Many enjoy Labor Day as a day off from work and the last bit of fun before summer ends. Many forget what it is we are celebrating… it was first created by the labor movement and is dedicated to the contributions and achievements of American workers. That day is set aside for the American worker to have a day of rest and to remember the importance of worker’s rights.
During the Industrial Revolution, many people were required to work 12 hour work days for 7 days a week just to make ends meet. In the late 1800’s, labor unions then became more active. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest the unfair wages, work environment and hours.
September 5th 1882 was the first Labor Day celebration. Many workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. 12 years later, on June 26th 1994, the American Railroad Union called to boycott all Pullman Railway cars. This caused a crippling of railroad traffic nationwide. To break this strike, the government sent troops to Chicago. This only caused a wave of riots and deaths of many workers. In an attempt to repair ties with the American workers, congress passed the act to make Labor Day a legal holiday. And on June 28th 1994, President Cleveland signed it into law.
Even after all this time, it is still unclear who the founder of the holiday is. Many credit Peter J. McGuire, the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, as the first to suggest it. But, many believe that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, was the first to propose the holiday.
Labor Day Celebrations & Traditions
The Labor Day celebration has transformed a bit over the years. When it was first celebrated, the focus was on a parade. This was meant to show to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” and then a festival to follow. As time went on, speeches by prominent people were introduced.
In recent years, the celebrations have really began to change. As parades have become ever more difficult in city centers, the day has focused more on relaxing and having fun before summer is over and kids are back to school.
A common Labor Day celebration in North Idaho is Fall Fest! at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. It’s a weekend filled with beer, wine, cider, live music, and a soda tent for the kids.
Many of us here in North Idaho use this last weekend of summer for family camping trips out in the National Forest. More about our National Forests
Boating on the lake is a special favorite of ours on this last weekend. Taking in all the sunshine we can and enjoying live on the lake before kids go back to school and we prepare for fall. More about Lake Coeur d’Alene
Others like to take advantage of all of the downtown events to choose from or just a weekend of shopping! Downtown CDA
No matter how you choose to celebrate Labor Day, enjoy your day off!
As fire season continues, it’s good to take a moment and review some fire safety tips for both in the home and while outdoors. Having the basic knowledge may help prevent a home fire or a wildfire.
Below are 3 steps to follow when you have a fire outdoors:
- Picking Your Campfire Spot: Be sure you follow any rules or regulations if planning to build a pit in a campground. Ensure you pick a level spot and you are approximately 10-15 feet away from anything that could catch fire. This includes low hanging branches, trees/shrubs, and your own gear. Take the weather into account as well, for example if there will be high wind and which direction it’s going in. Make sure rocks line the pit so your fire stays within the boarder.
- While You Maintain Your Fire: Once your fire is going, do not add dangerous items such as aerosol cans, pressurized containers or aluminum cans. This items could explode, cause harmful fumes or shatter. Keep your fire at a manageable size. If it gets too large it could easily become out of hand with no way to put it out on your own. Also, always watch it. This is especially true if there are pets or children nearby. As a safety precaution, always have water close by.
- Extinguishing Your Fire: If possible, let you fire burn down to ash. Then, pour water over all the embers, not just the red ones, until the hissing sounds spots. You could also put dirt or sand over the fire, if water isn’t available. Continue adding the water or dirt/sand, stirring around with a shovel, until everything is cool. Never walk away or go to bed when your fire is still warm.
General Safety Tips to Help Prevent a Wildfire:
- Be careful while camping and using & fueling fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure it’s cool before refueling. Do your best not to spill flammable liquids and store appropriately.
- Do not dispose of your cigarettes, matches or any smoking material out of a moving vehicle or anywhere near an area that could catch fire. Always put your cigarette out before disposing of it.
- When burning yard waste, avoid burning in windy conditions. Have a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby and avoid all flammable materials from your yard. Follow all fire rules, such as not letting the fire get out of hand, ALWAYS keep an eye on it and put it out completely before walking away.
- If you notice an unattended or out of control fire, contact your local fire department or 9-1-1.
- If using fireworks, consider wetting down the grass and surrounding areas before lighting them. Always have a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher ready nearby. Avoid lighting fireworks on a windy night.
Below is 6 ways to prevent a fire in your home and help to avoid injury:
- Smoke Alarms: Be sure you have the correct number of smoke alarms installed in your home. Test them once a month to ensure they are still is working order. Have spare batteries in your home so if the batteries die, you can replace them right away. Replace them at least once a year. Learn more about smoke alarms by clicking here, such as how many and where to install in your home.
- Fire Extinguishers: They are a good idea to have to put out a small fire in your home or garage. Go over the 5 different types of fire extinguishers to be sure you have the correct one. Be sure your fire extinguisher is checked and tested regularly by a professional. Also, make sure you know how to use the fire extinguisher by following the P.A.S.S. rule below:
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
- Teach Your Children the Basics: Don’t let them play with matches, candles or fire and teach them that it can be dangerous. Show your child what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when one goes off. If your child is old enough teach them not to touch a door knob if it’s hot, how to stop drop & roll, to crawl on the ground when they see smoke, and not to hide under a bed or in a closet if there is a fire. And if you have the opportunity, go to a fire station and have them meet a firefighter so they can be familiar with what they do and their gear.
- Create A Fire Escape Plan: Draw your home’s floor plan that shows all the windows & doors. Make a plan of escape and go over it with your family, be sure there are at least 2 ways to get out of ever room, if possible. Have a spot you meet your family once outside. And be sure to practice the plan at least twice a year. Click here for a printable sheet to draw out your escape.
