Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why you won’t see a paper poppy craft for Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day on Adirondack Family Time

I’m all for a good craft. My bathroom shelves and corners of every room in my house are filled with scraps of paper, string, and other tidbits waiting to be transformed into a fun afterschool activity. The one thing you won’t find on my website is a craft for a paper poppy for Remembrance Day, Veteran's Day or Memorial Day. 

The paper poppy as a symbol for Memorial Day and Veteran's Day is sacred. In my opinion it shouldn’t be lumped into the same type of holiday craft madness as Valentine’s Day or Christmas (Oh, I have crafts here.  I like cutting and folding paper with the best of you. I like recycling, reusing, and repurposing.)

There are so many blogs and websites posting crafts on how to honor veterans by making a paper poppy. I don’t mean to disparage those websites. I feel that the crafter's heart is in the right place. I just feel that the focus is off. 

By making your own paper poppy, you aren’t able to connect a child or family member to the true meaning of the Veteran’s Day poppy. The crepe paper poppy symbol started with a means to provide income and therapy to disabled veterans. Many countries have their own version of the Veteran's/Memorial poppy. England has the Remembrance Day poppy while New Zealand and Australia wear poppies for Anzac Day. The cause is always the same, in memory of those veterans of war and to raise funds for the charitable causes in support of veterans and their families. 

In 1924 The United States Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was the first US organization to connect the poppy in memoriam of fallen veterans. Since 1924, VFW has organized a national campaign to distribute paper poppies. These paper poppies, patented as the Buddy Poppy, continue to be assembled by disabled and needy veterans. All the funds raised for these poppies continue to provide services for disabled veterans as wells as their families.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Recipe: Violet Foraging Makes Violet Syrup and Lemonade

Picking the violets is a sweet job!
Springtime means violets and lilacs. I love having an edible landscape. Violets are one flower that brings color to my recipes and with the right violet, they even bring a sweet, sweet scent.

In the Adirondack Park where I live, the purple native violets do not give off any scent. Also called blue violets (Viola sororia) these violet flowers and new spring leaves are edible and full of Vitamin C.

The flower of the common blue violet (Viola sororia) has five rounded petals and is unscented while the leaves are heart-shaped. These native plants can be tossed in a spring salad adding bright floral interest.

The more fragrant English wood violets (Viola ordorata) are what is most commonly used for perfumes and essential oils have naturalized in some places.

The purple violets in the Adirondacks are unscented
The small white violets have a sweet scent!

Though there is one native sweet violet (Viola blanda) in the Adirondacks that does produce that familiar violet scent. Since the Viola blanda has such a small flower, for the purpose of making native violet syrup we need 4x the quantity of the smaller petals.

In Rhode Island, the native plants are not so diligently tracked as in the Adirondacks, and each spring I would collect the English wood violets (Viola ordorata) from our yard to make Violet Lemonade. Seafaring captains would bring back many different plant specimens as gifts to their wives waiting back on shore. Since that time wood violets, originally from Europe and Asia, have naturalized in zones 4a-7a.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Adirondack Family Time Calendar of Events for Memorial Weekend (May 26-29) 2017

Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series: Adirondack Family Time™ High Peaks/Tri-Lakes: Your Four-Season Guide to over 300 activities, $17.95 available online and bookstore . With over 33 easy hikes to walk, cross-country (XC) ski or snowshoe in winter, 21 historic sites, 19 swimming holes, farmers markets, playgrounds, seasonal activities, maps, pictures and GPS coordinates for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Keene Valley, Jay, Upper Jay and Wilmington. 

Happy Memorial Weekend! 

The Adirondack Weekend Highlights for May 26-29, 2017.  Highlights: FREE viewing of the Rhythmic Gymnastic Championships! Adirondack Carousel FREE Rides for Veterans All Weekend!, Great Adirondack Garage sales from Long Lake to Old Forge, an Ice Cream Social at Nettle Meadow, Carry the Load Remembrance Rally, Memorial Day Parades, Fireworks and more! 

Have a great weekend from the Adirondack Park! There are a variety of activities and events happening around the Adirondack region this weekend that are great family fun!  

Calendar of Events May 26-29, 2017 

The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. 

• The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873
• 1890 - Memorial Day was recognized by all northern states. 
• The South refused to acknowledge the day until after World War I

What changed? The holiday now honors all Americans who died fighting in any war, not just those that died fighting in the Civil War. 

• Some southern states still have a separate day honoring the Confederate war dead: 
 January 19 in Texas
 April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi
 May 10 in South Carolina
 June 3  in Louisiana and Tennessee, which just happens to be Jefferson Davis' birthday

Memorial Day (Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day) is a day to remember those of the armed service who gave their lives in service to their country since World War I. 

How did poppies come to symbolize Veterans? 
In 1922, The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States organization  started the VFW "Buddy"® Poppies, to provide aid and assistance to disabled and needy veterans. During an encampment those veterans assembled the artificial poppy flowers and were paid for their efforts. The VFW "Buddy"® Poppies program provided financial assistance as well as therapeutic programming to those brave people who had sacrifices so much for their country.  Since that time the VFW "Buddy"® Poppies are still assembled by and therefore providing financial compensation to disabled veterans,  as well as providing additional funds to support the continuing to support national and state veterans rehabilitation hospitals. The red crepe paper poppies  

Now 75 years later the Veterans of Foreign Wars has raised millions of dollars to support the health and wellbeing of veterans and to continue to honor all who have fallen. 

The poppies became the symbol of the Veterans of Foreign War and Memorial Day when Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery, wrote a poem memorializing the rows and rows of graves that were witnessed at Flanders' Battlefield in western Belgium during World War I. McCrae summarized his feelings in his know well known poem, In Flanders Fields.

Monday, May 22, 2017

FREE! Watch Rhythmic Gymnastics in Lake Placid (NY)

Rhythmic Gymnastic teams watch competitors at the
Lake Placid Olympic Training Center (OTC) 
There is something so beautiful about watching athletes strive to be their very best. On the surface, the focus around Lake Placid seems to surround those winter Olympic sports. There are hockey camps and pond hockey events. There are national and international alpine ski races. Lake Placid hosts aerial ski jumping events, Nordic races as well as Luge, Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup championships. Being so close to all these unique sporting competitions has allowed my family to participate in events, watch world-class competitions, and learn new sports.

Tucked within the Olympic village, another unique sport is hosting an array of regional and national competitions. The USA Gymnastics Rhythmic program is hosting a variety of events to select the very best athletes to proceed to the next level of their sport. 

 Rhythmic Gymnastics club members perform as Individuals or teams during a floor routine using special elements such as a ball, clubs, rope, hoop, and ribbon. Each routine is practiced until perfect and then choreographed to music. The female-only sport was first integrated into the summer Olympic program at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.  Between 1984 and 1992, participants only competed on an individual level.  It wasn’t until the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games that a team category was added to the gymnastics competition. The Olympics may have only recently included Rhythmic gymnastics to its docket, but the sport started in 1880s from a variety of disciplines including classical ballet.