Category: Natural Living

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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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.

It’s All About the Simple Things

Hey Everyone!

Today I had gone for another hike. After the past couple days being so hot, I took advantage of the cooler day and went for a hike.

One of the things I love about hiking, especially in the woods, is when it’s quiet, and you can just listen to the bird songs back and forth through the trees.

I love being out in nature, any time of the year, but my favorite parts of late spring to early autumn, while we still have the migratory birds still around, is listening to the song birds chirping and singing. It’s even better if you are somewhere where there is a stream or a creek and you can hear the water flowing as well.

I have often thought that it would be amazing to be able to distinguish between the bird calls, as in being able to identify the different birds by their songs / chirps and know which birds I am hearing without seeing them.

I have also had a bit of an interest in at least elementary / basic Botany. For example I know I saw poison oak while I was out hiking today, but to easily identify it amongst the brush as I hiked up the trail, I could not. I want to be able to differentiate poisonous plants from non poisonous plants so I can easily identify plants such as Poison Ivy, Poison Oak ad Poison Sumac from other non poisonous native plants.

Through the years I have also enjoyed doing some amateur tracking / animal identification based on tracks and scat left behind by the animals that naturally roam the woods. I have seen some coyote tracks as well as deer tracks as well as what my friend and I concluded to be coyote scat.

I definitely stay on the trail that has been cleared, between any habitat restoration / conservation that is going on, not wanting to come into contact with poisonous plants I don’t recognize and the potential for seriously hurting myself on some unseen hazard / drop off / cliff, I follow the rules of staying on the trail that has been made. I also believe in packing out what I packed in, and leaving the trail in as pristine condition as I can so others can enjoy it as well.

This past year I have really been learning about slowing down from the fast paced on the go all the time rhythm of the city, which I have been back living in for the past eight years. The constant go go go of the city lifestyle doesn’t jive with who I am at my core, and it doesn’t make me happy, and I am not at my best when I am doing the whole typical city thing. That is a lot to do with why I have been getting away from the city as much as possible.

 

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.

Content with Small Town and Country Life

Content with Small Town and Country Life

Hey Everyone!

The past three weeks have been pretty busy, with the ladies retreat, and preparing for that as well the Rend Collective Concert last weekend, family coming to town to visit, and then Easter this past weekend.

There have definitely been a couple of times where I just needed to get out of the city,  and kind of regroup before throwing myself back into the city life.

I grew up in the city, so it was what I knew until I went to college. Even then it never really felt like home or that I belonged here, I just never knew why. I went to college in a small town, and it hit me like a ton of bricks as to why the city life never felt right or normal to me.

I came back to the city after college because of not having a job lined up in the small towns I was in and around, so I was forced back. The past eight years have been all about trying to find a long term job, and figuring out who I am, and all that kind of stuff.

While I have been figuring out who I am, the whole finding a job thing has been a bust, and hasn’t happened. Which has lead me to really consider moving, and looking for work in other parts of the country. Life doesn’t always work out the way you would hope it would. Dreams change as people grow and change.

I have been really trying to make a better life for myself, and live a simpler more meaningful life. Not being someone who is in the High Tech, IT, Medical, or Outdoor Wear, or Craft Beer fields, I haven’t found a place to fit in here, and have not had the opportunity to get my foot in the door on a career here, since there are so many other people who are unemployed and underemployed from the recession who have more experience in the “entry – level” fields than I do. So that has really push me to seriously consider moving someplace else to at least have a job. In addition to that, I would love to have new places to go exploring and hiking in.

As I have gotten older, the city life, and the increasing influx of people has been wearing on me. It has helped me to realize who I am, and the type of life I want to live, and that is a simpler life, away from the constant hubbub and traffic of the city. It has taught me what I am capable of, and that is more than I ever though I was. It has taught me that I am tougher, stronger, and more self sufficient than I thought. There is more to life than putting up with a life you hate, just because it is familiar. A life that has meaning and purpose is a life worth working hard for and fighting for.

Just Can’t Catch a Break

Hey Everyone!

This weekend was a busy one. I was feeling pretty good after having a cold last week. So I had gone about life as usual over the weekend.

Then yesterday I feel like I ran into a brick wall and had taken a few steps backward in the illness department. Last night was rough, my tonsils were pretty swollen all night and have finally gone down as the day has gone on. I definitely picked up another bug.

