Category: Summer

The City is Calling

Hey Everyone!

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 đŸ„œ).

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.

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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.

Hey Everyone!

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

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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.

Here comes the Sun

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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.

It Rained on the Parade

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This weekend was pretty wet, with fairly consistent showers through out. Some were much heavier than others.

It even rained on the Grand Floral Parade. Saturday and Sunday were in the low to mid 50’s for highs.

This allergy season has also been particularly bad. I had been trying to make due without taking allergy medicine, but I have finally started taking some allergy medicine to try and help relieve some of my symptoms.

I had gone out earlier to pick up allergy meds, I got the store brand of Claritin, the active ingredient of which, is: loratadine.

While I was out, I went for a bit of a drive, and went out to Estacada, and then from there I went up into the foothills of the cascades. I love it out there. I am for sure an outdoorsy girl, who loves the mountains and the ocean. I had to pick one to live in / by I would have to choose the mountains, but stay close enough to the ocean to go visit.

Even with having lived in this part of the country, while on one level I do take the mountains for granted, I still love seeing them. Every time I see Mt. Hood, I am still like “wow, it’s beautiful”, even in the dead of summer when it is more grey than white and needs snow.

I can only speak for where I am, but the mountains, and how they look vary so much between the seasons that they are dynamic rather than stagnant.

It’s kind of crazy that from this past weekend to the middle of next week there is supposed to be about a 40 degree spread in our highs. One of the days this weekend really didn’t get above 53, and next week is supposed to be in the low to mid 90’s.

It look like next week will be a great time to wash socks and the shawl I have done. Now I just need to get the two pairs of socks I am knitting up out of KnitPicks yarn done. I am working on the second socks of both pairs. One is closer to being done, but if I keep working on them, I should have them done before we see 90 degree temperatures.

Anyone who know me, knows I don’t do heat, and that when it starts getting over 75, I am staying inside with the AC, only going out to check any of my socks that I washed.

Angel Eyes

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Yesterday I had gone down to the area I had lived while I was in college, for an adoption party. My good friends had gotten the adoption of their daughter finalized just after Christmas, and had the party yesterday. Little Miss also recently turned 5.

I still love the area there, and it was my home for four years. I fell in love with the area, and being in and around small towns in the middle of farm country. Having lived there will always be a part of me and who I am. It has been almost eight years since I lived there, and for a while I wanted to move back.

In more recent years, I have come to terms with and accepted the fact that I will likely never live there again, but it will always be a part of me, and I left a little piece of my heart there. I will also have the memories I made there.

I have had the song “Angel Eyes” by ABBA stuck in my head for the past few days. Really since I figured out the title of the song. I had been hearing it on the promos for Mamma Mia Here We Go Again (the sequel to the 2008 film Mamma Mia). I remember the summer of 2008, and having gone to see Mamma Mia in theater like three times. When you live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, going and seeing movies is one of the few things to go do.

Earlier I mentioned that I know that realistically moving back to the towns I lived in while in college isn’t going to happen. That being said, the small town & country life is more the life that I am called to than the city life is. The city is fun to visit on occasionally, and with having family still in the area, I know I will be back here to visit. Moving somewhere else, is what I am being lead to do. The west coast is so expensive, and realistically (based on my eight years of trying to find a full time job here), staying here isn’t possible. So I am definitely looking at moving elsewhere. I am ready to move and see what else is out there. This country is so big, and I have only seen a handful of places. I love adventures and seeing new places and new things.

Still being younger, single, and nothing holding me here, I am ready to see what is out there, and take life by the horns and take you all with me on my adventures.

Not living here, will make visiting, going for treats and tea on Alberta, and going over to NW to go to the tea shop there and get tea, and then to the Stash Tea store, and Bob’s Red Mill that much more special.

Combatting Cabin Fever

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This past week we have been seeing snow off and on pretty much every day, and it has been sticking the past couple of days. This phenomenon is weird for Portland this time of year. As anyone knows Portland is already not very well equipped to handle snow and ice, even when it is most likely to occur. Whenever we get snow that sticks to the pavement, schools close, and the city shuts down. Fortunately it hasn’t been as bad as last winter and the snow has been melting off the pavement during the day.

Anytime we get snow in the city, I start getting cabin fever. As much as I hate the summer heat, I just don’t like being forced to stay home. I like having the option of going somewhere.

Beings that the roads were fine by midday today, I left and went and ran a couple much needed errands. I needed to get some new hiking boots. While hiking boots may not seem like much of a need to a lot of people, they are if you are me.

I ran up to the Danner Factory Outlet store up on NE Airport Way here in Portland.

I got myself a pair of the Mountain Light Cascade Boots, which are the same style that Reese Witherspoon wore in the movie “Wild”.

I had also gone to the mall, and had gone to REI and Eddie Bauer.

I have to say that REI is definitely one of my favorite stores to spend time at. While I am not a huge fan of shopping, I can lose track of time at REI

At REI I had picked up a couple pairs of hiking socks as well as a couple other items, because I would rather wear a pair of socks I am not as invested in to break in my new boots, than wearing the nice ones that I have made myself.

This spring – autumn I definitely need to get some more hiking in and under my belt. Not only do I want to break in my new boots, but I also really miss hiking and being outside.

The last thing I really need / want to get before I go back out hiking is some moleskin, as I have areas that are prone to blisters, and with new boots I want to reduce me chance of blisters.