July 2010 From the Elder’s Corner- Family and Summer Fun

Pagan Edge July 2010 Edition

From the Elder’s Corner- Family and Summer Fun

January 1st of each year, people will tell you their New Year’s resolutions. Have you ever heard any of your family, friends or relatives mention what they are going to do in the summer with family? Generally what you hear is “the kids only have a week left of school”, followed by “the kids and I are going shopping for school clothes next week”. Summer has literally flashed by in the blink of an eye with few memories, few memorable events attended and few hours spent together with family. This scenario is repeated year after year, not only with one’s own children but also with one’s own grandchildren.

This year before the last day of school, ask family members what they would like to do this summer. Then make and edit the list. Post it on the refrigerator. Your thoughts or comments might be something like this, “ we can’t afford it, we don’t have the money, we don’t know what to do, etc”.  You might be surprised to find it is not necessarily money but your time that is important to family members.

Time…how do you deal with that issue? We all have 24 hours in a day. However, we tend to waste so much by rushing here and there and accomplishing little, or engaging in the “high drama” that tends to fill our lives needlessly. Do an occasional priority check. Will you regret the time you missed spending with your child when you are celebrating the 18th or 21st birthday or you are helping them pack to leave your home? If you can say no, then by all means continue to do what you are doing now. If you replied yes, then make the changes before you regret it.

Look at the age of the child or children and choose age appropriate activities. However there are things that are enjoyable no matter what the age.

If you are looking for a few suggestions for things that cost a few dollars or even less:

  • Circle Round written by Starhawk, is an excellent book for Pagan children. She has several activities and stories for each Sabbat. Midsummer or Summer Solstice is June 20-23.
  • Call up an elderly relative who you have not seen recently and ask if they would like to have you and your child or children visit them. Plan the length of time for the visit according to the age of the relative.


  • Bake something on a cool day. There are recipes available using the microwave so even on hot days you can make something.
  • Use the treats for a tea party or when visiting the relative.
  • There are excellent science project books for children. They contain fun projects and teach at the same time. Most of the required items or ingredients are already in your kitchen or home.
  • Salt dough for a rainy day project. The salt dough recipe is very easy and uses only four ingredients. Mix 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of salt and 2 teaspoons of oil in a large bowl. Have children squeeze the ingredients together until they are mixed.
  • Check out a book or books in the library on wild plants. Two really well illustrated books are: Wildflowers of Michigan written by Stan Tekiela and The New Age Herbalist written by Richard Mabey. Children and adults enjoy a nature walk in the woods. They can learn to identify a plant, learn if it is edible or poisonous, if it heals and what it heals and what animals are attracted to that plant. Just a sidenote: always do research using the Latin name.

Before going on a nature walk, do some preparation. Familiarize yourself with poison ivy and poison oak. The Internet has some wonderful pictures of both plants. Print them and take them with you. Urushiol oil, the active ingredient in poison ivy that makes you itch, has been proven to be active for 25 years. Wear old clothes and shoes. Cover as much of your skin as possible. Use a sunscreen and insect repellent. Many insects do not like peppermint, camphor, rosemary and catnip. You can make your own insect repellant if you want to use a more natural product. Pack water and finger type foods such as a trail mix (depending on time and distance).

Hand everyone a little $1.00 or less notebook or have everyone make their own notebook/journal before going on the nature walk. Be creative when making a journal. Have everyone write down everything they see. Things you might see on a nature walk include: snakes (yes I did say snakes), rabbits, turkeys, deer, various birds including blue herons, swans, geese, ducks, turtles in and out of water. Make a game out of the nature walk by allowing the person with most items listed to choose the next activity on the list. After arriving home from the walk, remove and launder all outer clothing, set the shoes aside (do not walk in your house with those shoes, remember the poison ivy), shower with soap and water.

Included is a short list of Michigan wildflowers/plants and a general idea of when you see them. I have pocket calendars I use and keep from year to year. Plants do vary by a couple weeks depending on the weather. This year the plants seem to be appearing later than previous years.

May: Bloodroot, Lily of the Valley, Violets, Apple Blossoms, Lilacs, Tulips, Nightshade, Dandelions, Trillium, Henbane, Wild Chives, Mullein,

June: Lavender, Raspberries/ Black Caps, Strawberries, Yarrow, Blue Flag, Cinquefoil, St Johns Wort, Dogbane, Mulberries, Sheppard’s Purse, Wild Roses

July:  Sweet Fern, Wild Bergamot, Goldenrod, Horsemint, Mouse Ear, Blackberries, Blue Vervain, Joe Pye a.k.a. Sweet Joe Pye

August: Pearly Everlasting, Mullein Flowers, Evening Primrose

Enjoy the summer! I know I will. Blessings lj