8 Tips For Saving Flower Seeds

Did your flower garden exceed your expectations this year? The magnificent blooms are fading into memory as the fall season approaches. Do not let the seeds go to waste. Collecting the seeds from your flower garden is an inexpensive way to get a head start on next year’s blooms.

Photo by Dids on Pexels.com

Tips on Saving Flower Seeds

Are you ready to save your seeds? The process of saving seeds from season to season is a great fall activity. Get outdoors! Enjoy the last of your flower beds before the winter weather sets in.

  1. Tools: The tools needed to collect seeds are basic. A pair of scissors or garden clippers work well for removing dead blooms. If you have sensitive skin, consider wearing gardening gloves to protect your hands. Paper bags or other container to collect seeds.
  2. Time to Collect: Begin collecting seeds about 2 to 3 weeks after the flowers stop blooming.
  3. Weather: Wait until a warm, sunny day to collect the seeds.
  4. Collection Time: Simply clip the blooms. If using a paper bag (lunch sacks work well), snip and allow the seeds to fall into the bag.
  5. Cleaning: Before storing, the seeds must be free from debris. You can clean as you go or wait until you spread the seeds out to dry. Do not skip this step. Debris or the seed pods may contain fungus or insect eggs. Always clean the excess away from the seeds.  
  6. Drying Time: Spread the seeds out on wax paper, newspaper, or paper towel to dry. Allow the seeds to dry for at least a week.
  7. Seed Organization: Once the seeds are dry, move on the storage process. There are different ways to store seeds. Place seeds in large envelops, plastic bags, small containers, or the previously used paper bags. Mark the storage unit with the date and type of flower.
  8. Final Storage: Place your seed harvest in an airtight container. Set the container in a cool, dry, and dark area in the house or garage for next spring’s planting.

If you have an abundance of seeds, consider swapping with other gardeners. Trading seeds with others is a great way to meet people and get a new variety of seeds.  

Celebrate Earth Day 2021

Today, April 22, is Earth Day! Started in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day is an annual event. Earth Day focuses on the growing need to take care of the environment for future generations.

Do you want to do your part to help the environment? Keep in mind; the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. If you need further ideas to help celebrate Earth Day beyond April 22, check out the following list.

Image by r1g00 from Pixabay
  1. Set Up Recycling (Buy bins to set up a recycling area in your home or business. When the bin is full, simply drop off the contents at your local recycling center.)
  2. Reduce Energy Consumption Use Cold Water for Laundry
  3. Hang Clothes on a Line to Dry
  4. Shop for Eco-Friendly Products
  5. Use Reusable Cloth Not Paper Towels
  6. Invest in Rechargeable Batteries
  7. Install Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
  8. Join a Carpool (if possible)
  9. Go Paperless with Monthly Billing Statements
  10. Recycle Unusable Electronic Devices
  11. Plant a Garden, Trees, or Flowers
  12. Shop at a Farmer’s Market
  13. Serve a Meatless Meal (at least once a week)
  14. Become a Secondhand Guru (Skip buying new when possible)
  15. Set Up a Garage Sale
  16. Volunteer for Local Community Cleanup Projects or Garden Projects
  17. Skip Single-Use Plastic
  18. Donate to Environmentally Friendly Causes
  19. Become an Advocate for a Cleaner Environment
  20. Get Outdoors and Enjoy

Family Friendly Earth Day Activities

Earth Day, April 22, is only a couple days away. Engage in family activities to mark this year’s Earth Day. Are you looking for some ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day 2021 as a family? Check out the following suggestions.

