Saturday, July 5, 2014
July 4th Observations
Another little game I like to play on the 4th of July these days is trying to judge things by rating them against previous years.
Actually these observations start several days before the actual 4th as the neighbors and locals start shooting off some of their fireworks early.
There are of course several outside influences so this isn't a scientific observation by any means. For instance the drought of 2012 made fireworks illegal in many parts around here and caused many people to suspend their displays. Still by and large it's a pretty good measure of how well the local economy is doing each year.
One of our rescue dogs is deathly afraid of loud noises of any kind and the week leading up the fourth is about the worst time of her life each year. We usually have to give her an open cage covered in blankets to hide in but that doesn't help when it's time to go outside any. She spends most of the time actually whining under my chair or legs usually.
Let me just say this year I don't even think she knew the fourth was coming until last night. There was little pre-fourth explosive activity at all actually. A firecracker a quarter mile away will make this dog wet herself and I never heard her even whine while outside this year until last night.
We went into town during the day yesterday and traffic was very light. Parking near the uptown area they seal off for the celebration extended maybe halfway as far as usual. At first I thought this was maybe a sure sign but then I concluded it is possible with the fourth falling on a Friday perhaps many people used it to travel this year. Still highway traffic going into town was light as well and many tourist use that road to head to the lake areas way South of us. The volume didn't even reach normal weekend travel to my observations and we didn't leave particularly early or anything. Another little thing the Mrs. and I do is stop at a specific small dairy place each year and there wasn't even a line yesterday. I can't remember the last time we didn't have a long wait there.
A sure sign? Well no too many variables to be sure.
I have mentioned before the Small-Hold is located on a long, open high spot, kinda the culmination of the nearby hills that eventually turn into Southern Missouri. We have a good view 360 degrees around the farm of at least a mile or so in any direction. Very unusual this far South into Central Missouri to say the least and almost unheard of once you go South of the river. However the ground drops pretty quickly South of us towards the river and our view above the tree tops (which are lower than our yard when they start up after the corn fields end) extends almost 15 miles believe it or not. We can see a couple of professional displays that direction and the skyline over countless small sub-divisions and homes. It is easy to measure how far we can view by counting the water and radio towers that line the road South.
As I said the days leading up to the Fourth were light on explosions. At first I thought the actual night time displays were going to be so dismal I might as well go inside but after a while things did pick up a quite a bit.
It was a perfect night for shooting off fireworks too. It was cool, no wind or clouds to speak of and a crescent moon that made it possible to see without light but not too bright.
I would estimate the volume of ordinance going off last night within my usual viewing area to be maybe about 75% of the norm. There were at least five nearby houses that typically have some good displays that were noticeably dark and the ones I can usually count on to light up the sky close didn't send up the barrage I am used to seeing. The far horizon was no where near as dotted with bright flashes and falling embers like it usually is either.
It seems that everyone this year really did save what they had for after dark and then had to scale back as well. Now whether that is because of economics or calendar considerations is the question. Either way some one lost out on some money. Either the people buying or the stands selling.
However the neurotic, nervous Nelly dog was the clear winner. She only had to hide under the bed for maybe an hour or so this year. Now if the Thunder storms would just go away for good she would be content.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!