Outside the barn the wind is strong,
Bringing cold November rain;
Within these walls the hay is sweet,
Bins are filled with yellow grain.
The cows are quiet in their stalls,
The newest calf is sound asleep;
And close together in their pen
Rest the gently breathing sheep.
The mare’s big colt is by her side
To share with her the the golden hay—
I’m truly thankful, Lord, that these
Are fed and sheltered on this day.

—Judy Van der Veer

First Thanksgiving of All
Peace and Mercy and Jonathan,
And Patience (very small),
Stood by the table giving thanks
The first Thanksgiving of all.
There was very little for them to eat,
Nothing special and nothing sweet;
Only bread and a little broth,
And a bit of fruit (and no tablecloth);
But Peace and Mercy and Jonathan,
And Patience, in a row,
Stood up and asked a blessing on
Thanksgiving long ago.
Thankful they were their ship had come
Safely across the sea;
Thankful they were for hearth and home,
And kin and company;
They were glad of broth to go with their bread,
Glad their apples were round and red,
Glad of mayflowers they would bring
Out of the woods again next spring.
Peace and Mercy and Jonathan,
And Patience (very small),
Stood up gratefully giving thanks,
The first Thanksgiving of all.

—Nancy Bird Turner

Looking forward to running with Jami tomorrow!There’s so much to be thankful for! My friends and family, our charming and clever boys, our silly delightful dogs. My brave and beautiful husband. Our safe home, and our abundant opportunities to grow and learn and thrive. Challenges that keep us sharp and urge us on to become our better selves. Waldorf school. Business partners extraordinaire. The boundless generosity of our family and community. Forgiveness. Courage. Love. Constancy. Hope. Life is rich and full of miracles both large and small. About to start!

My Thanksgiving Day started with a 10K run with Jami, in the 22nd annual Run to Feed the Hungry. 28,644 people ran to raise money for the Sacrament Food Bank and Family Services, which helps those members of our community who are food insecure. It wasn’t easy because I haven’t been training much, but we did it and we finished strong. It was definitely fun! Start Run to Feed the Hungry!  upload And what a glorious day! After Jami and I parted ways, I wandered through California State University Sacramento a bit, taking pictures and looking for my car. (I forgot to pay attention to where I parked it.) No matter. It meant I got see see these gorgeous gingko trees!

uploadLater on, we had a lovely meal with my family. Dad does a wicked-good turkey! Everyone was in high spirits!Happy Thanksgiving!Delicious

I made a gratined chard recipe for the first time, which I’m definitely making again.


We rounded out our visit with a game of SpaceTeam, and then binged on Avatar the Last Airbender episodes. We’re into season 3 again, so things are really heating up for Aang and the gang. 😉

On Saturday we get to visit with Ian’s family, where I expect excitement will be high.

And now, it’s off to deadline land for me. Although the boys have a whole week off, I’m working hard on a big project.




Today is rainy and gloomy. We’re getting our first big winter storm in Northern California. So I consoled myself with some photos from about a week ago—I took these on a glorious November day in Temple Park in Fair Oaks. I thought I’d share them here, in case you need a pick-me-up too.


Worldtree shadow

This shadow was really stunning. It reminded me of Yggdrasil, the World Tree from Norse mythology. Kind of a magical, accidental moment I captured. My children played at the park while I wandered around with my eyes mostly in the sky.




It’s no wonder to me why this place is called Fair Oaks. These trees are so mighty and beautiful. They never fail to inspire me.

In Memorium: A Tree for Nana

Pink Dogwood

I mentioned before that we were planning to plant a tree in memory of Nana and in celebration of Earth Day. Well, the four of us had a brief little memorial ceremony, and it was lovely.

* barley, to sanctify the earth

Dear Tree,

We plant you here on this special day—Earth Day—to mark the passing of our beloved Nana. By doing this we honor Nana’s spirit, your tree spirit, and the spirit of Mother Earth. As you grow strong and tall, may your branches be a welcoming home for Nana’s spirit. As we enjoy your beautiful flowers in springtime, and the birds eat your berries in autumn, may we be content in the great circle of life.

Blessed be.

* libations of water, to water the tree and signify our pure intentions

Nana’s favorite color was blue, not pink, and in her later years she wore more gray and silver than anything else. But Nana so enjoyed Easter, and I think she would be pleased with this pink dogwood because it will always bloom in springtime. May it live a long and happy life like she did.

(Many thanks to Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill for their inspiration in the ceremony, which was adapted from Circle Round. Thanks to Ian for digging the hole.)

