We’re into the last weeks of summer and I’m noticing transitions in nature. Autumn is just around the corner. Leaves are changing colors and dropping to the ground. Look closely and you will see some spectacular patterns.
Autumn officially begins in the Norther Hemisphere on Tuesday, September 22. Until then, I plan to savour every last drop of summer.
Thursday September 17 – Saturday September 19, is the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association Annual Conference & AGM. This is the first year it will be presented online.
Our theme this year is “Seeds of Change – Cultivating Resilience in Ourselves and Others”.
I’m a conference volunteer, presenter, and sponsor. You don’t need to be a Horticultural Therapist to attend, just someone who is interested in the therapeutic potential between plants and people.
There’s still lots of time to register, and all sessions will be recorded and made available to anyone who registers (downloadable for 30 days). You can find more information about the conference and how to register here.
During August, and this first week of September, I have been busy harvesting in my garden. It has been a good growing season with lots of leafy greens, beans, berries, lavender and herbs already consumed, dried, and stored away for the rest of the year. Harvested herbs drying (lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano)
In August, my good friend Michael Kerr and I made a batch of Apricot Amaretto Jam. What a great horticultural therapy activity with social, cognitive, and creative/spiritual benefits experienced. The jam will make a great topping to go with toast and the pumpkin, banana, and blueberry pancakes I plan to make during the fall. Michael has generously given me permission to share his recipe with you.
GUIDELINES FOR HARVESTING
Acknowledge and thank Mother Nature for the many gifts she bestows upon us each and every day.
Take some, waste none.
Create something special from the fruits of labor, and share it with others
Apricot Amaretto Jam
8 cups chopped apricots (about 25 apricots or 4 ½ pounds)
5 cups sugar (you can use less depending on desired sweetness)
2 TBSP Lemon Juice (juice of about 1 lemon)
½ TSP Butter
3 TBSP Amaretto
Lightly purée apricots first in a food processor to speed up cooking time.
Combine all ingredients except amaretto into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar melts.
Raise temperature to medium high and bring to a boil.Add butter and skim off any foam that forms.
Cook at brisk (but not at a riotous boil) for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking and burning.
Remove from heat and stir in amaretto.
Fill sterile jars and then process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Recipe makes 7 – 8 250ml jars
Horticultural Therapy Activity: Walking Outdoors
Duration: 30 minutes, two – three times/week (daily & longer duration if you can, it’s up to you)
Location: an outdoor space like the forest, seawall, or park with a walking trail
Therapeutic Benefits: physical, emotional (plus potential for cognitive, social, spiritual/creative as well)
Instructions: Pick a place to walk that is ideally quiet — so it’s easier to pick up the sounds of nature around you.
Begin your walk with some gentle stretching to become aware of your body. Then stand still for a few moments. Intend to leave behind the hustle and bustle of your day. Look at the entrance/beginning of the path/trail you are about to walk. Transition your mind to the present moment by witnessing a few relaxing breaths.
Begin walking. When walking out in nature, slow down. Notice what’s around you. Devote yourself to opening up your senses as you walk; look, listen, smell, touch and taste when it’s safe to.
Allow yourself to be naturally curious about what’s around you, and permit your mind to wander into creative thinking. Experience the restorative potential of simply noticing nature.
When you have completed your walk, take a few moments to reflect upon the experience. Consider if you feel any different? Do you feel more relaxed, restored and focused?
Thank Mother Nature for providing the experience.
As I prepare to say goodbye to summer 2020, I’m fondly recalling the many outdoor activities I was able to safely share in the company of others these past few months.
It’s a reminder to me of our innate resilience and our ability to adapt under challenging times.
There are transitions occurring within and around us all the time. Going for a walk outdoors is an all-season activity. To overcome poor weather conditions, make sensible clothing choices. Go outside and experience the therapeutic benefits of connecting with nature at all times of the year.
If you are having problems remaining motivated to take a daily walk, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon to discover your motivation for change isn’t enough to keep you on track. It can really help to have someone help you with staying on track, like a close friend, or family member, or a coach. That’s where I can help. Like a personal trainer at a gym, my role is to help you stay on track. We do this by tailoring a plan that’s customized to you, addressing one by one, the obstacles that are standing in the way of change.
Email/call me and let’s have a chat how I can help.
Enjoy, and allow yourself to fully experience, autumn.