Tag: Homemaking

This is a Homemakers Summer

Hey Everyone!

The summer heatwave is still raging in full force. With that heat and in some areas strong wind, the wildfires that are burning, are continuing to burn hot and fast.

I have some friends who live in Redding, and have evacuated where they live due to the Carr fire. They have left town for a long weekend, taking their important documents and a few personal possessions. They don’t know what they will find when they go back, or it they will still have a home. Out here in the west we have wildfire season and we have the occasional earthquake. Most areas around here, are in summer burn ban mode with the exception of those camping in one of the campgrounds along the coast, but even there they are restricted. This summer has been so hot and dry.

Beings that it has been so dry, I have taken to watering the garden regularly. There has been a lull in the amount of raspberries I have been getting the past couple of weeks. Today I finally got a pint of berries, which I am hoping is a sign that the second crop is coming on.

Today I also baked three loaves of zucchini bread. One chocolate and two regular.

My mom had gotten a large zucchini squash from one of her coworkers, so I made zucchini bread with it. That one zucchini made all three loaves.

Over the past few days, I have been keeping an eye on the tomatoes that are growing in the garden. There are finally tomatoes on the vines and a few of them are huge for cherry tomatoes. They just need to ripen up.

I also finished up this pair of socks this week.

I got them washed and blocked today. I washed and blocked today, beings that it is still hot outside.

I am working on getting as many pairs of socks knit up this summer, and get them washed and blocked while the weather is warm to hot.

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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.

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.

 

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.

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. 

You can put the Country Girl in the City, but……

Hey Everyone!

Anyone else feel like they are living in the wrong era?

Yeah, I definitely feel like I was born about 60 years too late. 

The past few years I have definitely not been thrilled to be living in the city again. I miss the slower pace of small town life, where I didn’t have cable tv, Hulu Plus or Netflix, and had slower internet, that was fast enough to occasionally watch some YouTube and keep up with the basics like email, Facebook, and studying. I love having some tv shows on DVD, to watch in the morning while I eat breakfast or in the evening while I ate dinner. I also miss being busy enough that I didn’t get bored easily. Between having a good book to read or some knitting to work on, and some music to listen to, life was good. 

Playing board games with my friends, or while at the beach, watching the sunset over the ocean, then sitting around a campfire, with a nice cup of tea, making S’mores, and having a good conversation, was the best. 

Living in the city, I have felt that in order to have fun, you have to spend money. Spending money on going out to eat, then to go to a movie or going shopping. Living in a small town, it isn’t that expensive to pay for gas to get from where you live to Main Street (as it is usually 5 – 10 minutes away, and the bigger town in the county was only 9 miles away). It wasn’t hard to run from the town I lived in, to the county seat – 9 miles away to meet up with friends for coffee, or to go to the larger grocery store.

Here in the city, one of my former work locations is about 7.5 miles from where I live, on a good day with light traffic and the lights in my favor take about 30 minutes (on a bad commute day would take a good 45 minutes to an hour). Where I lived in college, to get from where I lived junior and senior year, to the Safeway store that was roughly 10 miles away, took between 15 & 20 minutes depending on the lights in town. Driving 2 lane country roads with a speed limit of 55 outside of city limits was great.

Living in a small town, I spent more time reading books, meeting up with friends for coffee, or having friends over for a movie night, or going on adventures. I did watch some TV on DVD, primarily during meals, but I spent more time doing other things to keep busy, that weren’t just vegging out in front of a screen. Most of my screen time was in the form of sitting on the computer doing homework, or writing papers. 

Granted, now, living on my own, and working, I would still be doing a lot more reading, as well as canning, baking and cooking, and doing some entertaining. I would rather grill up some meat for dinner and have friends over, and in the summer, enjoy a summer evening outside and maybe have a fire in the fire pit, and enjoy having conversations. 

Living a more frugal and purpose driven life is definitely something I am working on. These days, even if you go for dinner and a movie, or even on the frugal end, a matinee movie and a meal, if you include tip and cost of gas or fare for public transit, that is a good $30 blown per person on the cheap end. Where as, even staying in to have a movie night or grilling out, is definitely more frugal. 

