The Bounty of Nature

I’m not sure about you, but I love picking wild berries. Saskatoons are my favourite, and right now is prime picking time.

We have several bushes of wild berries on our property, which aren’t the easiest to get to. I’m seriously considering relocating some of them into what I hope will become a small orchard. A couple days ago, I went down the road to a good spot that is easily accessible from the road. I was not disappointed, because I had picked almost a bucketful in less than an hour.

My Blue Heeler was quite excited to go with me, and he explored while I picked. I took him along for protection as well as company. I know he would do his best to ward off a black bear if it decided to go berry picking at the same time.

I’m very fortunate to live in an area where wild berries are bountiful. Once the saskatoons are done, the chokecherries will be ready for picking too. I’m going to try to get enough this year for chokecherry jelly. If I’m able to get more saskatoons this week, I will make a small batch of jam.

Our forecast doesn’t look promising for berry picking on the days I don’t work, which is a little disappointing. Today was a beautiful day, but by the time I was finished with yard work, I was too hot to go pick berries. Our weather has been a little unusual this summer; July is over half over and we have had rain almost every day.

I love living where we do, because nature provides us with berries, nuts and even mushrooms. I’m very careful with the latter, because aside from morels I honestly don’t know which are safe and which aren’t.

I found a small stand of hazelnut trees, but I think the squirrels will probably beat me to them like last year. I guess they have more rights to them than I do, because they have less resources than people.

I think for me, the best part of picking wild berries is going out and getting fresh air, plus knowing the berries I pick haven’t been sprayed with anything. Sure, I can go to the grocery store and buy frozen ones, but fresh are so much better.

Not only are they healthy, but I get a little exercise while I’m picking them too. And that is worth something to me.

Do you enjoy picking berries? If so, what’s your favourite?

Photo taken by me after cream and sugar were added to the bowl full of fresh berries. Yes, I know; probably not the healthiest, but oh so good!

Walking to Stay Healthy

I have to admit, when it comes to exercise I’m the last one to go full guns on a program.

That’s not to say I’m a couch potato, because I’m not. I like to keep busy with my writing, crafts, reading and puttering out in the yard. Since most of the things I do don’t involve strenuous exercise, I make a point to try to walk for at least half an hour each day.

I’m fortunate, because living in the country gives me plenty of opportunities to walk without having to worry about much traffic. The only time we have a lot of activity past our place is during spring and fall; seeding and harvest time.

I like walking on the gravel road, because it gives me the opportunity to see tracks. Usually it’s deer or moose tracks I see, but last Thursday I saw bear tracks. The deer and moose must consider our road their personal highway, and I suppose the bear did too.

Photo taken July 11/19 while out for my walk.

I like to take our dog along, but if I’m planning on walking more than half a mile one way I leave him home. He’s ten now, and I’m sure when he goes too far he aches like I do.

Instead of giving up my walking outside, I will be investing in bear bells. That should keep the wildlife at a safe distance. I prefer to walk outside, because the air is fresh, I can listen to the birds and I have plenty of choices regarding distance and direction. It’s much nicer than being on a treadmill and staring at the wall.

Walking to stay healthy doesn’t require much more than a good pair of shoes (which I need to replace as soon as possible), comfortable clothing and an optional walking partner. And, there’s less risk of injury than when running.

I will power walk sometimes, just to raise my heart rate. I like to keep a steady pace with the occasional burst thrown in. My bursts don’t usually involve jogging or running, because my knees and hips rebel. I will occasionally do squats at the turnaround point, but have to pay attention to what my knees tell me.

Walking is good for you and your health. Being able to enjoy an active life is also good for the mind. Something as simple and low impact as walking may not seem like much, but any activity is better than none. And, for those of us who are on the second half of a century, staying physically active is crucial for weight management. Plus, bone, muscle and mental health all benefit from regular exercise.

Walking for health is my choice, plus I have added in some resistance bands to my daily routine. The most important thing to remember is to start slow, and increase time, distance and intensity gradually. If you go full guns right off the top, you will not only risk injury but you may also become discouraged.

Do you have a regular exercise plan? If so, is it new or have you been doing it for some time?

Embracing Creativity

It’s funny how, as we get older, our priorities and interests change.

At this point in life, I am more about spending time with family and friends than taking on extra shifts at work, or burning the candle at both ends at home. I have to admit, I still do the latter occasionally but am getting better at knowing when enough is enough.

As an independent author and all around creative person, I find myself with several projects on the go at one time. I enjoy the flexibility I have to not only earn an income from my job as a library assistant, but also from my creative venues.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am fortunate enough to be able to have an Etsy Shop. It allows me to sell my crafts, patterns and even my digital products. And because I like my customers to enjoy a bargain every now and again, I select certain products to put on sale. I have added a 25% discount on a few select items until July 31, with one of them being my Pipestone Creek Romance Series. The boxed set is not available on any other platform, so for those who like to read a series start to finish, now’s the time to take advantage of it.

The older I get, the more I like to create. Whether it be with words, yarn or fabric, I embrace my creativity. There was a time when I was afraid to show others what I had made or written; now I just do what pleases me. If they like what I do, the compliments and even the sales will follow. If not, they will move on to something else. That used to bother me, but not anymore.

Creativity doesn’t just come in the form of crafts or writing. If you paint, you’re creative. If you like to design houses, you’re creative. If you like to garden, you’re creative. There are so many outlets to let your creativity come through. Sometimes the hardest part is letting yourself embrace it rather than deny yourself the pleasure.

I try to take time when I wake up to write my morning pages. I have found them to be a wonderful tool to work through a problem, or just wrap my head around a project I’m considering. I have been doing them for several months now, and have noticed more significant progress being made; both in my creativity and how I handle daily events. Between my bullet journal, morning pages and evening journaling I now have a better grasp on my projects, don’t feel so scatterbrained and am able to stay on task better.

My fauxdori has become my lifeline, as it contains my bullet journal, morning pages, brainstorming notebook and a notebook for whatever else I want to write down. Without it I don’t think I’d be as organized as I am now; perhaps the most organized I have ever been. Learning and adapting to change as a person ages is a good thing. And, it helps us embrace our creativity; whether we recognize it or not.

Are you a creative person? Where does your expertise lie?

Feel free to post your answers in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, and know that if you have any thoughts on being over half a century old, positivity helps.

Photo credit: Diane Ziomek 2019 Also used for Etsy listing.

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