Independence Trail

nature walking: the independence trail

We are so lucky to live where we do. Nevada County (that’s in CA!) is a beautiful place to grow up and raise a family, with so many things to do and see. I have lived here for most of my life, and still there are many areas of the land to which I haven’t been. We try to experience the natural splendor of our area as much as we can, and to teach our kids about the rich history of our town and its surrounding areas, all while having fun and enjoying the beauty of nature.

A few weekends ago we took a “hike” (really just a walk – the trail is very easy) along the Independence Trail just outside Nevada City, only about a 10 minute drive from our home. The trail crosses, and at times overlooks, the gorgeous South Yuba River, and the trail’s uniqueness is enhanced by the fact that it is wheelchair accessible, making it enjoyable for almost anyone.

The trail began as an abandoned miner’s ditch, previously known as the Excelsior Canal. It was built to carry water from the South Yuba river to hydraulic mining sites many miles downstream. After hydraulic mining was outlawed in 1884, the ditch was used for irrigation until 1967, when it was abandoned. In 1975 visionary naturalist, John Olmstead, spearheaded the transformation of the ditch, berm, and the wooden flumes into this local treasure now known as the Indepndence Trail.

Independence Trail

Independence Trail

Independence TrailIndependence Trail

Independence Trail

Independence Trail

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summer’s early end (and more embroidery)

Well, here it is again: the first day of school. I remember when I was of school age, summer vacation began at the start of June and didn’t end until the after Labor day – a full three month stretch. Now, where we live at least, it’s right around two months, which seems painfully short to me. It was a great summer this year, though. It was the first summer since Bella was 17 months old that I was able to spend it at home with her. Being home with the kids is fantastic and hard and fun and exhausting (did I mention that I’m tired?), but mostly it’s wonderful, and really is just what I have always wanted. I am extremely grateful to be here with them, and to have been able to be fully present for Bella’s summer break.

Our last little trip of the summer was to Portland, Oregon. My youngest cousin on my father’s side was married in Salem, so Bella and I took the trip up with my parents to attend the wedding and visit for a few days with family afterward. I love it up there. It’s cool and green and wide, wide open, with rivers, mountains and farms, all near the beautiful city of Portland. I have long dreamed of leaving California for someplace farther north, and this area in particular is very appealing to me.

We had wonderful visiting time with my lovely Aunt, Uncle and cousins who live up there; they are warm and generous, and so much fun. I so wish we were nearer to them so that our connection could grow deeper – they really are some of my most favorite people on Earth.

For my cousin’s wedding gift, I wanted to embroider towels like I did for Nat & Buck, but I couldn’t seem to come up with a design that I thought was appropriate. I am not at all sure of their personal tastes, since we live so far from one another and the age difference between myself and my cousin is relatively large. They had designed their wedding invitations in a very particular way though, using symbols and styles that I though must be expressive of their taste, since it was all so unique. So, not really knowing the meaning of all of the included designs, I decided to use them, in their chosen colors, on the towels instead of the usual girly stuff I would be inclined to include.

I drew the designs from the invitation at a larger scale onto tracing paper, then went over the drawings with a transfer pencil. I then used an iron to transfer them to the towels. Easy.

Though to me they’re not necessarily the prettiest towels I have ever seen, they were made with love and I hope they are meaningful to Kara & Kevin.

sweet surprises

Yesterday we attended a backyard party celebrating the upcoming birth of a new baby girl, yet to be named. She has chosen for her parents the loveliest, most genuinely kind and full-of-love people I know. We were blessed to have been included in the lovely event, where friends and family gathered together to celebrate them and the new life they have lovingly created. Little did we know that what we had already considered to be the perfect day would be made utterly so by a surprise wedding, known ahead of time by only close family members and a few involved friends. The ceremony was gorgeous and touching and I couldn’t contain my tears of delight.

In token of my love for the beautiful couple and their sure-to-be surpassingly beautiful baby girl, I made these little booties. I love summer, and friends, and parties and surprises, and love itself… almost as much as I love baby feet.

Here’s to all those things.

I created these baby shoes using a pattern from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones. It has tons of awesome baby stuff in it; my little guy has a several things made from patterns found inside. If you have or know babies that you’d like to sew for, you will get so much use from this great book.