Ponds, lakes, streams, and, of course, the Rappahannock River—there are lots of places to drop a line in the area. Whether you’re new to fishing or want to wade back in, we have suggestions on where to fish locally and books that will help you get your lines cast and your lures tied.
Fredericksburg rises from the fall line of the Rappahannock River. Its natural hills are generally considered to be just part of the scenic landscape. Wealthy townspeople, such as the Willis and Marye families, built their mansions on the heights. Before the Civil War, the scenery was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.
In November and December of 1862, Confederate troops, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, fortified the hills above Fredericksburg. The townspeople were mostly evacuated, which was well as what was to follow certainly resembled a hell on earth.
For some people, Memorial Day is just the weekend the pools open, marking the beginning of another long, lazy summer. The grill's fired up in the backyard, and later fireflies will wink off and on in the gathering twilight as kids break out the balls and nets for some not so serious fun.
While it's true that Memorial Day is a traditional time for family gatherings, this is one holiday whose original meaning shouldn't be let go. Memorial Day was first celebrated after the Civil War, when families on both sides of the conflict took a time for remembering the thousands and thousands of men who lost their lives in war. In the years to follow, Memorial Day would come to be a day to remember soldiers lost in all wars, includingthe Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Gulf wars.
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and a certain Sunday is just ahead. So, what are you getting that amazing mom for Mother's Day? You don't have to spend a lot, but you do need to remember her in a special way. If you have brothers and sisters, or at least a very loud voice yourself, you can serenade your mom as you bring her breakfast in bed. Look here for songs for little ones. Older kids might want to check out Rise Up Singing, a group song book with the words to lots of old favorites.
Not a singer? Time to get crafty and make her something to treasure, or you can give her coupons for treats mothers love. Sometimes the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is to spend some time just with her, sharing a book that the two of you will enjoy.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, calculated according to when the crescent moon is sighted. During this entire month, adult Muslims do not eat from sunup to sundown. This is called fasting. In the evening, the day's fast is broken with a meal called iftar. Before the day's fast begins, Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor. When the month is over, Muslims celebrate a three-day holiday with feasting and gift exchanges, called Id-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast).
What kinds of people settled the new lands of America? They had their own ideas about laws, religion, and what makes a good government. They were, in a word, independent.
In 1776, England was far away, and people on this side of the Atlantic were heartily sick and tired of paying taxes on top of taxes to finance England's empty treasury. They were tired, too, of losing money by having the Crown interfere with their trade overseas. The men in the assemblies shouted that King George was a tyrant, so the King's men stopped the assemblies. When they still protested, the King brought in the army, making the colonists put them up in their houses. Any crimes the soldiers committed against the colonists were handled in the King's court by the King's judges.
Kids can help out their grown-ups in the kitchen, but they can also make wonderful dishes all by themselves—or with just a little help. Take Mollie Katzen's Number Salad from her kid-friendly cookbook, Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes. It's delicious, nutritious, and a fun way to practice numbers. Here's how to make it:
Put into a bowl:
1 handful of coconut
2 tablespoons of O.J. concentrate
3 pieces of orange
4 slices of apple
5 cubes of cheese
6 slices of banana
7 pieces of melon
...and stir 9 times.
This recipe, complete with friendly, hand-drawn pictures and useful hints, can be found online here. Children may also enjoy Mollie Katzen's Honest Pretzels and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook and Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up.
How can you help the Earth? There are lots of ways to get involved in conservation whether you're a kid, teen, or adult. Check out the local activities, Web sites and library materials listed below for some great ideas.
One morning, the old wooden dam on the Rappahannock River went up in clouds of smoke. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built in layers to tame the river so that the power of the water pushing against it could provide electricity for the town. But it had been years since anyone tapped that power. Now, the dam was falling apart, and it was decided that it had become dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning, and the river was flowing freely again—just as it had in previous centuries. By getting rid of the dam, the river had a chance to go back to being more like it once was. There would be more fish, which would mean more birds, and, really more of everything.
Wouldn't it be cool if even a few of the old stories were true? Legends say that giants walked the Earth; Atlantis vanished under the sea; and Greece and Troy fought a devastating war over a beautiful woman. Amazing, but true: all these stories are based on facts.
Archaeologists digging in China discovered the fossils of Gigantopithecus, a giant ape standing 9 or 10 feet tall. These huge but probably gentle apes died off 500,000 years ago. Traditionally, villagers collected their bones and made them into medicines. They called their finds dragon bones. Some have wondered whether pockets of the animals may have survived into later centuries, giving rise to the legend of Big Foot.