It has honestly been about 2 years since the last time I saw a film in the theaters. The last film I saw was Tomorrowland. I had gone up to Seattle for a weekend, and one of my friends and I went out for dinner and then went to the cheap theater and saw tomorrowland. Besides the cost, the reason I prefer not seeing films in the theater, really has been the fact that I would just as soon watch a movie at home, on my comfy couch, in my comfy clothes, without being surrounded by other people. Especially with ITunes rentals, it is reasonable to rent a movie, and watch it on my computer.

To me anyway, there is more to life than wasting money on something that really isn’t meaningful, and only occupies your time for a few short hours and then you are left with really nothing to show for it, and no real lasting memories of it. Time spent with friends, or reading a book are more enjoyable to me. 

Life is so much more…

Hey Everyone!

With looking for work, I have also had time to think about, what I am working toward, what kind of career I want, and the goals I want to accomplish.

There is a part of me that still is clinging on the the fibers of building and helping run a Christian Retreat center from the ground up, and another part of me, that keeps saying, to be sensible and become a librarian, and another part of me that wants to settle down on a small farm, and live as much off the land as possible, or be able to travel, and share my adventures and way of life and story with others, that it may help someone who is going through similar circumstances as myself.

There is more to life than staying in one place, especially if that place is someplace you want to break out and away from, because it is holding you back from your full potential.

A decade ago, I learned that I am not a big city kind of person, I thrive in a small town, where community is important. I am one of those people who does better working with my hands, outdoors whenever possible, and not spending all day working on a computer. Being about to talk to other people, engage in conversation, working with my hands, whether that is knitting, or cooking & baking, or canning, or working out in the garden, or meeting up with some friends for coffee, or having a knitting group.

Even if I were to become a Librarian, that wouldn’t be all of who I am, that would just be my career.

Some People know what they want to do, career wise from the time they are young, others, like myself are still trying to figure it out in our late 20’s and early 30’s.

Modern Homesteading

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Over the past several years, I have been becoming more and more interested in Modern homesteading. While I am not one who whats to go completely off grid, I definitely want to get out of the city, and have at least some property, if not a full on farm.

There is a part of me that wants to live some place else, deep down, this part of the country is home, and I know what grows well here, and pretty much everything I want to grow myself or purchase from local farm stands or farm stores/cooperatives can be grown in the Pacific Northwest.

I also want to do a lot more canning/preserving and have plenty of home canned pickles, pears, peaches, applesauce, elderberry jam and syrup, black currant jam, as well as making my own strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and huckleberry freezer jam. There is so much more I also want to preserve, I just haven’t thought of it at the moment. I have the Ball complete book of home preserving, and it is full of many different things I want to at least try doing.

I also want to grow a lot of my own produce, as well as having chickens (for eggs and meat), maybe a few pigs (again for meat), and a couple goats (for “pets” and vegetation management).

I am also interested in using solar power. I know I would have to use some of the regular “on grid” electricity, especially in the winter, but in the summer I hope to use very little if any “on grid” electricity.

I am very much an outdoorsy, work with my hands, live a simpler, more old fashioned way of life kind of person. I can only handle watching so many youtube videos, movies and tv shows, before my brain and body are screaming for me to go outside, and do something.

Over the years of dealing with food intolerances has really been the biggest push toward my desire to live a more natural life. Looking at labels and reading ingredients has been a huge factor in my desire to grow and raise as much of my own food as possible, and what I can’t grow or raise myself, acquire from local farms and orchards. I am also all about cooking and baking from scratch and being a DIY’er. This is why I had created my Simple Homemaking blog and youtube channel. I wanted to document my journey of moving toward living a more natural lifestyle, and living a more natural lifestyle, and sharing it with others who are living a similar lifestyle or who are curious to see what it is all about.

I also do a lot of knitting, and that also ties in with how people used to live, and the DIY lifestyle. I love making winter accessories for myself and others.

In college my favorite subject quickly became American History, more specifically History of the American West and Gender Issues (which was my school’s version of Women’s History). I could relate to a lot of it, since I grew up on the west coast, and my family has lived west of the Mississippi River for several generations. I have ancestors who came out west on the Oregon Trail, one set of my great grandparents lived on at least one homestead if not more than one. So this part of the country, it’s history and way of live is in my blood and a huge part of who I am. It is also a part of history that is quickly being forgotten and lost, as generations don’t see it as relevant and just don’t care. There is a part of me that wants to preserve that history, culture and way of life. I still want to keep some of my modern conveniences like Electricity, modern kitchen appliances, indoor plumbing, and a washer and dryer. I do want to live more off the land and teach the younger generations about how the generations before us lived.

