The Golden-Crowned Sparrows are migrating through West County, and their woeful songs seem to say Summer’s all gone. Summer’s all gone. In 1849, the ever-greedy gold miners thought the clear whistles of these little Clementines were lamenting the truth…No gold here. No gold here.

Take a listen…

While I absolutely adore their singing, and think their proclamation of summer’s end is appropo, I would have to disagree about the absence of gold. The shift into autumn is like the sudden discovery of the last of the elderberries, or the ruby surprise of ripe rose hips…as the leaves of summer fall away, what remains is the precious heart.

What a perfect time to celebrate that radiant age of childhood…the big FIVE. Five is a fistful of fingers, the petals on a rose, the favorite number of strawberries on your plate.

FIVE. How did that happen?



For the day of her birthday, Grandma, Daddy and I surprised her with presents in the morning…

Her friends assembled the night before in anticipation.

It’s become a tradition for Jeff and I to collaborate on a “project present” for her birthday. This year, we decided to turn her hot mess of an art corner into a proper deal.

…and strawberry shortcake cupcakes in the afternoon.

I’m not gonna lie. I am daring to show you my messy kitchen counter because what I really want you to look at is my shirt. Yes, I have been wearing it every day.





For her party on Saturday, I wanted to give her a classic childhood experience, the type of traditional birthday celebration that I had as a kid. Horn blowers, punch, a pinata, pin the tail on the donkey and cone hats. Also, with going to Waldorf, I don’t think she’ll be learning how to play Duck, Duck, Goose, and I’m sorry…I’ve agreed to the “no screen-time thing” until she’s 8 or 9, putting on hold her induction into important familial culture…I’m talking Star Wars and LOTR here…but let’s get our priorities straight. Every five year old needs to know how to play DDG.

We played games, ate ice cream sundaes, and a very, very happy chaos was created. The pumpkins lolled around in the garden like jolly orange trolls and the giraffapoodles looked on with mild interest. It was perfect.

Party hats under construction.

Leo and Fern counting out candy for the pinata goody bags.

“If you’ve been with me for a while” you’ll remember the birthday banner and it’s changing theme each year. This last spring we read “Charlotte’s Web”, and since her name sake is the heroine, it seemed just the thing for the big 5, a coming in to the fullness of “Fern”.

This year is probably the last bday party that will be primarily family. I hope we still celebrate with the cousins in the upcoming years, but school changes the cast of characters in a kid’s life.

How has the time gone by so quickly? From her #1 party in 2010…

…to this…




Lisa and Sebastian

Everybody say “Ice Cream Sundaes!”

Ready for ice cream

Pin the tail on the donkey. We also had a “Pin the Horn on the Unicorn” that didn’t get brought out.



I ached from head to toe by the end of the day, and we were washing watermelon juice off everything ’til after sundown, but in the midst of all the cleaning-up, Fern grabbed my legs, squeezed and said Thank you for my party.

Well ok. I guess you get another one next year.

Sunday was the Climate March in NYC (400,000 count…woo hoo! Excited for what comes next!) and in solidarity we decided to join in a march taking place downtown.

All of 30 people showed up. One had a sign. Guess we’re not in Kansas anymore, says my city-girl activist self. Still, it was a chance to show my mom The Barlow, and the new murals recently painted during the Village Building Convergence.








Back on the ranch, beauty continues to refine itself, manifesting in more outfits than my all my daughter’s costume changes in a day. And that’s saying something.


She found a rope to do some attachment parenting with her new stuffie…Rainbow Dash.


The boys. Each evening they spot us from way over yonder and trot over with skips and bleats. And this was even before we started bringing them apples.


Another friend made on a recent After Dinner Walk.

Our thoughts are turning to All Things Autumn, we are adding warmth and spice to our meals during the day and sometimes an extra blanket at night. There has been talk of Halloween costumes and I think the pumpkins in our garden know their days are numbered. The work of harvest still needs to be done, garden beds need to be tucked in for the winter with secret fava seeds and garlic bulbs folded under the covers. Misty mornings give way to slanted light afternoons.




Our volunteer chicken. We almost got an omelet’s worth before she picked a new nest spot.


It’s been almost a full week’s worth of birthday celebrations, with more to come since we are all fall babies. Jeff’s parents will be here in a couple of weeks (hooray!) and kindergarten keeps us ever busy. Motherhood is becoming richer, deeper, and I am ever aware of these sweet lives of ours, journeying together like the leaves falling to the ground. So brief. So precious. So outstandingly beautiful.



Happy Autumn! Happy Equinox! Much love to all.

P.S. Check out the new Terrallectualism later this week for an update on the Bioregional Incense (hint…it’s super swoon worthy). Also, a reminder that the url of this blog is changing soon, hopefully to To every thing, turn turn turn…


7 thoughts on “Golden

  1. Happy Birthday to Fern! HOW IS SHE 5?!?! Her birthday reminds me that 5 is fast approaching for my own little ones. There are only 6 months between them. The celebration looks like it was wonderful.

    And that art corner?! SWOON! I have been trying to figure out how to create something similar here – you have given me plenty of inspiration. Much love to you Mary xx

  2. wow! this is like 3 posts in 1! I am totally on board with the no screen time thing as well. It’s just so much better when I stick to it, at least as far as her behavior goes… Fall looks so sweet there!! xo m

  3. Tell me why no DDGG for Waldorf? That is one of Mia’s favourite games at school. Yes, no screen time, how I wish I had run with that. Fern’s party looks like it was a blast, I love planning birthday parties for the kids; for Mia moreso than Oz now – he is kinda too sophisticated for party games and the like – he prefers experiences. But Mia girl is all about the hoopla, and the decorations, and the themes and games, and that, I can get into. How is the running going? In time it will be like breathing. xo

    1. aw teeny, i am hearing the wistfulness from you in re: to your kids growing older. oz is that age where he’s really transitioning out of childhood, yeah? achey achey heart stuff. and i can’t believe running will feel as easy as breathing, since i have a hard time even breathing when i run…good to know there’s more improvement to come…something to strive for. xoxo

      1. yes wistful and a little regretful that i didn’t notice more about him, my eldest baby. And i’m right about running becoming like breathing, it just takes precious time. x

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