Day of the Dead and Apple Hill

Gold Country

I conned Ian into taking Monday, November 1st off work. Lucas’s school is not in session the day after Halloween. Some clever administrator or teacher realized that it’s not wise to try to keep kids under control after a late night and sugary treats. We pulled Asher out of preschool for the day and took a little drive.

We were determined to squeeze a bit more fun out of our weekend. We were celebrating Day of the Dead, in our own way, and Lucas’s half birthday. He is now officially 8 and a half years old. Day of the Dead or All Souls’ Day has never been a holiday in our two families, but since it marks Lucas’s half birthday, it has come to hold a special place in our year.

Bryant Cemetery, Established 1848 Headstone from the 1800s

We decided that a trip to Apple Hill would be the perfect seasonal family outing, and with a little research, Ian found a very nice old cemetery to visit in gold country, Near Latrobe, California. Bryant Cemetery was established in 1848.

We wandered about and read the headstones, wondering about the lives of the pioneers who came out west and lived in California during the gold rush and the years following. We saw that many families’ were buried together, and that the people often died young. We tried to put into perspective for Lucas how long ago that was: no cars, people used horses and carts to travel, they would have carried water from rivers and streams, and so on.

Pretending to Be a Dead Person

This is Asher pretending to be a dead person.

Bryant Cemetery, Established 1848

The cemetery was small and quiet, shaded with beautiful valley oak trees. Some were dropping giant acorns quite near us!

Cemetery Oak

This oak looked like it had quite a story to tell! We enjoyed our exploration and contemplation … until we got hungry.

Then we headed for lunch in Placerville and from there up to High Hill Ranch in Apple Hill. It’s a pretty big farm, with lots of room for the kids to run about. (I wish their pony rides weren’t $6 a ride, though! We opted to skip them.)

We shopped for yummy apples and came home with a big bag full of Fujis, Jona Golds, Galas, and Golden Delicious.

Arkansas Black Apples Close-Up

I don’t remember ever seeing these Arkansas Black apples before. They were so beautiful!

Sitting atop the "Water Canon"

There is a fish pond at High Hill Ranch; you can pay to fish for trout, which you can clearly see in the water. Poor Lucas! His parents are too cheap. The kids loved sitting on this water cannon that spilled water into the pond.

First Caramel Apple

We also bought caramel apples for the boys to eat—Asher’s first. He never made it to the apple, I’m afraid. Mama and Daddy ate apple pie. Mmm…

Hill Rolling

Lucas took the opportunity to somersault and roll down the grassy hillside. Monday is a great day to go—no big crowds!

Then we drove a bit more around Apple Hill, looking at the farms and orchards full of fruit and nut trees. We stopped at Bill’s Apples and Felice’s Dolls, where they have a spectacular flower garden. (They claim 3000 chrysanthemums!) It was a beautiful final stop, for some of us were getting moody. Perhaps that caramel apple sugar rush wore off?


Canada Geese Mums More Mums Tongues

Happy half birthday, my sweet son. I am so pleased we had this gorgeous Family Day all together.

This Moment: Day of the Dead

Breaking the rules here to explain that my son was being contemplative in the cemetery, not mourning a loved one. He was having a quiet moment with his own thoughts.


Inspired by SouleMama {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

  • 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.

    © 2003–2018 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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