The Great Outdoors

The pandemic is restricting everyone’s activities and leaving folks itchy with cabin fever. The great outdoors is still available, minus playgrounds, so many are out hiking and taking long walks. For us “outdoorsy” types it can be a bit of a shock to see so many faces showing up in our usual woods and trails. We all make our best effort to distance ourselves from each other but it is still getting crowded out there!

I could mind my business, but that would be so unlike me, so here are some tips for enjoying nature. Maybe you have never been an outdoor type and this is all new or maybe it’s just been a few decades since you played outside, either way a few tips can only enhance your experience and the experience of those around you.

  1. Think of the outdoors like church. You will get more out of it if you sit still and hush.
  2. Find a nice quiet spot and sit still. Observe as birds get more comfortable with your presence and come closer. Listen to the birdsong. Can you pick out different calls and songs?
  3. Look at the trees and plants around you. Can you spot similarities and differences? You don’t have to be an expert plant identifier, just note bark, leaves, buds and blossoms. Who is the same, who is different? This is great for kids too.
  4. Remember you are in the home of wildlife now. There will be snakes and bugs. If you leave them alone, they will do the same. Except ticks and mosquitoes, they are so glad to see you and will not leave you alone. Even my “good karma, do no harm” self has no problem smacking something trying to drink my blood. Dress appropriately and use a non-toxic bug repellent.
  5. When you meet someone on a trail remember we still have to be two meters apart. Make some space. My dog is super sweet but please don’t come over to pet him during this time.
  6. Remember when you were a kid and collected sticks, leaves and rocks? Still fun and makes emptying pockets on laundry day an adventure.
  7. Fawns and baby bunnies are left alone by their Mom during the day, if you bump into some, please leave them alone. That goes for all wildlife. Mind your business.
  8. Take your time, save that power walk for the streets. Breathe the fresh air, get some sunshine on your face and get back in touch with nature.
  9. Smiling and waving is still acceptable if you run into a fellow nature lover.
  10. Stay hydrated, bring water. Don’t leave anything behind except your footprints (no litter).

I’m going to wrap up this tutorial on good clean fun with a favorite bug repellent recipe below. Have fun out there!

Child friendly bug repellent: (Future blog for more potent formula when mosquitoes come out full force)

  • 3 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 20 drops Citronella essential oil
  • 15 drops lemon-eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 oz distilled Witch Hazel
  • Mix together and put in a spray bottle.

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