  1. Go Hiking: Get outdoors and go hiking. If you first starting out, research local hiking trails in your area. There are numerous trails for beginners. The easier trails are perfect for a family outing. Remember to take the necessary equipment, start slow, and enjoy the scenery.
  2. Go for a Nature Walk: Another way to enjoy trails at local parks is going for a nature walk. Make a list of items you hope to see in nature. Play a game to find different types of animals, leaves, rocks, insects, plants, and more.
  3. Plant Flowers: Buy seeds to plant flowers in pots or outdoors. For added fun, paint or decorate the pots before planting the seeds.
  4. Bird Feeding Station: Create a bird feeding station in your yard. Add a bird bath, bird houses, and bird feeders to a safe area to attract birds.
  5. Go Bird Watching:  If you cannot set up your own back yard bird sanctuary, find a local park to search for birds in your area.
  6. Join a Cleanup: Check out your local Earth Day community events and volunteer. Numerous areas are holding community cleanups. Join the cleanup effort as a family project.
  7. Go for a Bike Ride: Dust off your bicycles and go for a ride.          
  8. Unplug: Shut off your computer and other electronic devices for an hour or the entire day.
  9. Take Photos: Grab your phone or favorite camera and photograph the world around you.
  10. Hug a Tree: Yes, seriously, hug a tree. Discover the different trees in your area. If the weather permits, take a picnic. Just sit and enjoy your time outdoors.
  11. Make a Video: Document nature and the environment.
  12. Make an Eco-Friendly Pledge: As a family make a pledge to do better for the environment, then come up with a list of ideas.

Remember, have fun!                                          

Earth Day Drawing Prompts

An annual event, Earth Day occurs on April 22. If you cannot get outdoors to celebrate Earth Day or participate in a community cleanup event, focus on the beauty of the planet through art. Drawing is a wonderful way to celebrate the planet Earth. Turn Earth Day into a family activity, make posters, and share your art on social media.

 Do you need some Earth Day drawing inspiration? Check out the following prompts to get you started.

  1. Earth
  2. Trees
  3. Deer
  4. Volcano
  5. Fish
  6. Grass
  7. Turtle
  8. Ladybug
  9. Sun
  10. Water
  11. Mountains
  12. Pinecone
  13. Clouds
  14. Paths
  15. Rocks
  16. Bear
  17. Weather
  18. Leaves
  19. Flowers
  20. Bird
  21. Wild Animal
  22. Squirrel
  23. Nature Scene
  24. Butterfly or Dragonfly
  25. Frog
  26. Recycle
  27. Don’t Pollute
  28. Cleanup

20 Earth Day Photo Prompts

April 22, 2021 is Earth Day. The annual holiday recognizes the need to preserve the planet for future generations. Grab your camera or cell. Go outdoors and document the beautiful world around you. Share your photos on social media to help promote the natural beauty of the Earth.  

Do you need some photo inspiration? Check out the following Earth Day photo prompts.

  1. Photo of yourself outside
  2. Clouds
  3. Weather
  4. Trees
  5. Hiking or Walking Trail
  6. Rocks or Stones
  7. Wild Animal (Remember to keep a safe distance)
  8. Leaves
  9. Wildflowers
  10. Birds
  11. Landscape
  12. Waterscape
  13. Hills or Mountain
  14. Blades of Grass
  15. Sunrise or Sunset
  16. Night
  17. Butterfly or Other Flying Insect
  18. Dirt, Mud, or Sand
  19. Frogs or Turtles
  20. Need for Conservation

Inspirational Quotes for Earth Day

Are you looking for inspiration to celebrate Earth Day? Check out the following quotes. Each are perfect for Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
  1. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  2. “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”-John Muir
  3. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”-Gandhi
  4. “I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.”– Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  5. “When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.” —Alanis Obomsawin
  6. “Time spent among trees is never time wasted.” —Katrina Mayer
  7. “Most of us are familiar with recycle and reusing, but how often do we think of the third R – REDUCE? ‘Reduce’ is probably the most important of the three Rs because, if we reduced, it would limit the need to recycle and reuse.” -Catherine Pulsifer
  8. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”-Rachel Carson
  9. The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” —Lady Bird Johnson
  10. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” —Albert Einstein
  11. “Earth Day should encourage us to reflect on what we are doing to make our planet a more sustainable and livable place.”Scott Peters
  12. “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” -Henry David Thoreau
  13. “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children.” —John James Audubon
  14. “An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.” —David Attenborough
  15. “Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”-Walt Whitman
  16. “We need the tonic of wildness—to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.” —Henry David Thoreau
  17. “I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” —Sylvia Plath
  18. “Earth laughs in flowers.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  19. “The good man is the friend of all living things.”Gandhi
  20. “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” Theodore Roosevelt
  21. “Nature never hurries: atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work. The lesson one learns from yachting or planting is the manners of Nature; patience with the delays of wind and sun, delays of the seasons, bad weather, excess or lack of water.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  22. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall
  23. There is a pleasure in the pathless woods. There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society, where none intrudes by the deep sea, and music in its roar. I love not man the less, but nature more.” – Lord Byron
  24. “To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.” —Bill Nye
  25. “Man is still the greatest miracle and the greatest problem on this earth.”-David Sarnoff

