Independence Day is, for all intents and purposes, the United States' birthday. People celebrate the holiday in all kinds of ways, but I began the day with a good solid session in my vegetable garden - weeding, feeding and tilling the compost heap. I also sowed a small row of lettuce and spinach. It's not the best time of year for them, but considering the wet and mild summer thus far, it can't hurt to try.
Beyond enjoying the time outside and the health and mental benefits of gardening, I find growing my own vegetables to be an intensely patriotic activity. This country's roots in agrarianism are deep - from before the American Revolution until well after the Industrial Revolution, we were largely a country of farmers. In troubled economic times and in times of war we turned to the land to provide us with the food, fuel and fiber necessarily in our daily life. One of our most famous founders, Thomas Jefferson, the very author of the Declaration of Independence considered himself to be a farmer first and always.
So, this Independence Day, I will think about some of that stuff as I'm bent over pulling weeds. But like many Americans, I will also celebrate by gathering with friends and family, cooking some food on the grill, and quite likely, blowing stuff up.