Lilacs

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My plan for today was to take my family to Volcano to see the daffodils at Daffodil Hill, then have lunch somewhere quaint, drive through the countryside, and maybe visit Indian Grinding Rock. It’s a perfect day, cool with some cloud cover. The grass is green, the light’s pretty even—ideal for photos.

Instead, Asher’s sick. (I wish this child could catch a break!) Three of us are home; we let Lucas escape with his bestie. Ian is working. I will soon start working. We’re doing necessary things instead of what we wanted to do. It’s fine, really. There’s laundry and other chores …

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Still, I’m feeling a little glum while the scent of lilacs wafts through my window. Thank goodness for lilacs.

Rainbow Garden

Last and best #summer #flowers #gardening #red #rose
My red-orange obsession--all blooming now. #spring #gardening #flowers #red
#orange blooms my July garden #summer #flowers #gardening
Summer yellows #summer #flowers #gardening #yellow
Just some of the greens #summer #gardening #colors #green
My blues,  blooming now #summer #flowers #gardening #blue
#summer #purple #flowers #gardening
Pink and peach #summer #flowers #gardening #peach #pink
I don't have a lot of white in my garden,  but this is what's happening now.  #summer #flowers #gardening #white

This is my garden in summer. These photos were all taken between the very end of May and July 7.

This is, of course, the very best of it. We are having a terrible drought in California, and I’ve been conserving water. I’ve not pictured my yellowed lawn or the roses with burnt petals. I’ve not pictured the patches of bare dirt or my lack of much-needed mulch (where does it go?).  I haven’t pictured how my hydrangeas have 90 percent fewer flowers than usual. Naturally, I don’t photograph the plants that perish. I kill things all the time.

This is the best that I can show in this hot time of year.

But I want to show it because I love it and because I have worked very hard over the last 11 years turning into this third-acre of weeds and potholes into my oasis, my home. This is my English garden, California-style, and infused with all the flare of a Brazilian Carnival that I can muster. This is what my dreams look like at night. A jungle of color. A rush of blossoms. A heaving of growth and urgency. A riot of shapes and textures.

I can’t explain why this garden is important to me, except to say, this is how I surround myself and my family with beauty.

With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

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This is how my garden grows.

These little “postcards” from my garden were all shot within the last three or four days. I’ve been showing my garden in person to as many people as possible—to as many kind souls who will take a moment to look—but I also want to capture it here, to remind myself that I make my small square of the planet beautiful. It has come so far. This garden is a huge source of joy and relief in my life. It is source. It feeds me every bit as much as I feed it. More, really.

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Love my irises

Easter roses  #spring #easter #flowers #gardening #rose

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Iris #spring #flowers #gardening #iris #couleursdiris

#spring #flowers #gardening

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On alert

#nofilter #iris #flowers #spring #gardening

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I could tell a story about ever single plant pictured here, but I know that’s kind of ridiculous. Suffice it to say, I hope you have enjoyed this tiny tour of the late April highlights.

"Peace"

I leave you with this last photo of “peace.”

Spring Break

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We’ve just finished spring break. It’s been two weeks of lots of fun for the kiddos, starting with a glorious day at Point Reyes National Seashore. We have a tradition of ringing in the spring by going to the beach.

Magic games are on #11yearold #sixthgrade #play #7yearold #spring #son

Lots of Magic: The Gathering games were played. And even more card sorting and organizing and deck building.

#mamaandbaby #mamainthepicture #7yearold #firstgrade #son #play

We made some funny pictures.

Office

Mama worked a lot, but I got to work here for some of the time. My garden is beautiful right now and I’ve hosted two parties to make my friends see it.

These guys #spring #sacramentowaldorfschool

We saw these handsome fellas. They and their girls had the run of the school campus while the students were away.

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We watched Cosmos and snuggled.

Baseball practice during spring break #spring #sacramentowaldorfschool #sixthgrade #11yearold

Lucas had baseball practice on several perfect April days. And for five days he got to do an archery camp that he loved, with two hours of practice a day and games and fun contests.

These are just some highlights. I can’t seem to keep on track here at Love in the Suburbs lately. I’ll try to do better. Happy spring, and Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Love Is …

