Month: June 2018

Pioneer Girl

Hey Everyone!

The story of my life this week has pretty much been knitting, working outside in the garden and reading in the evenings.

I have typically been going out in the late afternoon / early evening to check on the raspberries and the other plants in the garden area we have. I got the lettuce planted earlier in the week, and it seems to be taking really well. I prefer going out a little later, while the sun is still up so I am not out in the heat of the day, especially on the hot days. This week in and of its self has not been too bad to be outside working around.

With what little gardening I am doing where I am at, it is giving me a little taste of what gardening is like, and it is making me want a place of my own with some acreage, so I can have a nice big fruit and vegetable garden in the backyard, a flower garden out front. I would love nothing more than to have fresh homegrown organic berries and vegetables all summer long.

This evening my mom and I had gone for a walk, so I got even more fresh air and time outside in the lovely summer evening breeze. If all summer evenings were like this evening, I would actually enjoy summer. I would enjoy spending part of my day outside in the garden, as well as time inside cooking, baking and using the fruit and vegetables that I brought in from the garden in the evening meal for that day.

As much as the raspberry bushes scratch up my arms and hands, and it does get hot working around outside, the one thing that really gets me are the mosquito bites. Not only are they itchy and annoying, but they also carry the possibility of disease. I am not really a fan of mosquito repellant, the last time I used any was like twelve years ago when I had gone to Missouri. I have taken to wearing a long sleeve shirt and an old pair of jeans to help protect my arms and legs from getting all scratched up from the raspberry bushes, mosquito bites and from getting sunburned. I would rather be a bit hot than deal with the other three.

Earlier this week I started wearing my Carhartt baseball cap when I went out go garden earlier in the week, to help keep the sun out of my eyes and to keep the part in my hair from getting sunburned. Today I actually put sunblock on my face, chest, and arms since I had noticed that I had gotten a bit of sun on my chest yesterday and it was a bit red. While I love being outside and getting fresh air, I am also trying to protect my skin from sun damage.

Making my own citronella candles to have burning while I am out working in the yard and garden is totally on my homesteading bucket list. My homesteading bucket list also includes things like baking my own bread at least weekly, making my own sourdough bread and rolls from scratch, making my own rosemary potato rolls from scratch, raising chickens (both laying hens as well as chickens for eating), having a freezer full of fish and meat (like venison, moose, elk and such) preceding each winter. I would also love to have a cold room full of home canned fruit, green beans, tomato sauce.

Why do it myself when they have all of that at the grocery store? let me tell you something, when it comes to things like canned fruit and store bought baked goods, the store bought has nothing on the flavor of home canned. Yes, it is a lot of work but is part of the point. I have always loved home canned peaches, pears, cherries, garlic dill pickles, as well as homemade bread, cookies and homemade food in general. It is also better for you. I also love being tired at the end of the day after working hard throughout the day.

I am also one of those people who likes knowing where my food comes from and seeing where my food was raised or grown. That is one of the many things I like about living in the Pacific Northwest, we have the right kind of climate that is perfect for growing everything I like to eat, and if it isn’t grown in the state, it is grown in one of the neighboring states. I am all about supporting local as much as possible.

I do appreciate living in the 21st century for many reasons, food quality and dependence on a grocery store are not two of them. I have heard and read the stories about my great grandmothers and grandmothers and all they did from scratch. One set of my great-grandparents were homesteaders for awhile, while they were raising many of their nine children, and I know that another of my great grandmother’s was an avid gardener, so I come by it naturally. I also grew up learning how to can and make somethings from scratch. I have loved working outside, growing things in the ground, playing with dirt, getting dirty, doing things like gardening, fishing, canning, cooking and baking from scratch ever since I was a little girl.

Being able to be self-sufficient and know how to live off the land, and do what used to be simple things, like making a meal completely from scratch, for many in my generation seems like a lost art when it was the norm in the past century. I would love nothing more than to expand on what I already know, and then share what I know with others who are interested in it, but don’t really know where or how to get started.

 

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This Urban Homesteading Life

Hey Everyone!

