Stretching Shadow – A Simple Gift

The shadows grow long as the sun sets ever earlier and we near the end of November allowing for P.L.A.Y.-full moments like this one here in my neck-of-the-woods.

And even though I’ve passed through this patch of the forest a thousand times this moment was like catching an unexpected glimpse of myself in the mirror as I caught sight of my extended shadow.

My how tall I’ve grown I thought. I look a bit long in the legs with four of them no less! I could be called “stretch”! What if a critter walked up behind me, how tall would they be? What if it was the black bear I saw a few weeks ago only this time it was walking on two legs? Oh my – what silly fun!

This whimsical moment reminded me yet again of how everything changes, always. Mother Nature has made sure that no matter what there will always be change even if we do not readily see it.

That is how this year has been too. There are so many obvious changes that have taken place in 2020 and yet there are so many subtle ones as well.

This holiday week may be a bit quieter for many of us as we stay home in our own pods and save visiting family and friends for another year when it is safer to do so.

And perhaps this provides an unexpected opportunity for all of us to reflect on the more subtle changes, perhaps even unexpected delights, that have unfolded while our attention was elsewhere this year.

What little things have you overlooked that could only have taken place due to the larger changes throughout 2020?

Someday when masks, and pods, and the pandemic are over what little things will you miss that could only have taken place this year and will eventually disappear?

Once you’ve sat with these thoughts awhile I hope you and your cozy pod are able to take the time to delight in the simple and subtle changes outdoors this week and in the months to come.

Whether it is catching a glimpse of your own shadows in the setting sunlight, collecting cool crystals on a winter’s day, or creating your own spontaneous P.L.A.Y. projects may you all discover simple pleasures in your own neck-of-the-woods.

Truly nature is there for you, ready to P.L.A.Y., always.

Be well, be safe, and simply bee!

From me and my shadow,

Karen ;0) ❤

Winter’s Coming, P.L.A.Y. Time!

This 3″ snow storm arrived as a bit of a trick and a treat at the end of October.

It was a fun reminder that winter is just around the corner and it is time to gather up simple P.L.A.Y. activities and order your next copy of Nature Alliteration Adventures to carry you through the super season of snow!

Nature Alliteration Adventures: Winter Activity Guide Book

Also be sure to check out my Snowflakes & Cool Crystals project for more inspiration for family nature adventures!

Surprise -Jack Frost climbing up my window on Halloween morning!

Visit P.L.A.Y. on PINTEREST!

 

Join the P.L.A.Y. community on PINTEREST!


You will find nature videos, story read-alouds, seasonal snapshots, and oodles of  inspirational P.L.A.Y. pins for you and your family.


Try these P.L.A.Y. boards -Pass it on!


 P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!

Nature’s *P.L.A.Y.ground* is a Feast for Your Senses Throughout the Seasons


Let’s go P.L.A.Y. in nature’s playground and restore our sense of calm through connection to the great outdoors and engaging in curiosity together.


These are some of the top “sense-sational” experiences I’ve had P.L.A.Y.ing in 2020:

*Hearing the buzzing bees while soaking up the warm sunshine on my skin and taking in the scent of summer in bloom in the butterfly garden.

*Listening to the babbling brook as it cascades down the rocky pathway.

*Hearing the birds singing an early morning wake-up call and the owl’s calling out to one another as dusk sets in to say goodnight.

*Watching the young goat kids, only a few months old, butting heads and frolicking about or cuddling one of these newborn cuties up close.

*Feeling the warm sunshine on my back as I P.L.A.Y.ed pick-up-sticks in early spring to create a brush pile.

*Seeing the ducks peeking out between the grasses in the meadow as they gobble up grubs.

*Watching the clouds sail by and a storm roll in.

*Tasting the delicious newly ripened apples in the orchard and the last fresh greens from the gardens.

*Feeling the cold on my lips while tasting the sweet local maple syrup on freshly fallen snow.

*Smelling the apple wood scented smoke outdoors on a winter’s eve from a nearby home burning a fire in a wood stove.

*Breathing in the crisp cold air while walking in the bright light and shadows created under a full moon on a winter’s night.


Nature Noticing is for EVERYONE!


No special equipment or experience is required!

Just pack your senses (+Capkin),

step outdoors,

and

soon the smiles will appear!

🙂

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Dog, kids, partner, neighbor, friends, or solo – nature P.L.A.Y. is for ALL!

Time to step out your door and experience the magic that nature has in store for you and your family TODAY!

Spring: Burs on Boot!


P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

Purchase Here


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“Burs on my Boot above the Babbling Brook”

P.L.A.Y. and P.L.A.Y.-fullness is naturally all around us – always!

