forest bathing

By far the best activity for us in Utah has been the hiking.  Getting out of the condo 2 or 3 times a day for a hike has saved my sanity.  It isn't easy molding your life into another's and so the break in the days have been a Godsend.  It is the main activity of each day and has helped me in ways I never imagined.

We generally do a morning, afternoon and evening hike. We just head out the front door in any direction and see where it takes us.  We usually follow deer paths and find ourselves deep in the forest. The Japanese have done extensive studies on the benefits of hiking in the wilderness which they call Shinrin Yoku.  The basic premise is this...

Go to a Forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses.
This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy,
the medicine of simply being in the forest.

The proven benefits include...

  • Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells.
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep
Just as impressive are the results that we are experiencing as we make this part of our regular practice:
  • Deeper and clearer intuition
  • Increased flow of energy
  • Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
  • Increased flow of eros/life force
  • Deepening of friendships
  • Overall increase in sense of happiness

Isn't that lovely?  So instead of a hike, go for a bath in the forest and absorb all the natural beauty and healing effects of nature.  For some inspiration take a look at this little video


cooking non-vegan

One of the challenges of living up here and caring for my father-in-law is the issue of cooking.  I cannot expect him to eat a vegan diet after being a hard-core meat eater for 85 years.  When we first got here we saw he was relying on box and frozen dinners, which are convenient but not super healthy.  So my goal was to infuse his diet with tons of fresh produce and as many vitamins I could shove into each meal.

His favorite meals are casserole type and anything with gravy on it. So I made my favorite mushroom gravy recipe using fresh roasted mushrooms and I added in a little red wine in place of some of the vegetable broth. My favorite culinary instructor always told me the sign of a good gravy is one you could eat as a soup.

For his meal I sauteed some thinly sliced pork chops, seasoned them with salt and pepper and tiny bit of garlic powder.  When they were almost finished I poured some gravy in and simmered them for a minute or two and then served them over mashed potatoes with a side of broccoli.  He loved it...but the next morning told me it wasn't his favorite.  Ok.

About once a week we make a trek down to the library to stock up on books for the week.  I picked up this book and loved it.  They have great taste and I love anything with the word ordinary in it.

I adore this vintage apron one of the authors is wearing and I want it.  I love this whole outfit.

It snowed a few days ago and out of sheer boredom cut up a Trader Joe's shopping bag and covered an old shoe box and decoupaged this hunter character onto the top of it.  In my defense, the power was out.  x


Road leading to father-in-law's house

Hello, just checking in here.  For the last month we've been living in Utah helping Ls dad. He's 84 and starting to need a little extra help.  His condo has 3 stories so lugging groceries up and trash down is getting harder for him.  

This is the little cluster of homes where he lives.  A couple dozen at most and he is one of about 6 year round residents.  Days and days go by without seeing anyone.  There is only one thing up here and that is a ski resort.  Not a store or any other business at all.  8000 feet of elevation and a little isolated right?!

We have hiked each day in all kinds of weather.

While we rarely see other people we do see tons of wildlife.  We came upon this tiny deer who was without its mother. Poor thing was scared to death.

Our hikes have been spectacular

I've also been working on freshening up our bedroom.  His father moved here 15 years ago and ordered all the oak furniture at one place in one day.  So since we know we will be spending more and more time here, I've been hitting up the thrift store down in town.  I've found some cool things....

Blue and white notebook c/o The Polished Pebble - Thanks Kelley

This little french table was $10. I painted it navy blue and love it. The ginger-jar lamp was $10 and just needed cleaning.  The shade was $2 and I added the black ribbon trim.

This little bookcase was in the garage so I painted it black and drug it upstairs.  I brought the maidenhair fern from the Country Living shoot with me 700 miles.  I just couldn't leave it.  So all in all, even though I miss my house, life here has been very quiet and good.  I've always fantasized about being a hermit and this is as close as I will probably ever come to it.  And I will say...I do like it.

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