Summer is finally here, and I am jumping back into what I am currently able to do in the way of Urban Homesteading. Where I am at, I am doing what I can with what I have to work with. At this point I am still really learning about Homesteading and Gardening while I am in the city. Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got even though it is less than ideal.

Currently, in the backyard there is a prune tree that has been on the property longer than I have been alive. We also have an apple tree that was planted when I was a kid. We also have a ton of raspberry plants, as well as a few tomato plants, a little bit of rhubarb and the red romaine lettuce plant that I planted today.

As I was out picking raspberries yesterday, I had gotten looking at the tomato plants and was eyeing them, thinking that it wouldn’t be much longer that they would be upright and free standing on their own. Last year they weren’t staked and toppled over from the weight and became this huge mess. While there were tomatoes that were trying to grow, they weren’t getting enough sun as they were buried, and the ones that were able to start ripening up were picked at by animals because they were on the ground. I didn’t think of it last year until it was too late to try to stake them as I have only really taken over the garden last August while my family was gone.

This year I took the initiative, while I still had the chance to get the tomatoes staked and did that yesterday. And today they don’t look any worse for the wear from staking them this late in the game.

I am hoping this year to get some tomatoes off these plants, and depending on how they do, we may get some tomato sauce from it. I am hoping to also maybe get some jam from the raspberries as well.

Beside the fresh produce straight from the garden aspect to Urban Homesteading, I also enjoy getting dirty and being outside in the fresh air. I like putting in the work and getting results that I can see and touch. I also like being tired at the end of the day and sleeping well after a hard days work.

Carpool Karaoke

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I have been a fan of the Carpool Karaoke segments from the late late show with James Corden since the first began. I typically watch them on YouTube after they air.

Last night, the Carpool Karaoke segment with Paul McCartney aired, and I watched this evening. It was so good. Until I had seen this one, Adele‘s Carpool Karaoke had been my favorite, but Paul McCartney’s was way way way better. I will link it here.

It’s amazing how well the Beatles music has endured and lasted. They were at their height when my parents were still kids and in their early teens. The fact that their music is still popular 50+ years later is amazing. It seems like a band comes along once every ten years or so, whose music stands the test of time, and generations down the line will have heard it at some point down the line.

 

American Honey

What is more All American than Baseball, Grandma’s Apple Pie, White Picket Fences and the Fourth of July?

The concept of what is “All American”, is a bit of a foreign one to me, that I have tried to grasp at different times over the past decade.

The closest I have gotten was while I was in college, living in a small town in the middle of farm country, in the summers when I didn’t come back to the city.

Songs like “All American Girl” by Carrie Underwood and “American Honey”, have made me wonder, do these small rural towns, especially in the Heartland, still, have that “All American” feel, or is it something that was left behind in the 1950’s.

Anyone else know what I am talking about? The whole white picket fence, front porch sitting, lemonade (or sweet tea) sipping on a hot summer day, barbequing burgers on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, watermelon on the Fourth of July, Fourth of July Parades, Fireworks, Going shootin’, muddin’, 4 Wheeling, Going to the lake or the river on a hot summer day, knowing your neighbors, and the town turning out for the Friday night high school football games, way of life? does it still exist? if so, Where?

Growing up in a city that had the nickname “Baby Beirut” in the 1990’s, where Old Town, China Town, and North Portland were places you didn’t want to venture alone during the day, and not at all past dark. Portland has changed over the years, but some things haven’t changed for the better. The homeless problem has only gotten worse, There are still Protests on a semi-regular basis (just not as often), some that still turn violent (even less often, but they still occur). Portland has become less punk rock/alt rock/grunge, and way more bougie and posh, with the Pearl and Nob Hill, and Goose Hollow. The Hipsters have taken over and turned Portland into a city I don’t recognize. If I ever find my way out, I would only come back to visit my family and for Bob’s Red Mill, my favorite bakery, and the Tea. Portland was never one of these places where the whole, White Picket fence, knowing your neighbors, Fourth of July Parade, block party’s and barbequing happened.