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* A night out dancing and celebrating with my sparkling friends.
* Grandparents who take my boys overnight so I can be with adults at a nightclub.
* Friends who figuratively put on their wellies and step into the muck to help others, who sacrifice and do the work and give so much of themselves.
* Visiting my mother-in-law over coffee, and admiring how she has already thriving vegetable garden seedlings under a grow light in her dining room.
* New-to-us chairs from my parents; they’re more comfortable than any chairs we have, even if they are a shade or two too purple.
* Working all together on housekeeping chores that might not be fun, but that make our living together easier and our home the haven we want it to be.
* Giving away wonderful games and puzzles to my sweet nieces.
* A brief visit from my brother and his girlfriend, who brought us the chairs.
* Gardening time: I planted pansies, divided day lilies to make two new clumps, planted forsythia, planted two irises that have been in pots a while. I was able to divide each iris into several groups.
* Watching my garden come alive again with new shoots, daffodils, magnolia, and azaleas blooming, and tulips coming up. My plum trees are clothed in flower clouds, too.
* Rain. Yumptious, sloppy, wet rain that soaks the ground and demonstrates our persistent drainage problems.
* Flower and seed catalogs that come in the mail.
* Being done with basketball season, but also feeling so grateful for all Lucas learned, for his wonderful coach and teammates, and for a wholly positive experience.
* Having work to do, even if it’s not very interesting. I’m learning more about surgery than I ever have before.
* A reunion with my husband; although I hate it when he goes (and I try not to whine), I love it when he comes home.
* Taking my dad to a Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert this week
* Little Fur audiobooks, which are entertaining my little son while he’s home sick today.
* Window stars.
* Fractal vegetables and welcome-home dinners.
* The sixth-grade Waldorf curriculum, which is so brilliantly meeting our son.

Edible fractals #waldorf #math #food #wholefood #csa #farmfreshtoyou

Rescued Hens

My new (rescued) hens, Chocolate, Caramel, and Eliot (named by previous owners). They were kind of doomed to be harried to death/eaten by dogs, so we took them in.

Meet our new hens, Chocolate, Caramel, and Eliot (named by previous owners). They were kind of doomed to be harried to death/eaten by dogs, so we took them in. We were supposed to take in four hens but the Ameraucana died from dog injury before we got there to pick them up.

They are 2-year-old Rhode Island Reds and have already laid five eggs for me since Sunday noon. They’re in quarantine for 30 days.

Good grief! We now have 17 hens! That, my friends, is a lot of chickens.

We lost our only Rhode Island Red, Fireball, who was one of our first five adopted birds, about a month ago. She was at least 6 years old when she died.

Mama’s Getaway

Well, we’re halfway through summer vacation now. I’ve been struggling a bit lately, and I find my mind turning back to this glorious trip I took last May. We’ll call it mental escapism.

Have you ever given yourself a Mother’s Day gift? I did this year and it was beyond wonderful. I actually took some time away from my family and home to drive half the length of California to visit friends. It was a blitzkrieg trip; I was gone only 54 hours.
Ferns

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When I got to Humboldt county, I found ferns and rhododendrons, misty mornings, and cool evenings. I got to see my friends’ home for the first time, and what a marvelous place it is! They have space for a fruit orchard, backyard chickens, a tire swing, and two wacky dogs. There’s a basketball hoop for their sons and plenty of yard projects for Peggy. Their neighbors are spaced at a good distance as you’d expect for country living, and yet their home is only about 10 minutes from town, where they can get anything they want. Furthermore, their property has one whole edge that’s redwood forest. I can’t imagine a better place to rear boys.

Home away from home

Arcata Yarn and Fabric Shop

Chris had the day off and so we got to hang out together, which we NEVER get to do, and it was wonderful. We did a bit of sight-seeing, visited a yarn shop, had a sushi lunch.

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Chris showed me the Redwood Curtain Theater, which is Chris, Peggy, and Clint’s life’s work and labor of abiding love. I got to see Chris perform the lead role in Skin Deep that night. Great play, great acting.

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We stopped for some photos of this guy, who was very friendly, and visited the neighbor’s horse too.

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On the second day Chris and Peggy and I drove up to Trinidad for a couple of hours, just to look around. Such a cute town, with million-dollar properties up for sale. Ha!

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It was such a great visit. But, right on time, I kissed my friends goodbye and left for home and drove six hours. It was even kind of nice to just drive by myself.

Happy to be home

I found this poster on the front door when I got home. What’s more, I was given a very thoughtful Mother’s Day gift: my family had prepared a section of the garden for planting, and amended the soil and everything. They took me to the plant nursery the next day for plants and then helped plant them in the new shade garden. It was the best Mother’s Day present ever.

Weekending

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We were blessed with wonderful house guests this past weekend—friends who were willing to fall into our family rhythm and enjoy some simple pleasures like home meals and nature walks.

Hiking

There’s nothing like Sacramento in April.

Rope swing in the woods

We were able to show them a bit around our neck of the woods, with Lucas bravely leading the way and showing us what all the Waldorf kids know about this stretch of the American River Parkway—like this awesome rope swing …

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… and Grandfather Oak, which is simply enormous.

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We marched along the cliffs, watching bathers in the river below. Christyn and I geeked about wildflowers a bit. Lucas showed us all the wild fennel. Asher made sure we were aware of the area the kids call “Coyote Cafe.”

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We found the pond and watched some Canada geese. Asher got stuck in some deep sloppy mud and Lucas rescued him. Big brothers are great like that!

Rattlesnake!

