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. 

Weekend Homemaking 

Hey Everyone!

After spending time yesterday finishing up a pair of socks before going out with my mom for treats at my favorite bakery here in the city, before running an errand and coming home. 

This morning, I went out and picked raspberries, and got two whole pints since I missed picking yesterday. We have been getting about a pint or so a day. The two pints I got today went in the fridge, in hopes that come Monday or so I will get another couple pints of raspberries from the backyard so I can make jam this week. 

Earlier this afternoon I started a new pair of socks, using KnitPicks Palette Yarn in Victorian and Larch Heather, before going to the grocery store. 

On the news the past few weeks and months the news has been making a bigger deal of the total solar eclipse than has really needed to be made, and has had a lot of people freaking out and at some grocery stores there have been runs on certain items. Today, and last night at our local Fred Meyer and Safeway Stores (in the 99.2% totality range), it has been business as usual. 

This evening, after making dinner is was my job to go through the bag of pickling cucumbers and pull out the moldy ones after having dumped them out on a towel. It was kinda gross. At least the ones that weren’t moldy, will be put in a vinegar brine and heated through tomorrow. 

Tonight I am hoping to get a little more knitting done before I settle in for the night and read for a while. 

Raspberry Gleaning

Hey Everyone!

With my family being gone last week, it was up to me to go out and pick the raspberries in the backyard as well as to water the plants. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed going outside and picking raspberries and watering the plants, seeing as I want a place of my own where I can have a garden and grow my own vegetables and berries. 

Homemaking, urban homesteading, knitting, 

In the modern era, especially in places that are not food deserts, grocery stores are all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, there are somethings that really are more worthwhile / economical to purchase from a grocery store. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but out here, we have Trader Joe’s Stores, and they have a really good selection of dried fruit, nuts, trail mixes and that kind of thing for a really good price. Not to mention the dried foods like flour (and not gluten free flours as well), sugar, coffee, oats and such that people would often purchase at the general store or mercantile in town. So going totally without a grocery store is not something I totally want to do without. With that being said there is definitely more I want to do for myself or buy from farmers markets or fruit / vegetables stands. If I can’t grow it myself or it would not be practical to grow small scale, I would rather buy it from local farmers via a farmers market or farm stands / stores (like what they have out along the fruit loop in the gorge or out on Sauvie Island). 

I have been out picking raspberries pretty much every day for the past week and I love it. Today I got about a pint of berries. 


Having property and a garden takes hard work. I am definitely someone who doesn’t mind working hard and getting my hands dirty or callused.  

I am also a huge fan of cooking from scratch, and simple dinners that fill people up, that are also not step intensive or difficult. Yesterday I had tried a new recipe (for me anyway), that was a little time consuming, but really easy, and only had a few ingredients and a few steps. The most time consuming part was removing the excess fat from the chicken, letting it marinate and then letting it cook. In and of itself the marinade had like 5 ingredients, and you put it all together, and then put the chicken in (I used a couple gallon size bags) and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours, then I dumped the contents of the bags into a roasting pan and put in the oven for about an hour. It turned out really good. I had also made baked rice to go with it. 


I feel like I am fairly realistic about how much work it takes to grow A garden, can fruit, freeze fruit and vegetables, and raise some chickens and maybe some pigs for meat. It all takes time and effort, and a willingness to get in there and get hot, sweaty and dirty. 

When Homemaking is a Passion

Hey Everyone! 

As a child, I was my dad’s little buddy when he would be working out in the yard, and I was my mom’s (and grandma’s) little buddy when they were out in the kitchen. As a kid I can remember my dad taking my brother and I fishing, and as I got a little older, I was the only one he took. Seeing a fish be cleaned always fascinated me. 

Growing up, I also enjoyed cooking and baking. Once I had to go Dairy Free and Gluten Free (and now egg free as well), cooking and baking have taken on new meanings. 

From the time I was young I would help my mom make Sunday dinners when she would make them, as well as holiday dinners once my Dad’s mom passed away. I also grew up helping my mom can and make jam in the summers. 

My later high school years were when I really began to enjoy learning about what women’s roles were during the 1800’s, especially those who lived on the frontier, as well as between the 1920’s – early 1960’s. More specifically what life was life for women who didn’t come from money or marry into money – women like my grandmothers and great grandmothers. Women who cooked, baked, gardened, kept a house and even went to work if they needed to. 

Now that I am older, I have heard stories that my grandmother had told my mom of her youth and young adult life, as well as stories that my mom has told from when she was around. 

Part of my love of Homemaking and the history of it, is that at one time many women gardened, or if not, the food they had available was all local and ethnically raised. Knowing where my food comes and how it’s raised / grown is important to me. Just from my own experience, with the young women I have known here where I live, I am one of the few (like that I can count on one hand) who know how to can food, as well and knowing how to make a meal from scratch. 

This past week I have been home on my own, which means that checking the raspberries and other plants in the backyard as well as watering everything. I have also been doing my fair share of cooking, baking and cleaning, so those I live with could come home to a clean house. 

In college, when I had my own apartment, I found a love / tolerate relationship with cleaning. While I could find things I would rather do than clean, I don’t hate it either. I also found that cleaning is a good stress reliever. If I just needed a break from studying/ homework and needed to clear my head and destress (and it was too late to go far a walk), I would clean my apartment. I came to kind of enjoy cleaning, and I always enjoyed having a clean apartment. 

While in college I also found a love for decorating the space I live in, and make it smell good. