Peaches Galore

Hey Everyone!

I had mentioned in a previous post that over the weekend, while at one of the farm stands, we picked up 60 pounds of fresh, local peaches. 

Today we canned most of them. We got a total of 3 batches (21 quarts) of peaches. We also got two batches of muffins, a batch of peach freezer jam and some left over to eat out of the 60 pounds. 

My mom and I had gotten on the subject about how in the olden days women used to can in houses without AC over a wood burning stove, in dresses with longer sleeves and long skirts. I had been thinking about that earlier in the day, and in the days and weeks prior to today, about how much women did in the summer in addition to their regular routines. Fixing meals, doing laundry, cleaning house all didn’t stop just because canning season arrived. They would be out in the garden and picking the fruit and putting it up in addition to taking care of a family and a home.

My mom and I do why we do because we enjoy doing it. In the current day and age it is easy enough to get fruit to put up. I can only imagine how hard it can be in years when the weather is uncooperative and / or crops fail, and you then don’t have food to put up for winter. 

I had gone out earlier in the evening and picked raspberries and to check on my little lettuce plants. My lettuce starts seem to be taking. As much as I don’t like the hot weather, the plants do go better when it is warm / hot and sunny. I am totally hoping that I can get some lettuce off my little plants before the weather gets too cool. 

Today was extremely productive, and I am tired for all the right reasons. I love days when I work hard and get a lot done. 

Major Urban Homesteading Going on in this House

Hey Everyone!

This weekend has been a busy Urban Homesteading. 

Yesterday (Saturday), I went out with my mom, to two farm stands to get peaches and berries to can and make more Jam. 

After we got back to the house, I picked raspberries in the backyard and planted some lettuce starts that we got for free. I watered them really well last night, as well as again this morning. 

Last night my mom and I made two batches of blackberry jam and one batch of strawberry jam. 

Today I picked more raspberries, and made some more raspberry jam. 

We had also picked up a Hermiston Watermelon and a Hermiston cantaloupe from one the farm stand by the golf course. 

This weekend 4 batches of jam were made, and peaches will be canned later this week sometime. 

Tomorrow I will be checking my lettuce plants and seeing how well the my be taking. They have had plenty of water, and a nice warm day today, I am hoping they take and that I can get some lettuce off then before the season is over. Free salad would be awesome. 

Homesteading: Learning by Doing

Hey Everyone!

I have known that I am a kinesthetic or tactile learner for years. This means I learn by doing what I am learning how to do. That is why in large I have taken to knitting, cooking, baking, canning/preserving, fishing, and now starting to really learn about gardening by being outside and trying it myself. 

The past month or so, I have been the primary raspberry picker in my household. It started when I was left home alone for a week, and there was no one else to go do it, so I did it, and I enjoyed it. 

I began “helping” my mom cook, bake and can as a child, and as I got older I was able to actually help, and now that I am an adult, I can do it on my own. 

Currently I am still learning how to tend a garden and knowing when produce is ripe on the tree/vine/bush as well how much water is enough water without over watering. 

Grocery Shopping: Plastic VS Paper VS Bring Your Own Bags

Hey Everyone!

I was watching a YouTube Video yesterday, made by a young American woman who has only lived in the US a short time since she moved to Switzerland at 17. She has since returned to the US. She had made a “reverse culture shock” video about some of the things she had forgotten about while spending the last 5+ years in Switzerland and Germany. One of those things we having plastic and paper bags available in the grocery stores / Supermarkets, because, in Germany and Switzerland (at least in the parts she lived in) you had to bring your own reusable bags. 

I can only speak on it from my own experience from the grocery stores I have been in. 

I will only talk about places I have visited in the last 5ish years. 

Here in Portland Oregon, and in Multnomah County (The county Portland is in), a plastic bag ban was put into effect a few years ago. Up until that point, and still to this day in other counties (as well as for paper bags in Multnomah County), paper/plastic bags are free. 

Bringing your own bags is still totally optional here in Oregon and SW Washington, but is definitely encouraged here in Portland. I can’t speak on Tacoma or Seattle, because I haven’t been grocery shopping in Seattle and it has been way to long since I have been in a grocery store in the Tacoma and Olympia areas. 

When I was in New York (Long Island), a few years ago, I want to say plastic bags were readily available and didn’t cost anything.

