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Cow Patties and Mud Pies

I remember long days spent in the wonderment of my backyard. Snapping fresh green beans off of the vine from my mothers vegetable garden or building large erupting volcanoes (thanks to food coloring and a mixture of baking soda and vinegar) The “lava” would flow and so would my imagination.

I remember spending weekends camping or out at Lake Berryessa, getting dirty and loving it. Exploring the terrain and taking a refreshing dip in the water. I was always outside. Always touching, doing and feeling nature and all it had to offer.

Making volcanoes as a child

This theme was set for me early in childhood by my parents and carried on throughout my life. I voluntarily spent summers away at camps to be immersed in the natural realm of other landscapes. It helped me, I always came back refreshed and ready to focus. I had more confidence because I learned that I could take on the challenge of a difficult hike and conquer it, I could scale the face of a rock, and I could feel peaceful out in nature. I became involved in photography as a direct result of a love affair with nature.

Now having my own child, I want him to have the same experiences and opportunities. I want him to have the confidence that comes with exploring nature and overcoming a challenge. He loves animals and is fostering a great respect for all that they have to offer. Plus it is a wonderful thing to see the enjoyment he has running through the grass, or the excitement he gets from turning over a rock to search for a bug. He is my companion for most of my adventures, and yes, he does hug trees. If you happen to meet us at an event, Dakota will be the one asking every question that he can about his surroundings. It is good to be so curious, I believe curiosity gets us motivated. Use that curiosity for the outdoors and all it’s plants and creatures to get up and get out there.

Today’s families are busy families. Parents and children have demanding schedules, and at times that connection to the outdoors can seem out of reach. With Cow Patties and Mud Pies, I hope to show families that connecting to nature does not have to mean a weekend away. There are boundless opportunities in our surrounding area, and also in the greater reaches of a few hours from the Sacramento Valley. Whether it be hiking, exploring, or visiting a farm and it’s animals, the benefits of getting out make it time well spent. Connecting to our environment centers us and gives us as individuals and as families the balance to go forth and prosper with the other aspects of life.

My son enjoying nature

Just as the plants need sunshine, so do people. Come and read and get inspired to take a hike, visit a farm, grow some veggies, explore and learn with your children, smell some flowers and plug into the natural world around you. I look forward to sharing adventures with our readers, and always welcome suggestions of great places to go.

Thanks for reading!

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