Taking on Life at Full Speed

Learning from the past to make a brighter future

Urban Homesteading  — August 29, 2017

Urban Homesteading 

Hey Everyone!

This summer has been extremely productive, when it comes to Urban Homesteading. Most of the urban homesteading has occurred this past month. I have made multiple batches of Jam. Between my mom and I, we have made 10 batches of Jam. 4 batches of of blackberry jam, 1 batch of strawberry, 1 batch of peach, and at least 4 batches of raspberry jam. 

My mom and I have also canned pickles and peaches this summer. 

I have been picking raspberries almost daily for about a month. I got some lettuce starts for free, and planted them over the weekend, and they have started to take. I am hoping they take off and I get some lettuce from them before the cool weather hits and the season is over. 

While I am where I am, I am trying to learn about gardening and homesteading because I enjoy gardening and being outside. I also enjoy cooking with and eating home grown, organic food. 

I am all about growing food, preserving food, and making food from scratch. I enjoy making food and knowing where my food comes from and know the process it goes through to get from ingredients to finished product. 

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The TV Shows were Better earlier in this Decade — August 28, 2017

The TV Shows were Better earlier in this Decade

Hey Everyone!

2011 – 2014 were good years for TV shows.

In 2011’s Fall Premieres, Grimm was one of the the only shows that was airing that I actually watched. Grimm has been one of my favorite shows and loved watching all 6 seasons. 

Smash aired its first season in the spring of 2012, followed by Bunheads that summer. I was sad at how shorted lived these two shows were. 

In the autumn of that year Nashville premiered. I watched the first 4 seasons regularly, I was quickly loosing interest in season 4, and once it was cancelled then picked up my CMT for season 5, I was so over it. 

2013 saw the premiere of the Black List, which I didn’t get into until a few seasons in and watched from the beginning. 

In 2014 I got into the show Forever and The Mysteries of Laura. The Mysteries of Laura was one of those mindless shows you watch when bored. I actually liked Forever, and would have liked to have seen more seasons. 

2014 was also the year that Gotham premiered. I watched the first couple seasons regularly, but season 3 was where I jumped ship with it, and was done with watching it. 

While I am kind of bummed that all my favorite shows are over or got to the point of being a lower quality of show to not be worth watching (besides the Blacklist), I am also kind of relieved in a way. I am relieved because I have really been wanting to watch less tv in the evenings and spend more time reading books. 

No Rest for the Weary? — August 27, 2017

No Rest for the Weary?

Hey Everyone!

The past couple days have been pretty much on the go non stop. 

Today’s stuff has been primarily Urban Homesteading related. I spent most of the day with my family as well. We went out to a couple farm stands, where we picked up some peaches so my mom and I can water bath can them. We has also picked up a half flat of blackberries, two pints of blueberries and four pints of strawberries. 

Had to also go to the grocery store and cook dinner, before going out and planting some lettuce starts I got for free. I know it’s late in the season, but it’s totally worth a try. Good practice at the planting stages of plants…for future reference. 

After planting the lettuce starts, I came in and my mom and I made three batches of jam, two blackberry and one strawberry. 

We will be canning the peaches a little later in the week. 

While planting the lettuce starts I definitely got a little bit dirty. I have always been one to prefer getting my hands (literally) dirty while working outside in the yard and garden. If I am going to be inside and not knitting or reading a good book, I would just as soon be in the kitchen making stuff that tastes good. 

I definitely give mad props to my great grandmother’s and the women who came before them who also homesteaded without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing and had several kids under foot. It’s hard enough and tiring enough now days with all the modern conveniences. They already had my respect, but have definitely earned it that much more. 

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 — August 21, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

Hey Everyone!

The buildup to this mornings total Solar Eclipse has dominated the local news media for months, it finally occurred this morning. 

I was outside in the backyard picking raspberries when it occurred. Portland was just outside the path of totality, we were like at 99.2% of totality. So it got darker, and the light was weird, but it more or less got dusky, but the shadows were the wrong direction for sunset and sunrise. 

Traffic and the grocery stores were not all that bad this weekend, but from what I have been seeing now, after it is over, traffic is horrible. At one point about noon, the drive time from Salem to Portland on I-5 was 186 minutes, which is over 3 hours. To get from Portland into downtown Salem (roughly the Marion and Center Street Bridges) is about 45 minutes under normal conditions. 

I am glad I didn’t waste the time or the money to go somewhere in the path of totality. To me it was over hyped, and I had better things to do today than sit in traffic. 

