Tag Archives: Homestead Valley

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Homestead Valley Fourth of July

4julycoatWhen we first moved to our Mill Valley neighborhood of Homestead Valley, we were delighted to discover that there was a neighborhood Fourth of July parade each year. Kids gathered, then and now, for a parade of strollers, scooters, bikes, pedestrians, and perhaps a bunting-bedecked goat or two that winds through the neighborhood and down to a redwood grove for a barbecue picnic and kids’ entertainment. Every child is called to the stage to receive a ribbon, and our first year, Anna won a ribbon for “Best Red Coat”. (Yes, a coat on July 4th in Homestead Valley.) This was one of the many things that charmed us about our new neighborhood, and I’m thrilled that this simple tradition continues with a new generation of neighbors.

Below are photos from this year’s celebration. It is events like these that create family memories and neighborhood bonding. I urge you to seek out similar events in your own neighborhood and, if they’re not available to start one. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Fourth of July!















Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone had a wonderful celebration, perhaps with good friends and loved ones. I got home from camping just in time to enjoy my wonderful tiny neighborhood parade and subsequent picnic which takes place in the beautiful redwood Stolte Grove and is run by terrific community volunteers. Small children (and the rest of us) enjoyed Boswick the Clown, and each child, in local tradition, received a prize based on some aspect of his/her outfit, bike decoration, or other distinguishing feature.

After this sweet event, my family headed to the town of Sausalito, to enjoy great live music by The Pulsators (cajun, reggae, blues and rock!), out in the sun by the bay, while we visited with friends and then watched traditional fireworks burst right over our heads.

Here are some pictures from the day:





















Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Hooray for Stewards of Trails and Open Space

Marin County and the Bay Area are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, open space and trails. This region is also the home of true pioneers in the Land Trust Movement, such as the Trust for Public Land, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, and the group that may have started them all, back in the early 70s, my own neighborhood Homestead Valley Land Trust.

It took vision, those years ago, to realize that our pristine open space would be developed into housing tracts without fierce protectors and enormous public support. The Homestead Valley Land Trust, like so many others, usually works modestly, behind the scenes, weeding, monitoring and maintaining the land, so that my family and I can literally walk out our front door and enjoy a beautiful trail hike, watching the seasonal flow of wildflowers and wildlife, as if the modern world hadn’t interfered at all.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. The Land Trust was recently in the news when a homeowner who abutted a popular trail encroached onto the land and claimed it as their own, with their own elaborate backyard landscaping.

This happens a lot, and it’s usually not an accident. People move into homes and find the long-time trails a nuisance and seek to close them off and privatize them. Or they illegally spread their homes and land onto the open space. I feel very strongly that our local (and taxpayer-supported) trails remain open for use by everyone — for recreation, for walking to school and other destinations, and for emergency egress from homes.

Another local group, Mill Valley’s Steps, Lanes and Paths, has also worked tirelessly to this end, by maintaining and marking paths and encouraging people to use them, so that it will be more common knowledge that our town has a wonderful system of stairs and paths leading up into the hills and out to the trails of Mt. Tamalpais and beyond.

A century ago, Mill Valley was a railroad town, and commuters returning from San Francisco would disembark from the train, retrieve their lanterns and head up the paths to their hillside homes. A young girl from those days wrote that, when it was dark, the lanterns lights winked and shone like fireflies.

I wrote a letter to the Marin Independent Journal, praising our tireless, passionate stewards of open space. My surroundings, and my daily life, would indeed be different without their work. The full letter is here.


Ring Mountain in Tiburon was also saved from development. Mt. Tamalpais is seen in the background. More about my recent Ring Mountain wildflower hike is here.

Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman

Dear Deer


Recently we noticed a deer family in our driveway that included the smallest baby deer we’d ever seen. I would guess it had been born within a couple of days.


The parents (or elders, anyway) seemed to urge it to go up the hill with them into the wooded area by our house. But they traveled much more swiftly, leaving the baby deer to take a few wobbly steps on its own, before collapsing from the effort beneath a safe, shady tree.



I was able to get pretty close as it lay there. I moved slowly and tried not to rattle it.

When our daughter was 2 and ready to shed her pacifiers, we told her they were needed by the new baby deer who were born in the spring, and she came with us to leave a bag out for them. I watched this little deer as it heaved the deep breaths of a newborn, its spotted coat moving up and down, and I thought, he could probably use a pacifier.


At some point he gamely took another couple of steps, then lay back down. I was glad he felt safe enough to stay in his little spot. When I came back from some errands, he was gone. I saw an adult deer nearby, which I took as a good sign that the deer family had come back for this little one and were watching out for one another. I figure we’ll watch this baby deer grow up, even though deer grow so fast, we may never be sure which one let me watch (and record) its first steps.

Rockin’ Robin

Our mid-March mornings have been filled with the song of an American Robin. Its unmistakable, trilling “cheerio-cheerio-cheep” has served as a happy harbinger of Spring, not to mention a morning wake-up for the later-sleeping members of the family. Listen to the robin in our trees.

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