Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
8 Aug

32 “Slow Living” Inspired Ways to Savor Summer

As we round out the last few weeks of summer, I’ve been thinking about all the potential left in the season. Although there’s admittedly less pressure to grab hold of every last warm day in my current locale, I remember savoring those final weeks of summer in Northern New England. Time was truly of the essence, and we didn’t waste a day with both fall and school on the horizon again. No matter where we live, I think summer inspires a leisure we more readily forgo in other months when routine often has greater hold of our days. In the spirit of Primal play – and last week’s Slow Living post – here are a few (dozen) ideas for savoring the upcoming weeks. Enjoy, everyone!

  1. Have a Primal picnic. Surprise someone you love, or gather a rowdy group for a Primal inspired picnic. Throw in some Ultimate or beach volleyball, and you’ve got a party.
  2. Go for a walk in the summer rain. Grab you wellies or – even better – go barefoot. Taste the rain. Puddle stomp. Let your mind daydream in the upside reflections of the sky.
  3. Listen to the nighttime wildlife (e.g. the cicada, frogs, crickets, coyotes, etc.)
  4. For the remaining weeks of summer and early fall, pick 1-2 veggies a week that are at the peak of their harvest and go to town experimenting with recipes. Bonus: buy a slew of them at the farmer’s market while they’re cheap, and freeze or can them for later in the year.
  5. Camp.
  6. Sit around the fire at night – fire pit, campfire, bonfire, whatever you have.
  7. Host an impromptu dinner party or summer cocktail hour (al fresco of course). Gather some flowers from your garden for the table. Grill some shrimp in the shell and make a salad. String up some lights, set out some tiki torches, and let the party go well into the night.
  8. Use it as an excuse to whip up your favorite Primal-friendly/-adapted summer drinks like sangria, bloody Mary, gin and tonic, vodka lemonade, or kicked up old fashioned sun tea.
  9. Nap in a hammock.
  10. Attend an outdoor concert or play.
  11. Sleep as close to nature as you can. Even if you can’t camp on a given weekend, pitch a tent in the backyard, or sleep on the porch for a night.
  12. Have some slow style “quality time” with your partner – whenever and wherever the mood strikes (don’t get caught!).
  13. Create a piece of art – whatever you feel like doing in the moment. Don’t stifle the experience with imposed standards. Just see where your mind goes and follow it.
  14. Visit a new park in your area every weekend. Hit all the stops from wilderness areas to botanical gardens, nature centers to arboretums.
  15. Build toad or fairy houses with the kids.
  16. Mud fight!
  17. Spend a whole day (or at least an afternoon) on the water. Go surfing, rafting, water skiing, river tubing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, or any combination of the above.
  18. Have a late summer vacation? Take a day (if not the whole time) without any agenda whatsoever. Wander, poke around, park yourself somewhere and see what happens around you. Get as far away from the tourist hustle and bustle as possible and see where the locals go. Seek out the seemingly mundane, nondescript corners of the place. You might just find yourself swept up in something that will become the best memory of the whole trip.
  19. Take a vineyard tour.
  20. Have an outdoor family movie night – with old family videos. (Public libraries or other facilities sometimes rent out equipment.) Pass on some family history and personal memories. Share funny and meaningful stories late into the night.
  21. Plant something. Sure, it’s a leap of faith at this point in the season. Still, think bumper crop potential. Get in a row of lettuce, herbs, or some hearty root veggies.
  22. Meet the dawn one morning – with a hike, a yoga practice, or a early morning fishing expedition.
  23. Break out the water balloons.
  24. Sit on the beach (ocean or lake shore) with nothing but a cool drink and an indulgent novel.
  25. Spend the day among rocks. Skip stones, climb boulders, or go geode hunting.
  26. Fly a kite.
  27. Splurge on a few huge flower bouquets at the farmer’s market and decorate the house (and your office).
  28. Hang your laundry out to dry. Remember (or discover) what laundry used to smell like before dryers and dryer sheets.
  29. Build a fort (indoor or outdoor) with the kids – or for yourself.
  30. Reclaim the art of the backyard game. I’m talking the likes of croquet, frisbee golf, flag football, volleyball, horseshoes, Kubb (Viking chess), badminton, lawn darts, or outdoor bowling.
  31. Grill an entire four course meal, something totally new and challenging (pig roast, anyone?), or do a traditional New England clam bake.
  32. Spend an evening stargazing. On that note, don’t forget the upcoming Perseid meteor shower this weekend! If you’re a city dweller, get out of Dodge and see the sky the way Grok did.

