Category: Inspiration

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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Here comes the Sun

Hey Everyone!

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.

Tea Time in the City!

Hey Everyone!

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.

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).

 

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 😀.

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.

Setting Out in Search of Roses

Hey Everyone!

The last few days I have been wanting to go out and visit some of the various rose gardens in the area since this part of the country is one of the best places in the country for growing Roses. The city I live in is also nicknamed “The City of Roses” since it is one of the things we are known for here.

There was this one rose garden and store/nursery store that had a great variety of roses that I had visited a couple years ago. I went back out there today and they were closed to visitors, and all the roses they had planted in the ground for visitors to look at were gone. It was sad, and I was very disappointed. I had even looked it up before I left the house since it is a little bit of a drive to get there from the city. While I don’t mind the drive so much, I am sad that all the roses are gone.

I will be going back out and going to rose gardens here in the city, that I know are still in existence and open to visitors at some point in the next few days.

IMG_3506While I was out, I went to the little town of Saint Paul, Oregon. It is one of these little towns kind of in the middle of nowhere. The only thing it is known for is the rodeo that takes place there every Fourth of July. It is a cute little farming town here in the Willamette Valley.

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This little church, is in the heart of Saint Paul. I had seen it once before, when passing through the town of Saint Paul, after the previous trip I had been to the rose garden that no longer is open to visitors in the area. Beings that I knew the church exists in the town, and I love older church buildings, I wanted to stop by again and take more pictures.

On my way home I had also gone through the town of Mount Angel, which hosts an amazing Oktoberfest every year. I had wanted to stop at the Catholic Church there in Mount Angel, but it’s right next to a school, which was letting out for the day so the area was pretty busy and an inopportune time for pictures.

I love driving two-lane country roads, that aren’t that heavily traveled. They are so pretty.

Over the past twelve years, I have fallen in love with the small towns of the Willamette Valley between here and Corvallis. While I  am not a huge fan of living in the city or even the metro area for that matter, I do love living in the Willamette Valley. This is Home for me. While I would consider moving if I found a job I could support myself on elsewhere, there is also a huge part of me that wishes I could find a job somewhere here in the valley (though haven’t had much success in the eight years I have been looking and trying……). I know what grows here, and what doesn’t grow in the valley, that I would want for canning and eating either grows in the Gorge which isn’t too far away, or in Southern Oregon and finds its way up north.

 

Considering Going Back to School

Hey Everyone!

Pretty much since the year after I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I have toyed with the idea of going back to school and getting a second Bachelors Degree and then potentially pursuing a Master’s Degree.

Over the past almost 7 years that I have been considering going back to school, I have debated on what I would study, and where I would go.  I have a pretty good idea of what I would study, and the career outcome of what I want to do after I go back, and the whole reason to go back to school, I have narrowed it down from three options I have considered. I have also looked into projected industry growth over the next decade, and the path I am leaning toward has a higher than average projected industry growth, which is promising.

The School I want to go to, at least to get my Post – Bacc degree (second bachelors), would allow me to live in a state I have been dreaming to live in for years, and even if I moved elsewhere after I finished my degree(s) should I be able to stay at said school for my masters as well, I would get to live in said state for a good 4 to 5 years. That would be a dream come true in and of itself.

If things were to work out, I am still a little over a year away from starting school. It will take hard work and dedication to even get there in the first place and have everything fall into place that I need to fall into place, and then even harder work put in while I am there to make it happen.

I know this is a bit vague, and I am purposefully not saying what I plan to major in or the school I want to attend for privacy reasons, and should it not be the right course to pursue, and not work out, then the fact that going back to school is all anyone needs to know.

I feel like my 20’s were a time of self discovery, and figuring out who I am, and the path I am supposed to take. I have been able to do a lot of amazing things in my 20’s, and I have learned a lot about life and who I am, the things that I enjoy doing and that making me happy, as well as things that fulfill me and give me a sense of purpose. Due to the fact that I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do career wise after college, and with the social science field being so broad and without a specific career outcome, I feel like I spent part of my 20’s being a bystander and inactive participant in my life and watched it go by, without being able to control much. I have felt lost, empty and confused at times and like the world was just passing me by.

If all goes according to plan and works out, this change will allow me to have a definite plan career wise and have an end game goal so that I know what I am working toward.

Part of why I had started my blogs in the first place, is because if I could help even one other young woman to see her full potential and set challenging yet attainable goals for herself and work hard to achieve it, and not listen to the haters and those whose goal is to distract us from what we are able to do, then I will have been successful at one of my goals.

