I know what you want.
Cherries. Peach juice dripping down your chin. Bare feet. Sandy toes.
You want 101 days of summer.
The countdown officially begins today. 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
What will you do with these 2,420 hours, these 145,440 minutes, these 8,726,400 seconds of your one precious life?
There’s no way you’ll make a to-do list. You want a game.
Remember summer night scavenger hunts? You and your friends split into groups then set out in the neighborhood with a list? First one back with all the loot won? Yeah. You’d like to try that again.
Take a photo of each of the 101 Days of Summer.
Post them on Instagram. Hash tag the photos with #backyardsisters_101days
Ready. Set. Go!
1. Perfect your go-to summer barbecue meal.
2. Learn a new grilling technique. For a great veggie grilling video, click here.
3. Invite a new neighbor for dinner.
4. Eat outside. Every night. Unless there’s thunder and lightening.
5. Eat by candlelight. Every night. Outside. Unless.
6. Sit on the grass with your dog’s head in your lap.
7. Watch fireflies. If you catch them in a jar, be sure to let them out before you go to bed.
8. Learn 5 new objects in the night sky. The free app SkyViewFree uses an i-phone’s camera as viewfinder.
9. Plan ahead to find a dark viewing spot for the Perseid Meteor Shower, August 11 and 12. You’ll catch the summer’s best display of shooting stars. More info here.
10. Make your own ice cream. You don’t even need an ice cream maker. Check it out here.
11. Stay up late.
12. Get up early. Photograph your days.
13. Learn the names of 5 birds in your neighborhood. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an amazing library of birdcalls. Link here.
14. Take your morning beverage on the porch, patio, or near an open window.
15. Prop your bare feet on a ledge.
16. Plant one living thing, even in a small pot if you don’t have a yard.
17. Plant something you can eat. A few green onions. Parsley. One tomato plant.
18. Visit a farmer’s market.
19. Take home something you’ve never eaten before.
20. Eat it.
21. Learn to make the perfect margarita or mojito or favorite frozen treat.
22. Invite neighbors over to help you drink it.
23. Visit your mom and dad.
24. Look at photos from childhood family vacations; yours and theirs.
25. Record favorite memories either on video or audio.
26. Visit your children.
27. Look at photos from family vacations; yours and theirs.
28. Record favorite memories.
29. Create a family yearbook of photos.
30. Do one thing that scares you.
31. Swim in a natural body of water.
32. Cannonball into the deep end of a pool.
33. Play Marco Polo.
34. Learn one new water skill: surfing, body surfing, paddle boarding, water ballet moves.
35. Teach your new skill.
36. Pick fresh blueberries.
37. Make a summer fruit cobbler. For the Backyard Sisters favorite cobbler recipe, click here.
38. Eat dinner on a blanket under a tree.
39. Walk after dinner through town or your neighborhood.
41. Hike a new trail.
42. Learn the names of 5 new native plants in your region.
43. Visit 3 new state parks. The rangers there will know the names of the plants.
44. Take a new friend with you.
45. Volunteer for a park clean-up day.
46. Tune your guitar, your piano, your cello, your drum, your voice.
47. Learn one solid song.
48. Lose your inhibition.
49. Make a campfire.
50. Sing under the stars.
51. Make s’mores.
52. Sleep under the stars.
53. Learn how to remove ticks from your dog. (Same concept applies to humans.) Great video here.
54. Sketch, photograph, or journal what distinguishes your local ecosystem from others.
55. Learn 5 edible plants.
56. Learn 5 poisonous plants.
57. Learn to pack lightly.
58. Learn to clean up after yourself.
59. Learn to read a map.
60. Get lost.
61. Go to a car show.
62. Attend your state or county fair.
63. Submit something: homemade beer, photography, literature.
64. Hold hands on the Ferris wheel.
65. If you win a giant stuffed panda, give it away to a neighborhood kid.
66. Visit the booths with prize-winning pies and jams and wines.
67. Congratulate the blue-ribbon winners. Ask one fine question about their process.
68. Hear an outdoor concert.
69. Watch an outdoor movie.
70. Wait for the Milky way.
71. Visit your local library.
72. Remember summer reading when you were a kid? Check out ten books.
73. Visit an independent bookstore. Buy one thing.
74. Hear a live author reading.
75. Thank the author in person.
76. Perfect one aspect of your craft: Great openings. Killer closings. Trimming the fat from word count.
77. Slow dance under the Full Flower Moon on May 25.
78. Sip strawberry wine under the Full Strawberry Moon on June 23.
79. Dance with abandon under the Full Thunder Moon on July 22.
80. Fish under the Full Sturgeon Moon on August 20. For full moon name meanings, click here.
81. Invite neighbors over for a pancake breakfast.
82. Visit the housebound neighbor who couldn’t come.
83. Bring flowers, or stories, or one of your photos.
84. Call your grandmother or grandfather or aunt or uncle or long lost cousin.
85. Tell them about the trees and birds and stars. Ask about the view from their window.
86. Ask about their favorite summer memory.
87. Remember to return your library books.
88. Lie on your back on the grass and watch the clouds.
90. Swim again. Again. Again.
92. Learn five bits of history about one place you’ll visit.
93. Read before you go. You can find a literary companion for more than 20 destinations from Whereabouts Press where the mission “is to convey a culture through its literature.”
94. Attend an outdoor art show.
95. Bike ride. On a beach cruiser. Along the beach if you’re lucky.
96. Learn hello, goodbye, please, thank-you and I love you in five new languages.
97. Learn how to come home.
98. Harvest and eat your one small thing standing barefoot on your own patch of ground, balcony, stone or wood.
99. Cut flowers from your yard. Take some to your neighbor.
100. Send an old fashioned hand-written note, with some herbs or fragrant leaves.
101. Set 5 small items – a shell, a rock, a poem – from your summer on your desk.
Last one done is a rotten egg.