#21 Mabon: The Primary Harvest at the Fall Equinox

As the seasonal wheel turns, the sun sinks behind the gold-country hills earlier and earlier each evening and the days are (finally) growing cooler and shorter.

The fall equinox is a time when day and night, light and dark are of equal length. From now, on until the winter solstice, the nights will continue to grow longer and colder.


We honor the bounty of the earth at this time of primary harvest. We rest in this moment of balance, taking stock of the things we, too, have brought to fruition—our own personal harvest.

Standing in the doorway of the Dark Time, we need not be afraid. We gather our resources, let go any hindrances, and ready ourselves for the dark, quiet time of introspection. Blessed Be!

We had a lovely celebration this year!

A few wonderful woman of the earth joined us. Thank you, Julie, Debra, Stephanie, Sandra for making our Mabon celebration such a special time!! Drinking in the light was awesome!




Our celebratory meal was a hearty vegetable and chicken stew, which included: two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, eggplant, purple cabbage, chard and two kinds of corn, all from our garden! With added onions and garlic, it was delicious! The crusty bread and real butter…well, you get the picture! Yum!

On Sunday, those who could stay over made beautiful collages on chinette plates, depicting the balance of the light and dark. So fun!










Other Harvest News and Views


The sunflowers are so beautiful! Aren’t the geometric designs amazing?!

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More of the harvest! Pumpkins and butternut squash with more to come in the final harvest at Samhain.

thumbnail_img_20160923_161504aJust hung a couple of my masks at a lovely little place in Placerville called H.Art Lounge. It’s a wine and beer lounge that focuses on art and music and healing. They hang local art and encourage all art forms. Very cool!


This guy is in the box…







I will be doing women’s groups there starting in October. Should be great fun! Group Title: ‘Nurturing the Creative, Growing the Self’

Check out their site: http://www.h-artlounge.com/



Update on our rescued Great Pyrenees guardian dog: She is happy and healthy and beautiful! We love her and she takes good care of all of us!





Well that’s it for this time.  Bee happy and content! 

With love, the Lofty View Homestead Crew!


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#20 The Garden is CRAZY!! and other news!

I know it’s been a while, but wow, we have been busy—mostly with the garden! Remember how it started? garden

Well, it has been changing! As you might expect, the radishes were first up!

thumbnail_IMG_20160523_095237535_HDR …and were the first fruits of the garden.thumbnail_IMG_20160612_175537222 It has really gotten over grown–even more so than this photo shows!thumbnail_IMG_20160615_122157212

The Armenian cucumbers are delicious. This one I caught in time, but often they hide so well I don’t find them till they are huge!thumbnail_IMG_20160621_105231919

JD with our first beets. We had albino, red, one I call peppermint candy and golden.Windows Live Photo Gallery Wallpaper

Beet salad with blue cheese and chives. Also made beet chips in the oven. They were labor intensive, but yummy!thumbnail_IMG_20160626_191607299 …and rainbow carrots! thumbnail_IMG_20160720_142424065

Here’s a vegi stir fry with yellow squash, Japanese eggplant, sting beans, banana peppers, chives and basal. All from our garden! thumbnail_IMG_20160712_182931847_TOP

The pumpkin blossoms are so gorgeous and there are lots of tiny, baby pumpkins that will be ready in October! thumbnail_IMG_20160715_094005380

The sunflowers are bigger than I have ever grown!! The fence is an eight/nine foot deer fence and the tall one is about 5/6 feet above it! thumbnail_IMG_20160724_094111294_TOP thumbnail_IMG_20160724_094259520_HDRthumbnail_IMG_20160725_152003 The bees love them, too! thumbnail_IMG_20160724_100151

Look at how amazingly intricate this dragonfly’s wings are! thumbnail_IMG_20160723_104152 thumbnail_IMG_20160723_104858  Nature is so beautiful and available here, so precious and so fragile. It cannot be taken for granted for a moment!