Pictures of Spring

Ground Cover in Flower

We’ve had a very rainy, floody spring, but finally some plants in my garden are really starting to look good again. Some spots still look like hell; naturally, I don’t feature those in photos. This area above, where we planted ground covers last spring, took a beating both from the summer heat and the flooding rains. But these little plants seem to be trying to make a comeback. This is called chocolate mint ajuga.

One Sole California Poppy

I have one, solitary California poppy and I love it. These come back year after year and I’d love to have more of them.


This spectacular flower is a fancy poppy—oriental? I don’t know for sure. I planted a bunch of seeds last spring, but it seems only two plants grew. Still, this is a showstopper and I’m inspired to try again.

Dogwood Blossoms 2011

My white dogwood is getting big. This picture was from a week or so ago. Now the tree’s blossoms are fully white and big. I love them in all of their stages, though. I thought this tree was going to be a pink dogwood and it took a few years for it to start blooming and reveal it’s true nature. As it is not a pink dogwood, I have resolved to have another pink tree in the backyard.

My Purple Robe Locust Tree in Bloom

My two purple robe locust trees are blooming like mad now, and the biggest, fattest black bees are buzzing around them constantly. These trees grow so fast and tall—I like that in a tree, given I’m not fond of waiting.


Mint. Some people hate the stuff, but I think it’s so pretty and useful. It’s wonderful to walk outside and pluck some leaves for iced tea or lemonade, or for a special garnish. My children walk past this plant and pick leaves to munch on.

Pink Dogwood

This is my new dogwood, which we are planting for Earth Day. It is, in fact, very pink. The variety is called Cherokee Chief.

There’s other stuff blooming as well, like Spanish lavender, which is a great investment for its extended blooming time, and azaleas, which bloom only in March/April/May. The scarlet verbena is blooming nicely now, but I have to admit the hens’ scratching about has made the verbena look a bit scraggly. My watercolors rose is gorgeous, and the hybrid teas are in bud. All of the daylily transplants I did seem to have taken off. They’re still small, but surviving! This is great news for me because I have lots of mature plants that can be split and spread about into blank areas of the yard. This was my first time dividing them and I’m encouraged to do more of this. Free flowers!

Cherry Blossom Poetry Celebration

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

In Washington D.C. they are celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival, called the Sakura Festival.

Here at home, there is a fantastic Japanese cherry tree right outside the third and fourth grade classrooms at my son’s Waldorf school. It’s magnificent.

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

Mrs. M, the Eurhythmy teacher, was inspired to have a little cherry blossom  poetry festival with our third grade to celebrate spring. On Friday, the last day of school before spring break, the third graders wrote poems about springtime and cherry trees and hung their poems in the cherry tree.

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

Cherry blossoms feature heavily in Japanese poetry. The blossoms, sakura, symbolize the beginning of spring, purity, and also a kind of melancholy, for like the blossoms, life is short and beautiful.

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

The people of Japan have been on all our minds and in our prayers lately, although I’m not sure how aware the third graders are of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s hard to think about it. One tourism website I looked at had this to say: “This year’s cherry blossom season will be overshadowed by the tremendous loss caused by the recent earthquake. However, we believe that the blossoms will serve as symbols of hope and resilience and a source of motivation along Japan’s road to recovery.” 

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

There’s no doubt that these blossoms are exquisite and ephemeral.

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

Life is such a sweet mixture of joys and pains, celebrations and disappointments, and even exultation and tragedy.

Third Grade Cherry Blossom Poetry Festival

Sometimes it hurts to live life fully; to do so means opening ourselves up to all the beauty and pain around us. It hurts to be human. It is a joy to be human.

Look Up

Sky Lights

Early spring skies can be so dramatic, especially after a rain. Sometimes I forget to look up. When I remember to do so, I’m always richly rewarded.


One day last weekend, after a heavy rainstorm, we walked to a local park with some friends. I had to visit the almond trees there. It was one of those days when the sun peeked out from behind heavy gray and cotton white clouds.

Almond Blossoms

I know it is still winter, technically, and huge swaths of the country are still covered in mountains of snow, but around here, we’re having some lovely, sunny days and trees everywhere are leafing out and blossoming.

Blossoms and Blue Sky

Almond flowers smell divine, and they litter the ground in white petal snow.

February Sky

It may be the suburbs, but there is beauty everywhere. It’s my mission to seek it out. To notice. To let it fill me up and sustain me.