Like I mentioned earlier, the summers I stayed in the small towns I lived in while in college were the closest things I had to having the “All American” lifestyle. I would like to get back to that way of life, especially if I ever get married and have kids.

Here comes the Sun

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Sitting here, at just after 8:30 pm, it is 78 degrees with 45% humidity. While that isn’t bad compared to the Midwest or East Coast.

I have been to both New York (City and Long Island) as well as Missouri both in the summer months. Even in my late teens and early 20’s, before being so heat sensitive, the heat + humidity combo was rough.

That being said, I have spent a fair amount of time working on my knitting projects. I had finished my pair of Finnley Heather Palette socks.

And I am trying to finish up my Hollyberry Stroll socks.

This past week I also finished up watching the fourth season of The Blacklist. Yes I know I am a season behind, as I am watching them as they come out on DVD. I also finished up the first season of Homefires, which is a British TV show set in the early part of World War Two. It’s fictional storyline centers around one (fictional) town in England and what was going on in England between 1938 and 1940 (Pre Pearl Harbor and the Americans entering the war).

Of late, my favorite shows that are still airing are predominantly British period Dramas. The three shows that are currently airing that I am watching and following are: The Blacklist (with season 6 confirmed), Call the Midwife (Season 8 is filming, and seasons 9 & 10 were ordered along with season 8), and Poldark (season 4 is airing and season 5 is rumored). Anymore, it seems like the Brit’s are consistently coming out with the better TV shows. It seems like once every few years a new American made show comes out and lasts more than a season. In the past 8 years only Grimm and The Blacklist have lasted more than a couple of seasons. There have been a few three season or less shows that were good. These were: Forever, The Mysteries of Laura, Body of Proof and Smash. NCIS and Blue Bloods I watch occasionally, but they aren’t must watch shows for me.

It Rained on the Parade

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This weekend was pretty wet, with fairly consistent showers through out. Some were much heavier than others.

It even rained on the Grand Floral Parade. Saturday and Sunday were in the low to mid 50’s for highs.

This allergy season has also been particularly bad. I had been trying to make due without taking allergy medicine, but I have finally started taking some allergy medicine to try and help relieve some of my symptoms.

I had gone out earlier to pick up allergy meds, I got the store brand of Claritin, the active ingredient of which, is: loratadine.

While I was out, I went for a bit of a drive, and went out to Estacada, and then from there I went up into the foothills of the cascades. I love it out there. I am for sure an outdoorsy girl, who loves the mountains and the ocean. I had to pick one to live in / by I would have to choose the mountains, but stay close enough to the ocean to go visit.

Even with having lived in this part of the country, while on one level I do take the mountains for granted, I still love seeing them. Every time I see Mt. Hood, I am still like “wow, it’s beautiful”, even in the dead of summer when it is more grey than white and needs snow.

I can only speak for where I am, but the mountains, and how they look vary so much between the seasons that they are dynamic rather than stagnant.

It’s kind of crazy that from this past weekend to the middle of next week there is supposed to be about a 40 degree spread in our highs. One of the days this weekend really didn’t get above 53, and next week is supposed to be in the low to mid 90’s.

It look like next week will be a great time to wash socks and the shawl I have done. Now I just need to get the two pairs of socks I am knitting up out of KnitPicks yarn done. I am working on the second socks of both pairs. One is closer to being done, but if I keep working on them, I should have them done before we see 90 degree temperatures.

Anyone who know me, knows I don’t do heat, and that when it starts getting over 75, I am staying inside with the AC, only going out to check any of my socks that I washed.

Rainy, Cool Grand Floral Parade

Hey Everyone!

I am sitting here at home, watching the Grand Floral Parade on the TV.

The day of the Grand Floral Parade typically takes one of two paths, it’s usually either cool and wet or super sunny and hot. Today is one of those cool and wet.

The Grand Floral Parade is the final parade of three that take place over the course of a week during the Portland Rose Festival.

The Rose Festival Parades are a part of where I live, I have grown up watching them, as well as being in them while I was in school. I was in the Jr Rose Parade in 7th and 8th grade. In 9th grade, I was in the Grand Floral Parade, and in 10th Grade I was in the Star Light Parade. All while doing Marching Band.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning, than watching the Grand Floral Parade on the TV, drinking tea and knitting.

