Category: Cooking

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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Where My Heart is At.

Hey Everyone!

This week has been pretty busy, and I have spent a fair amount of time in the car going on adventures in the Valley, which I have been documenting and sharing with you all over the past few days.

This morning I had to run some stuff down to Polk County, for a friend of mine. This is the second time this week I have left the counties that encompass the metro area.

While I was in Polk County, I had gone back to where I had attended college. Part of me still kinda (just a little bit) misses living there, but at the same time, I have come to terms with the fact that that particular chapter of my life is over and it is time to move on and have new adventures and see where life takes me. It’s time to call someplace else home. I still love that area, and I left a piece of my heart there, and it will always have a place in my heart – being the first place I really considered home, It’s now time to find a job someplace else and a new small town call home.

The other day I had driven through Mt. Angel on my way home and had hit it at a bad time for stopping by the Catholic Church for pictures. This church is particularly pretty. I am not Catholic, but I do love the architecture of these older churches.

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I had made it a point today to stop by on my way home since I was going to be passing through the area earlier in the day. Beings there is a school across the street, that was letting out the other day when I was there, it wasn’t the best timing on my part. Beings as I was passing through Mt. Angel between Noon and 12:30 pm today, it worked out well to stop and get some pictures.

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, this week has been busy, and I have been on the go pretty much all week. Between that, being off my regular schedule and consuming more caffeine than I am used to (including two lattes and an energy drink in addition to my normal amounts of tea over the course of the week), I am exhausted.  I would not trade the activities I have been doing or the adventures I have been on this week for anything.

I have come to love small towns in the heart of the agriculture and timber areas in this part of the country. The city is a fun place to visit and go do stuff on occasion. I am more at home and at ease with a bit more elbow room, where I have the room to garden and not have other houses and neighbors right up on my space.

I have been fortunate that I have always had what I needed and some of what I have wanted. As I have gotten older, part of my disdain for the city, and city life is seeing how wasteful people are and how many people have a sense of entitlement while their neighbors and others living in the city are struggling to have the basic necessities. I know there are people in this city who work so hard, and work multiple jobs and are unable to make ends meet. Yet I see people throw out good food just because they don’t want to eat it, or it might not be their favorite thing. Food costs money, money doesn’t grow on trees. It infuriates me to see people being so wasteful. I am not exempt from this, there are times when I have been wasteful, especially when I was younger. The more I have struggled with unemployment, and making due with what little I have had, and have, has really been an eye-opener to me. This is part of why I am choosing to live a simpler life, and not spend money on things I don’t need, or will only watch, wear, or use once then move on. I have no real desire to become a true minimalist, as I do want a home of my own and be able to have more than just a tiny home, but I also don’t want much more than I really need. I don’t want a bazillion things that only have one function, or to only be able to make one thing that I rarely make. Especially when it comes to kitchen gadgets and such, what I want in my kitchen will have to have more than one function, or at least be something that I (or others in my future family) would use regularly (like a waffle iron or a coffee pot). While I would love to have a stand mixer, I don’t need all the extra add-ons that only have one function that I wouldn’t use all that often. The stand mixer in and of itself (and a few of the mixer heads/blades) would be something I would use regularly.

In many ways I am so glad I live in the 21st Century, with indoor plumbing, and modern feminine hygiene products, and so much more, but there is something to be said for the older ways of life, where kids grew up learning the value of hard work, and helping others, contributing to society, and more practical skills (like how to fix things that are broken).

 

Getting Lost in My Own City

Hey Everyone!

Today, after dropping off my parents ballots at the library I decided to run back up to the tea shop I went to last week, to buy some more tea. Yeah, I know, I just bought tea. Here’s the thing, Good Tea, yarn and good books are essentials in my life. I drink enough tea that I will have no problem drinking this tea before it expires.

I had noticed that traffic going southbound on Naito was slow at several points while I was heading north to the tea shop, so I knew I would be taking another way back. After I got done at the tea shop I plugged the info I needed into Google Maps to get me home, and let’s just say, between taking a wrong exit and missing a turn I took the very scenic way home, while spending a lot of time I wouldn’t have otherwise spent on the west side of Town (and by town I mean city).

I had picked up another box of the bungalow tea that I like, and I also picked up a box of the Portland Breakfast tea that I tried the last time I had gone to the shop and really liked.

Yesterday and today have turned out to be scorchers. Yesterday hit 90 degrees and today is in the upper 80’s. This is typical summer, and even then anything above 86 is hot even for summer in this part of the country.

Since today has turned out to be nearly as hot at it was yesterday, and I had a couple pairs of socks I had finished knitting up, I am taking advantage of the heat and I washed them. They are now hanging out on the line to dry.

The rest of my day is shaping up to be at home in the air conditioning. I have the last episode of season 7 of Call the Midwife to watch and more knitting to work on, in addition to the dinner my mom wanted for Mother’s Day (while that was yesterday, she was ok with me cooking it today).

The Seasons of Change

Hey Everyone!

Not only did winter start Thursday morning, but life is changing.

The past few months I have been working a seasonal job in retail. The season for where I work is wrapping up this weekend, and yesterday morning was my last shift. I am not really sad or shocked, I knew it was coming from the time I started.

