Get Back to Your Roots.
With many of us staying home while social distancing, our routines have been shaken up. Whether that means home-schooling children, exercising in your living room, or watching more television than normal, one thing is certain, we could all use the benefits of fresh air and outdoor activities. Here are three of our favorites from the Ranch you can do by yourself or with your family to get your steps in, learn something new, or simply just change your scenery.
Outdoor Alphabet Hunt
Here’s a fun and easy activity to entertain young children and kids at heart. Walk outside and observe the nature that surrounds you. Take time to notice all of its elements, big and small. Find something that starts with each letter of the alphabet and write it down. If a friendly competition will motivate you, try timing yourself or race a family member. Once you’ve finished A through Z, select the one that inspires you most and draw or paint it for a keepsake.
Nature or Forest Therapy Walks
Perhaps you are familiar with yoga or meditation practice and know how to ‘get in the flow’ or ‘calm your mind.’ Forest therapy is a bit like that, although nature acts as your inner touchstone and offers the tools to connect. Combining the many health benefits of being outside with the practices of meditation allows you to melt into a space and create fertile ground for exploration, relationship building, and self-discovery.
Forest therapy walks, inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing), cover less than a mile over a 2- or 3-hour timeframe. Anyone can do it as it is a meander more than a walk with the focus exclusively on being present to the tiniest details and creatures. Take a walk by yourself, with your spouse, or with your whole family. Slow down to embrace mindfulness, let your mind play, feel your breath, and connect with the healing gifts of nature.
Spring is here. What better way to preserve the blooming flowers than through the art of flower pressing? The first step is to choose your flower arrangement. David Murphy, the Ranch’s lead gardener, strategically plants many flowers around the resort including petunias, calendula, pansies, salvia, and dianthus. Just as David works hard to develop our landscape, you too can learn which flowers are best to press and the methods for doing so. Flat flowers such as violets, daisies, pansies, cosmos, poppies, and larkspur press more easily. Thick blooms should be cut in half to help them lay flat. Flowers also keep their appearance and colors vibrant if pressed when fresh. Place flowers in a sealable plastic bag or keep hydrated in water until you are able to press them.
Once you have picked your flowers, place the blooms between two pieces of paper showcasing the middle of the flower and smoothing out any wrinkles in the petals. Printer paper, wax paper, coffee filters, or sketch paper all work fine. To press and dry your flowers in a book, place the paper with them inside between book pages and layer additional weight on top for about 3 weeks or until dry. The moisture from the flower may transfer onto the book, so you may want to use an old book that you don’t mind getting a little wet. For a quicker method, you can also iron the flowers by carefully placing an iron on low heat and with no water inside on top of the paper and holding it stationary for about 15 seconds. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times until the flower is dried out and stiff.
Once pressed, there are so many ways to display your flowers, including wall art, greeting cards, bookmarks, children’s placemats, and even adding a pop of color to a clear cell phone case!