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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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. 

Moving on from Disappointment  — July 14, 2017

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. 

Icing my Back — July 6, 2017

Icing my Back

Hey Everyone!

I have no idea how idea how I did it, but sometime Saturday evening I strained my back, and by the time I woke up Sunday morning, I was in a lot of pain and had a hard time moving. It is now Thursday, and I am still a bit sore, and it is still a bit more difficult than usual to get around, but I am doing a lot better than I was on Sunday. I am finally able to sit for longer periods, and it is easier to get up from sitting. I have also not taken any pain relievers since Tuesday. I have been able to manage the pain without meds, with alternating positions and icing my back for short periods of time. I am really just trying to let my body heal naturally and on it’s own without much in the way of pain reliever meds. I took some the first couple days because it hurt to do much of anything and I had a couple of events to go to. Now that I can just chill at home, I am going without meds. I don’t want to do more harm to my internal organs than I have to. 

While I have kind of been out of commission the last few days, I have been working on trying to get a pair of socks finished. 

It has also been easier to stay home, where there is air conditioning, especially since yesterday got up to 94 degrees. 

I know I have talked about it in previous posts, about living a simpler life away from the rat race of the city. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to live so far from the city that I can’t make a day trip out of coming into the city and going shopping. For me, there is more to life than being dictated by traffic, and every time I look out the windows, that there are houses, concrete and pavement everywhere. In the city, you deal with more pollution, traffic and such. While I don’t really want to live off grid, or go without electricity, and internet, as long as I have indoor plumbing that is safe and works, as well as AC in the summer, and have fast enough internet to blog, I am more about growing and raising my own food, the way the Woods and hay smells on a hot summer day, or watching the snow fall on the fir trees in the winter. 

Homemaking, blogging, purposeful living, living on purpose, raising as much of my own food as possible and preserving it is my dream life. I am all about working with my hands and being self sufficient, and I am not a fan of having to be reliant on grocery stores to supply 98% of the food that I eat, that I don’t know where it comes from, or how it was raised. I know that in many ways I am spoiled by getting to live in the part of the country that I do, and I have so much in the way of diy, homesteading, and grow your own food resources at my fingertips, that I want to be able to avail myself of them, and live the life I have been dreaming of for years, and sharing it all with you. 

Dairy Free Cherry Garcia — July 1, 2017

Dairy Free Cherry Garcia

Hey Everyone! 

Happy Canada Day! 

I have been Dairy Free (or in the process of going dairy free) for 5.5 years. If you haven’t had to go without a food staple (ie dairy, gluten or eggs), you really can’t relate to missing certain foods because you know that if you eat them, you will be sick. The fact that I have had to completely give up dairy and eggs and not eat much gluten, It has been quite an adjustment. I have yet to find a dairy free cheese or yogurt that has a similar taste and texture to dairy versions. So I have given up trying to find a dairy free yogurt I like, dairy free cheese is just gross, coconut and coconut almond milk are my favorite milk alternatives, the onion and chive dairy free cream cheese spread stuff is tolerable on bagels and in mashed potatoes, and they don’t make a dairy free cottage cheese option. So far the dairy free option that tastes the best is coconut milk ice cream, though I was so excited when I heard that Ben and Jerry’s came out wth a dairy free ice cream option I got excited. It has been years since I have been able to have Ben and Jerry’s. I finally got to enjoy some dairy free Cherry Garcia and not have to worry about being sick afterwards. 

Today we had gone out to a farm stand we are aware of to see about some berries to make jam. They didn’t have any strawberries, but did have some raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. So we picked up some some berries. The farm stand we went to is outside of the city. I always love leaving the city and going out into the country. 

This evening I had gone out to see some people I know who are in town for a convention, it was really nice to see them. After I had seen them, I went for a little drive, a little ways out of town. When I was off the freeway, I had my windows rolled down, breathing the fresh air. I don’t know if it is the type of grass that grows outside of town, or the fact that it is allowed to grow (as that grass I am referring to is the grass that grows along the side of the road and the grass that is used to make hay), and naturally dry out during the summer, but I love the smell of the long grass in the summer. I have noticed that the Beach grass smells different from the valley grass (and I am not talking about weed aka pot aka marijuana, I am talking about literal grass that grows in your lawn, and in fields to make hay for animals). The grass around here in the valley reminds me of driving from the towns I lived in while in college to the town where I attended church at the time. Quite often I would drive those 2 lane country roads in the summer, with the windows rolled down. There were a ton of hay fields in the county. I can’t imagine not being able to smell or taste. 