Thanks for reading today, everybody. Enjoy your day – and your final weeks of summer. Be sure to leave your own ideas for making the most of the time.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Love this! Great reminder for so many of us. I really needed this right now. Thanks Mark!

    OMG first to comment?! WAT!?

    primal pat wrote on August 8th, 2012
  2. Great ideas Mark! I am going to make an effort to do all of these :)
    It might be a little early in some places, but apple picking is s favorite of mine. There’s nothing like eating a sun-warmed apple right off of the tree!

    andrea wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • Hi Mark,

      Who needs 32 ideas- let’s start with the number one problem- turn off the internet for at least 48 hours- blackberry, iphone and androids included. The whole business of speeding up is intrinsically linked to ‘cyberspeed’ emails and the perceived need to constantly be connected to ‘knowledge’..i.e.information that really isn’t necessary at all..the banter we text on, waste at lot of our time on is simply enjoyable facts that crowd our brains..and keep us from being able to do the rest of the things on your list.

      Holly wrote on August 9th, 2012
      • You nailed that totally Andrea. I am on here for business purposes. What happens is it gives me a sorry excuse to be on here too much. That is totally unhealthy. I’ll be off for 3 days starting tomorrow and I’ll bet I will hit most of Mark’s list. That’s the goal anyways.


        Cheryl Boswell wrote on August 9th, 2012
      • you got that right!
        My wife is OBSESSED with Tv.
        Not only that, she got mad at me for not answering the phone after 11,(23:00)

        Fred wrote on August 11th, 2012
      • Yet, here you are on the Internet :)

        Dan Jerome wrote on August 15th, 2012
  3. At first I thought, yeah right, and what do I do the with 3 year old and the 2 year old?
    After reading I thought, what could be better to do with the kids!

    Joshua wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • Absolutely. The majority of the items on this list are very family friendly!

      Sarah A wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • I almost wish I had kids so I could make a fairy garden with them, you should really try that one! There are lots of examples online.

      jaime wrote on August 8th, 2012
      • Adopt a neighbor’s kid for the day!

        Mary Anne wrote on August 8th, 2012
      • Make a fairy garden for yourself jaime!

        We have a 4-year old and help care for the 3 kids next door, all under 5 yrs old. All I have to say is either “picnic” or “let’s make a fort!” and we’re off! Sometimes, when we’re feeling really nutty, we have a picnic IN the fort! lol

        mars wrote on August 8th, 2012
  4. I’m all on board with the “plant something” suggestion. I started a garden this summer and it has been really incredible working on it every day, watering, weeding, picking the herbs that grow (and cooking with them!).

    Ware wrote on August 8th, 2012
  5. I love all of these ideas! I am super lucky to live in the mountains of Colorado, so many of these things I do on a daily basis (listening to nature, being in it, sleeping close to it…) or at least a monthly basis (camping, spending time on the water…)

    At least one of the ideas gives me blissful tingles just thinking about it: give me a beach, a cool drink, and a book and I am set!

    The Hoppess wrote on August 8th, 2012
  6. This is all great and my imagination is already running wild. I’ll have to think about this more next year. I have a 2.5 year old at home and relaxation is tough to come by.

    zack wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • My 2 1/2 year old loves the farmers market, puddles, most of the things on this list, and you can learn a lot watching kids explore the outdoors. I find she’s a lot more self entertaining outside actually!

      Mari wrote on August 8th, 2012
      • Mine is a little hyper. Which is fine, except that we have to be a little cautious sometimes. Also, he’s being raised bilingual and his speech is delayed right now so communicating with him is difficult. True we can still do much on this list and we do, but I am excited for the possibilities next year and beyond.

        zack wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • I’m really looking forward to the bike riding, swimming, more self reliant stage myself. Especially since I have a 4 month old as well :P. Hope it didn’t come off preachy!