Several weeks ago, we got a serious scare! A wild fire broke out across the river from us. It was about 3 miles away, but when they get going, these fires can move quickly! The El Dorado fire folk did a great job, dousing it with water buckets brought by helicopters and fire retardant dropped from tanker planes. It would have been quite exciting if I hadn’t been so scared!! By end of day it was out!  thumbnail_IMG_20160603_125954685

Now, we can relax! I’m in the sky chair. (Those are my boots) and Lynnie’s in the hammock. thumbnail_IMG_20160616_165948196

…and enjoy the magnificent evening sky! thumbnail_IMG_20160709_202519972_HDR thumbnail_IMG_20160525_201530723_HDR

Until next time!



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#19 Homestead Photo Update: News and Review

This year, our Ostara celebration was filled with family and friends. We used onionskins and leaves and flowers to decorate eggs, had a bonfire and letting go ritual, and lots of great food! Oh. And karaoke. Lovely!

This year, our Ostara celebration was filled with family and friends. We used onionskins and leaves and flowers to decorate eggs, had a bonfire and letting go ritual, and lots of great food! Oh. And karaoke. Lovely!


Did I mention the previous owners had 200 goats and I don’t think they EVER mucked out the barns? The upper barn had three feet of goat poo in it. Gradually we are getting it shoveled out!


Came out of our favorite restaurant, BONES the other night to this! I have never seen a more magnificent double rainbow at sunset! Made it look on fire!


This is a giant pasture puffball. Looks like an alien seed to me! The larger of the two is about 5-6 inches across.


We discovered this wonderful Indian grinding stone right alone the dirt road near our property.


Went for a walk up our road and took photos of 26 different wild flowers. Including the diagnoses lantern (pictured), purple brodea (sp), owls clover, butter cup, lupine, and the red one here that I don’t know the name of…



Our garden is taking shape! The radishes and bush beans are showing as well as our first sunflower.


Another burn day on the homestead!


New member of the homestead: One Sunday night during a thunder and lightning storm, a dog followed our kids car up our country road. She was thin and disheveled, with heavily matted, filthy fur. She was shaking and agitated. She wore a shock collar and her tags said her name was Zelda. Long story short and after much negotiation, we have a new dog. Here she is after a vet visit and a day at the doggie Spa!


Sunset after the storm. So very beautiful! We so love it here! …till next time! OXOXOXOXO


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#18 Ready-Made Hiking

It’s impossible for me to take a casual stroll on this property. I just wanted to take a look at the stream and see how our on and off rain is working out. It’s shockingly easy to navigate our VERY steep, wooded plot of land because it’s practically a highway network of animal trails. The problem is that the trails are so extensive that it’s easy to get lost. It’s not a huge property so it’s not like I’m in some kind of danger but more than once I’ve tried to get back to a certain location and found myself somewhere ENTIRELY new. It’s lovely and warm right now, the ground has already sucked up the massive but brief rain we got.

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#17 What’s Up on the Homestead?

Though our February has been fairly mild, January was quite stormy and frigid (see photos below). Total rainfall in January (per our official rain gage) amounted to 7.25 inches. The creek that runs through the ranch down from us, on Hanks exchange, turned into a raging mini-river and the culvert on our road had to be repaired.6b89db95-69e7-4d2c-8d79-55b75b067df7

All the rain keeps the homestead a beautiful emerald green, but of course, that means, come summer, a lot of weed whacking will be needed. You all feel free to come on by and we’ll put you to work! ( Morgan remembers doing that at the cabin, right, Mo?) What with the weed eaters we had, plus a couple from the cabin and the three or four left here by the previous owners, we have plenty of tools! Lynnie has already had to weed eat the garden area twice, just to work on getting it ready for spring planting, which is just around the corner.FullSizeRendera

JD and I have been working at building steps and paths, etc. to make more of the garden useable. Exhausting, but fun!garden

We have had several more burn days–working at clearing the down and dead ‘tinder’ (dry branches and leaves)–to make the property safer from wild fire. This is an ongoing task.