Having developed food intolerances as an adult, I have come to appreciate my sense even more. While food intolerances are insignificant compared to other disabilities and diseases that deprive people of their senses. 

I know when I was younger (teen years especially) I tried hard to be someone I am not. I felt like I was expected to be this prim, proper young woman who was the stereotypical girl, who did no wrong, who also liked doing my hair, makeup and going shopping. Pretty much a city girl through and through.  At the time I knew it wasn’t me, but I wanted to be accepted and fit in. College was a big game changer for me. It helped me realize that that life wasn’t for me and that it was ok to be a jeans and tee shirt kind of girl, who prefers the country to the city. I still like to dress nicely when I go out and about. The world as I see it has been ever changing and evolving as I have grown and changed over the years. Who I am, no longer hinges on what others think, or some real or perceived expectations of who I am supposed to be. Who I am has been shaped on my own life experience, the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. I have learned that life is more than allowing others to live my life for me. 

Sometimes I have to shake my head — June 21, 2017

Sometimes I have to shake my head

Hey Everyone!

The past few days has been full of cooking, baking, an adventure and now sore muscles. 

Yesterday I went for a hike, and man there was a lot of people out there, you could totally tell the tourists from those who hike on a regular basis. The true tourists were dressy clothes and unsensible footwear, like fashion sandals and white dressy shorts.

There is a time and a place for fashion sandals and dressier clothes, and a State Park with 8.7+ miles of hiking trails, and that is what it is known for is not one of them. 

I am researching hiking boots as I am looking to replace my current pair, as I am not sold on them, and they are partly the problem of the blisters and not being as supportive as I need them to be of my ankles, and therefore my knees and lower back as well. 

I am also working on knitting up boot socks as well, so I have good quality boot socks for going hiking. When I am able to actually go boot shopping I can get a better idea of fit with the socks I will wear since I already have a few pairs of socks done. Here is hoping that the lightweight wool socks will be better at helping prevent blisters on my feet, and help take up the extra room. 

I really do enjoy hiking, and I am still figuring out a lot, that are things each person has to figure out on their own, like what boots fit best and are best for the kind of hiking you are doing. I am definitely wanting to get into better shape, and work my way into more intense hikes. I would also love to get into better shape and get into rock climbing. 

Longing for Autumn  — June 13, 2017

Longing for Autumn 

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday had been unseasonably cool, and a bit wet at times. 

It has been the perfect day to bake cookies, drink tea, warm some Apple S’mores Scentsy cubes in my Scentsy warmer, work on some knitting, and day dream about autumn and having a home of my own. 

I am still trying to find a job, so that I can do normal, boring adult things, as well as try new recipes and bake new stuff. I am also longing to have a home of my own and my own kitchen again. I do miss having my own kitchen. 

There are so many things I want to try cooking, baking and canning – just not all three to the same food item. I really want to make my own jams, jellies, preserves and syrups. I also want to can fruit and pickles. I want to be able to make more breads and try new main courses and be able to do some entertaining.

I would love to have a freezer full of fresh caught fish (various kinds of salmon, trout, cod, etc), some elk, venison, moose pork (raised on site), locally raised lamb, and chicken (that was raised on site). I know there are animal rights activists out there that are anti-hunting and anti-fishing. To all of them, I would rather have locally hunted/ locally caught meat, that I know where it came from and that it was free range, and wild in its natural habitat . Meat that comes from commercial farms that use hormones, antibiotics and have cruel and inhumane confinement where the animals are living in dirt and manure is poor quality even at best. 

Having had better quality food, as well as the whole fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and the whole less screen time (even if it means crappy internet), would totally be worth giving up the city life for. 

I long for a life of honest hard work, to have an overall better way of life. I want to grow and raise as much of my own food as possible, and what I cannot grow or raise (or feasibly do so on a non commercial level), purchase locally from those who do. 

I actually do enjoy Homemaking, and yes, I would rather be in the kitchen cooking, baking, and canning or out in the garden, weeding and picking fresh produce over sitting at a desk, in an office, any day of the week. 

Now watch, I may have to eat those words, but really, in all honesty, I would rather be a modern (ie have electricity, indoor plumbing, central heat and AC, and a modern kitchen) homesteader, than have a career in corporate America. I like being tired from a long day of physical work. 