I made Jam this morning, got chicken marinating, cleaned the kitchen, labeled and put away the pickles my mom and I canned yesterday. 

It really didn’t even get that dark. So to me, it was rather lackluster. I went outside and saw why happened, and was unimpressed. 

Fall is Coming!  — August 19, 2017

Fall is Coming! 

Hey Everyone! 

The past few days especially, I have been noticing that we, here in Portland have entered into the transition from summer to fall. It has begun to cool off, especially at night. It has been cooling off fast once the sun starts going down. 

The light has started to change as well, the tilt of the earth has changed the past couple weeks. The shadows are different during the day.

I have also noticed that the air is starting to smell more like fall. Fall has its own distinct scent. It’s not completely there yet to the full fledged fall scent yet, but the hints are there. It also doesn’t smell like the height of summer either. 

Each season has its own look, feel, and smell. Soon, I will have to break out the Apple S’mores and Pumpkin Roll Scentsy Bars full time for a few weeks. 

I am so ready to have my own place and be able to decorate it the way I want, as I have a good collection of fall decorations started. 

Urban Homesteading  —

Urban Homesteading 

Hey Everyone!

This morning I picked two pints of raspberries, which I put in the fridge and save until some more of the raspberries on the bushes in the backyard are ready, so I can make jam this week. Jam making has been going gang busters this summer. 


While out grocery shopping, we picked up the rest of what we need to make garlic dill pickles tomorrow. 

We had a pickle crisis on our hands. We seriously thought we were out of pickles, which come to find out yesterday we still have two quarts, we are definitely low. So tomorrow, my mom and I will be canning more garlic dill pickles. 

I have definitely been enjoying going out and picking raspberries in the backyard. While I have been ending up with scratches all over my arms and hands every day, it has been worth it.

I definitely need to invest in some work clothes and gardening gloves and work gloves before I am really able to get into having a garden. Gloves and work clothes will definitely save my skin in the future while gardening and doing yard work. I am definitely not the sort who enjoys being indoors, when the weather is uncooperative or unpleasant unless there is work to be done indoors, like canning or making jam. I definitely enjoy being outside and working the land, and reaping what I sowed. 

Last night I got a pair of socks completed and today I started another pair of socks. I am trying to use up as much of my partial balls of KnitPicks Palette Yarn I have, before moving on to new and different colors, beside the fact that I have been needing to make some more room in my partial ball container. I have been working on using up the Victorian colored yarn. I got two full pairs of Victorian socks done, as well a primarily Victorian pair put with Hazelnut, and now I am using some with the left over Larch Heather. 

I have been working on reading Dragonfly in Amber, which is the second book in the Outlander Series. I have been reading before I go to bed again, and I have found that it helps me sleep better, putting the tech down and away. 

Enjoying the City  —

Enjoying the City 

Hey Everyone! 

It is early Saturday morning as I am writing this post. Yesterday (Friday) which ended only about 15 minutes ago for me was a productive day. 

I finished up the pair of socks I was knitting. I knit this particular pair using KnitPicks Palette Yarn in the colors Victorian and Hazelnut. Beings I knit up pairs of socks entirely of these two colors and had some yarn left over, I have been working in combining the left overs of the colors I have already used and making socks from the left over Yarn. 

Yesterday, my mom and I had also gone to my favorite bakery for treats. My favorite bakery is the only gluten free vegan bakery in the city. There are other bakeries in town that do either gluten free or vegan, but Back to Eden is the only one that does both. I hadn’t been in to the bakery for a few months, and since the last time I went in, they have acquired the space that used to be next door, took down a wall, and expanded and done some redecorating. The space that was the original (as I know it to be) is still where you enter the bakery, but now that they have expanded, they have way more space for seating and moving around. I love what they have done with the space. In the old / pre expansion when it got busy, which it would be at times, you would constantly be literally bumping into the other customers and there would be no place to sit. There is now plenty of seating and plenty of room to look at what they have available and order. It’s also like and airy, and definitely a fun place with great food. I know I will miss being so close when ever I am able to move away from the city. 

At the bakery, I had a cardamom vanilla bean cupcake and a triple berry smoothie. It was very delicious. 

After my mom and I had treats at the bakery, we stopped at Fred Meyer to pick up a few items. Fred Meyer has their autumn decorations out. While I love decorating for Christmas, I love decorating for autumn more. Autumn is my favorite season. It is cooling off, yet October can have some of the most beautiful days, with the leaves turning yet it can be sunny and be between 68 – 72 degrees (Fahrenheit) 🍁🍂 and perfect. Itis still warm enough to go out without a jacket on those days, yet isn’t so warm that I am too hot. 

