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A Winter Day for Writing

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Hello, Fellow Outdoor Fans!

Letters sent and received through the post office is one of the oldest means of long-distance communication preceded only by homing pigeons (birds trained and used to deliver letters and other small items). Today is designated to celebrate this old means of connecting with folks far away. Today is Letter Writing Day!

While writing letters is a big part of summer camp, Winter is a great time to flex your writing muscle for this therapeutic indoor activity and great way to spread some cheer as we venture into the holiday season! Here are some great reasons to sit yourself down today and write a letter or two to some of the people you have in your life.

Ain’t Nothing like the Real Thing, Baby
A letter is not an electronic message; it’s something corporeal that the recipient can hold and keep in their home. It exemplifies effort and thoughtfulness. It’s sure to bring a smile to that somebody when they receive your letter in the mail—a hundred times more joy than any text, email, social media message, or even a phone call could ever bring.

Great Mental Exercise
Writing a letter is an excellent way to keep your brain sharp. The wintertime especially can hold us sort of spellbound with what some refer to as ‘the blahs’. Articulating your thoughts through the written word gives you and the recipient clarity. It can feel a little bit like cleaning out your head! I feel better just writing this post!

The Power of the Pen
As I alluded to in a post I wrote years ago about Letter Writing Day, letters give a writer the space to really take the time to articulate their thoughts. You’ll find the opportunity in a letter to express yourself like you maybe never otherwise would. Use a letter to let somebody know what they mean to you.

These are just a few of the many benefits there are to writing letters to people. Make the connection and spread some cheer as we venture into the holiday season! Put your pen to some paper and see what comes out! Happy Letter Writing Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Terrifying Titles

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Hey, Halloweeners!

This time of year delivers in such a variety of ways; Halloween means costumes and treats. There’s also decorating and pumpkin-carving. But the main festivity Halloween is notorious for is telling a good spooky story! Finding a scary story to delve into was always my favorite part about Halloween. I learned a lot about witches, and vampires, and ghosts, and alike.

When I was a kid my mother would take me on trips to the public library where she would help me find the coolest Halloween books to check out. I’d hang onto them for a week or two and go back each year to check the same ones out.

I highly recommend you peruse your local library or other bookstores to find what could become your favorite stories! I put together a list of my old favorites. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as much as I have! Have your parents heat up some apple cider, grab a flashlight, and read these to you in the dark! The first group are good for any age while the second group is geared for older kids (like 10 and up).

All Hallows for All Ages
‘Scared Silly; A Halloween Treat’ by James Howe and illustrated by Leslie Morrill is one from the Bunnicula book series about one Halloween night with the Monroe family pets home alone.

‘A Woggle of Witches’ is a picture book written and illustrated by Adrienne Adams—a tale of witches on a nightly flight.

Eve Bunting tells of the spooky costumed visitors on a Trick-or-Treat evening in her book, ‘Scary, Scary Halloween’. Illustrated by Jan Brett.

Readers have a laugh over the funny shapeshifting of a witch’s hat in ‘The Witch’s Hat’ by Tony Johnston. Illustrated by Margot Tomes.

And—my absolute favorite—the story of a boy who’s expectations of Halloween night are underwhelmed despite the lurking monsters behind him in ‘It Hardly Seems Like Halloween’, written and illustrated by David S. Rose.

Better Wait Till You’re Older…
‘Nightmares; Poems to Trouble Your Sleep’ by Jack Prelutsky is a collection of children poetry that covers creepy creatures that go bump in the night. Arnold Lobel depicts these deadly beasts in inky illustration.

Sequel to ‘Nightmares’, Jack Prelutsky also put out ‘The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight; More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep’ to complete his collection of iconic characters of horror—illustrated by Arnold Lobel again. 

And lastly, ‘Halloween Poems’ is a compilation of macabre poetry selected by Myra Cohn Livingston and accompanied by the creepy artwork of Stephen Gammell.

Whether you find my old favorites or discover some new titles for yourself, have a dim, warm, and spooky time looking over the tales of terror in great Halloween books! Don’t get too scared now! And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

 

- John


Plan for the Patch

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Hey, Fall Friends!

A pretty essential part of Halloween and the Harvest season, pumpkins are the perfect type of produce for carving and placing on a front porch or window. Jack o’ Lanterns light up the night with toothy grins and eerie expressions. It’s important stuff—figuring out which side of a pumpkin the face will be on, deciding on the kind of face to carve, and finding the right place for your Jack o’ Lantern to sit.

