The Things We Accumulate – Weekly E-Newsletter from Stroller Hikes (1)

The Things We Accumulate

Lumbering through our cramped attic yesterday in the search for holiday decorations, I marveled at the things we’ve accumulated across the years. My husband regularly criticizes my accumulation of craft supplies, which DO get used every two months or so, but I had to laugh at his hippocracy when I found box after box of VERY old climbing magazines that have been untouched for at least 8 years, alongside the Christmas Tree Stand that hasn’t been used for about 13 years (we always migrate North for the holidays).

My step father’s parents spent much of their impressionable years in the Great Depression and the time of hardship that followed, so accumulated “free” practical things out of necessity. Empty coffee cans became the perfect storage vessel for nails (which could be used and reused), a gardening tool as a scooper or pot, or a perfect pan to bake bread in. When June and Al did buy things, they were meant to last a lifetime, and they diligently maintained and repaired their furniture and tools to make sure their lifetime extended past their owners’. Over the last three years when the two of them became ill and passed away, my parents faced the heap of accumulation several decades and their Great Depression Philosophy had led to. This meant piles of old varnish and cleaners, rusty nails, coffee cans and margarine containers, old clothes that could be used for patches, and other useful-to-them, but probably trash-to-most wares. Dozens of trips to the dump, Goodwill, and antique shops (for their immaculately maintained furniture and tools) later, their house was finally clean and sellable.

My family does not accumulate the way grandma and grandpa did, for good or bad. We buy Tupperware rather than use most of our old plastic and glass food containers for storing leftovers. Our old clothes do find a home in the garage as shop rags and occasionally for patchwork quilts. But without having learned how to darn socks from the generation that knew this skill well, we toss our holey socks and gloves and buy new ones every year. Max has already shown an interest in sewing, woodworking, and machining, so we’ll happily help him be less reliant on the marketplace for replacing anything slightly worn or malfunctioning.

One idea that brings me peace amidst our moderate accumulation is that Max, like his parents, has found more joy from his rich experiences than from his material goods. As Kim shared with me this week, a stick and some dirt can be as thoroughly enriching as can be a trademarked game, and with every occasion in nature where Max can invent his own games and tools from wild things around him, I am pleased to know that his imagination and resourcefulness are flourishing. And dad delights in seeing no new chunky plastic toys that need a home in our tiny house (especially while we try to cull the herd in anticipation of holiday accumulation). Now is the perfect time of year to collect leaves and seed pods, pet the moss and newly reproducing lichen, and throw or pop gall balls. We hope you’re able to get outside to enjoy nature’s playspace!

The Kelty Frame Backpack/Kid Carrier sold last week – anyone interested in buying the other Frame Carrier, the Evenflo TrailTech Carrier for a meager $10? This is the last week it will be offered only to Stroller Hikes, before we vend it to a larger audience. For more information on this carrier, see

Here are this week’s events:

Monday, November 16th at 10 am we’ll meet at John W Christian Greenbelt. Amy L., little Adelina, and wee Gibson will lead a speed walk / jog along the lovely wide, paved greenbelt in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Dogs allowed but be sure they can manage on a faster-paced walk/run. Any baby transport should work! We’ll take a break around the halfway point for the trip, to play at the large playground for toddlers, along the greenbelt. Meet at the pedestrian bridge on Ahwanee Avenue and San Junipero Drive (the bridge is just NW of San Junipero Dr.). Here is a Mapquest Map of the Starting Location : For more information about the trail, see the John W Christian Greenbelt Webpage ( If you’re running late, call Amy at (650) 207-6556.

Tuesday, November 17th at 9 am the hike/run at Lake Almaden has been cancelled this week.

Tuesday, November 17th at 2 PM join Amy B. and her wee ones for a hike at Shoreline Park in Mountain View/Palo Alto. The trail is paved, so it’s great for all strollers or kid carriers. Meet at the lake next to where the sailboats are kept (to the right of the cafe / bathrooms building) in Shoreline Park. There are plenty of play structures and a beach for toddlers – we’ll stop to play after the hike! Sorry, no dogs allowed. For information about the park and directions, see Shoreline Park Page ( and Emily Renzel/Byxbee Page ( If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.

Friday, November 20th at 9 AM join Loren and little Angelo for a 2 mile loop hike at Almaden Quicksilver Park in San Jose. Baby carrier or backpack strongly encouraged. We’ll begin from the McAbee road entrance, then travel up Mine Hill Trail, across Guadalupe Trail, and then down Senador Mine trial. Dogs are allowed. Directions: from Hwy 85 South, take Almaden Expressway South. Turn right on Camden Avenue, then left on McAbee Road. McAbee will dead end at the trail head. If you’re running late, call Loren at 831-227-6737.

Saturday, November 21st at 10:30 am join Bike Buddies for a Family Friendly Bike Ride through downtown San Carlos. The ride will last up to an hour. For more information, see’s Website (

Enjoy your play in nature!

-Debbie and little Max

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