The homestead’s latest work tool is a UTV named Green. (Pictures to follow) It’s a wonderful little vehicle that allows us to access much more of the property, move heavy stuff from place to place and winch branches to the burn areas.

Lynnie finally broke down and got a bigger hummingbird feeder. She was needing to refill this small one about every 8-10 hours! The new one lasts for nearly two days! We have often had as many as ten birds feeding at once.IMG_2250

The grain, bird feeder has been discovered by the turkeys. IMG_2459The other day several flew up onto the back deck and took over!!

Frightened all the goldfinches and chickadees away!

We are so loving the Homestead—having the kids here, having the property to enjoy together, the friendly community and great restaurants to explore! We comment to each other, nearly every day, how grateful we are for it all.

P.S. The photos below are from a series taken after a freezing rain and strong wind left these amazing designs on the sunroom windows! Magical! No? (Click on them to view them bigger.)

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#16 Wundering What’s Going On

As we’ve settled in, we’ve expanded our To Do/Chore list. Well, in fact, it mushroomed into multiple lists, here there and everywhere. As we pondered posting an Excel spreadsheet on Google Docs and sharing it with everyone, I thought, there must be a better way. After I told Ellys what I was thinking, she quickly found an app to manage our task of managing tasks.

Wunderlist came to the top of her search and after a quick review of their website, we thought maybe their free version of the app would work for us.



Ellys and I set out to test Wunderlist. After signing up for our free accounts, we began to download the app to our various devices. Both Ellys and I are running Windows 7 laptops as our main work stations. The app downloaded and installed fine. Same for our Windows 10 laptop, iPhones and iPads. It also installed seamlessly on our Android phones.

Using the app was easy. We were able to set up lists for each category of task and share the lists with our Homesteaders. We did encounter a software glitch (?) when we tried to share the lists from our Windows 7 laptops, but did a work around using the iPhones to send out our sharing invitations. The list sharing feature worked just fine from my iPhone.

We scheduled a dinner meeting for the Homestead to discuss Wunderlist. After a delicious Elly’s dinner, I asked if everyone had installed the app. This was not a given as our WiFi runs best case at 2.5 Mbps and often especially in the evening much slower. We hope and chant for an upgraded connection soon, but I digress.

Sending invitations to the lists to each of the Homesteaders was followed by much binging and bonging of mobile devices, all Homesteaders were synchronized!!


My Wunderlist view!! I’ve even added an unshared list for my tasks, LP To Do. It works great to dash off a quick reminder especially when I’m away from my desk.

Certain features of the app are customizable by the user. The user can pick the background for their displays. Once the background is selected, it syncs across the user’s devices. The grass resonates with us and is one of the free options.

We all like the Week view. Not only can you see what you are doing, you can see what everyone else is doing. We had a minute of trouble trying to get JD’s Android phone to show it, but once we figured out where the settings were located, everyone including JD was off and running to make sure that they could see ALL the folder views.


The app lets each Homesteader set a reminder about a task. The reminder pushes out to that Homesteader’s devices. I can set a reminder for myself for the pickup dog poo chore for 10 am, a time when I like to stretch my legs and Kim can set her reminder for the task at the time she prefers.


I’m trying to work up the courage to see if our lawn tractor will start, so I’ve set a reminder for tomorrow morning.

Anyone who has ever used an app knows that not everything is perfect. One thing that bugs us in the free app is that only one person can be assigned a task. Another gnat is the sender does not see their side of the comments in the conversation thread. But a couple of minor issues aside, from the point of view of this old geek, Wunderlist is pretty darn good.



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#15 First Yuletide/Christmas at the Homestead

Winter Holidays at the Homestead

Our perfect tree, adorned with both colored and white lights, ornaments from years of collecting and glass icicles. It was so very beautiful.

