We did not make our traditional strawberry ice cream this year in the hand-cranked churn of my childhood, because the hand-cranked churn of my childhood gave up the last remaining vestige of a ghost last Fourth of July after being jerry-rigged with duct tape in order to hold together for one final batch; it was replaced this weekend with a very nice new churn from White Mountain and it would have been even nicer if they had sent us the hand-cranked model we ordered rather than the electric version which arrived. After some valiant phone calls on the part of my mother, we have established that the hand crank is on its way. There may be further ice-cream-making this summer just so everyone can feel it was done properly. But this afternoon, instead of taking turns churning by hand for close to an hour, we stood around the front steps and watched the machine whir and in about twenty minutes it was done. I suppose we should all have felt much less worthy eating the ice cream afterward, but just because we're in Massachusetts doesn't mean we have to subscribe to the Puritan work ethic—in fact, I generally support flouting the Puritan work ethic wherever possible. The ice cream was delicious. So were the hot dogs, the lobsters, and the angelfood cake with lemon curd which spatch and I made last night. My brother and his family came over; so did my cousins and theirs, joined by nineweaving and choco_frosh. My niece who is now three and a half was introduced to her young cousin Fox, who desired to share the trampoline with her despite not technically being able to stand unsupported for more than a second or two. Fox who is now almost nine months old was introduced to the concept of the bongos, since evidently my father desires that no one in our family ever sleep again. Choco Frosh peeled off to Church of the Advent to ring the bells for the 1812 Overture with the Boston Pops. Rob and I met rushthatspeaks for firework-watching at Prospect Hill. (Partly through a screen of trees, but everyone else on the hillside seemed to have the same wrong idea of where on the skyline the fireworks were going to appear, so it was not uniquely us. There was an amazing sort of full-crowd swivel as soon as the sky lit up.) This was a low-key Independence Day, but that's all right. Tomorrow we are going to find the sea.