Today was the second toughest day of my lifetime. Heaven received a 4-footed angel this morning.

I had to let my sweet Labrador girl Abbey go today. Her roommate Tess was by her side at the vet’s office as I held her.

She was a constant joy, full of spirit and companionship for 15+ years. One tough retriever in the field, a sweetheart for Casey and a friend for Tess. 

From the time I brought her home, she was the biggest sweetheart. Always quick with a kiss and she loved to snuggle. When she slept on the bed she had a routine of laying long ways next to me and giving me two kisses before she put her head on my chest and fell asleep.

She was a wonderful retriever and loved her ducks. Always the smallest dog at the AKC hunt tests she worked hard and impressed the judges with her ability and drive. She was a thinking dog and no matter where the duck landed she found a way to get to it and bring it back to me.  She got her Junior Hunter title in two back-to-back weekends.

Run and play in fields forever and Casey and Darby will find you.

Goodbye my loyal friend. 

Abbey              Dutch Hollow’s Steal A Heart, JH       December 11, 2000 to April 30, 2016


Why We Set Off Fireworks on the Fourth of July

Because we always have

By Sarah Laskow                                                              July4, 2012

Why do we set off fireworks on the 4th of July? Because we always have.

In 1777, one year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia held a massive celebration. American University’s James R. Heintze dug up this account, from the Virginia Gazette:

One of the most elaborate celebrations in 1777 and the first organized celebration of its kind occurred in Philadelphia. This event had all of the elements of typical future celebrations–the discharge of cannon, one round for each state in the union, the ringing of bells, a dinner, the use of music, the drinking of toasts (it would subsequently be traditional to have one toast for each state in the union), “loud huzzas,” a parade, fireworks, and the use of the nation’s colors, in this case the dressing up of “armed ships and gallies” in the harbor.

The fireworks celebration that night began and ended with 13 fireworks being set off from the city’s commons. Boston also had fireworks that year, and the tradition grew from there. July 4th fireworks displays have even occurred in Antarctica, when explorer Richard Byrd set off fireworks on a relativelywarm day—33 degrees below zero.

Now that’s patriotism.

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