Learning about My Ancestry

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My Brother had done 23 and me for himself. I haven’t been able to do it for myself yet. They say that even siblings have some variations, but with that being said, my brother and I are full siblings so his results would be similar enough to what mine will be to show trends and what is predominant.

I was a little surprised at his percentages. I have been told my whole life that I am half German (or a little over half), and that the other half is predominantly English and Scottish. Come to find out, I am not half German. While I am not half anything, the region from which the bulk of my ancestors are from, are the British Isles and Ireland. Based on family records, I doubt I have much in the way of Irish ancestry, though I am not surprised at having English and Scottish ancestry. I just didn’t think I was more English and Scottish than German. I guess my grandparents aren’t as German as they thought. From what my brothers results showed there is a bit of Eastern European, which I am not surprised at, based off of the ancestry records I have found (censuses and the like), as well as a very small percentage of Scandinavian.

Being predominantly of English and Scottish ancestry explains a lot. It explains my hair color, eye color, cold weather tolerance, heat intolerance, love of grey rainy days and my love of tea.

When the Power of the Ocean is Underestimated

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Yesterday, the unfortunate has occurred yet again.

A young man had gone boogie boarding in the ocean and got swept out. His father had gone out after him, and died. While the young man hasn’t been recovered, and is presumed dead.

Every year there are at least half a dozen reports of people goin swimming off the Oregon Coast and having the coast guard called out for an ocean rescue.

I know it looks inviting and like a fun swim, but looks can be deceiving. It’s safe enough to go wading and walk along the waters edge. There are warning signs on all the coastal state parks as well as other places along the coast warning about the dangers of Rip currents and the other dangers of going out in the Ocean.

I wish more people would head the posted warnings. It would save lives.

Between Rip Currents and sneaker waves, among other things you have to have a healthy respect for the ocean. The beach, along the Oregon Coast, is one of my favorite places to go, and it can be a lot of fun. You just have to be sensible. I would advise against going for a swim, and you shouldn’t turn your back on the ocean while wading along the waters edge. I have never seen a sneaker wave in person, but they are a real thing here along the Oregon Coast.

Tea Time in the City!

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I had just been at the Smith Teamaker a few days ago, like last Thursday. But I couldn’t stay away that long considering one of my mom’s first cousins is in town and wanted to go.

She and I had gone for tea, and had a nice afternoon chatting while we had tea. We share English ancestry, as well as the fact that I am also part Scottish has a lot to do why why I can drink tea any time anywhere.

Now that I have had about a week of crazy busy, on the go, taking the city by storm, days I am ready to settle back into life and knitting. I definitely want to get the socks I have been working on for what feels like ages done. I am ready to have a ton of socks ready to wash whenever it is so hot outside that they will dry in a couple of hours and I can get more than one round washed and dried in a day. A round for me is four pairs since I have four sets of sock blockers. Now I have more than enough tea on had to plenty of tea choices to make and sip on while I knit.

Before picking up my cousin to go get tea, I had run a couple errands to pick up a few last things and something I had kept pushing off because I didn’t want to bother picking it up. I had gone to Fred Meyer first, but didn’t find what I was looking for, so I ended up at BiMart at well, and found what I was looking for. I was looking for a plastic wash tub, you know like the ones you would use for dishes. I hadn’t found anything like it at Fred Meyer, but I found what I was looking for at BiMart. I have been needing to get one for when I get around to washing shawls. I really don’t want to wash them straight in the sink, I want that tub as a middle layer between my nice shawls and the sink. While I was at Fred Meyer I had grabbed a 10qt bucket (it was $2), just in case I couldn’t find the tub, so now I have both, and am saving the bucket for when I get a place of my own. A bucket is a useful thing.

The city does have its advantages and variety, as well as a better selection. That abundance can and often is overwhelming. This is part of why I would prefer to be living outside of urban sprawl of the city, yet close enough to come in and pick up those items I want / need that I can’t get in the near by town, yet the nearby town has the basics.