As I have mentioned in the past, I am a record-keeper. I have been journaling since I received my very first diary (one of those little lock-and-key numbers) for my 10th birthday.
Up north, here at our cottage, I've been keeping journals to record our up-north-adventures since we first built the place -- back in 1998!
These journals are a treasure-trove of information now, and we find ourselves dipping in every once in a while -- especially if we want to find the exterior dimensions of the cottage . . . or to remember what year we added the shed . . . or bought the pontoon boat . . . or to look up who it was that we hired to take down a dead tree near the house.
It's also fun to look back and read the details of what the kids did as they grew up at the cottage (because Erin had just finished 2nd grade and Brian was still in preschool our first summer up here) and how things evolved over the summers. My journals keep track of wildlife sightings, special guests, fishing trends, and life changes.
Although I still keep an up-north journal, I don't update the details of each of our trips up like I once did. Things up here have settled into a . . . sameness . . . now -- and it would get a bit too repetitive if I wrote about each visit in detail like I used to. I imagine, though, that I'll always maintain a cottage-journal in some form or another.
As I was looking back at my old journals this week, I found another kind of journal tucked in with the rest . . .
Back in June of 2000 (I know because I looked it up in my cottage journal!), Erin and I used to take walks in the woods surrounding our cottage to find wildflowers. I was only beginning my gardening adventures back then, and didn't know much about wildflowers. We would go out in search of whatever was blooming, collect a few specimens, and then look them up in our trusty wildflower guides. (The internet wasn't A Thing yet, so we relied totally on our guides.)
As we got more interested in wildflowers, we started drying and pressing our best specimen plants to create a "journal" of our wildflowers.
It was quite a project. We completed the journal over the course of that up-north-season; filling the entire book with flowers and leaves and even a few pressed berries. Erin even used it for a school nature project somewhere along the way.
I haven't looked at it in years, but it was fun to stumble across the journal and . . . remember. I'm actually surprised at how complete it is; and how well it's held up over time. The colors, though? Totally faded.
I still take walks and look at the wildflowers whenever I'm up north. Sadly, there aren't as many. Our lake association has taken to mowing the roadsides these days. I'm not exactly sure why, but I imagine it appeals to the same folks up here who plant grass and try to create lawns (in the woods) (I know). I don't pick any of the wildflowers any more -- mostly because I want them all to seed the roadsides.
But also because these days, I can "collect" them this way:
(From top to bottom: Queen Anne's Lace, Bull Thistle, St. John's Wort, Moth Mullein, Ironweed, Common Evening Primrose)
Collecting and documenting is certainly much easier these days, thanks to smartphones and the internet. It's fun to look back over your memories -- no matter how they're recorded!