Category: Homemaking

There Comes a Point in Life

Hey Everyone!

Today I really wanted to make brownies today. I made gluten free vegan cherry brownies.

I have also been rewatching Grimm and working on my knitting. Between Grimm and a short stretch of cooler weather is making me Autumn to be here so bad.

Grimm has been one of my favorite shows since it started back in 2011. I own all 6 seasons on DVD, so I am rewatching it from the beginning. It reminds me of Fall and Winter because most of of it aired during fall and winter. There are also scenes that were filmed during fall, which is my favorite season.

A few of scenes from the first episode of the first season were filmed not far from where I grew up.

When the weather cools off a bit I want to get out hiking again. While it is hot, I am trying to get socks finished and ready for cold weather and hiking. This past week I picked out the yarn I intend to use to knit up the next twelve pairs of socks, once I finish up the two pairs I have going.

The past few days I have been out exploring the city a bit, and kind of getting a feel for other parts of the city. There are areas, that I could see myself settling down in, granted I could find a good job. That is the crazy thing. For so long I have been trying to leave, because where I am at right now isn’t working for me. Now, there is a part me me, that if I could find a job here, and move to one of these areas I have fallen in love with, that is more me and the kind of life I want to live, I would stay.

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The City is Calling

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For me, this is crazy. For the past 8+ years I have always been like “I want to live in the country, I hate the city”. It’s still true that I want to live a simpler life, that is less materialistic and I still want a garden and do more in the way of Urban Homesteading. Most of all I want to get away from the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s not that it’s a bad neighborhood, it is really a good neighborhood, I want to get away from it mainly because it’s rather ritzy for my taste. I prefer the working class and lower middle class neighborhoods that are still safe. I really like the houses built between the 1920’s and the 1950’s.

Today I had gone out. Today has been the coolest day we have had in over a week, and I was ready to get out and enjoy it. I went exploring some different neighborhoods in the city. There are definitely a couple that I like. One area I like is technically in 4 or 5 “neighborhoods”, but it is kind of centralized around a certain area that is made up of different corners on the edges of these five neighborhoods. The other is near one of the main “hipster” eclectic hot spots in the city, but has more of the style of houses I like and is near good grocery shopping and decent schools.

There is so much I would miss if I moved too far from Portland, like Bob’s Red Mill, the Gluten Free Vegan Bakery I like to go to, all the great tea shops here, I would also miss the occasional trip to New Seasons, Market of Choice, and Trader Joe’s (they have the best price on nuts ūü•ú).

In the near future I am definitely wanting to go check out the Portland Nursery, to get a feel for what they have in stock.

When I was younger I wasn’t that adventurous, but as I have gotten older (with the help of going to college and then going to New York on my own at 23, as well as having jobs in different parts of the city), I was pushed out of my comfort zone to the point where I don’t left fear and doubt stand in my way of exploring and getting out of my comfort zone.

I should also mention the fact that the city has the best internet speeds, which is a good thing, for where I want to take my blog as well as making videos.

Staying Cool during the Heatwave.

Hey Everyone!

What a week. After Monday I definitely took time to relax and trying to stay out of the heat as much as possible.

I have been working on getting knitting projects worked on and completed.

I made chili earlier in the week, as well as a couple batches of raspberry jam.

I completed the first sock of one of the pairs I am working on as well as a dishcloth over the past couple of days.

While I have not had to go much of anywhere this week, I have spent time gardening, as well as knitting, baking and jam making. I made a batch of jam earlier this week, as well as a second batch yesterday. Yesterday I also made a batch of gluten free vegan banana nut muffins and a batch of normal banana bread for those I live with.

We are definitely in fire season. The most recent fire I have heard about is burning near Silver Falls State Park, and doubles in size overnight. Silver Falls is one of my favorite places to go Hiking.

My biggest concern is the risk they pose to human lives and animals in their paths. It seems like the human caused fires are the most devastating.

Wildfires that are naturally occurring (lightning caused) are a normal thing, and so good things for the forests in the natural cycle of things.

Peopled Out

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This past week has flown by, and I have been fairly busy. When I have been home, I have spent a fair amount of time, that I haven’t been sleeping, outside in the garden.

Over the weekend I made pineapple curry with chicken, which turned out really good. I made it on the mild side since I don’t like things super spicy, but like the flavor of the dish.

The garden is seriously taking off this summer. I have gotten my first batch of jam made from raspberries picked from the backyard. A couple weeks ago, I got the tomato plants staked, which was just in time. Had I waited any longer and they would have toppled over and been a mess. I have been seeing quite a few flowers which is looking promising. The vines are well above the top of the stakes now, and when I staked them they still had room before they got to the top.

This past week I have also been spending some time at a church convention. It’s local so I am able to sleep in my own bed, not really worry about food, as well as go and come as I please. It has become a tradition that the one minister I want to hear preach, gives the sermon for the evening meeting on the Fourth of July. I have known him, and his wife my whole life, and they have known my family since they started coming to the church (45 years ago), my grandpa had been their first pastor. So they are like family.

I am hoping that this next week is a bit calmer. I am hoping to spend some time with a good friend of mine from Tacoma, who I have also known my whole life.

Last night I totally hit the wall of social situation overload and now I am peopled out. Fortunately I can come home and hide for a little bit. Especially being an introvert, I can only handle so much social interaction before I am exhausted by it, and need time to recharge.

Pioneer Girl

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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.

 

This Urban Homesteading Life

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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.

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.

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.

Where My Heart is At.

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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).

 

The Successful Search for Roses!

Hey Everyone!

Following up on my post from Yesterday, I went out and found roses today. I went to 2/3 places I know have Rose Gardens here in the city. The third place will have to wait for another day.

By the time I got up the International Rose Test Garden, parked my car, paid for parking and walked back up to the Rose Gardens it was going on Noon. I was also amazed at how many people were up there today. It’s a Thursday, and not even all that “nice” weather wise, in the mid-50’s, overcast and trying to rain. I guess that is Portland for you. There were also field trips going on up there. I didn’t let that deter me from going, and getting pictures.

There are more pictures up on my Facebook Page, as well as some of the best are up on my Instagram, so you should be following on those as well if you are wanting to see more pictures ūüėÄ.

Once I was done at the Washington Park Rose Gardens, I ran up to NW Portland and got some tea (it was like a 15 minute trip), and from there I went over to North Portland and went to the Peninsula Park Rose Garden.

From where I was in North Portland, my favorite bakery was less than 10 minutes away, so I stopped there on my way home and picked up a couple gluten free / vegan Lemon Lavender Poppyseed Cupcakes.

All this running around the city, using multiple freeways to get from one place to another, sitting in traffic and being gone for hours at a time, with each place miles from the next, reminds me why I want to keep my time spent in the city to a minimum. It’s fun on occasion to come into the city to go do something, but the whole living here, city mentality and lifestyle wore off long ago when I realized that I am a country girl at heart, and I want to be able to live that lifestyle. Part of why I have been wanting to explore these Rose Gardens is so that I can get ideas, so one day, when I have the property and room to have a Rose Garden of my own, I have a better idea of the types of Roses I want to grow in my own garden.