Yesterday I had also worked a bit on my current sock that I am knitting up. I finally got the cuff done, which is making progress. That anymore seems to be what takes the longest since I do 1 x 1 ribbing. 

The weather yesterday totally had me wanting to to be autumn already, so it would be cool, overcast and wet almost everyday, or at least sunny with the high around 65, with cool crisp mornings, and a crispness to the air as the leaves are turning to the beautiful autumn colors. I so want to be able to decorate for autumn and be warming scents like Apple S’mores and Pumpkin Roll daily. 

Memorial Day Weekend  — May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 

Hey Everyone!

It was an eventful yet uneventful weekend. 

Saturday, had been the hottest day of the weekend, and the day I had spent the most time outside. Going out to Sauvie Island and seeing the Bybee – Howell house, I was way to hot, and rather miserable in the heat. 75 degrees Fahrenheit (Roughly 24 degrees Celsius), is my upper limit before I really start not feeling well. 

Having gone out to Sauvie Island on Saturday, I saw this cool looking old farm house, the property which it sits on has been turned into a territorial park, so I was able to stop and check it out. 

The Bybee – Howell House (the old farmhouse you see not log after you come across the Sauvie Island bridge) was built in 1856, and the original owner was one of the first Multnomah County Commissioners. In the back remains what is left of the Orchard that had been planted there at one point. There are plenty of big, old trees that provide much needed shade. There would have also been plenty of room to have a big garden, as well as chickens (layers and ones for food), as well as other farm animals to be raised for food. Other than the traffic going by on the road, it was really peaceful, and it was away from the bulk of the city noise. The birds were chirping, and it really was the kind of area I would love to live. Not necessarily on Sauvie Island, but someplace that isn’t in the middle of the big city, and doesn’t have a ton of traffic. 

Sunday, my mom and I had made rhubarb pie and mixed berry freezer jam.

Monday, I had done some cleaning. The weather was definitely had been cooler than Saturday. 

Today feels like a Monday even though it is Tuesday, because of the long weekend. Today has been rainy and cool, which has amazing. It is not quite 40 degrees cooler than it was on Saturday, and my allergies are doing a lot better today. 

Today has definitely been an indoor knitting while drinking tea and watching movies kind of day. For which I am thankful. 

You can put the Country Girl in the City, but…… — May 22, 2017

You can put the Country Girl in the City, but……

Hey Everyone!

Anyone else feel like they are living in the wrong era?

Yeah, I definitely feel like I was born about 60 years too late. 

The past few years I have definitely not been thrilled to be living in the city again. I miss the slower pace of small town life, where I didn’t have cable tv, Hulu Plus or Netflix, and had slower internet, that was fast enough to occasionally watch some YouTube and keep up with the basics like email, Facebook, and studying. I love having some tv shows on DVD, to watch in the morning while I eat breakfast or in the evening while I ate dinner. I also miss being busy enough that I didn’t get bored easily. Between having a good book to read or some knitting to work on, and some music to listen to, life was good. 

Playing board games with my friends, or while at the beach, watching the sunset over the ocean, then sitting around a campfire, with a nice cup of tea, making S’mores, and having a good conversation, was the best. 

Living in the city, I have felt that in order to have fun, you have to spend money. Spending money on going out to eat, then to go to a movie or going shopping. Living in a small town, it isn’t that expensive to pay for gas to get from where you live to Main Street (as it is usually 5 – 10 minutes away, and the bigger town in the county was only 9 miles away). It wasn’t hard to run from the town I lived in, to the county seat – 9 miles away to meet up with friends for coffee, or to go to the larger grocery store.

Here in the city, one of my former work locations is about 7.5 miles from where I live, on a good day with light traffic and the lights in my favor take about 30 minutes (on a bad commute day would take a good 45 minutes to an hour). Where I lived in college, to get from where I lived junior and senior year, to the Safeway store that was roughly 10 miles away, took between 15 & 20 minutes depending on the lights in town. Driving 2 lane country roads with a speed limit of 55 outside of city limits was great.

Living in a small town, I spent more time reading books, meeting up with friends for coffee, or having friends over for a movie night, or going on adventures. I did watch some TV on DVD, primarily during meals, but I spent more time doing other things to keep busy, that weren’t just vegging out in front of a screen. Most of my screen time was in the form of sitting on the computer doing homework, or writing papers. 