I have had plenty of people tell me that I can’t do something for whatever their reason, but I am the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something or that I shouldn’t do something, (highly dangerous to myself/others and illegal / immoral things aside), I make it my mission to do what I am told I cannot do, and prove people wrong about me. They aren’t living my life and they haven’t walked a mile in my shoes, so who are they to tell me I can’t do something and judge me for living my life the way I believe and know is right for me.

I am taking back my life, I know that going back to school, especially after being out for 8 years now (and likely 9 by the time I start school again), is going to be hard. I am willing to put in the hard work, and get the help I need while I am there, and take advantage of office hours, and ask a ton of questions.

What I am working toward has been on my heart for a few years now, roughly two or three as specific as it is, closer to six in the broader scope of the goal.

I still intend to keep up my blogs as much as I can, and share my experience of going back to University and pursing a second bachelors and then a masters, in my 30’s.

Knowledge is power, and education is so important. I am really beginning to see how important having and education is, whether that is in the traditional sense of post secondary education (here in the US we call it High School, other countries call it something different), or learning a trade after completing high school.

One day if I ever do have children, I want to teach them about how important their education is. I do realize and know that the statistics show that children whose parents have a higher education tend to also go on to have a higher education.

In my own life I have seen how important it is for a woman to be able to navigate and conduct herself in the business world. Even if she is able to and wants to be a stay at home wife and mother, she should also have skills that are useful in the outside world. What if her husband gets sick and passes away, or is seriously injured, or if he takes off, then what? In this day and age she needs to know how to build a resume, look for a job, go on interviews and work, in order to support herself and her family. Especially in urban life, needing to have two incomes is pretty much a necessity.

I am trying to not get my hopes up yet, as its still in its early stages, but should it all work out, I also look forward to the adventures I will be able to go on because of the change and move.

Seizing the Day

Hey Everyone!

Between all the rain we got over the weekend, and the sun coming out today, hitting nearly 70 degrees (69 to be exact), I had to get out and go for a hike.

I went and hiked up Mt. Talbert, which is one of my favorite spots. From where I started, hiking up to the summit, and back down again, it totaled 1.86 miles. Coming down was a shorter distance than going up. In the mile going up to the top, there was an elevation gain of about 417 feet. It smelled amazing out there and the birds were chirping. It was awesome.

This is one of my places to go hiking at the moment since I have been away from hiking for a bit, and I don’t have much in the way of endurance, but I am working on it. Consistency is key. I am also still working on breaking in the boots I bout a couple month back.

I love being up there and just thinking, and trying to clear my mind from the stress and craziness of life.

I love being outside, whether I am going for a walk on the beach or hiking in the woods – up the side of a mountain, that is where I am most at ease and content with life. I have lived the city life, and it’s really not for me. I prefer to more active, and finding a better balance between being able to be outdoors and being indoors.

It’s Been Raining Cats and Dogs

Hey Guys!

The past 48 hours has been so typical spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday was a beautiful day and it almost hit 70 degrees and would have been the perfect day to go for a hike. Overnight the storm rolled in. It has been windy all day, and the rain started in periodic downpours that has turned into consistently heavy(ish) rain. The citywide average is sitting at over an inch of rain, while closer to where I live it has exceeded an inch and a half in the past twenty – four hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow we are hearing about on the news that raw sewage was dumped into the Willamette River and how people need to avoid the river….

With the exception of Monday, which is looking to be halfway decent, the next week is looking to be cool and damp. I am going to try to get out on Monday and go for a hike, I just want to get out of the house and go do something.

The rest of the week looks great for working on my knitting projects and drinking tea. I have plenty of projects to be working on, especially while it is still cool and wet. The more I can get done now, while I don’t have the warm weather to dry finished Wool projects outside, I can better use the consistently warm dry weather when it gets here.

Not to mention I have a bit more yarn coming in this next week, to fill out what I already have – so I don’t have to skimp on projects and so I have plenty of options of what to wear when I get them all done.

The Canadian Invasion

Hey Everyone!

My Aunt and Uncle, who live in Northern British Columbia arrived Friday evening. That meant I spent part of Thursday baking cookies and such, as well as helping clean the house before they arrived. I had baked a batch of gluten free, dairy free shortbread cookies as well as regular snickerdoodles.

Saturday, I had gone out for a short drive and to get food before going to the Rend Collective concert. It was a great concert, and I am really glad I went.

Yesterday, we had a family dinner with some of the extended family who wanted to see my aunt and uncle while they are in town. We had gone to Gustav’s for dinner.

Today, I am enjoying a quiet day at home, where I have been watching Poldark and knitting on my socks.