          Mari wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • I have a 10 and a 4-yr-old…my 10 yr old particularly has always been a bit hyper, very moody and high strung. But being in nature, particularly when she was 3-5 yrs old, has always seemed to calm her. (Unless it’s too hot, which has been a big challenge for us this summer in the DC area.) At that age, you don’t even have to do anything but take them for a walk in the woods and hold their hands. Oh, and let them throw rocks in a lake/stream! Always a big hit with my little one. (Of course, then you do have to keep them from falling into lakes and streams or hurting themselves or you from waving around giant sticks…been there, done that. 😉 )

          And you’re totally right…the fun part is watching them grow and engage in the outdoors in a different way every year! Last time we had a decent (under 95 degrees/low-ish humidity) day, my 4 yr old played on the playground in our local (forested) park, and my 10 yr old took pictures of squirrels and the light filtering through the trees.

          Jennifer wrote on August 9th, 2012
  7. You’re preaching to the choir, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, my friend. We’re growing our own, we’re off the grid, we blew up our TV back in ’85, and we love sleeping under the stars this time of year! Thanks for spreading these great ideas.

    Guitar_grrrl wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • hi from san jose! we escape to the santa cruz mountains regularly..

      mars wrote on August 8th, 2012
  8. This would make a good checklist for the final days of summer.

    Rob wrote on August 8th, 2012
  9. We could havce a picnic here in West Texas and invite 2 groups of doctors.

    One to treat heat stroke and one group for treating rattlesnake bites!!!

    Dusty wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • I know, these are lovely suggestions, and I will keep them in mind for October, when the temps get below the 90s and 100s…sometimes. Right now, most of these ideas are recipes for misery, where I live!

      AustinGirl wrote on August 8th, 2012
      • I too am really ready for Fall when i can enjoy the outdoors again- 105+ temps make summer my least favorite season- Labor Day camping trip is kinda the start of our outdoor times

        lockard wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • I was thinking this same thing. Sounds good once the thermometer drops back down to merely “insanely hot”.

          Tony wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • Clearly this is the Texas thread! haha

          I was thinking, ‘Go outside at midnight to gaze at the stars for 5 minutes and come back in to the AC when you are dripping sweat.’ :)

          Katie B wrote on August 8th, 2012
      • Same here in Fort Worth, Cloudy and 104! I am drying my laundry outside, not paying to heat more air. I do enjoy getting out early in the morning with my dogs for their daily walk. I think October and November are our best months here.

        Amy wrote on August 8th, 2012
  10. These are great ideas! Now if only summer would come to Seattle…actually, I take that back. We had summer last weekend. Now I’m all for enjoying the early days of fall!

    Amy wrote on August 8th, 2012
  11. Not sure about the mud fight but I have been considering hanging a clothes line – memories of childhood and hanging it up is meditative. Then again, perhaps I’m weird. :-)

    Alison Golden wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • No, you’re not weird. Either that or I’m weird, too! Great company; nice to ‘meet’ you!

      Mary Anne wrote on August 8th, 2012
      • We don’t own a dryer, so outside or by the fire (it’s winter down here in Oz) is the norm here. Most households have clotheslines in Australia, heaps of sun I guess, but dryers are more often than not the second choice. Power here in NSW has gone up by over 50% in the last few years making a line more compelling and there is nothing like the smell of line dried sheets! Enjoy your summer folks we have a few more months to go, and the daffodils are just peeping out of the soil,

        Heather wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • How do you keep your clothes from getting too stiff?

          Yvette wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • i also wonder about the stiffness. i line-dry my clothes we don’t own a dryer (live in north queensland). i add a little bit of vinegar to my rinse cycles which helps a little bit but the lint on some of my clothes and the stiffness makes me wish i could run a dryer now and again.

          Carly wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • Stop stiff clothes by using a lot less soap. I use a fabric softner on sheets and towels..I own no dryer but have a rack and clothesline hills hoist..NSW sun is all.

          BT wrote on August 8th, 2012
        • If you have a dryer, then throw them in for 5 minutes before hanging. It takes out most of the wrinkles and stiffness. The towels are still a little “crunchy”, but personally I love them that way – not water repellant like towels dried with fabric softener

          Adrienne wrote on August 9th, 2012
  12. Love this! Got a few of these checked off already, looking forward to the meteor shower – thanks Mark.

    For anyone in Ontario, or who plans to visit, take #19 and go to Southbrook Vineyards. They are completely bio-dynamic and organic. Amazing place, the building itself is a work in environmental engineering (and the wine’s great too)…

    Stefanie wrote on August 8th, 2012
  13. Just went kayaking Sunday, will be camping this weekend, going to a summer market Saturday. I think I’ve got a good handle on enjoying my last days of summer (although, we in Alaska like to call it “not-winter”)…anyway, gotta take advantage while we can! Love my summer months. Great suggestions and I hope everyone gets out to play!

