Category: Life

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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College Campus Tour!!!

Hey Everyone!

Today has been the coolest day we have had in weeks. It only got up to about 71 degrees, so it has been a perfect summer day.

I decided to go for a walk this afternoon, and Reed College is only about a mile or so away. While I am not a fan of most of the students (being a “Reedie” comes with a stigma and bad connotations), the architecture of the original buildings are gorgeous.

For having lived so close for years, I had been on the campus once previously to this. I was in middle school, and it was part of AWSEM (Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics) club and our club mentor was a student at Reed. We had gone there for a club field trip. If I were to be able to go back to school, this school is not on my list.

Today has been a bit cooler and made me think of early fall since it was overcast this morning and cleared up, and not super hot.

This house always has a gorgeous flower garden each summer. I love walking by this house in the summer. This house is just the best one in the neighborhood for having their flower garden. There are other great flower gardens in the city, I am just going to have to hunt them down.

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.

Insights into the mind of a Current Beach Bum at Heart.

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Today was a very busy day.

Today I went to the beach. I have been wanting to go back to the beach for ages, well pretty much since I got home from my past trip back in March.

It was somehow decided yesterday, that at least my mom would be taking some of her longtime friends from Canada to the coast today, and taking them to the Tillamook Creamery (aka the Tillamook Cheese Factory). The cheese factory has been in the process of being remodeled over the course of the past year or two, and it finally reopened a couple weeks ago. It was crazy busy there today, which was good for business and for the community. I fell in love with Tillamook County a fews years ago. I love the smaller coastal towns that look a lot like they did when my mom was a kid. With the decline of fishing and logging being the primary year round employers many of these communities are relying more and more on tourism. With the summer tourist season as well as those who come out in the winter for storm watching, tourism is a big deal.

In more recent years I have opted away from the larger towns and small cities, opting for the smaller towns that really are struggling more. These larger towns are trying to hard to be more like California beach towns or Coney Island. Many of these towns are becoming rather yuppie, catering to a demographic with more money. These smaller towns are still such that your average person fits it. There are way more mom and pop shops that I love to support. Some towns have farmers markets on the weekends, have train rides that are pulled by a steam locomotive and so much more besides spending so much time on the beach. They still feel like they have that slower pace of life, where you can slow down, relax and drink a cup of coffee or tea on the porch on a summer morning while watching and listening to the ocean. Later that day after wandering around the cute little shops, grabbing food at one of the local restaurants, gotten ice cream for dessert its time to hit the beach before roasting hotdogs over a fire. That evening as the sun is going down, there is nothing like going for a walk, banking up the fire, roasting marshmallows to make s’mores while the sun sinks lower and lower into the ocean until it finally dips into the ocean. Then it’s time to fully extinguish the fire (with water) and head to bed to start it all over again in the morning.

Today was raised be of those perfect beach days. It was cool and overcast all day, it drizzled a little bit but it really didn’t rain on our parade. The most rain we saw was when we were driving back over the mountains this evening. We were there long enough that we beat the rush hour traffic coming back.

It wasn’t super cold either. It was cool enough but there was a little warmth in the air. Enough to definitely warrant putting on sunblock. I will find out in the morning if I really do have a slight sunburn or not, because I didn’t reapply sunblock while I was out, before going down on the beach. I am hoping I just feel a little warm from being outside much of the day.

I really like what they did with the cheese factory, while it was super busy and I really didn’t get to go at a slower speed to take it all in, one of the biggest take away from today was the fact that they hung signs in where they actually make the cheese about what is going on where and they have better displays explaining the cheese making process.

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

Hey Everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carpool Karaoke

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

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

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

 

American Honey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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