all, when you go blueberry picking you can just reach out and pluck them. They are so much easier to pick than strawberries. There's no kneeling in the straw and mud only to find that critters have eaten the underside of your berries. Besides being fun and easy to pick, blueberries are splendid for you, too. They are rich in vitamin C and other important nutrients. Blueberries are in season for Virginia from mid-June to mid-July, so grab a bucket to fill with sweet berries.
Image courtesy of Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing, http://www.pburch.net/dyeing.shtml
Feel like putting a little free spirit in your summer? Get on your oldest clothes, grab some buckets and rubber gloves, and head for the backyard to create beautiful tie-dye crafts.
You can use natural or artificial dyes, depending on whether you want your design to be a real eye-popper or something subtler that bespeaks being at one with nature. You can use a tie-dye kit or collect wild things from nature for earthier tones. Heck, even unsweetened Kool-Aid can be used as a dye to produce vivid color.