I will be putting the most recent posts on top, so scroll down to read about our challenge from day 1!
Day 22: Wild Food
Have you ever picked wild raspberries or gathered black walnuts? Gathering wild foods can make for some awesome childhood memories however, this activity seems to have gone by the wayside. Learning about our food, its origin, how it grows, how to harvest, etc. is a great way to connect with nature. It’s also a great way to connect with family, friends or even an instructor, as you have to learn the art of foraging from an experienced person who knows exactly what they are looking for and when to look for it. Start with some of the safest and easiest to identify foods like: blackberries, chesnuts, paw paw fruit, hazelnuts, dandelion leaves, elderberries, persimmons, wild strawberries, mulberries and blueberries to name a few. You can even take a class on foraging. Doing this challenge in January makes for slim pickins’ when it comes to wild food though, so we may have to come back to this one in the Summer.
Day 21: Rundering
This one may not be for everyone (maybe not even me?) as it is a bit more vigorous but it sort of takes me back to my childhood. The challenge is to cover more ground and see more of nature at a faster pace. Start out by walking and then increase your speed to a run or jog. Feel free to stop and admire anything you see that interests you along the way. This is a different take on exercise and would be great for people like me that would be completely bored with running around the neighborhood or going to the gym. I just can’t motivate myself to do those things, but rundering? I think it may just be the answer to my exercise needs that I’ve been looking for! Hopefully I don’t trip on a log and end up in the ER, haha!
Day 20: Air
Have you ever been congested while sick and thought to yourself “I’ll never take breathing for granted ever again!”? And what about the quality of the air that we breathe? There are many places in the world where the air is full of toxic pollution and the people don’t have access to clean air. One of the greatest joys in life is taking in a deep breathe a fresh, crisp, clean air and I too, often take the ability to do so for granted. When we venture in to the woods, I often feel more alive breathing in the damp forest air and I LOVE opening the windows in our house when the weather allows it. Today’s challenge is to allow yourself to be more aware of the air around you. Is it humid? Is it dry? Does it have a scent?
We took a walk at Bombay Hook on a foggy morning and the air felt so good against our faces. Crisp. Fresh. Clean.
Day 19: Rewilding Your Home
I love this idea! Here are 5 ways you can bring nature in to your home:
1. Add more plant life
2. Decorate with objects from nature
3. Be wildlife friendly
4. Bring the seasons inside
5.Bring more natural light in to your home
When we were at the beach over the summer, D collected a huge amount of beautiful seashells that washed ashore after a hurricane. We found a glass jar to display them in so we could enjoy them indoors and I play to do the same with the treasures we find in nature! I’m off to search for the perfect container…
Day 18: Take a Hike!
Day 17: Trail Sit
People watching fascinates me and today’s task is to find a trail that is frequented by hikers, hide in the woods and watch as they go by. Study the humans and their behavior as you would study any other animal. Unfortunately, we don’t have any trails near us that are frequented. Also, this task is geared towards individuals rather than families. Most of these tasks I am trying to accomplish as a family of 4 and I don’t think we would be very inconspicuous in the woods, haha.
Day 16: Sleep Under the Stars
By sleep under the stars, they actually means under the stars. Not in a tent. Not in a cabin. Um…it’s winter… Sorry but even I’m not that hardcore. I do think when it gets warmer the boys would LOVE going camping. We will definitely make it a point to take them this year.
Day 15: Becoming Animal
Today’s task is to let go of your human mind and let your primal side take over. We are to crawl on the ground and feel the earth between our fingers. To be honest, I have a hard time with this one. I think it’s a fun task for the boys to try though.
Day 14: Reciprocity
This is such a fascinating and beautiful concept. Reciprocity in nature is what makes the world go round so to speak. Here is the example given by We are Wildness University that perfectly describes it:
“Breathing shows us one of the best examples of reciprocity in nature. We breathe in oxygen. While in the lungs, carbon from our body bonds to the oxygen and when we exhale, carbon dioxide comes out. Plants breathe in this carbon dioxide, and break the carbon away, using it to grow. In turn, they release oxygen. To keep life going, we pump these gasses back and forth between one another, keeping ourselves alive and inextricably linking our lives together: two sides of a process who cannot live without the other. “
So what does this mean for us? How else can we reciprocate? My interpretation of this task is to give back to nature by planting more of the native trees and plants we need to survive. Humans as a whole tend to destroy and disrespect what has been provided to us. Lets do our part to counteract that. To bring balance. We might not be able to keep up, but we can certainly try!