Neighbor's Huge Magnolia (Tulip Tree)

Across the street from my home, my neighbor has one of the largest magnolia trees (also called tulip trees) I’ve ever seen. I love it. When it blooms in February, it is spectacular and I wait eagerly for it  all winter. The flowers are large, almost the size of my hand, and the tree is easily 35 feet tall. Although it’s not a unique characteristic of this tree, it still never ceases to amaze me that the magnolia’s giant flowers spring from completely bare branches. It’s as if the spirit of the tree gets so excited for the coming spring, it cannot even wait for its pale green leaves to form before bursting out in blooms. I will watch it become engulfed in pink, and hope the rains hold off a little while to give it time to flower.

Winter Blues

I haven’t been taking as many photos lately. Being indoors because of cold, crummy weather puts a damper on my photography. I’m rarely satisfied with the shots I take indoors. Yet, here are a few highlights of January so far.

Bird Visitor

Birdseed is a great attractor. This fellow visited the seed I placed on my outdoor table so I could watch the birds through my window. The local squirrels are the wiseguys of the neighborhood; they literally shake down the birdseed and steal from the intended recipients.

Late Afternoon in January

Lucas and I enjoy walking together in the late afternoons to get Asher from preschool. On this day, Lucas revealed his intention to write a series of “Scary Tales,” frightening adaptations of fairy tales “not suitable for anyone under 8.”

Sycamore Puff Balls

No snow, just bare branches around here. We get lots of days dominated by grays and greens. There’s something magical about blue winter skies, I think.

Mom Made This Sweater for Asher

My mother knitted this handsome sweater for Asher in the color he requested. He loved it and wore it several times. This morning he rejected it, however. He said it was “too fuzzy.” I think he and I have a very different understanding of what fuzzy is. For him, “fuzzy” might just mean, “I don’t like any sweater that you choose for me, Mama.”

New Books

Some new books I’m dabbling in, by which I mean I’m less than a quarter of the way through all of them. Two are beautiful gifts I received and one will hopefully help me better understand my son’s 9-year change.

And More Colors of Autumn

Maple Branch

Dappled, fading Japanese maple in the late afternoon sun

November Sunset

November sunset

Pokeweed Stalk in the Woods

Brilliant pokeweed stem in the woods

Rose Hips at My Home

Rosehips in my garden

Good Morning

Sunrise over the Waldorf school’s woods

Cherry Leaves

The last of the cherry leaves on the tree

Thanksgiving Frost: Cana Leaves

Thanksgiving frost on my canas

Sunset on Plum Leaves

Sunlight through the plum tree

The Autumn Ball

I’ve been telling Asher a little story about the autumn here and there, when the moment is right and we’re in the mood to imagine.

Our Goldenrain Tree

When the weather becomes cool and mornings reveal frosty lawns or low-lying gray fog,

Fair Oaks Fall Color

the trees prepare for the Autumn Ball by changing into their fanciest party dresses.


They put on gowns of glowing golds, brilliant scarlet, warm russets, and rich browns. They must get very fancy, for it will be their last party for a good long while.

IMorning Walk to Preschool

They put on fine jackets of velvet and place gold crowns on their heads.

Neighborhood Trees

They shine up their boots and rouge their cheeks.

Black and Yellow

And together they whirl and swirl, dancing through the night under the stars, dancing while they greet the morning, dancing long into the midday sunshine, dancing even when it’s time for the little children to lay down their heads in the evening.

Glowing Red, Orange, and Yellow

The trees sway to the music of the good earth, turning turning, shining and spinning in their fancy clothes and until at last they tire.


Soon they must disrobe and go to sleep through the long, cold winter. They must slumber and rest after such a glorious Autumn, and will spend the dark winter dreaming of the enchanting party they attended in November, when the winds blew through their beautiful ruffles and silken leaves as they danced the month away.

They will sleep until it’s time to wake and don new green clothes in Spring.

More Colors of Autumn

Farm Machinery

Farm equipment at Capay Organics

Zenias and Verbena

Backyard zenias and verbena in the late afternoon sun

Pumpkin Patch at Capay Organics

Pumpkin patch at Capay Organics

Friendly Sun

Sun decorating Grandma and Papa’s garden fence

Mossy Rock

Mossy rock at my parents’ home

Finished Leaf Art

Fallen leaf art

Evening Sky for Our Michaelmas Dinner Outdoors

Michaelmas evening sky

Tulip Tree Turning

Tulip tree turning

These Smell Heavenly

Grandma’s old-fashioned roses

  • 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

  • Buy Our Festivals E-Books

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Categories


  • Meta