Taking on Life at Full Speed

Learning from the past to make a brighter future

Longing for Autumn  — June 13, 2017

Longing for Autumn 

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday had been unseasonably cool, and a bit wet at times. 

It has been the perfect day to bake cookies, drink tea, warm some Apple S’mores Scentsy cubes in my Scentsy warmer, work on some knitting, and day dream about autumn and having a home of my own. 

I am still trying to find a job, so that I can do normal, boring adult things, as well as try new recipes and bake new stuff. I am also longing to have a home of my own and my own kitchen again. I do miss having my own kitchen. 

There are so many things I want to try cooking, baking and canning – just not all three to the same food item. I really want to make my own jams, jellies, preserves and syrups. I also want to can fruit and pickles. I want to be able to make more breads and try new main courses and be able to do some entertaining.

I would love to have a freezer full of fresh caught fish (various kinds of salmon, trout, cod, etc), some elk, venison, moose pork (raised on site), locally raised lamb, and chicken (that was raised on site). I know there are animal rights activists out there that are anti-hunting and anti-fishing. To all of them, I would rather have locally hunted/ locally caught meat, that I know where it came from and that it was free range, and wild in its natural habitat . Meat that comes from commercial farms that use hormones, antibiotics and have cruel and inhumane confinement where the animals are living in dirt and manure is poor quality even at best. 

Having had better quality food, as well as the whole fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and the whole less screen time (even if it means crappy internet), would totally be worth giving up the city life for. 

I long for a life of honest hard work, to have an overall better way of life. I want to grow and raise as much of my own food as possible, and what I cannot grow or raise (or feasibly do so on a non commercial level), purchase locally from those who do. 

I actually do enjoy Homemaking, and yes, I would rather be in the kitchen cooking, baking, and canning or out in the garden, weeding and picking fresh produce over sitting at a desk, in an office, any day of the week. 

Now watch, I may have to eat those words, but really, in all honesty, I would rather be a modern (ie have electricity, indoor plumbing, central heat and AC, and a modern kitchen) homesteader, than have a career in corporate America. I like being tired from a long day of physical work. 

Yesterday I had also worked a bit on my current sock that I am knitting up. I finally got the cuff done, which is making progress. That anymore seems to be what takes the longest since I do 1 x 1 ribbing. 

The weather yesterday totally had me wanting to to be autumn already, so it would be cool, overcast and wet almost everyday, or at least sunny with the high around 65, with cool crisp mornings, and a crispness to the air as the leaves are turning to the beautiful autumn colors. I so want to be able to decorate for autumn and be warming scents like Apple S’mores and Pumpkin Roll daily. 

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You can put the Country Girl in the City, but…… — May 22, 2017

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. 

Simpler Way Of Life — May 11, 2017

Simpler Way Of Life

Hey Everyone!

How I want to live my life has been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t want to let my life slip by, or be adrift and one day wake up and be like “how on earth did I get here?”

I want to live my life with intention, and have a purpose for how and why I do things. 

I am very much someone who has to work with their hands, whether I am knitting, or cooking, baking, canning, gardening, fishing or building things. I am very much Homemaking inclined, but not in the modern sense of the word. More so in the traditional, pioneer, frontier sense of the word, where women very much did tend to the home, as well as spent time outdoors. They gardened, gathered berries, raised chickens, and possibly helped with the other farm animals they raised. 

While I have the benefits of electricity, natural gas, solar panels (for solar energy), as well as indoor plumbing and the internet, I am at a point in my life where if I had the opportunity to live on some property, and be more self sufficient, I wouldn’t miss living in the big city all that much. 

I know I have written about having lived in a couple small towns in as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get in the Willamette Valley while I was in college. I loved being out there, and going for drives through farm country. That was were I was living the most true to who I really am, that I have to date. 

Even if I can’t have as big of a garden as I would like, and have to live in town, without the animals; being able to live in a small town in a more rural setting, but am still able to come to the city to get the variety of dairy free & gluten free food I am used to, I would be fine. 

I have loved learning about how common, normal women lived their daily lives between the 1930’s – the 1950’s. I loved hearing my grandmother talk about how life was during the Great Depression and the Second World War.  Hearing about how when something broke, you fixed it. They fixed it because either a) replacements for said items weren’t available, b) they couldn’t afford to replace it, or, c) both a and b were true. I had gotten thinking about that today when one of my sock needles broke. I am unable to purchase a new set at the moment, and without the needle that broke, I wouldn’t be able to continue working on socks. So I had to fix it, and fix it I did. 

I am working on living a more intentional life, where I have a job where I can work with my hands, and live a simpler way of life, and not need to have so many new things, and fix what I can, and build from scratch. 

Life is so much more… — May 9, 2017

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 — April 17, 2017

Modern Homesteading

Hey Everyone!

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 — April 11, 2017

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).

 

 

Going up a mountain  — October 1, 2016

Going up a mountain 

Hey Everyone! 

This afternoon I went for a drive, and decided to go to Mt Saint Helens. Today ended up being a stormy autumn day, and only got stormier the further up I went. While it was good for thinking, it wasn’t as good to see the scenery. I only went part way up before I turned around to head back, as I wanted to be in cellphone range before sunset. 

While I was on that mountain, and having it be chilly and wet, it got me thinking about the pioneers and early white settlers in this part of the country. I was thinking about how cold and miserable it would be to be having to live back then, if they didn’t have some form of permanent housing to repel the rain and a fireplace to make a fire, or dry clothes to change into. 

I love the outdoors, and I love living in this part of the country. I love the cold and the rain. I also love being able to come back into a warm dry house and having dry clothes to change into, and means of getting warm again, I love being able to warm up by a fire, with a hot cup of tea. I can’t imagine being a pioneer, with at best a tent this time of year, where it would be cold, wet and dirty 24/7 for months on end. 

The thought had gone through my mind, of being a pioneer woman who had left her friends and family behind, following her husband and his dream. Then spending your first winter out here in a homestead cabin, and how hard that would be. In trying to imagine what it would be like, and I wondered how many women deep down really wanted to say “forget it, this place sucks, I just want to go home”, but had to stick it out, as they had no choice. 

Yes that is the kind of stuff that goes on in my head when I am on my own. I think about women’s history, American history, and anthropology pretty much all at once.