Simple Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

It’s here! Today marks the first official day of winter in the northern hemisphere. Knowing as the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice marks the return of the light. Slowly the days will grow longer and the night shorter.

How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

People around the globe celebrate the Winter Solstice in many ways. If you are looking for simple ways to celebrate the start of the winter season with your family, consider the following ideas.

Go for a Nature Walk

Even if the sun is starting to set, go outdoors. Tonight, after sunset, look just above the horizon to view Jupiter and Saturn’s rare alignment. The lining up of the two planets will create a rare appearance of light, also known as the Christmas star. Here are a few tips for your nature walk after dark. 

  • Dress appropriately. Remember to wear layers to keep warm.
  • Carry your cell phone, but put the device on vibrate.
  • Use a flashlight if needed.
  • Remember to walk in a known location for safety. Walking on a familiar path is essential if the sun is setting.

Go to the Library

On your walk or car ride, go to your local library to check out books about the Winter Solstice. Some quick title suggestion includes:

Your local library, online shopping center, or bookstore has numerous books related to the Winter Solstice.

Eat 

Combine your Winter Solstice celebration with your dinner. Host a special family night meal.

  • A hearty Winter Solstice Soup to help you stay warm.
  • Swedish Saffron Buns or create bread in the shape of the sun to welcome back the light-filled days.
  • Mulled Wine, Hot Tea, or Eggnog
  • Winter Salad
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Butternut Squash
  • Bake a cake in the shape of a Yule Log
  • Use nature and winter-themed items to decorate a cake.

Feed the Birds 

Long winter nights mean less available food for birds. Add extra seeds to your bird feeder. Or decorate a tree with edible food for the birds to enjoy.

Make Nature Crafts

Use items from your nature walk for crafting. Pine cones, small twigs, or acorns are perfect materials for wreaths and other nature-inspired crafts.

The Winter Solstice is a once a year event. Even if you just decide to curl up under a comforter with a good book, take a moment out of your busy work, school, or holiday schedule to celebrate the longest night.

 

Family Fun Month: Hiking

Exploring the outdoors is a wholesome activity for the entire family (including the dog) to enjoy. Hiking provides physical exercise, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

Find the Right Trail

Before heading out, do your research. Find the right hiking trail for you and your family to safely enjoy. Trails generally run from easy to extremely difficult with numerous obstacles. Finding the best one for your family requires research. If you are uncertain about where to start, set out on an easy trail than work your way through the rest.

What to Pack

If you are just beginning, day trips are the best. Heading out on the trail for a day gives your family a chance to familiarize themselves with the trails and the equipment.

Do you need ideas for the basics for backpacking essentials for day trips?

  • Backpack: Use a high-quality backpack to protect your basic hiking necessities. Even younger children can carry a lightweight backpack.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is critical when hiking.
  • Food: Pack plenty of food to get you through your hiking trip. Small children may require frequent stops with extra snacks. Pack to meet each family members’ needs.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit is essential for handling minor scrapes and cuts on the trail.
  • Compass: Do not always rely on your cell phone. If your battery goes dead, you may need an alternative navigation device.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Use to clean your hands before eating.
  • Mask: Once you are on the open trail away from people, you will not need a mask. However, certain areas of the park may require a face covering. Be respectful of others. Pack a mask to follow any restrictions.
  • Extra Socks and Hiking Shoes: If you accidentally get your feet wet, having additional foot attire is a priority, especially with children. You want to make hiking a positive experience.

Before You Hit the Trail

Before heading to your destination, check the weather forecast. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing. Remember, clothing layers are the best option for being outdoors. If you are uncertain what to wear, add an extra layer. If the weather is too warm, a sweatshirt is easy to remove.

