Geminids-Jeff-Smallwood-540x3601

One starry night – Geminids M...

Our 12 days of Christmas in Nature ends with one starry night... whether that night is the Geminids meteor shower this weekend, the dark sky of  a ne...

Egg carton and dryer lint fire starters

Two firestarters crafted from recyc...

We're nearing the end of the 12 Days of Christmas in Nature. We've crafted ornaments, learned ways to stay warm, made trail mix and fed the birds... w...

Nature Craft, Bird Seed Ornaments

Three crafty bird feeders to make f...

On the third day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me.... lots and lots of birds! Feeding birds, in the winter, can help them survive and help you b...

Four tasty, kid-friendly drinks to warm up a winter hike

Four tasty, kid-friendly drinks to ...

Have you ever thought to warm up a hike with a tasty kid-friendly drink? You have options! Bring these tasty drinks along in a thermos, use a backpack...

Travel & Adventure

11 Ways to Stay Warm on Winter Adventures Outdoors

11 ways to stay warm on winter adventures outdoors

On the 11th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me... the cold harsh air of the winter wonderland! Read more of the 12 Days of Christmas in Nature   Folks, in the spirit of keeping it real.. I live in Georgia. While we d...

Becoming an OutdoorsWoman

Georgia Women Learn Outdoor Skills at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center

I spent this past weekend with a group of about 40 women at Georgia's annual "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop. The workshop is three days of outdoor recreation education. BOW is an experience like no other. It's a sort of camp for adu...

One starry night – Geminids Meteor Shower

Our 12 days of Christmas in Nature ends with one starry night… whether that night is the Geminids meteor shower this weekend, the dark sky of  a new moon in winter, or some other celestial event happening! Bring some hot chocolate!

Geminids in Flight, December 14, 2012. Jeff Smallwood captured eight meteors and five airplanes over the course of 90 minutes. Click on image for a larger version.
Jeff Smallwood

Geminids Meteor Shower

From Sky and Telescope:

The Geminids, an impressive annual meteor shower sparked by dust and debris shed from a small asteroid, peaks this weekend.

Geminids can appear anywhere in the sky, so the best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, probably straight up. Small particles create tiny, quick streaks. Occasional brighter ones might sail across the heavens for several seconds and may leave a brief train of glowing smoke.

See more at: Sky & Telescope

 

Two firestarters crafted from recycled material

We’re nearing the end of the 12 Days of Christmas in Nature. We’ve crafted ornaments, learned ways to stay warm, made trail mix and fed the birds… what better way to settle in for winter than relaxing with a toasty fire?

Craft these fire starters using recycled material

Egg carton and dryer lint fire startersEgg Carton & Dryer Lint Fire Starters
Stephanie, at DIY Ready, shows us how to use
this common household garbage for
a practical purpose, starting fires!
[Read how to do it]

Newspaper Fire StarterTwisted Newspaper Fire Starter
Martha Stewart, of course, showcases her
fancy recycled newspaper fire starters
in a basket by the hearth.
[Simple instructions here]

Do you have a favorite fire starter that you craft from recycled materials?

Three crafty bird feeders to make for winter

On the third day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me…. lots and lots of birds! Feeding birds, in the winter, can help them survive and help you bring nature indoors.

Nature Craft, Bird Seed OrnamentsBird Seed Ornaments
Ever thought of decorating a christmas tree for the birds?
This is an easy project to make some decorations that
the birds will appreciate. A few years ago, we made them
using this recipe and gave them
away as simple gifts.

Pine Cone Bird Feeder CraftPine Cones & Peanut Butter Bird Feeders
The simplest of all bird feeder crafts, any age or
attention span can quickly create these from
Green Child Magazine contributor Jennie Lyon.

Orange Bird Feeder CraftOrange Bird Feeder Craft
Simple and satisfying, these orange bird feeders
from _ add a splash of summer color
to the winter landscape. Learn how
to make them from Sheri Silver.

Don’t forget to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count coming this February.

Four tasty, kid-friendly drinks to warm up a hike

Have you ever thought to warm up a hike with a tasty kid-friendly drink? You have options! Bring these tasty drinks along in a thermos, use a backpacking stove to heat up water and dry drink mix, or have ready for a sweet after-hike wind down.

Homemade Crockpot Apple Cider
Throw 12 apples, a couple cinnamon sticks, some spices
in a crockpot to make this recipe from My Heart Beets.
Apple Cider also comes as a dry mix, for those who want to heat
water with your backpacking stove.
Homemade Crockpot Apple Cider

White Hot Chocolate Peppermint
This is the drink I want waiting for me when I come home from
a cold winter day hike. This super simple & quick recipe might just
encourage me to carry the thermos along.
White Hot Chocolate Peppermint

Spiced Ginger Lemon Tea
My oldest is a huge fan of lemon and tea. So, despite not having the sweet goodness
of chocolate or the crisp flavor of apples – I know he’ll appreciate
the unique tastes of this recipe from Brooklyn Supper.
Spiced Ginger Lemon Tea

25 Decadent ways to make Hot chocolate
Finally, I’m including this comprehensive guide to enjoying
hot chocolate from Elizabeth Stark.
25 different hot chocolate recipes

Enjoy the warm ups on and after your winter hikes!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Trail Mix Digest so you don’t miss a thing for your outdoor family.

Four tasty, kid-friendly drinks to warm up a winter hike

Who are you and where have you been?

greatsmokymtn-peterandjames50

“Tell your stories,” said the fly fisherman, “don’t let them die with you.”

He then led us outside to recite the passage that reminded me of The importance of the silence between us. Two very conflicting messages.. first, tell and talk, then shutup. As contradictory as they are, these two statements and concepts compliment each other well. They’re neither referring to the superficial connection we share with most of our acquaintances, but instead point us in the direction of a deep and meaningful communion with another human.

I meditated on this for weeks, now. How do I put into words the value of sharing real honesty? How do I extend this understanding that, despite the difficulty in revealing less-than-ideal information about ourselves, we stand to benefit greatly from this telling of our stories? The answer hit me as if it were an acorn thrown by some mischievous squirrel. Not a violent kick in the head.. just a humble reminder of who I am and where I’ve been.

Tell your stories. Let people know who you are and where you’ve been.
Wear them on your sleeve, for everyone to see. Like a badge of honor.
Stand resolute in an effort to be raw and real and you.

Tell your stories. Bring them out into the light.
Like a chest full of treasure. Because that’s what they are.
The hard times, the really hard times.
When you didn’t know what to do.
When you didn’t know who to call.
When everything went wrong and
came crumbling down in a disastrous
blaze of desperation.

Open up your box of treasure and pull
something out of it. Pin it on you and
tell your story.

I’m an alcoholic.
I’m a drug addict.
I’m a widow.
I’m a deadbeat.
I’m a bully.
I’m a homosexual.
I’m a loser.
I’m a survivor.
I’m a cheater.
I’m all these things..
and I’m afraid or ashamed or awesome.

it’s all the same, in the end – a patch of grass in a field of stones.

But, while I am on this planet..
I’m the one YOU CAN CALL.
I’m the one THAT WILL BE THERE.
I’m the one WHO CAN UNDERSTAND.
and I’ll hold your hand.
I’m THAT ONE. That’s who I am.
If I tell my stories. Bring them out into the light.. like a chest full of treasure to share with everyone else.