From where my parents live, in Portland, Clackamas County is a short drive away (and the closest Fred Meyer to their house is in Clackamas County). Clackamas County still has plastic bags in their stores, free of charge. 

Polk County (central willamette valley), where I lived while in college, as well as Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop Counties on the coast still for sure have plastic bags in their grocery stores, free of charge. 

I get the point of doing away with plastic grocery bags, but I am not a fan. For people like me, who reuse them for garbage when I am cleaning the house, I don’t want to spend money I am going to put trash in anyway, when (at least here) you can get plastic grocery bags that many people still reuse. I also like them for when I buy meat, and should something leak, the plastic contains the mess, and is less time (and cleaning products) to clean up after. 

For the most part I don’t mind using the reusable bags for everything but raw meat, but I also don’t like being dictated to or punished for the actions of those who don’t reuse or dispose of their plastic bags properly. 

I have been known to purposefully go shopping for groceries in Clackamas County and for non perishables in some of the other counties if I happen to be in the area, just to get plastic bags. Yet I am also taken aback when asked “Paper or Plastic?”. 

Up where my aunt and uncle live in BC, they still can get plastic but have to pay for the bags if they don’t bring their reusable bags. 

So I have grown accustomed to having reusable bags, but still miss (and take advantage of other counties still having them for free) the plastic grocery bags, that I do reuse.

Leave me a comment below, letting me know what it is like where you are in terms of paper, plastic, and reusable and do you have to pay for your paper or plastic bags, and your thoughts on should more states be banning plastic bags?

Total Solar Eclipse Day

Hey Everyone!

So far today, I have got in eating food, making tea, picking raspberries, watching the total solar eclipse from the backyard, made raspberry freezer jam and labeled the dill pickles that were canned yesterday, and I got all of that done before noon. It was a very productive morning. I am taking a short break before I go deal with getting the chicken marinating for dinner. I literally remembered the chicken while I was sitting here writing this post. 

This is how dark it got in Portland, which was in the 99.2% totality range. It got more dusky or like looking at the back yard through sunglasses. It didn’t get that dark. 

Once I got the chicken marinating, I put the pickles away, and cleaned the kitchen, and mopped the floor. Now I am trying to relax before I cook the chicken I put to marinate earlier. 

Canning Garlic Dill Pickles

Hey Everyone!

Today, I picked some more raspberries before coming back in and got started canning pickles with my mom. 

Today we got 19 quarts of pickles made today. 

The recipe we used was one my grandma had gotten from one of the ladies in the church she was Pastors wife of in Minneapolis. My mom got a copy of my grandma’s cook book that she has put together for her Wedding, and I got the original cookbook my grandma made herself when my Grandpa passed away. (My grandma passed away before my grandpa). 

I had started “helping” my mom can pickles when I was little by helping stuff jars, so I grew helping can, and watching. Now that I am an adult working around the kitchen and canning is second nature to me. 

What Canning, Homemaking and urban Homesteading is to me, is what Algebra is to those who get it. 

It Pays to Check every Label

Hey Everyone!

A friend of mine had brought it to my attention today that Heinz “Apple Cider” Vinegar isn’t actually made from Apple Cider. The only difference between the regular Heinz Distilled Vinegar and the so called “Apple Cider” Vinegar is that the “Apple Cider” Vinegar has flavors and colors added. This is deceitful marketing if I ever did see it. 

There are other brands (including the store brands) that actually make Apple Cider Vinegar. So check the label if you actually want Apple Cider Vinegar.

They say hindsight is 20/20. When I read my friend’s post about the Apple cider vinegar, there was a little voice in the back of my head that was like “you know better than to not read the label, even on something as dumb as Vinegar”. Not because it actually has dairy in in, but to double check to make sure, because nothing is safe until you check, and not everything is what it says it is. 

I learned to read every label, because way to many things that would think don’t have dairy in them actually do, including things that say “non-dairy” yet contain sodium caseinates (the protein in milk). So while the vinegar doesn’t contain dairy, I am still way to trusting of mainstream food from the grocery store. 

If the past 5.5 years haven’t already taught me to question everything and literally read every label, this has definitely taught me that, as well as that you can’t trust name brands to be honest with you. 

I hate to say it, but we live in a day and age when big corporations love to lie to the consumer for the sake of the almighty dollar and their profits.