July Fourth~Gardening and Safety Tips

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How to stay Happy and Healthy this Holiday Season

July Fourth may be, in my opinion, the best-and easiest-holiday to spend with your friends and family this year.  The COVID-19 outbreak may change how you go on celebrating, but fireworks and garden parties are the best way to share the joy of this historical moment while still keeping your loved ones safe.  It is already tradition to spend the holiday weekend outside, grilling hot dogs and burgers & whatever other greasy foods you may enjoy with the people you love, why not attempt to spend your July Fourth the same way, with just a few more precautions?  Spending time with your loved ones while still following your county guidelines is possible.  We should make the most of it and try and celebrate our liberty!

I myself am taking my sons on a camping trip.  Nature is an important place to unwind and connect.  If you don't have plans already, cleaning up your backyard with a few simple gardening tips is the easiest & most satisfying way to throw a party. (Think about it, making your yard beautiful for the holidays is really like having party decorations you don't have to clean up)  Blue lobelia flowers are a staple, as are hydrangeas and geraniums.  I suggest going to your local flower shop or farmers market (many markets sell bouquets for the holidays or just year-round) for an expert's advice on what flowers would fit best in your backyard.  All houses-and gardens-are unique in their own ways, so it is important to get advice from friendly neighbors or local shops on how to make your home even more special.  

Though they are not the iconic red, white, and blue, I love making centerpieces of sunflowers.  They are so boldly American and summery.  Personally, I love filling my centerpieces with sunflowers, daisies, baneberry, boneset, and whatever leafy, green plants you can get your hands on. 

When the sun goes down, however, it is fireworks time!  As I said before, safety is a priority this year, but many people don't realize that safety should already be a priority this holiday season when it comes to fireworks.

 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2000 about 11,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. About 55 percent of the injuries reported were burns, and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes, and head. About half of the victims were under 15 years of age.

 

I wanted to share with you all some safety tips for public fireworks displays before we all get started with this holiday season:

• Obey all ushers or monitors and respect safety barriers to allow the trained operator room to safely do his job. Resist any temptation to get close to the actual firing site. The best view of the fireworks is from a quarter of a mile or more away.

• Although rare, a firework component might fall to the ground unexploded. If you find any, do not touch it – immediately contact the local fire or police department.

• Leave pets home. Dogs especially have very sensitive ears and the booms and bangs can be quite uncomfortable. In fact, the noises can actually injure their ears.

• Leave your own fireworks at home. Sparklers, fountains, and other items that many states allow for private use are not appropriate to use when a large crowd is present.

 

Many of us are celebrating at our own homes this year.  Here are some safety tips for home fireworks displays:

• Buy fireworks only from licensed outlets. Follow package directions. If you're unsure, ask someone who is or better yet, don't set them off at all. Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

• Never allow young children (or childish adults!) to play with fireworks, not even sparklers. Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.

• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry foliage, and flammable materials. Keep a bucket of water nearby. Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

• Wear safety glasses when lighting fireworks. Light one firework at a time, then move back quickly. Never stand over fireworks when lighting. Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.

• Do not fire off aerial fireworks in windy conditions. Never ignite fireworks in any kind of container.

• Never experiment with homemade or altered fireworks.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket, point or throw fireworks at people or animals, or use fireworks as weapons.

• Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them.

• Make sure you know the number of your local fire department if you choose to use fireworks at home.

 

If we follow these precautions along with the precautions set in place for COVID-19, there is no reason your Fourth of July shouldn't be a happy and healthy time.

Stay safe out there!

Happy Fourth of July!

Sepi Miller