My 20’s are also quickly coming to and end. I only have a little over a week left of being in my 20’s.

So there is a lot of changes that have been happening, and more coming up.

Looking over back over the past year, and the past decade, I have definitely learned a lot about life, who I am, and what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I have definitely learned a lot about what I am capable of achieving and that failing is a part of life. Often times you just have to pick yourself back up and try something else. At some point (or several) along the way you will figure out your strengths and what you are passionate about. For me personally, I love knitting, I love homemaking (which includes cooking and baking from scratch as well as canning), I love being outdoors and close to nature. I like supporting and buying local, and knowing where my food and clothing comes from. I want to get back to the land, and raise a lot of my own food, and reduce my dependence on the supermarkets, and keep that to only what I can’t feasibly do for myself.

Living a more self sustainable, self reliant (i.e. Homesteader) kind of life is definitely the dream / goal I am working toward.

The Holidays are fast Approaching

Hey Everyone!

My weekend was pretty uneventful. I have been working on a pair of socks, using KnitPicks Hawthorne yarn. I am still working on the first sock, but plan on having it done tomorrow.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is a little over a month away, and Thanksgiving is on Thursday.

What are all of you (well those of you who live in the U.S.) doing for Thanksgiving? I will be spending it with my family, and helping my mom cook Thanksgiving Dinner. I have been helping my mom cook Holiday dinners since she took over after my Grandma (my Dad’s mom) passed away. So I have been helping my mom make Holiday dinners since I was a teenager. Pies are my specialty. I make them from scratch, including the pie crust.

Friday morning I work, I have no idea how crazy it is going to be, fortunately I won’t have to be there super long while customers are there (since I am early stock crew). I have never done the whole Black Friday, being at stores at some early hour (at which I would rather still be in bed), to shop.

Rough Week

Hey Everyone! 

This week has been a tough week. There has been tragedy that has hit myself and many others I know. 

With that being said, I am drained.

I am not going to focus on the negative stuff, so I will share with you the good stuff that happened this week. 

Thursday I made my mom her birthday pie, since her birthday is this month. I made her a cherry cream cheese pie. 


Thursday I also picked up a few more Christmas ornaments and decoration-y things. While I am more of a Merida / Brave fan as far as Disney Princesses go, I already have a Merida, an Aurora and a Pocahontas ornament, I got a Cinderella ornament to add to my collection. I also got the last 3 ornaments I had seen at work that I liked. I also had picked up a string of clear mini lights, as I had picked up a fake garland with fake berries on it as well as a string of wooden snowflakes that I plan to use on a mantle or entertainment center. 


The past few days I have been working on knitting up more socks and trying to work on getting up as much of the sock yarn I have knit up as soon as I can. 

Just a Rainy Day in the City

Hey Everyone!

Today has been a rainy, and rather gloomy day. I have enjoyed it.

This afternoon I had an interview, so I went out and about for a bit. There is a Target down the road from where I interviewed today, and beings that I was super early, I stopped at Target to pick up a few items.

I had left super early for my interview because Traffic tends to be a nightmare. Traffic has really gotten worse over the past decade.

For the moment, while I am still living in the city, I am trying to take advantage of that. Beings that Autumn is here and snow is coming, I am hoping I get this second job so I can work on saving money, so after the Holidays, landing a full time job will be my main focus, and if moving a longer distance than a couple hours around where I am, is something that I need to do, I can make it happen in the spring, once the weather is a bit more conducive to moving. With the exception of going to central Oregon, moving any other direction within 2 hours is doable even in the winter. It’s not fun to move in the rain, but it’s doable.

I love the rain and this time of year. I know a lot of people who don’t. I for one love the rain, the Grey overcast skies, the actual need to wear a jacket, without being hot (and over 90% humidity). I know I am probably in the minority who loves the cold wet Pacific Northwest weather. This is the time of year when hot tea and knitting, or cooking / baking up something tasty is a favorite pass time.

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. 

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. 

Moving on from Disappointment 

Hey Everyone!

I had an interview this past Tuesday, for a job that I probably would have enjoyed. I found out today that I didn’t get the job. I am trying to keep my mind off it and focus on finding a job and where I need to be. 

As much as I love this part of the country, the fact that I have struggled to find a long term job, for the past 7.5 years. So, if I can find a job elsewhere I would totally move. Portland is a tough place to find a decent job if you aren’t in IT, Engineering or Healthcare fields. 

Besides that, I went out and about for a bit this afternoon since I was tired of being stuck inside. I just drove around the city a bit. If I could find a job here, I would totally stay. At the same time, if I could find a job else where I would move, and enjoy the adventure.

After I got home, I made a batch of Raspberry & Cherry freezer jam. It turned out amazing. 


I also spent some time knitting today, working to get the pair of socks I am working on done. I am still on the first sock though. 

Ideally I would love to live either at the coast or back in the mid valley, either in a small town or near the small towns, and be within a couple hours of Portland. I am definitely more of a small town / country girl rather than a city girl. Having spent most of my life in the city, I am used to it, I would just rather be living in the country.