I shouldn’t be surprised beings my weekend was busy and I was just getting over another bug. My immune system hadn’t completely recovered.

Fortunately, I am able to stay home for the time being, where I can rest and drink plenty of water.

I had a good weekend at least. I got to spend some time with a good friend of mine as well as being in the part of the state I consider to be home.

Autumn in Portland

Hey Everyone!

I had this morning off, so I could sleep at night like a normal person. Beings that I woke up at a normal time for me, I had the energy to go for a walk this afternoon.

Looking for a full time job here that is a good fit for me, has been a challenge. It has made me really think about what I am good at, what I am passionate about, and how I want to spend my career.

I have spent the better part of 7.5 years not using my degree, bouncing around doing different jobs in different industries, yet have had one that was close to being a good fit.

I am definitely wanting to spend more time doing Homemaking stuff and outdoorsy stuff. What would be even better would be modern Homesteading (aka living on a farm, that has electricity and at least a septic system), with a great view. Then I could do the Homemaking and outdoorsy stuff and not have to choose.

Urban Homesteading 

Hey Everyone!

This summer has been extremely productive, when it comes to Urban Homesteading. Most of the urban homesteading has occurred this past month. I have made multiple batches of Jam. Between my mom and I, we have made 10 batches of Jam. 4 batches of of blackberry jam, 1 batch of strawberry, 1 batch of peach, and at least 4 batches of raspberry jam. 

My mom and I have also canned pickles and peaches this summer. 

I have been picking raspberries almost daily for about a month. I got some lettuce starts for free, and planted them over the weekend, and they have started to take. I am hoping they take off and I get some lettuce from them before the cool weather hits and the season is over. 

While I am where I am, I am trying to learn about gardening and homesteading because I enjoy gardening and being outside. I also enjoy cooking with and eating home grown, organic food. 

I am all about growing food, preserving food, and making food from scratch. I enjoy making food and knowing where my food comes from and know the process it goes through to get from ingredients to finished product. 

No Rest for the Weary?

Hey Everyone!

The past couple days have been pretty much on the go non stop. 

Today’s stuff has been primarily Urban Homesteading related. I spent most of the day with my family as well. We went out to a couple farm stands, where we picked up some peaches so my mom and I can water bath can them. We has also picked up a half flat of blackberries, two pints of blueberries and four pints of strawberries. 

Had to also go to the grocery store and cook dinner, before going out and planting some lettuce starts I got for free. I know it’s late in the season, but it’s totally worth a try. Good practice at the planting stages of plants…for future reference. 

After planting the lettuce starts, I came in and my mom and I made three batches of jam, two blackberry and one strawberry. 

We will be canning the peaches a little later in the week. 

While planting the lettuce starts I definitely got a little bit dirty. I have always been one to prefer getting my hands (literally) dirty while working outside in the yard and garden. If I am going to be inside and not knitting or reading a good book, I would just as soon be in the kitchen making stuff that tastes good. 

I definitely give mad props to my great grandmother’s and the women who came before them who also homesteaded without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing and had several kids under foot. It’s hard enough and tiring enough now days with all the modern conveniences. They already had my respect, but have definitely earned it that much more. 

Always been Outdoorsy

Hey Everyone!

Today was a perfect day at the beach! It was sunny, windy, but not super cold, and the wind kept it from being too hot. It would have been a perfect day for this using solar and wind energy. 


My allergies were so much better at the beach, as was my comfort level. I was running around without a jacket and perfectly comfortable. 

I have always loved the beach and ocean. It has always felt more like home than the city. 

I have always felt better at the beach, between the fresh salty sea air, being outdoors a lot. Unless it’s raining, whenever I have stayed at the beach, I have spent more time outside than inside. 

Preferring to be outdoors, even when not at the beach is something I  have loved. Many of my favorite memories have included being outdoors. Whether it was ice fishing for lingcod in Canada in the winter, or hiking in the woods, or exploring an old left to ruins Fort, or being at the beach or sitting around a campfire on a summer evening (which is made better at the beach), or just being outside on a summer evening. 

It’s typically the blustery, cold, wet days that I prefer being indoors cooking, baking, knitting, curled up with a good book. 

The beach is my preference, the one place I love out of everywhere I have been, it is the one place I am truly a happy camper.