Weekly Smile – A Practice of Gratitude

This week I am joining up with my friend Trent sharing a weekly smile with you. I really like the idea of thinking back upon things you are grateful for, something I try to do every day. Today I am really grateful for the past 6 weeks of vacation that I’ve been enjoying, and the remaining days of this last week of vacation.

This morning I went out to look for blueberries in the forest. There is plenty of blueberries this year, something I am very grateful for. Being able to forage blueberries and fill up the freezer with all the nutrients and antioxidants that will keep us healthy this winter is a blessing.

All the green foliage on the ground are wild blueberry bushes. I will admit that I offer my daughter a small incentive for every litre (about 2.2lbs) of blueberries that she picks. It motivates her, and she feels important, knowing that she actually makes a difference for our family. It’s like giving her a summer job I think.

I feel wonderful when I am in the forest, and those times when I manage to get my daughter to come with me she feel wonderful as well, and we share many smiles and laughters.

We recently watched a documentary about forest bathing. It was very interesting. I’ve practiced this my whole life, without knowing that it was a thing. I’ve notice that it makes a huge different in my well-being, and in my childrens well-being when we spend time in nature, compared to those busy times when we need to remind ourselves that it is high time to get outdoors.

“Forest bathing is not just for the wilderness-lover; the practice can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you. For a more structured experience, you can join trained guides for a meditative two- to three-hour ecotherapy excursion.”  

National Geographic

I’ve been really getting into mountain biking this summer, something I used to enjoy a lot as a teen growing up in the mountains. The past two weeks of my vacation I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to difficulty of the trails I ride. I decided that it was time to get a better helmet. I tried it out for the first time this morning, and I am very happy with the fit, and that it keeps my head cool. Hopefully I never have to find out if the Mips safety system works, but it is suppose to be the safest there is for helmets nowadays. (Riding my mountain bike has to be safer than riding wild mustangs anyway, right?)

Before heading to higher elevation this morning there was an area of beautiful fern growing on both sides of the trail. I think ferns are so beautiful when they are healthy and lush like this. I hope you are smiling with me. What are you grateful for today?

Love,

Maria

Exploring Dalarna – Lugnets Nature Reserve, Falun

Lugnets nature reserve area is a short walk, or bike ride from my house. I rode my bike there today, five minutes after locking my front door I entered the closest trail in the trail system. It really is an amazing area, with both easy trails (hiking/horseback riding/mountainbike,) and some more challenging. There is also a big sport complex, ski jumps, ski-tracks for cross country skiing in the winter, and a swimming hall. Joining my friend Terri for her Sunday Stills with the theme Evergreen I’m sharing some photos from today.

The pine trees takes over at higher elevation, at lower elevation there is a mix of trees, and some wet lands.
There are so many trails, and I love the fact that I still have a lot left to explore. In fact the close proximity to this nature reserve and all the lakes are reason enough for me to really enjoy life here in this part of Dalarna.
The green soft “carpet” under the trees are mainly blueberry bushes. The blueberries are coming. I ate some while in the forest today. Within the next few weeks the abundance will be plentiful.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to Lugnets nature reserve area in Falun, Sweden. I also hope you are enjoying the great outdoors this summer! Are you? Tell me about your favourite place to enjoy nature in a comment!

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – I’m back!

I am so happy to be able to offer you some coffee, or tea again! My blogging break is over, and I am back with a new fresh blog; Green Dreams. In my first post on the blog earlier this week I explained how I picked the name. 

Me in one of the comfortable chairs at the balcony this morning, right after getting my first haircut since the pandemic started.

Back to the coffee! What kind of beverage can I tempt you with? There’s hot coffee from the French press (I’m having some right now,) and there’s hot, or cold tea in any flavour you can imagine. If you’d rather have ice coffee I could probably manage that as well. If you where here, visiting me in my home in Sweden, I would offer you to step out on the balcony. It’s 75F and you can have your pick of a comfortable chair in the shade, or in the sun. Half of the balcony is shaded until mid afternoon. Are you comfortable now?

Cherry tomatoes on the way, at my balcony garden.

How have you been? Are you on vacation? I’m enjoying my third week of vacation, four more to come. It’s fantastic, not having to set an alarm, just spend the days any way I please. I have to say that time off was well needed, the past semester was very intense. So far on my vacation I’ve been sleeping, reading several books, riding my bike almost every day (I got a new mountainbike in May,) I’ve had several picnics in beautiful nature with my children, and of course I’ve spent some time tending to my balcony garden.

Large squash leaf. I’m trying to grow the squash vertically, in containers, to maximise my space.
We’ve already harvested some beans, and there’s more on the way.

Do you have any fun plans for the summer? We are having a staycation, but not as strict as last summer. Last summer we literally stayed within one hour of hour house, usually much closer, the whole summer. This summer we are exploring the region of Dalarna, our part of Sweden. Here’s a post I did about a little adventure we had on Wednesday. Dalarna is a rather big region with mountains, big forests, lakes, and farm land. There’s plenty of wildlife in the surrounding forests, such as; elk, deer, brown bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx, and eagle owls. There are some eagle owls that have their nest in the old copper mine here in Falun. They had three owlets (baby eagle owls) this spring, I’ve been looking at them with binoculars on a regular basis, it’s fascinating. When they were first hatched the owlets were super tiny little fluff balls, now they are starting to look like the predators they are (still a little fluffy.) There is a Facebook group where people post daily updates, photos and videos of the owlets, if you are intereted.

Thank you for having coffee with me today, and thank you Natalie for hosting the coffee share! Happy 4th of July weekend! Feel free to share my new blog on your social media, or with anyone that you feel would enjoy some Green Dreams 🙂

Love,

Maria