It’s important enough that I wrote a Blog post about it a handful of years ago. You can check that one out by clicking right here.

However, as important as all those decisions may be, there’s an even more important step that comes before you can even start thinking about a face. That step is picking out your pumpkin (or pumpkins if you’re lucky)!

This step can be lots of fun and a cool part of the fall season if you know where to look. There are lots of places to find pumpkins in autumn. You can get them at grocery and convenient stores. Or it’s common to find pumpkins and other assorted gourds at roadside displays.

But, for a surefire way to have some serious fall fun, I recommend a visit to a pumpkin patch if the trip to a local farm isn’t too far for you. Walk among those bulbous vegetables and find your favorite of the bunch! Their orange bodies and green stems always evoke such specific personalities; they almost tell you what kind of face to carve! And a trip to a pumpkin patch may yield other seasonal festivities like a hay ride, or a corn maze, or cider with donuts!

Go find out what kind of fall fun you can have in your local community and enjoy picking out the right pumpkin for yourself. Happy Harvest, Everybody. And, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Celebrate Farming

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Hey, Camp Fans!

With the Harvest season upon us, now is the perfect time to consider all the work that goes into the food that we buy at the grocery store. All the fruits and vegetables, the meat, milk, and eggs. The bread in the bakery. It’s all thanks to farming and those hard workers that grow all that food that we put on our dinner tables. October 12 is Old Farmers Day.

This day is dedicated to old farmers and the old-school techniques they used back in the day. It’s typically celebrated as a throwback to the sustainable practices of growing food the way they used to.

While mechanized and scientific methods are widely utilized in farming today, the entire trade would not exist without the wisdom and hard work of old farmers.

In their honor, today is about being thankful for farmers and learning about the processes and methods that go into their work. Perhaps you can suggest a family trip to a local farm where you can see firsthand where your food comes from!

Farmers are essential to our own survival! They take care of our food from sowing the seeds to harvesting the crop and seeing reach the market. Without farmers it would be difficult or impossible for us to have food on our tables.

How Can You Celebrate Old Farmers Day?

  • Do some research to learn about farming techniques from the days of old.
  • If you happen to live on a farm, take today to use old farming tools.
  • If you know an old farmer, ask them about how farming was different when they were young.
  • Visit your local farmer's market to support your local farmers.
  • Buy only locally grown food and locally raised meat.

On behalf of everyone here at Everything Summer Camp, we would like to send a special thanks to all of our local farmers and farmers all across the nation and across the world. Without you, we would go hungry…literally! Thank goodness for farmers and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Shades a-FALLing

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Hey there, Fall Friends!

This is the time of year when the leaves lose their green color and shift to shades of yellow, brown, orange, red, or even purple—if you live in more northern regions of the country, that is. After turning their sometimes explosive colors, the leaves will then fall from the trees (hence the short name for the season). It's the coolest part about fall!

All of us here at Everything Summer Camp, located in the northwoods of Wisconsin, are treated every year to some of the most beautiful sights with vibrant and surreal colors hanging from the trees. As the temperature cools and the northern hemisphere sees less sunlight each day, the leaves lack the amount of sunlight needed to perform processes that are essential to their life (like photosynthesis).

Check out the beautiful, changing environment surrounding us here in northern Wisconsin with these pictures throughout today’s post.

Fall Photography
Take after me and capture some cool pictures of the autumn colors. All the pictures on this post come from trees around my block! Check out the trees in your neighborhood and bring a camera when you’re inspired!

Leaf Collecting
While you’re out walking in the awesome colors of autumn, you’re sure to come across some fallen leaves. Maybe you’ll find some that are just too cool to pass by. Bring it home to share! You can even press leaves and frame them!

Raking
If you get enough leaves in your yard, rake them into a pile and hop in! There’s nothing more invigorating than lunging into a bunch of crisp, colorful leaves! Hear them crunch all around you as you lie on your bed of leaves!

If the foliage in your neck of the woods doesn’t create a fireworks show among the trees, then I highly recommend that you travel to an area where it does. Make a family day trip out of it…or maybe a weekend. The colors are bound cast a spell on you as they do on us every year. We truly live in a beautiful world! As always, thanks for reading!

 

- John