Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Camping Trip of the Summer

We just returned from two nights at a friend's property in Randle, WA. Highlights:
  • Cruising on a few miles of dirt roads with the wind in her hair at 15 mph.
  • Rising to the morning grunts of an elk herd in the nearby meadow... hrrrr UUMF! Pretty cute (in an enormous animal kind of way.)
  • Relaxing over luxuriously long meals with panoramic views
  • Witnessing a pigmey owlet on a branch crying for food as its mother swooped in to feed it. Naturally, I yell, "What kind of animal is THAT?" and scare it away (naturalist Jennifer at her best.)
  • Getting up the nerve to jump into the chilly river and Taho's advice being, "Just charge in until you fall!" It worked perfectly.
  • Seeing such exuberance in my hooting and hollering husband's face as he ran out of the river in his birthday suit.
  • Experiencing pure laughter and joy by the riverside with our daughter.
  • Fulfilling her obsession with horses by reaching over a fence to pet and be nose-nuzzled by the softest sweetest prettiest horse ever.
  • After a gradual three month process, using this trip away from our routine as our last nursing day. Sweet and sad, but I was ready.
  • Deciding to come home a day early; therefore, having time to have a spontaneous picnic brunch on our drive home through Mt. Rainier Nat. Park .
  • Realizing we accidentely left a bag of food behind hidden in the kitchen helper
  • Upon arrival our geriatric dog jumped down a cliff to get a drink and started floating away in the swift moving river. I'm screaming and Papa considers jumping in to save her. She swam back to shore, but I worried about that cliff and my little beings for the a while.
  • Mosquitoes that eat grown-ups and not naked children. Papa and I were clothed from head to toe and Little Ita was insistent on being naked. They swarmed all around her perfectly available skin, but rarely landed.
  • Having an allergy attack so intense, from the horse, mosquitoes and meadow grasses that I had to take refuge in the tent for hours.
However, we are ready for more! We just need to find our camping groove...

What I learned about camping with kids:
  • Read this really helpful blog post and the comments
  • From the above post I learned about the three essentials - Food, Fuel, Warmth -
  • I would add First Aid Kit. If you have those things, you'll have a great time, don't worry about the rest.
  • Don't make our mistake. Before you drive away, ask yourself and your partner if you have packed and check that you actually have packed the 4 essentials - which includes: water, food from the refrigerator/cooler, other random food bags, tent, sleeping bags/pads, fuel/ stove, extra warmth clothes, hats, rain gear, socks, shoes, campfire wood, matches.
  • Click on this site for an extensive master camping list of all other luxuries (including a great First Aid Kit List.)
  • Camp near water. Rivers, lakes, creeks and beaches are our favorite places to camp because there is so much for all of us to do. Be sure the access is a safe distant away and not high risk.
What are your suggestions? I'd love to hear more.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Never Ever Step Inside a Fairy Ring

Out in the meadow today, we found an actual fairy ring.
It was huge, composed of about eight large mushrooms just like the ones we found last year that were already picked. They were spread out in a circle about ten feet around. Just like this.

Hmm.. I wonder what would have happened to a group of 12 parents and tots if we had stepped inside that fairy ring? Find out more here.
I expected to see a little winged nymph sitting atop one of those toadstools. It felt so magical to me as we danced around showing our little ones the mushrooms. I hope to see more fairy rings this summer, perfect for fairy tales and lore.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Watch Out! Wonderful Nettles.

Ita and I have been loving our stinging nettles infusion each morning (the ones that inevitably sting a toddler once in while and a harrowing cry ensues). It's a nourishing herbal infusion that "goes to work right away giving you the vitamins and minerals we need." Susan Weed of the Wise Woman Tradition and author of two very accessible and informative books on herbs. She says, "Stinging nettle is the energy of the earth... many people who drink it say they fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply. It rebuilds core energy, the adrenals, which are responsible for how much energy we have. "

I drink it for my allergies, asthma and for an easy way to get readily absorpable food-based minerals like calcium,
250 mg. per cup! Susan Weed believes many of the edible plants that grow near us, heal us. I must say I do feel better. She notes that within 7-10 days you will see the effects.

As an expectorant, it's recommended for asthma, mucus conditions of the lungs, and chronic coughs. Nettle tincture is also used for flu, colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. Nettle infusion is a safe, gentle diuretic—considered a restorative for the kidneys and bladder.

Makes 1 Quart Stinging Nettles Nourishing Infusion:

1 oz. dried nettles (available locally at PCC)

1 qt. boiling water

For kids add: 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey (if you prefer sweetener) and a splash of lemon to taste

Mix the nettles in the boiling water, add more water to decrease air and close with a tight lid. Allow to steep overnight or atleast 4 hours. Strain and drink throughout the day. Click on this link to watch Susun Weed make a batch with her grandaughter. "Once again the nourishing herbal infusions are a wonderful way to bring the plants into our lives on a daily basis. I often say to parents, if you go to a cupboard everyday and you take out a jar of pills and you say to your child, take this pill it will keep you healthy, then we shouldn't be surprised if as a teenager they go looking for happiness in a pill because we have trained them to look there. Where as if we go outside and say this is dandelion we eat it to be healthy, then when our children are teenagers and in the experimental stage they are going to be more likely to go looking for interesting plants rather than drugs." An interview with Susun Weed from the Raw Mom Summit The Evolution of Motherhood has Arrived.

The following books by Susun S. Weed are helpful in learning more about safe herbs for the whole family.

Healing Wise

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year