Sunday, April 22, 2018

Celebrate Earth Day - I Challenge You To #StopSucking!

Happy Earth Day! How will you celebrate it?

There are lots of ways to help the planet on Earth Day. But - 

When I thought about the plastic waste in the ocean, 

when I remembered the stuff I pick up in the neighborhood with Toby, when I considered
the dumbest, most wasteful things we do…

#StopSucking. Straws.

That's right. Think about it - do you need a straw to drink a glass of water in the middle of the night? To enjoy a glass of wine? To drink juice at breakfast? Why do you, a grownup, need a straw?In America alone we use 500,000 straws per day. Yes, a billion every two days. It's not a typo. 

So click here: 
to accept my challenge to quit the straw addiction.
(It's a personal link via Lonely Whale Foundation and helps keep track of how many of you accept my challenge.)

You will probably have to tell your server when you order in restaurants that you don't want a straw in your drink. 

But wait - sometimes you DO need a straw! Smoothies. The movie theatre. Right? So consider buying a reusable straw. Yep, that's a thing. 

Click the photo to learn more.

Thank you for accepting the challenge to StopSucking  and for ALL the ways you help the planet for Earth Day.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thankful Thursday: Camping

Luxury camping: camp kitchen in rear, tablecloth(!), end table. Two new reclining camp chairs are out of the frame.

A week ago today we left for the first camping trip of 2018. We loaded the car for our version of "glamping", aka "car camping" as opposed to backpacking. Large tent, queen size deluxe air mattress, cooler full of food and beverages to enjoy around the campfire after a long day of hiking.  A few hours later we pulled into Site 19 at Medoc Mountain State Park in North Carolina. After setting up our campsite, we relaxed in the sun. After an unusually harsh winter, temperatures approaching 80 degrees were bliss!

The wildflowers were soaking up the sunshine too.

Brittle star of the forest? Form follows function - how is this type of structure essential for both the forest plant and the marine animal? Nerds like me wonder about these things :D

Mayapple blooms hide under a leafy umbrella.

That first afternoon there was time for a three mile woodland walk. Every day after that we hiked about 9 miles. Toby loved it all, except carrying his pack. Once we realized there was enough water for him along the trails we stopped making him use it. His attitude improved right away.

For three days the car never moved. Except for brief weather checks our phones were turned off. We hiked, read, listened to the wind and the birds, and enjoyed the solitude and relative quiet. 

Quite a morning-coffee view.

A highlight of being in the woods over the first truly warm days of Spring was watching the leaves emerge on hickory, oak, maple, beech, tulip, and sweet gum trees. On Thursday the branches were bare and you could see a long way into the woods. By Sunday the woods were sprinkled emerald green, enough to obscure the view from the trails. 

There's a trend now called "forest bathing", especially in Asia, where it is prescribed for all the symptoms of modern-day stress. We've been practicing it all our adult lives, though we call it hiking and camping. Whatever it's called, getting outside for hours or days is restorative.  

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."

A hiking dog is a happy dog!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bluebirds of Happiness: Wordless Wednesday

(After a thorough inspection, the birdhouse was, not surprisingly, rejected as too small. But we loved watching them consider it!)
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