Friday, January 31, 2014

Will It Snow?



Our weather has been so mild lately that we actually have fruit flies in the house and can't seem to get rid of them. I've discovered that fruit flies don't just like fruit. They also like vegetables. They like water a lot too, so besides banning fruit and vegetables to outside the house, I've also taken to drying the kitchen sink all the time in an effort to get rid of the pesky little beggars.

There's a small chance it'll snow tomorrow. Bring it on, I say! Maybe that'll send the fruit flies packing, or flying, or whatever. And besides, when it snows I get to play outside and take pretty pictures. We've only had one snowfall this year and I think we deserve at least one more.
snow art

Monday, January 27, 2014

Roosevelt Elk


I saw four elk cows on my morning hike a couple of days ago. It was so good to see them again finally! Two dozen elk were trapped and relocated to another area of British Columbia earlier this month. I talked to the biologist who was involved with baiting and trapping the elk, and he told me they were trying to keep the herd here on the coast to 200 because they become "a problem" otherwise.

I hadn't seen hide nor hair of the elk since the two dozen were relocated. Actually, I haven't seen nearly as many elk overall in the past year as I used to see. They're like old friends that I like to stay in touch with. Anyway, when I spotted them as I came out of the wood, we stood and stared at each other for awhile and I took some pictures (not the one above), and then they calmly walked into the forest. I hope they stay in touch.
roosevelt elk art

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Forest Bathing aka Shinrin-yoku


I've always taken my two dogs for long walks through the forests. There are endless logging roads where I live, and it's also possible to walk along the power lines forever. 

But lately I've been going for two to three-hour walks on my own every other day. I read a few articles on Shinrin-yoku, Japanese for a practice called forest bathing, that kind of spurred me on. Studies show that walking or just enjoying time in the forest reduces stress and increases your immunity. Apparently walking in the forest increases the activity of our natural killer (NK) cells, which are components of our immune systems that fight cancer. It is speculated that breathing in air containing antimicrobial wood essential oils that protect trees from rot and insects could be responsible for the positive effect on our health.

No, I don't have cancer but like everybody else, I deal with stress. And all I know is, I feel amazing after a walk in the woods. Sometimes I'm lost in thought and come up with creative ideas, but other times I try to stay in the now and take everything in...the sounds, the smells, the way a tree feels (yes, I've been known to hug a few trees!) I've even made my peace with the almost constant rain we get here in the Pacific Northwest. Rain used to kind of depress me and I'd avoid walking in it when I could. Now I've embraced it because let's face it, it's almost always raining in the winter here! Now I find a walk in the rain refreshes me.

I recommend you give it a try and maybe even make forest bathing a regular practice. Here's an article about Shinrin-yoku and some of the studies that have been done.
breathing in air containing phytoncide (wood essential oils) like α-pinene and limonene, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds emitted from trees to protect them from rotting and insects. - See more at: http://www.hphpcentral.com/article/forest-bathing#sthash.jQIFIq1y.dpuf
NK activity partly to breathing in air containing phytoncide (wood essential oils) like α-pinene and limonene, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds emitted from trees to protect them from rotting and insects. - See more at: http://www.hphpcentral.com/article/forest-bathing#sthash.jQIFIq1y.dpuf
Dr Li attributes the increase in NK activity partly to breathing in air containing phytoncide (wood essential oils) like α-pinene and limonene, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds emitted from trees to protect them from rotting and insects. - See more at: http://www.hphpcentral.com/article/forest-bathing#sthash.jQIFIq1y.dpuf
Dr Li attributes the increase in NK activity partly to breathing in air containing phytoncide (wood essential oils) like α-pinene and limonene, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds emitted from trees to protect them from rotting and insects. - See more at: http://www.hphpcentral.com/article/forest-bathing#sthash.jQIFIq1y.dpuf

forest bathing art

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year from Me and Frosty


Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is everything you want it to be and more. 

I want to have more fun in the new year. I felt just like a kid when I was building the snowman you see pictured above, and I'd like to have more of that feeling in 2014 and in the years beyond. Getting old kinda sucks a lot of times but I really do believe that we don't have to feel old as we age. Attitude is everything.

So let me tell you about my adventure while building this snowman. I'd grabbed one of my scarves and borrowed one of my husband's hats (he's something of a collector) and headed down to a spot that overlooks the ocean and is surrounded by lovely big evergreen trees that were looking pretty spectacular with the new snow. This was just before Christmas.

The snow was perfect for building a snowman and I made him pretty quickly. To tell you the truth, I was maybe more concerned with getting a fun photo of a snowman than I was about making Frosty structurally sound. So I didn't build up his backside very well, thinking it didn't matter because you wouldn't be able to see that in the final photograph.

First I wrapped my scarf around the snowman, then I added my husband's funky hat, a colorful knitted one given to him by a female friend of ours. Next I tried to jam his carrot nose in, but for some reason it wasn't going in easily. I tried a couple of times, and then I really jammed it in, and that's when disaster struck: Frosty's head and torso tumbled off his bottom half and plummeted down the rocky cliff. I couldn't help but laugh at the same time I yelled, "Oh no!" I managed to catch my scarf before it slid down the cliff but my husband's hat was a goner. Some inaccessible bush or boulder is now wearing a very cool hat. Merry Christmas!

So this picture of Frosty is actually a picture of Frosty 2, with another hat (also borrowed from my husband, hee hee). But this time I was more careful and built my snowman carefully.

Anyway, it helps not to take these things too seriously (oh yeah, easy for me to say that, it wasn't my hat!) but in the end, things like your hat going off the side of a cliff are really small potatoes. I want to be in the moment, like a child playing, and not worry about the future and the not-fun things that can happen. If I have a new year's resolution, that's it...be in the moment. Savor it. Today is the day!
snowman art