Granted, now, living on my own, and working, I would still be doing a lot more reading, as well as canning, baking and cooking, and doing some entertaining. I would rather grill up some meat for dinner and have friends over, and in the summer, enjoy a summer evening outside and maybe have a fire in the fire pit, and enjoy having conversations. 

Living a more frugal and purpose driven life is definitely something I am working on. These days, even if you go for dinner and a movie, or even on the frugal end, a matinee movie and a meal, if you include tip and cost of gas or fare for public transit, that is a good $30 blown per person on the cheap end. Where as, even staying in to have a movie night or grilling out, is definitely more frugal. 

It has honestly been about 2 years since the last time I saw a film in the theaters. The last film I saw was Tomorrowland. I had gone up to Seattle for a weekend, and one of my friends and I went out for dinner and then went to the cheap theater and saw tomorrowland. Besides the cost, the reason I prefer not seeing films in the theater, really has been the fact that I would just as soon watch a movie at home, on my comfy couch, in my comfy clothes, without being surrounded by other people. Especially with ITunes rentals, it is reasonable to rent a movie, and watch it on my computer.

To me anyway, there is more to life than wasting money on something that really isn’t meaningful, and only occupies your time for a few short hours and then you are left with really nothing to show for it, and no real lasting memories of it. Time spent with friends, or reading a book are more enjoyable to me. 

50 Random Facts — May 16, 2017

50 Random Facts

Hey Everyone!

I have been doing this blogging thing for a few years. I started this particular blog back in August of 2014, though I have been blogging on some level since 2011. 

I decided that it was time to do a 100 random facts about me post, for you all to get to know me a little bit better. 

  1. I gave up drinking coffee ☕️ in August of 2014
  2. I love the smell of campfires 🔥  (especially at the beach) 
  3. My favorite place to go is the Beach
  4. My favorite Disney character is Winnie the Pooh
  5. My favorite Disney Princess is Merida
  6. My favorite band / music group is Celtic Thunder (the Original 5 + Neil)
  7. My favorite piece of classical music is Rachmoninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini variation number 18
  8. My favorite film is Somewhere in Time
  9. My favorite color is royal blue
  10. My top travel destination outside of the United States 🇺🇸 is: Scotland 
  11. The state I want to visit the most that I have not visited yet is: Alaska
  12. I like a good cup of tea ☕️ 
  13. I am left handed
  14. In College I majored in Social Science (my focus area was U.S. History)
  15. In college I minored in Literature 
  16. I spent my first 5 terms of college as an early childhood / elementary education major
  17. I love being outdoors 
  18. I enjoy hiking
  19. I was in band in grades 7 – 10
  20. I did choir in 11th grade, as well as several terms while in College
  21. I went to Florida when I was 13 with my family
  22. I attended a Marine Corps boot camp graduation when I was 15
  23. I went to Hawaii when I was 19 with my family
  24. I went to New York on my own when I was 23
  25. I was still an Infant, the first time I went to Canada 🇨🇦 
  26. I love overcast, cool, rainy days
  27. I enjoy knitting
  28. I enjoy reading books
  29. My favorite TV show has been Grimm
  30. I know how to can (aka preservation food in glass jars for later consumption)
  31. The one dairy item I miss the most now that I have to be dairy free is Cheese. Tillamook Cheese 🧀 is the best. 
  32. I enjoy exploring historical sites
  33. My favorite season is autumn 
  34. I love architecture. 
  35. If I am going out to eat, my top choice is typically a Lebanese or Greek restaurant 
  36. I call the Willamette Valley home 
  37. My favorite author is Robin Jones Gunn
  38. My favorite board game is Scrabble 
  39. My favorite animal is the bottle nose dolphin 🐬 
  40. I enjoy watching Period Dramas (Downton Abbey, Lark Rise to Candleford, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, etc)
  41. My favorite musical is the Sound of Music
  42. My favorite flower 🌺 is Plumeria 
  43. My favorite fruit is: Cherries 🍒 
  44. Favorite dessert: the gluten free vegan lemon lavender poppyseed cupcakes from my favorite bakery
  45. I got to see The Phantom of the Opera when the traveling show was here in Portland 
  46. I went to Public School for K – 12
  47. I was the first of my friends to get my drivers license 
  48. Of all the yarns I have worked with, the Todd and Duncan Cashmere was my favorite.
  49. I worked at a knitting studio for a few months
  50. I love exploring old ghost towns