Life is Returning to Normal

Hey Everyone!

As much fun as it was to have my Aunt and Uncle visit from Canada, they had to head back up north yesterday morning. On their way back home, they were stopping by my oldest cousin’s house, for a few days. My oldest cousin lives in Alberta.

Today was definitely more relaxing. I did do a little bit of baking; I made gluten free, dairy free pumpkin muffins, which are really good. I love pumpkin flavored stuff.

I have also spent time today working on the current pair of socks I am knitting up. The socks I am working on, I am using the very first skein of yarn I had purchased with the intent to use to make socks with. In the years since I had purchased this yarn, I have definitely learned about what types of yarn work well for socks, and what “Sock Yarn” is really a huge pain in the rear to try to knit up into socks. The yarn I am currently working with isn’t the worst yarn I have worked with to make socks, but so far it is my second least favorite yarn to use for knitting up socks. Now that I have knit up a few pairs of socks, and have tried a few different kinds of yarns, I am figuring out what works, and what doesn’t work.

What I am supposed to be doing career wise, and with my life in general has been on my mind a lot lately.

I know I want to live in a small town somewhere here in the West, primarily in more northern climates that aren’t too different than what I am used to where I am. I know I want stay in the mountain west, North of the 44th latitude Parallel, and no further east than the front range of the rockies. Though living in Alaska, Oregon, Washington or northern/western Idaho is preferable. This part of the country is home for me, and it’s in my blood. I want to be able to live somewhere where I can have a garden at least, and maybe some fruit trees and a few chickens, and eventually maybe some goats as well. This part of the country is one of the best growing regions (in my opinion) for local produce, like Peaches, Pears, Apples, Cherries, Cucumbers (to make pickles) as well as Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, blueberries. I would love to be able to grow my own strawberries, raspberries, apples, lettuce, spinach, some herbs, carrots, rhubarb, and so much more.

I definitely want to do more in the way of homemaking and doing things like making jams & jellies, canning fruit, canning pickles, knitting, living a more natural lifestyle, and doing more of the things that women used to do back in the late 1940’s and 1950’s.

While knitting has definitely made a comeback in the past couple of decades, there was about two or three decades when it almost died out. Out here, where I am from, yarn stores are prevalent. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but at least out here, knitting and crocheting won’t be dying out any time soon.

Over the course of my teenage years, and now into my early adult years, it has amazed me, at how many young women my age don’t know how to really cook from scratch, let alone do some basic baking and canning – something my grandmother’s generation for sure learned how to do. I did learn how to cook and bake from scratch, which has definitely served me well since I developed food intolerances.

Being able to preserve, and share a part of our history is important to me. I am glad I wasn’t my age now, back in the early 1950’s, and that I can be my age, now, in the 21st century, but there are a lot of things about my grandparents generation, aka “The Greatest Generation” or “The G.I. Generation”, that were children and young adults during the great depression, and were young adults during the second world war. Many of whom, who were born toward the end of the generation were the “housewives” of the 1950’s and 1960’s (Like my grandmother’s).

 

 

Spring is Coming!

Hey Everyone!

Spring is finally coming!

After a very wet and grey winter, and the wettest February on record, it is finally starting to feel like spring. The temperatures have finally normal for this time of year. After it being below average for a while, and having several snow and ice events back in January and early February. I am so ready for spring. 

Yesterday I had spent the day cooking and baking, today I have spent the day working on some knitting. I am also working on looking for a new job. 

I am finally getting in the last of the yarn and stuff that I had ordered before my job ended. I have been working on filming videos to put up on my YouTube channels, as well as writing several blog posts over the last few days. 

I have missed having stuff to create blog content about. I didn’t have a lot of free time to create the kind of content I love writing about, such as what knitting projects I am working on, or what kinds of tasty gluten free & dairy free food I create, as I didn’t have a lot of time to spend doing what I love and am most passionate about. Knitting, Homemaking stuff and being outdoors (hiking, adventures, exploring, etc) are what I am passionate about. We all have to eat, and having a place to call home is a must. A lot of what I knit for myself, is to make being outside in the cold weather that much more fun, and to be able to stay out longer while being comfortable.