Tag: Outdoors

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.

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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.

 

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.

It’s All About the Simple Things

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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.

 

Preparing for Summer Adventures

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I hadn’t planned on going for a hike today, or even leaving the house. This afternoon I really was just like “I need to get out of the house and do something, and get some exercise and spend some time in the woods”. Fortunately, “The Woods” can be found in quite a few locations near by, without even having to leave the metropolitan area. I lathered on some mineral based sunblock (more on that topic in a bit), and went hiking.

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Once I had come back to the park loop trail from the summit trail, I had decided to take the long way, up and around the mountain to get back to the trailhead I had parked at. This detour added a mile and a half to my hike, which means I hiked a total of 3.37 miles today. That is a lot for me, as I have been away from hiking for a while. Even when I was doing more hiking a couple years ago, today’s hike would have still been a good hike. This hike had kicked my butt, as I have really only started hiking again in the past couple of months. The ascents were what really got me. I am definitely wanting and needing to get out more, and do more hikes and walks.

While I was out hiking, I definitely had the scene from the newer parent trap with Lindsay Lohan where they are hiking up to the lake where they are going camping….Yeah, the first 45 seconds of this clip was the part that kept playing in my head.

While today was a beautiful day, and got up to 68 degrees (Fahrenheit), and was hiking in a wooded area, so you aren’t in the direct sun the whole hike, I still applied sunscreen. I have been trying different brands of mineral based sunscreens to see if there was anything I liked better than the traditional sunscreens (because, chemicals….). Turns out they have have some not so awesome chemicals in them too, and don’t work as well (for me anyway) as the traditional sunblock brands (like Banana Boat, Coppertone, Water Babies (which is by coppertone), and Hawaiian Tropic). The bugs also seemed to be attracted more to something in the mineral based sunblock I used today because they were literally attacking me the whole time, and i have never had that issue with “normal” sunscreens.

With feeling like I was getting burned while on my hike, and the bugs, and just overall not being impressed with the mineral based sunblocks, I stopped at Target on the way home from my hike (since there is literally a Target on my way home from where I went hiking), and I picked up some of the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 55 Sunscreen for my face, and a bottle of Coppertone Sport SPF 70 for the other exposed areas of skin that need sunblock. As a teenager and young adult (while in college), I didn’t care so much about my skin or the potential for skin cancer. I cared a bit more in my mid-twenties, but it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that  I was like “I better really start taking care of my skin”, and that includes sunscreen. I have seen many women who have spent too much time outside and not used enough (if any) sunblock. Suffice it to say Sunblock and hats are quickly becoming my BFF’s when the sun comes out. Besides the fact that wearing a hat helps to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Other than my adventure today, and quick stop to pick up sunblock that should last me for the next couple of years, depending on how much I go outside, this week, I have spent the majority of working on my new sock pattern. I did go out Monday and Tuesday afternoons to go pick up my mom from Downtown Portland….But it has been primarily a week spent working on knitting and drinking tea.

I found season 7 of Call the Midwife on iTunes, so I bought the season pass, so now each Monday, I get to watch a new episode of my current British Periods Drama obsession. It’s still hard to believe that they have started filming Season 8 of Call the Midwife. From what I have been reading and seeing, Call the Midwife has been renewed for at least a total of 10 seasons, which means at least two more seasons after the one they are currently filming (and three seasons more to watch after I finish season 7). I am pretty excited about that. I am still waiting to see if The Blacklist is renewed for a 6th Season, and if there will a 5th season of Poldark (Season 4 is filming). Good TV shows are hard to come by these  days. Now that Grimm and Downton Abbey have ended, I have been looking for new TV Shows to watch while I knit. At least I found a few show that are still coming out with new seasons to watch.

Seizing the Day

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Between all the rain we got over the weekend, and the sun coming out today, hitting nearly 70 degrees (69 to be exact), I had to get out and go for a hike.

I went and hiked up Mt. Talbert, which is one of my favorite spots. From where I started, hiking up to the summit, and back down again, it totaled 1.86 miles. Coming down was a shorter distance than going up. In the mile going up to the top, there was an elevation gain of about 417 feet. It smelled amazing out there and the birds were chirping. It was awesome.

This is one of my places to go hiking at the moment since I have been away from hiking for a bit, and I don’t have much in the way of endurance, but I am working on it. Consistency is key. I am also still working on breaking in the boots I bout a couple month back.