Have Fun

Hiking is not a race to get through the trails as fast as possible. Take your time with your family. Pause to view numerous scenic areas or enjoy nature.

Ask your children open-ended questions or make up stories. Being outdoors increases creativity. Encourage conversation among your family about the experience. Bring your camera or use your cell phone to take lots of photos to create a memory book. Wildlife and nature discoveries can lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors.

 

End of Summer Activities

Summer is quickly coming to an end. Soon, either virtually or in-person, school will back in session. Homework and work commitments will rapidly fill your schedule. Practicing social distancing and other guidelines in your area, you and your family can enjoy numerous fun-filled activities.

Do you need some inspiration? Check out the following list.

20 End of Summer Activities for the Entire Family

  1. Go on a hike
  2. Go on a nature walk
  3. Go camping (yes, the backyard counts)
  4. Make a fort in the backyard
  5. Blow bubbles
  6. Water balloon fight
  7. Play in the sprinkler
  8. Go for a bike ride
  9. Host a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt
  10. Go on a picnic
  11. Go on a walking tour of local sites
  12. Gather rocks to paint
  13. Go swimming
  14. Go out for ice cream
  15. Go on a scenic drive
  16. Have a craft day
  17. Host a game night
  18. Go stargazing
  19. BBQ
  20. Have a bonfire

The recent health crisis is a cause for concern. Staying safe and healthy is always a priority. But you can still enjoy the outdoors.  Get outside with your family, including the dog. Enjoy the remaining days of summer. A simple nature walk or hike can transform into long-lasting memories for your family. Grab your camera and go.

How to Help the Monarch (and Other) Butterflies

Celebrated the first Saturday in May, today, May 2, 2020, is National Start Seeing Monarchs Day. Orange, lined with black, and a mixture of white spots, the Monarch butterfly is easily recognizable in the wild. Due to various events causing a reduction in natural habitat, the Monarch butterfly is declining.  With your help and simple steps, there is hope for these beautiful winged creatures.

Ways to Help Monarchs and Other Butterflies

Are you wondering how to help the Monarchs and other butterflies? Check out the ideas below to promote the wellbeing of butterflies (and bees) in your area.

  1. Avoid Harmful Pesticides: Like other insects, when you spray your garden or lawn with pesticides, monarchs die. Avoid using harmful pesticides, go green. Find other options to reduce weeds in your yard.
  2. Plant Milkweed: A perennial milkweed is a native plant throughout the United States and Canada. The wild flowering plant promotes biodiversity, which helps the Monarchs during their natural migration path. Planting a small patch is a great way to improve the Monarch butterflies’ chances of survival.
  3. Place Monarch Waystation in Your Yard: A Monarch Way station is a safe place where the butterflies can lay their eggs. A Monarch waystation generally consists of milkweed and other native plants that help provide food for the butterfly population.
  4. Local Community Cleanup Efforts: Get involved by learning ways to protect the environment. Many communities host cleanup efforts for wildlife areas. (Please note: Right now, community cleanup and other events are delayed due to the pandemic.)
  5. Learn About Climate Change: Butterflies and other wildlife are at risk. Changing weather patterns disrupt their typical migration path. Learning about climate allows you to take steps to help the Monarchs and the rest of the insect world.
  6. Research: Learning about the lifecycle of Monarchs and other butterflies (bees too) helps in protecting the species. When you learn about the insects, you can create habitats, waystations, or gardens with their welfare in mind.
  7. Donate: If you are unable to plant your own milkweed or create a waystation, consider donating to a cause that promotes the protection of Monarchs. Many local organizations work with farmers and other industrial sites to save areas for butterflies. Other places create habitats for butterflies. Do Internet research to find an organization near you.
  8. Get Social: Even if you cannot donate, use your social media accounts to spread the news about preserving the Monarchs’ habitat. Social media blurbs have the potential to reach millions of people.

Many different species enjoy Milkweed.

Can you imagine a world without butterflies? In their natural habitat, the winged creatures are magical to witness. Learn about Monarchs and other insects to help keep the magic alive for generations to come.

 

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