On the way back we saw a handsome rattlesnake in our path. It was at least three feet long. Lucas saved us then, too, for he was the one to spot it. We were fortunate our fluffy dog was too ditzy to notice and try to mess with it.

Iris Farm

After a superb brunch of Dutch baby (pancakes) with fresh fruit, during which we scientifically compared Brian’s family recipe to one from the Organic Family Cookbook, we lazed about for a while and then drove up the hill to the Horton Iris Farm.

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It was really fun to share this place with my boys and my friends. Christyn, Brian, and I share a love of gardening and chatting about plants with them was wonderful. We enjoyed finding some unusual specimens.

Main Street

I ordered this one for later this year. It’s called “Main Street.” I also ordered one that Lucas really liked, “Persian Berry,” and “Fade to Black,” which was Ian’s pick. I wrote down about a dozen names of irises I loved.

Brian and Christyn and us at Horton Iris Farm

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I haven’t been to Horton Iris Farm since last May when I went with my mom. I bought her a yellow iris as a gift.

Anyway, it was a lovely, relaxing weekend and I’m still trying to gear up for all the tasks ahead of me this week. Hope you enjoyed the phone photos. Happy Earth Day, everyone. (We’re going with Earth Week around here.)

Spring Break

Vacation

Well, I’ve not been writing much here lately. Instead, there’s been a whole lot of living happening. The boys had two weeks of spring break and while sometimes a school vacation means I have more time for hobbies, such as blogging, sometimes it totally does not.

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The boys have been reading and drawing like crazy. Both are completely captivated by all things Fantasy, all things Dragon, and all things Tolkien. Asher has a great fondness for Dwarves. Lucas fancies Elves. They write books, design games, draw pictures, and create “Game World” stories, which are “video games” that exist only in their heads and they act out the action. I like those video games!

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We had one super great Mama & Boys Day; we went to a local miniature golf course and played minigolf and a few arcade games—a very rare treat indeed.

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Asher played a killer game of Fast & Furious, a driving game where he spent most of the time flying off bridges and overpasses, but the old standbys were best—air hockey and skeeball. I let Lucas play the rifle-shooting game and he looked at me like he had just won the lottery. Arcade: $3. Minigolf for 3: $21. Lunch for 3: $25. Oh yeah, that’s why we don’t do all that many outings like this. Oh well.

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Then we went to the library and the park. This is more my speed.

Lucas and Asher had a little time with grandma. They played a lot with the neighborhood boys. The fact that we now have some neighborhood kids is a great pleasure—we have lived in this neighborhood for almost 13 years and for 12 of them there were no children. Elderly neighbors. The housing bubble and then the crash. Finally some younger families are moving in.

Let’s see … Ian built me a raised garden bed, which is totally awesome.

Rehearsal. Asher on ukelele, N on drum machine, Lucas is the band manager.

Asher got to have a buddy come to play. They created a rock band. Asher played ukelele, N played the drum machine, Lucas was their manager. They rehearsed. They sang songs called “Alabama Shakes,” “Lightning Strike,” “Golden Wolf,” “Clutches,” and “Death Knife.” I kid you not. Lucas told them they had a kind of punkheavymetal sound and then convinced Asher and his friend to put on face paint. It. Was. Awesome.

I love this boy.

He agreed to be photographed. He must be feeling pretty cool.

And there was this. I love this boy.

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On the last day of Spring Break, we went on a lovely hike with Mars and NoNo.

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River outing

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Mars showed us the game he is making. We picnicked. We got wet in the river. The dogs got to sniff a lot of things and meet other dogs. We walked the trails and spent time under the great big sky. I can’t really explain how refreshing and nourishing that is for me. It’s like medicine.

And now, the boys are back at school. Our normal rhythm has returned and I am happy about that, except I’m still not a morning person and never will be.

Spring Is Here!

Flowers and new leaves

Everything is flowering now, it seems, in joyous celebration of the start of spring. How did you celebrate?

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My love made me a raised bed!

My darling husband built me a raised garden bed this past weekend. It’s glorious and 8 ft. by 4 ft. It took a couple of hours to build. I still need more soil to fill it. Seven 2 cubic ft. bags wasn’t enough, but that’s all that would fit in my car. It meant I got to go to my happy place for a brief while, and I refrained from buying much—

Happy place

Just a tiny six-pack of red snapdragons and one of orange marigolds … you know, for luck.

It’s spring break now and my children have two weeks off school. Today’s project was Clean the Bedroom. (It looks pretty good now.) Yesterday’s projects were more fun:

Before During dyeing

We dyed Easter eggs, using our hens’ eggs. We started, as you can see, with an assortment of colorful eggs, and only one white one.

During

It’s good rainbow fun, you know.

After, no filter; we dyed brown, green, and one white egg.

Brown eggs and green eggs turn lovely, gentle colors when you dye them.

We also did another springtime project as a surprise for Daddy that I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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