    Stacie wrote on August 8th, 2012
  14. I’m with AustinGirl. Here in Oklahoma we are living in an oven right now. None of these outdoor ideas has any appeal right now. In the fall, you bet.

    Jeff wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • Yeah, I was up in Tulsa last weekend! To think I was going to hammock tent it at Keystone State park to save money on accomodations! Nahhhhh…

      Yvette wrote on August 8th, 2012
  15. So many of these have been on my list for this summer! I have to finish painting a forest mural in the boys room this week, then it’s camping in the yard and blueberry picking! Most others will fall into place. Thanks for the great reminder 😉

    yoolieboolie wrote on August 8th, 2012
  16. Off topic, but this got me thinking whether Grok was a bit of a nomad in his days, moving south as the conditions got tougher towards the winter.

    Jack Kruse has an interesting take on this cycle, saying that (cold-adapted) humans are build to eat almost no carbs during the darker winter months.

    Grokster wrote on August 8th, 2012
  17. I love this list, as being a New Englander I understand that fleeting feeling that August brings. Even when I have work to do I try to bring it outside in the summer. I also have been slack lining and vowing to ride my bike anywhere I need to go.

    katie wrote on August 8th, 2012
  18. Oh this is such perfect timing. I go on vacation next week. We’re not going anywhere, just a “staycation” with my family. My one and only goal for the week is to not check work email! I need to savor the time with my family. Thanks Mark, I love these ideas!

    mars wrote on August 8th, 2012
  19. Lawn darts are illegal now! Bad choice of an outdoor game, as they truly are a primal weapon. =)

    George wrote on August 8th, 2012
  20. Can’t walk in the rain this sweet drought.

    Jake wrote on August 8th, 2012
  21. Thank you so much for this list. I really needed the reminder. I plan on adding several of these to my must-do list. Particularly the ones I can share with my kids and partner. But the sunrise one – that’s going to be just for me and its going to be a run on the beach in a couple of weeks. Maybe we could have an equally awesome list for the other 3 seasons?! I can always use the inspiration.

    Nicole J. wrote on August 8th, 2012
  22. The wife and I already had plans to take the kids (ages 3, 5, 6, and 8) out on Saturday night for the meteor shower. Should be great fun!

    edearl wrote on August 8th, 2012
  23. Thanks, Mark, for all those really good suggestions. Sometimes our entertainment repertoire grows a bit stale. This ought to freshen things up! :)

    Linda wrote on August 8th, 2012
  24. Great ideas…if you don’t live in England…No possibilities for stargazing, camping,…but I like the idea for walking in the rain-perfect for the conditions this summer 😀

    Rositsa wrote on August 8th, 2012
  25. I LOVE THIS POST!!!! Lot’s of great idea here Mark! And I agree, it’s easier to do this during summer time. This summer. I already went camping, climbing, strolling around new parks, & drawing. But I wanna make it a habit that I can carry over to during school year.

    Gift Clumsywarrior wrote on August 8th, 2012
  26. Man Mark!! You sure have a handle on things. Thanks for the reminder to stop and smell the roses. Cheers!


    Shane wrote on August 8th, 2012
  27. Very timely post – here in the UK we are getting some good weather (finally)! Must try not to get too stressed out trying to fit all these slow living ideas in over the next four days!!

    Seriously though – we’ve grown a load of veggies this year and it’s great picking them and then ambling back to the house to make dinner. Very satisfying – much better than zooming to the supermarket!

    Susie wrote on August 8th, 2012
  28. Ahhh, the ideas on your post all sound wonderful but I live in Las Vegas where today’s high temperature is expected to be 111 degrees!! So, the only pleasure is staying inside, in the air conditioning! But your lovely post allowed me to dream a little today, so thank you Mark!

    Karen M wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • Pool or Lake Mead? Or Mt. Charleston?

      DarcieG wrote on August 8th, 2012
  29. A friend of mine had a little fire ring in his backyard, just like the kind of small fire ring you might find in the backcountry, ringed with rocks. He had a small grill for it. This is what he used to barbecue. When the meal was done, you could eat dinner sitting around the campfire, right in the back yard. I wish I had one of these. It made for a truly awesome evening, sitting by the fire, having a glass of wine, just talking and enjoying the evening.