I love being up there and just thinking, and trying to clear my mind from the stress and craziness of life.

I love being outside, whether I am going for a walk on the beach or hiking in the woods – up the side of a mountain, that is where I am most at ease and content with life. I have lived the city life, and it’s really not for me. I prefer to more active, and finding a better balance between being able to be outdoors and being indoors.

Outdoorsy Girls are More Fun

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What a week. After my last post, I got a container of the Danner boot dressing, and used some on my boots, to help soften them up and break them it. It seems to be helping, which I will talk about in a bit.

I have also been preparing for a ladies retreat I am going on in the near future. I figured out what I am doing for gifts for the other ladies who are going.

I had also gone out to the stash tea store a couple times, once on my own and the second time with my mom.

Over the weekend I had gone back to the towns I lived in while in college to go to church. It is also nice to get away from the city for a bit. It had been such a beautiful day, so clear that you could see Mt Hood from where I was. Where I had attended college is at the bottom of the foothills of the coast range, southwest of Salem.

Yesterday, I had decided to go for another hike, because it was such a beautiful day, and I am not a fan of being stuck inside when it is between 60 and 70, and a beautiful day. The air smelled amazing, beings that it was warm, that warmth and direct sunlight made the trees give off that wood smell that reminds me of being at summer camp.

Today, it has been rainy and much cooler than it was yesterday. It has been a perfect day to stay inside, drink tea, work on my knitting projects, and watch Call the Midwife.

The blisters I got last week from wearing my new hiking boots are healing up nicely, and the Danner boot dressing has worked amazingly well. Yesterday I had used bandaid tough strips and some moleskin in the spots where I have blisters. That is definitely an upgrade from blister bandaids, gauze pads and medical tape, only to make my blisters worse. So my boys are finally getting broken in which is nice, as I am loving being out hiking.

Let the Adventures Begin!

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The bug I had at the end of last week was short lived, fortunately.

The Saje Essential Oils I ordered had arrived on Saturday, and the bottle of DoTerra OnGuard arrived yesterday. I love that the OnGuard is DoTerra’s blend of thieves. Thieves blend has been around for a while, and is based on a 15th century legend, during the bubonic plague.

Today was rather busy, I ran a couple errands, getting ready for some plans I have coming up in about a week and a half.

I also went on a 2.75 mile hike today. It was such a beautiful day, and I have been wanting to go out hiking for ages. I am also trying to break in my new hiking boots. One of the down sides of new hiking boots is blisters. I am hoping with time that my boots will get broken in so that the blisters don’t occur.

Over the course of the last week or so I have also been binge watching Call the Midwife, it is really good. As per usual I am late to the game of the good British TV shows that come across the pond.

Cabin Fever; The saga continues

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2018 has been a rough one so far for illness. I am sick for the third time this year and we are really only 2 months into the year.

All I want is to be healthy again and some half way decent weather so I can go hiking again.

The conditioning cream and the insoles I bought for my hiking boots came today, so I was able to condition my new hiking boots this afternoon, since they are full grain leather. I definitely want to protect them and have them last as long as possible.

Even though I am sick, today has been productive. I got some laundry done, and got my boots conditioned. I have gotten several blog posts written on a couple of my blogs, including this post. I have also been looking for a job.

Today has already been a two cup of tea day, and is about to be a three cup of tea day.

I will be giving essential oils a try here in the near future, to see if they help me stay healthy, help with my allergies and with stress. I am going to be trying a few blends.

I have too much going on this month to be sick again. I have a ladies retreat in a couple weeks that I will be attending as well as a concert the weekend after and I want to fit in at least a couple hikes before Oregon Spring Break.

I have also been sorting through some stuff, and seeing what I can get rid of, especially of things that don’t fit right or don’t fit period and I won’t wear. I am also trying to simplify what I have, with the exception of a few decorative things (even that I am trying to keep simple), I am trying to not have excessive amounts of material things that I don’t really need. If it is something functional, that I am currently using (or will for sure use when I move out on my own again) I am keeping it for now, but other things are just taking up needless space.

While I have no burning desire to living in a tiny home, I would rather live on acreage, with a modest farmhouse, bungalow or cottage, than a big house in the city. The one thing I would like though is a kitchen with decent counter space so I can have room to cook and bake, as well as a table that can seat several people, for family gatherings and such.

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.