Watching the Opening of British Parliament  — August 17, 2017

Watching the Opening of British Parliament 

Hey Everyone!

My family got back to town safely after going to Canada to see my Aunt and Uncle. They had to take the long way going up and coming back because of the forest fires that caused all the smoky haze and unhealthy air quality here for over a week. 

While it is still summer weather, it has cooled off from being in the 90’s and over 100. The heat has forced me to stay indoors where there is AC, and when I have gone out – in the mornings or evenings to pick raspberries, I can’t stay out for more than 45 minutes because of how the heat effects me. 

The past few weeks, I have really been working on getting socks knit up, beings that they are small and fairly quick. Knitting socks also means I don’t have a lot of hot wool sitting in my lap making me warmer than I need to be. 

This evening I have been watching various videos on YouTube that were recorded during the Queen’s diamond jubilee and currently the state opening of Parliament from 2015. While I am not one who is a fan of everything British, I find this kind of events interesting, because the original 13 colonies were part of Great Britain until we fought a war to gain our independence. I also find how other North American and Western European governments work and their governmental formalities are. 

I like having a wider world view, and know a bit about what goes on in countries other than my own. I am no expert by any means, but I also don’t want to be completely clueless either. 

Smoky summer days — August 10, 2017

Smoky summer days

Hey Everyone! 

It’s been so smoky that it has looked overcast all week. The air quality has been at an unhealthy level all week as well. The heat and humidity have also been rough this week. 

I have spent most of this week inside with the AC. I am slowly been working on cleaning the house, which is something I can do in he comfort of the AC. I have gone outside a couple times in the evenings to pick raspberries and water the plants. I have enjoyed being the one to go out and pick raspberries, since I have been able to eat them all myself. Tonight I just ate them as I picked them. 

This week I had finished up a pair of socks and got them washed, blocked and dried beings that it has been 90 or warmer much of the week. 

I am definitely looking forward to cooler days this next week. Sunday is supposed to not even hit 70 with a chance of rain.  After tomorrow all the other days are forecasted to be in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, which after this long stretch of upper 80’s to low 100’s (weeks worth) will be “cool” in comparison. 

This shift in the highs is starting to get my hopes up that Fall will be coming sooner rather than later. 

When the Sun Glows Pink, and the Moon Pumpkin 🎃 Orange — August 6, 2017

When the Sun Glows Pink, and the Moon Pumpkin 🎃 Orange

Hey Everyone! 

We have been socked in by wildfire smoke for most of the last couple of weeks. It got a little bit better yesterday and then came back full force today. Most of the smoke is coming down from of wildfires burning in British Columbia. There are a few wildfires here in Oregon and in Washington that we are getting a bit of smoke from, but most of it is coming from the elephant hill fire in BC. The fires are so bad up there that a stretch of Highway 97 is closed for a stretch through the Fraser and Thompson River Canyons. Highway 97 is the longest north – south Highway in BC (and meets up with US 97 at the US / Canadian border, and eventually goes down through Madras, Redmond and Bend in central Oregon). 

At last check the Elephant Hill Fire (the one that we are getting most of our smoke from) has grown to 425 square miles and was about 30% contained. 

With all the smoke in the air, our air quality has been at an unhealthy level (not to mention all the pollution we already have going on). So I have been trying to stay indoors as much as possible with the windows closed. Between the poor air quality and the uncomfortably hot temps, the AC has been my best friend. 

I had gone up to Chehalis this evening to see some friends I hadn’t seen for a while. On the way home, due to the smoke, the sun was glowing this almost hot pinkish orange color. It was weird. Then the Moon has almost this Pumpkin Orange hue to it because of the smoke. My allergies have been crazy and my eyes have been so irritated, since we have had the smoke. Tonight, it reminded me of a couple years ago when I went to Seattle. I remember waking up in my hotel room and going and looking out the window and the sun was glowing a strange color because of the smoke we had that year. 

This weekend has flown by. Friday I ran errands, cooked up some lentils, made some chocolate chip cookies, and by the end of the day I was exhausted. It kind of reminded me of a typical Friday while I was in college. I definitely miss being on my own like that while I was in College. 

Yesterday I spent the day working on finishing up knitting a pair of socks, started cleaning the house, picked raspberries in the backyard and watered the outdoor plants. 

Today I started a new pair of socks, and went to Chehalis. As I am writing this (I began writing it in my head on the way home). While I was so ready to get home while driving back, I have needed a little time (hence writing this post) to wind down so I can go to sleep. 

Here is to going to bed before midnight.