    Diane wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • Takes 10 minutes to make and the grill can be bought in a camping store, don’t forget the Billy tea!

      Heather wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • The campground where we are living this summer uses wheel hubs for their fire rings. Brilliant, we thought, for repurposing trash. Our neighbor puts a grill on his wheel hub and cooks out every meal. Most people here enjoy the evening campfires, now that the burn ban is over and the grass is green again. You know hardy Americans. Under 80 degrees? Let’s have a camp fire. Or go for a meandering from camp to camp. What creative things can you find to repurpose as a fire ring?

      Lynn wrote on August 9th, 2012
      • We learned this trick from an old, OLD friend who’s being doing this all his life.

        We just cut a circle of sod out of a spot in the back yard, dig a shallow hole, pile in the firewood, and fire away! Next morning we replace the soil and top it with the sod. When we decide to use it again, the soil is nice and soft and it’s a lot easier to dig…thus encouraging frequent use. When it’s settled after the winter you don’t even know where it had been.

        Nannsi wrote on August 9th, 2012
      • Great repurpose grill is a brake drum from a large truck. Find one at junkyard for about $10. Peace.

        Carl wrote on March 24th, 2013
  30. A great list and even better still nearly all free to do! As the saying goes ‘The best things in life aren’t things’. Just spending time outdoors in nature is a great way to rejuvenate. My kids love puddle stomping, and with the wet Summer we’ve had here in Ireland, they’ve had ample opportunity to enjoy it!

    Derry wrote on August 8th, 2012
    • Im with you on that one Derry ! And here in Derry , I think our summer has finally arrived !!
      Im wondering if you’re from the maiden city and if so , wheres the best place to get good meat etc ?

      mary wrote on August 9th, 2012
  31. Great stuff. Life is too short. Find time for these stuff!

    Milan wrote on August 8th, 2012
  32. Living in Texas, summer is one of the times of year that actually drives us inside rather than outside. But an evening in the hammock (with bug repellent) is always welcome.

    Bill Halsell wrote on August 8th, 2012
  33. The husband and I like to pick a random park and go wander the trails and watch wildlife. It’s amazing how many people walk straight past the hundred or birds, bugs and other animals you see…
    I love pointing out wild animals to little kids though, the look of awe and wonder is amazing :)

    Nion wrote on August 8th, 2012
  34. What a great list, Mark. Thank you.

    I feel so fortunate that the place we’re going for vacation at the end of August is conducive to just about all of these things. And we have no agenda for any part of the vacation, so I expect to get some of them in.

    Slow living is something I’ve been thinking about since you started posting about it. I want to continue it into the school year by limiting the work I do to school hours, so when my daughter gets home, I can clear my desk, turn my computer off and be accessible to her.

    I don’t mean hovering over her. Kids don’t need that. But I think what they do need, after a long school day, is a parent who’s accessible (i.e. a parent whose not engrossed in a computer screen or a cell phone).

    I’m lucky enough to be able to design my life that way, so it’s what I intend to do.

    All good thoughts and ideas here. Thanks.

    Susan Alexander wrote on August 8th, 2012
  35. Perfect! As soon as it cools down a little I’m going to start checking some of these off. It’s not been crazy hot here but it’s been HUMID. Bleh.

    I love the idea of sleeping close to nature and listening to nighttime sounds. I’m petrified of being outside alone at night (too many nights staying up reading about ax murderers). Going Paleo/Primal has helped me overcome this. I’m beginning to experience the beauty of nighttime again.

    Sarah wrote on August 8th, 2012
  36. Slow living sounds awesome, I better hurry up and start doing it :)

    Alex Siddy wrote on August 8th, 2012
  37. Funny how 50 years ago this would be just your average list of fun things to do, but now in our hyper , speed focused world its “slow living”. Great list Mark, lovely ideas all!

    Kim wrote on August 8th, 2012
  38. Fantastic list! I’ve been an avid watcher of the Perseid meteor shower for years now, although I only saw it successfully once six years ago and have tried unsuccessfully since. Hopefully this year will be the year!

    JustinK wrote on August 8th, 2012
  39. It’s winter here in New Zealand, but look forward to doing some of these when summer arrives. Plenty of gorgeous unspoilt land to play in here :-)

    sue wrote on August 8th, 2012
  40. We are spending the last 2 weeks of summer camping and will be able to check off most of the things on that list. It will be the perfect ending to summer!

    Heather wrote on August 8th, 2012

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