The beautiful, mild days of spring are ahead and it’s time to start thinking about how to enjoy them. There are several ways to take advantage of the pleasant weather to maximize your outdoor experience and one of my absolute favorites is something as simple as a picnic. The word picnic evokes imagery of sunshine and grass, gingham quilts and wicker baskets, and food that is complimented by refreshing beverages in sealed canning jars. If this is your idea of the perfect picnic you are not alone and but most picnicking destinations have designated areas that are free for use, such as your local parks, that have concrete pads with tables and grills ready for use if you are looking to prepare a hot meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, or steaks and served with sides of potato salad and beans. Of course, these are all things that you can do in your own backyard and that’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, but there is just something that seems to make it a little more special and memorable when you get out away from home and go to a place that is both different than your usual setting and comfortable as well.
Where you go will determine what you need to bring with you on the excursion and you don’t need to pack half the kitchen if you are looking for a quick getaway. Think sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, chips, and simple sides like pickles, boiled eggs, or fresh fruit. If you’re looking to visit a meadow or field, bring along an old quilt or blanket to throw down. All you need is something you can roll up or stash easily in the cargo area of your transportation, just make sure it isn’t something that you don’t want soiled by grass, dirt, or food and drink stains. Most designated picnic areas have trash receptacles located nearby but it’s not a bad practice to always carry an extra trash bag or two to store your waste in, especially if you are going someplace off the beaten path.
Depending on the locale, you might want to pack some sunscreen and bug spray if the sun or insects could potentially dampen your spirit of outdoor adventure. The flora and fauna can figure into your experience so keep that in mind when also when choosing your perfect spot. Keep your eyes open for anthills, especially those vicious fire ants in the Deep South, Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac. You can familiarize yourself with these villains by utilizing just a little bit of research and that can make the difference between a happy story and a woeful tale in the recanting. Don’t let the negatives define your time outside; remember to make sure you actually watch out for that bluebird, wren, or fox going about their business and enjoy the wild plants and flowers that are springing back to life in this glorious time of year.