Thoughts from Friends: Ann Petersen

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."

- Mary Osborne

Mary Osborne has so eloquently expressed my feeling when in the company of trees. I have had a love affair with trees since I was a child, and my father planted a tree nursery on our farm in Illinois. I loved the birch tree then, but when we moved to Santa Barbara, I fell in love with the California oak tree. As an adult, I have always had a home in the mountains surrounded by trees where I retreat to find serenity and peace of mind. I love the smell of the pines and the sound of the wind blowing in the trees.

Forests and trees provide many benefits and services to society, including clean water, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, carbon storage and improved human health. Community trees help reduce air and water pollution, improve physical and mental health as well as reduce crime rates.

As a therapist, I am familiar with all the studies that show how healing trees are. Studies have shown that patients with views of trees improve recovery time from illnesses with less complications. They are good for mental and social well-being, helping us feel less stressed and more restored. For all these reasons, I find it essential to spend as much time as possible in the company of trees.

Debra Shaw's Jam from Lake Tahoe


  • 6 cups fruit
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 box of pectin
    (optional directions on package)

Here's How to Make Jam in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Cut the fruit into even pieces: Depending on the size of your strawberries and blackberries, you'll either need to quarter or halve them before you get started.
  2. Mash the fruit and sugar together: Use a potato masher to work the jam and sugar together - this releases moisture from the berries and gets them cooking faster.
  3. Add pectin (see directions on package) and lemon juice.
  4. Boil the fruit for 20 minutes: Bring the fruit to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will start with big, juicy bubbles and slowly progress to small, tighter bubbles as the jam gets closer to doneness.
  5. Know when the jam is done: Simply dribble some hot jam from the pot onto the frozen spoon and wait a few seconds for it to cool. Run your finger through the jam - if it makes a clear path through the jam and doesn't fill in, then you have a good set.
  6. Jar and store the jam: When the jam is set to your liking, remove the jam from the heat and transfer to clean, sterilized jars. Cover and cool completely before moving the jam to the fridge for long-term storage.


This week we can all enjoy these photos from Suz Landay's lovely garden.

We ask that you share photos of what is growing in your garden too. Just send them to our office at [email protected].

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