Time to step out, wonder, and wander!


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Surprise! First Snow of the FALL Season!


Purchase Here P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


SURPRISE!

The first snow of the FALL season arrived today here in the hilltowns in the form of on + off snow squalls and snow showers.

Fabulous Flakes were Found everywhere!

Living at nearly 1,000 ft here in New England means we may see snow showers at this time of year while the valley to our southeast sees mostly rain showers.

I love the gentle and magical snow globe effect and consider it our late FALL season bonus.

Visit P.L.A.Y. on PINTEREST(here) to see a video of this first snow.

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~Seasonal Reminder~

Time to get your copy of  Nature Alliteration Adventures: The Winter Guide (here) as the fun begins in December and lasts through January and February with plenty of opportunities for you and your family to get outdoors and explore the beauty of the snow and ice.

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Potluck P.L.A.Y. – Autumn Acorn Abundance!


Purchase HereP.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


My walks this week included some P.L.A.Y.-full . . .   

Autumn Acorn Abundance!

Pausing and being present provided the opportunity to see these special striped acorns still attached to their caps.

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Curious Capkins want to know: Why do some years have more acorns than others? What impact does this have?

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“Marble Madness” ensued as the abundance of acorns made for tricky foot travel.

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Bonus Bounty!

According to the Farmer’s Almanac Folklore an abundance of acorn means a snowy winter (AND fat squirrels)!

I’ll be curious to see how this actually P.L.A.Y.s out!

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Visit my video on PINTEREST (here) for a simple snapshot of “Autumn’s Acorn Abundance” with a batch of beautiful oak leaves in the sunshine.


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

❤ ❤ ❤

Potluck P.L.A.Y. – One Day Wild Wonders


Purchase HereP.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


 These P.L.A.Y. wonders were all found on one day’s walk in the wild. 

(also known as) 

Fabulously Fun Fall Finds!

1st year harvesting Autumn Olives (oh my tartness!) to freeze for smoothies, pies, sauces, with lycopene/Omega 3/ Vitamin C, A, E!

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Nature’s velcro? Fun for landscape art parts!

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Fall can be fun and a little “deflating”. Poof!

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Taking the time to look up into the sunlit forest canopy.

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Bonus!

I saw “Mr. Prickly Porky” on his rounds in the forest which is not typical during daylight hours. He was quite large, moved a bit faster than I expected, and made for the base of his hollow tree home when he knew of my presence (especially hearing the bells on my walking sticks).

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Visit my video on PINTEREST (here) to experience the simple gift of “Fall in the Forest – Wind & Water Wonders”.

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Potluck P.L.A.Y. – Curiosity & Simple Sumac


Purchase HereP.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


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Time to share a bit of curiosity and my own recent series of outdoor P.L.A.Y. moments involving experimenting with Staghorn Sumac (not poison sumac) that grows quite well up in our neck of the woods.

Staghorn Sumac in late September

I had heard that it could make a great glass of lemonade if you are so inclined and provided you have plenty of sugar on hand to off-set the tartness.

And I knew that the goaties absolutely loved the leaves as I had shared some stalks of it (with permission from their mama – aka my daughter) in August.

Goaties eager to help eating the sumac leaves.

However what I soon discovered, when I went to retrieve the stalks to clean up their pen space, was that the goats also loved nibbling the bark (like deer) and munching on the red berry cones found on the top of some of the sumac sticks.

This got me to thinking . . . spoiler alert . . . about to commence P.L.A.Y.!

BTW- Cats are curious however they are not interested in experimenting in eating this “fluff stuff” (staghorn sumac berries)

What if I harvested some of the sumac trees that were beginning to encroach upon our house and also beginning to block the view for one of our neighbors AND made use of the entire harvest?

After doing some research here’s how my P.L.A.Y. nature experiment looks to date:

  • Harvest the sumac and feed to our goats and our community members goats so that they may strip the leaves and bark off of the wood.
  • Pre-clip the staghorn cone of red berries and place in dehydrator for 24 hours to store as an excellent source of crunchy Vitamin C and other nutrients that is great for all the goats over the winter when fresh forage is scarce for them.
  • Once the goats have stripped the wood set it aside under cover to dry and be used in future community bonfires at our new fire pit as kindling or logs (depending on size).
  • Be sure to take only what can be used this year and save plenty for the local wildlife that also make use of the sumac berries to make it through the winter such as birds and squirrels.

What excellent P.L.A.Y. partners – so very helpful!

To see the video of these cuties in action visit PINTEREST (HERE).


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What curiosities did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!