- Create A Family Emergency Communication Plan: Be sure every family member knows who to contact in case they can not find one another. This goes for any type of emergency, not just a fire. Also, be sure everybody know how to properly use 9-1-1.
- Stay Safe When Grilling: Do not use your grill unless it’s away from siding, decking or anything that could catch fire. Make sure your children and pets remain at least 3 feet away from the grill when it’s in use. Always stay with your grill when using it and clean it regularly.
Although it’s impossible to guarantee a fire will never get started in your home or your camp fire never gets out of hand, taking the precautions and steps above can help avoid it from happening. Always stay safe!
Here in beautiful North Idaho, one of the most common past times in the summer is camping! Whether you pull an RV or rough it with a tent, it’s a hobby most enjoy. Although the first camping trip of the year can be exciting, it may also seem a little overwhelming. It’s been months since your last trip and you have nothing prepared. We’ve got you covered! Below are checklists, tips, cooking ideas and more!
Before Your First Trip
First thing on your to-do list in spring is to make sure your tent or RV and all gear is ready ready. Camping would not be very fun if you realized during your trip that something wasn’t working or missing and you weren’t fully prepared. These things can ruin any camping trip.
Tents are pretty easy, but still it is very important to make sure your tent is in top shape and ready to go. Here are a few things to remember when prepping you tent and gear:
- Inspect your tent and tarps for any holes. Apply waterproof sealant where necessary.
- Wash and fully dry all of your gear made of fabric, this includes any sleeping bags, pillows and blankets.
- Check all your fasteners and ropes. Replace any broken or frayed ones.
- Make sure all your tent poles and stakes are accounted for
- Make sure you have a hammer for the stakes and a hatchet for wood
- Be sure all your battery powered gear has new and fully charged batteries and works.
- Wash, dry, inspect, and check that all camping equipment is acceptable working order.
Now, RV‘s are much more complex to prepare. Although every RV is going to be a bit different, the items detailed below will fit most RV’s and will be need to be completed. Always best to check the manual for the specifics on your RV.
- Clean and inspect the inside and the outside of the RV.
- If you winterized your RV in the fall, steps will need to be taken to de-winterize the trailer. This is typically flushing the lines with clean water.
- Fill your water tank, run the water pump and check for leaks.
- Be sure your dump hose is in good and working order, with no holes or tears.
- Check all your fresh water, black and grey valves when at a dump station. Be sure they open and close property and these are no leaks.
- Inspect the caulking, tires, towing equipment, awning, appliances, lights, batteries and A/C Unit.
- Make sure all your safety equipment is on board along with a tool box with most often used items for small repairs
Things to Pack
Although everybody camps a little differently, there are several things we all need to bring on every camping trip. We’ll save you the trouble of writing your own list, because we did it for you. Here are just a few very important items to remember:
1. Bedding – includes pillows, blankets and sleeping bags
2. Clothes – Plan for all types of weather from swim suits to coats
3. Toiletries – includes soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, hair-ties, shaving items and deodorant
4. Lighting – lantern, flashlight and don’t forget the batteries or matches
5. Cook wear and utensils – Stove, dutch oven, griddle, coffee pot, knife, spatula and more
6. Don’t forget packing for your pups. Leashes, food bowls, water bowls, dog bed, dog food
7. First Aid Kit, Stuff to Bug Bites, Sunscreen, Ibuprofen etc.
That list is only scratching the surface. Need a more in depth list? Check out our Camping Checklist!
Cooking At Camp
Cooking while camping can seem like an overwhelming, difficult, and dreaded task. But, it can be easy and enjoyable if you follow some basic steps.
Step 1: Plan Ahead.
Seems a little obvious, but it is one of the most important steps. Creating a list of everything you’ll need, even the little things, will insure less forgotten items. Things to consider in this step: the space and weight the food will take up, how you plan to cook things (stove, dutch oven, cast iron skillet), and that you eat food that spoils first.
Step 2: Choose your Equipment.
This step will mostly depend on how you camp and the amount of work you’re willing to do. If you prefer not to have any work while camping, pre made meals and snacks would be your go to. That would mean more prep work before you went camping. If you’re willing to do a little cooking, foil meals would be a great idea, that would be a little less prep work before you left. If you can manage the extra weight and the extra work, dutch oven or a cast iron skillet would be a great way to prepare your food. Dutch ovens seem to be a popular choice in cookware these days. Check out a video about dutch oven cooking for beginners by clicking here!
Step 3: Know how to Store Food.
A little organization will help big time when storing your food. There is a science behind stocking a cooler or fridge to ensure no wasted space and easy access to items you will need most often. A few ideas would be to bring a separate cooler for drinks, remove items from bulky packages, pack ingredients you’ll be using last at the bottom, and fill every nook and cranny with ice. Others things to keep in mind in regards to storing food is to be sure to keep everything clean, never to leave food unattended, and be aware of the wildlife in the area you’re camping and plan accordingly. Example would be bear proofing.
Step 4: Clean Up.
Proper clean up after your meal is also important, no matter how little we want to do it, as it prevents the spread of bacteria and the arrival of unwanted guests. Be prepared with items you’ll need: 2 dish tubs, dish cloth, drying towel and biodegradable soap. Thoroughly clean, dry and store your items. Store your unused food in airtight containers. Make sure all your trash has been picked up around your camp site and dispose of it properly. Either in the designated receptacle or pack it up and bring it out of the woods with you. Remember, pack it in – pack it out. Leave your camp spot or location better than when you arrived.
Have a great camping season! Be sure you’re prepared, have fun, and always be safe!