Day 13: Helping Nature
This one deserved its own blog post: We Can Do Better
Day 12: Mindfulness in Nature
Staying present and ignoring the hustle and bustle of life while you are in nature is easier said than done. This is something we need to really practice on a daily basis. I am guilty of letting my mind wander to other things while out on a hike, but doing so takes away from the connection to nature and takes you out of the present to the past or future. This world is SO much bigger than us and our piles of laundry, deadlines at work and list of chores. It is incredibly important for us to be mindful of this and appreciate what’s going on around us. From the tiniest ant on a rock to the largest sequoia tree in the forest, each has a purpose and is special in its own way.
Day 11: Sink Into the Earth
As an exercise in practicing stillness we are to lay on the ground (naked if possible…) and in doing so find a deeper connection with nature. Hubby and I did this challenge without the kids, as they are not really in to being still. We didn’t fare to well. I get bored easily and would much rather be walking around exploring so although we did as we were supposed to and laid on the ground, it was short lived. We did however take a nice walk through the woods by the lake, making some discoveries along the way!
Day 10: A Deeper Look
I’ll come back to this one…
Day 8: Touch & Day 9: Water
For Day 8 we are to “become our sense of touch” by sitting still and feeling without touching our surroundings. Of course we are also supposed to actually touch our surroundings and feel all the different textures and sensations, just as we did in our recent blog post to Pemberton Historical Park. Because I am behind on my tasks for the challenge I combined days 8&9. We are super fortunate to have a lake in our backyard so my adventure buddy for the night and I went in to the woods, picked a log facing the water and sat for a bit.
For Day 9, we are to find “wild water” and just be near it. Something about being near water in nature brings a sense of peace and like I always say in my blogs “where there’s water, there are animals.” Every single time. Being a bird nerd, I love hearing all the sounds of the geese, ducks and herons on the lake, even though it is partially frozen over currently. If you sit still in one place long enough, the small songbirds tend to begin trust you as they flit around in the shrubs and rustle in the leaves. It is always a goal of mine to find “wild water” so Day 9’s challenge was a perfect fit in to my life.
|It was clear that we were not the first to use that log as a resting place since the most recent snow…|
Day 7: Wander
Now this one I try to do as often as possible and it can be family friendly. I love to wander Bombay Hook with no time limit. AND it can be family friendly. It’s even more fun when you’ve got the place to yourself and the only footprints were left by paws and claws…
Day 6: Solitude
Ha! That’s a good one. The only time I experience solitude is…never? This one is really tough to accomplish for a working mom. There is no way I am able to get 30 solid minutes of time alone, but if I add up the 5 minute intervals I tried to get, it counts right? I am going to try REALLY hard this week to accomplish this and I will update if I can do it!
Day 5: Go Barefoot
If you lived in Florida this one might not be that difficult, but it’s near freezing here and about to snow so this took some willpower. I’m not gonna lie, this one was more like 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes… Don’t get me wrong, I love going barefoot and almost never wore shoes as a kid but in my old age, I found it hard to step on the cold concrete porch, brick sidewalk, and asphalt driveway before we got to the grass. Brrrrrrrrrr.
Day 4: Look Up
I promise I looked up before it got dark, the problem was that it was while I was driving for two hours. We finally got a clear day with beautiful clouds and I spent all my free time in the car so this is the only photo I could take once we got to our destination. I love the concept of just laying on the ground and staring at the sky for awhile though. So relaxing!
Day 3: Slow Down
Okay so this is pretty impossible for me. As much as I’d LOVE to accomplish this at some point, slowing down is a luxury for me. I work full time and commute two hours a day, so when I come home I only have a little over an hour to play with the boys, make dinner, do laundry, clean up the tornado the boys leave behind everywhere they go, etc. before its bath and then bed time. By the time they’re asleep, I am so wiped out!