Henry David Thoreau quote

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I choose….

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Pardon the mess

A few months ago I entertained the idea of moving my blog to another hosting service, then I went ahead and did it….not the greatest idea I ever had, but the website is now moved and I’m doing my best to “clean” it up again so it will look similar to the site that was originally in place. During this process I also lost email… all of it. Every email I have received since 2010 until a couple of days ago is gone. If you emailed me and I didn’t respond, please send the email again… the original is probably lost forever.

I’m working on new videos, new recipes, and most hiking adventures to share. Please continue to visit!

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What would you give up to have what you want?

I know, that sounds like such an odd question, but what would you give up to have what you really really want? Often we think what we want is an object, but when we really think about it, long and hard, it is rarely an object that we want. We want time, family, friends, adventures, life experiences… things that can’t be purchased or put on a shelf. What is keeping us from what we really want? Most often, it is our stuff or trying to get stuff! I spend way too much time thinking. Right now it is 2:23 in the morning and I have to be up to watch my 10 week old grandson and go to an appointment and here I am… thinking.

Today my family and I went to a local environmental library. It is really neat! It is small, but it only contains books about nature, wildlife, gardening, Native Americans, health, wilderness survival and similar topics. I borrowed several books, including Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things. I haven’t gotten far in the book, but it already has me thinking. This thinking, lead to more thinking, and lead down a different road of thinking and now I sit here… thinking.

I want time, time with my family, time to do things that aren’t medically related, time to spend doing things together, time to just sit outside and look at the stars, time to read a book on a blanket by a creek, time to appreciate every breath, every moment. And what will I give up to get it? Everything material! This blog started years ago as my journey towards simplicity. That goal has always been there, but sometimes I get off track and distracted. Lately things have been pushing me back in that direction. I’m back to selling almost everything I own and working towards that goal of a simpler life. Stuff steals my time and I want my time to be with my family.

What would YOU give up to have what you really want?

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Dinosaur Rock – Lebanon County PA

Today was beautiful. The morning air started out cool and crisp and the sun peeked out occasionally from behind rain-free clouds. After some yard sales, we went off to visit Dinosaur Rock. There is a gravel parking lot across the main road from the trail entrance. The road tends to have cars flying up and down, please use caution when crossing. There are no bathrooms.

The trail from the road to the dinosaur rocks isn’t long at all and could be a quick stop on your travels for the day. It is very sad that the rocks have been defaced with graffiti, but looking past that, it truly is amazing to see.

Since we enjoy the hiking part, we ventured beyond the rocks and onto a trail. I’m not sure the trail is intentional, but it seemed as though it had been traveled before, so we gave it a try. It hasn’t been recently traveled, as apparent by the number of spiders I walked into. After a while, I used my walking stick to clear the path of webs for me.

Under the canopy of trees, we didn’t require sunglasses and were able to take in the view. It is easy to get lost gazing among the trees, but the constant heartbeat of the neighboring turnpike kept us grounded in reality.

The trail became quite narrow in some places and very muddy in areas that once appeared to be streams. One such area, did have a tiny flow of water. There were many downed trees, some more recently fallen than others. We climbed over and under until we ran into a nest of trees that wouldn’t have been easy to navigate. At that point we turned around.

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Henry David Thoreau – Walden

Recently I have been reading Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. It is definitely an interesting read. At moments I feel Thoreau is a little self-important and in others I feel he is brilliant. The book recounts his experience on Walden pond, living in a tiny cabin which he built himself. It was an experience he lived for two years. I have yet to read his other works, but most of them are free on amazon and that is why I am sharing this post. If you own a kindle or other device, or even just a computer, you can download a Free Kindle Apps to read some great works for free! Here are some I wanted to share with my readers…

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Money Rocks County Park – Narvon PA

Yesterday, after weeks of not hiking due to health issues, I told the family we were going on a trip. I didn’t have a particular destination in mind, but was ready to be outdoors and hiking. After some driving, we decided to revisit Money Rocks County Park. It had been probably 7 or 8 months since we last went. As the name implies, the trail is rocky! Wear good hiking shoes and take along a walking stick. There are no bathrooms, but there is a nice parking lot (a short drive away is Shady Maple, which has nice bathrooms and plenty of food!). For those that Geocache, there are three caches in this park, we found two yesterday.