Our perfect tree, adorned with both colored and white lights, ornaments from years of collecting and glass icicles. It was/is so very beautiful. (We still haven’t taken it down!)

The Homestead crew, plus Kim’s brother and sister-in-law, Matt and Chelsea, celebrated the Winter Holiday on Christmas Eve with a dinner of the most delicious roasted, grass-fed, beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon (from Costco) along with other yummy offerings.

Later, we exchanged our Secret Santa gifts, drank eggnog and played games late into the night. Oh, and we laughed a lot!

It is so delightful having JD and Kim, as well as mom Robin sharing the Homestead with us! We are more than grateful!

Christmas Day was spent with our Sacramento Family, where Debra hosted a wonderful day of good company, good food and good fun!

Happy FIRST Christmas June Bug!!

Our front entrance, decked out for the Holidays with twinkly-lights, wreaths and snow.

Our front entrance, decked out for the Holidays with twinkly-lights, wreaths and snow.


On Christmas Eve, it snowed! Well, it was really a downpour of soft tiny snowballs! Still—lovely.

On Christmas Eve, it snowed! Well, it was really a downpour of soft tiny snowballs! Still—lovely.


JD and Kim

JD and Kim on the Homestead

Morgan, momma Brooke and Baby June! June Bug's first Christmas!!

Morgan, momma Brooke and Baby June! June Bug’s first Christmas!!

JD and Courtney

JD and Courtney at Debra’s for Christmas Day.


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#14 The Hunt for the Perfect Tree

By Ellys

The Homestead crew loaded into the minivan and headed out to Apple Hill on Saturday to find the perfect Yule tree.


Apple Hill tree farms

The day was crisp but sunny.

Bundled up and ready for the hunt

Bundled up and ready for the hunt


The perfect tree!

After hiking through the forest of trees, Lynnie found the perfect tree, already cut, near the gate.


We had so much fun! Ended our day at on of our favorite restaurants: Bones Road House, in Pleasant Valley.



We highly recommend this fun and funky place.

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#13 Thanksgiving at the Homestead

By Ellys

The week before Thanksgiving, the extended weather forecast called for heavy rain AND snow for the day before and during the Holiday. For many of the 17 family and friends, planning to celebrate with us, this would be their first visit to the Homestead and as previously mentioned, our road becomes quite dicey when inundated by weather! What if they got stuck, or worse yet, slid off the road!

It was clear that if the predicted weather materialized, we would have to call off the gathering. However,LV given the changeability of the weather around here, we decided to wait for a day or two, hoping wunderground.com might reconsider. Sure enough, by Monday, the forecast had shifted to predicting a sunny Thanksgiving and thankfully, they were right. Thanksgiving morning presented itself dressed in sunshine and wonder.

The day was lovely and everyone arrived without mishap. Counting the Homestead members, we had 22 family and friends here to celebrate! (It was wonderful to have you all here!)

Lynnie made the 20 pound turkey and everyone brought amazing offerings, including delicious appetizers, withanksgiving 2015ne, copious amounts of the most scrumptious mashed potatoes (my favorite), homemade dressing, vegis, salads, pies.

OMG, it was a feast; what wonderful company and all in all a delightful day.


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#12 The White Stuff

By Ellys

It had been raining all day and just as we thought it was clearing, a front of black clouds roiled up the ravine and the rumblings of thunder grew louder and louder.

“Jeez, it’s pouring out there,” I said to Lynnie and went over to the window. “Wait a minute. That’s not rain!”

By the time I got to the front door and threw it open, the porch out front was white with sleet and tiny snowballs bounced and peppered the deck and yard.first white stuff

Raleigh and Reba ran out, sliding and sniffing, quite fascinated, having never seen the white stuff.

The back deck, too, was covered with white and stayed that way till the sun came out the next day.

What fun!

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