There are two marked trails, Overlook Trail and Cockscomb Trail. We explored the Overlook Trail this visit. Like I said it is a very rocky trail, but beautiful! The times we have gone it hasn’t been crowded. There are many beautiful spots to take pictures. One amazing location is the line of boulders. There is a guide rail in one section, but beyond that there are no safety features, so please use extreme caution, especially if taking children. I don’t recommend taking younger children. Sadly, some of the beautiful boulders have been painted with graffiti.

Getting across the boulders to the other side of the trail wasn’t easy! We went behind the boulders instead of over them, but we still found this portion of the trail very challenging. The hike out to the boulders was definitely worth it.

This was the first time I had Bruce, my gnome walking stick, with me and it worked great having it, especially on this rocky trail. My husband used his walking stick when we were doing steep declines.

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It's a storm!

Tonight we are experiencing some impressive thunderstorms. Took this picture of the amazing sky.

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BH Carvings – Hand Carved Walking Sticks, Canes, Flutes, Necklaces and more!

As most of my readers know, I LOVE hand-made things. Especially when it is made from wood! Today I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce. Bruce makes beautiful hand craved pieces and sells them out front of his home south of Lancaster, PA.

My husband and I started hiking last year and for months we have been looking for the perfect walking stick. We often need something for balance or in my case, something to have between me and a snake :) so we traveled to see Bruce’s works of art. Bruce and I have been emailing back and forth. I asked him if he took special requests, but because of his health he doesn’t, which I totally understand. But being a very generous, kind person, Bruce emailed me back and told me that he would try to turn the staff he was working on into a gnome. Today I received an email with a picture and I knew the second I saw he was wearing green, it was meant to be my walking stick!

BH Carvings - Bruce Gnome - Mysimplewalk.com

In honor of his creator, I have decided to name the gnome, Bruce.

My husband also found a walking stick that he liked. He liked it because of the unusual pattern on the bottom.

BH Carvings - walking stick - mysimplewalk.com
BH Carvings Walking Sticks

There was also another walking stick that caught my eye that said “Cabin Fever”, there was also one with a wolf, and many many others to choose from!

Bruce also makes the most beautiful flutes! They are priced individually. His walking sticks run between $15 and $20, which considering the hard work and the beautiful end result, is quite a deal and worth the drive! He also has necklaces for $5 each and letter openers, but I don’t recall the price. You can find him on the Lancaster PA craigslist by searching “BH Carvings”.

Here is just one of the necklaces that Bruce has made.

Hand carved necklace - BH Carvings - mysimplewalk.com

If you travel further down the street that Bruce lives off of there are at least 3 wonderful hiking trails so you can make a day of your trip there! One we went on not that long ago, I will work on a post with pictures of that trail. Hope you get a chance to meet Bruce and pick out your own hiking staff!

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Chemical Free Strawberries… it IS possible!

Maybe you have heard of them… The Dirty Dozen… it’s a list put out by the Environmental Working Group of the most chemically contaminated produce.

The list starts with apples, which I love, and then continues with strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap-peas, potatoes, hot peppers, and ends with kale.

A few years ago, I watched a man spray his strawberry field. He has one of those “pick yourself” places. I watched as he was dressed in what looked like an outfit to probe an alien in, covered completely from head to toe and then proceeded to spray the strawberry fields, where in just a few weeks small children, along with their parents, would pick strawberries, without any protection at all.

The same year I started my own strawberry patch. It consists of two boxes. One that is 6′ by 10′ and a smaller one that sits inside, allowing it to be two levels. Last year I had some strawberries, but this year, the crop is amazing and all without chemicals. I know I have been blessed with few issues. I do have bunnies and birds, but for the most part we have been able to share the strawberries without much issue.

What I did to start? Build large deep boxes so that all the strawberry roots where contained in the organic soil. The first year I planted the strawberries and kept them watered daily, this year I have allowed God to water them when He sees fit with rain. Half of my original strawberries were started from seed and the other half were purchased from a lady that lives about an hour from me. This year I added more plants and varieties through a friend whose daughter is doing a 4-H project. If your children have the option to do 4-H and grow a strawberry patch, the book they use is very informative! Lastly, I have a guard cat. He sits in the strawberry patch and keeps bunnies and birds away. The rest is just God growing His crop.

How do you like your strawberries?

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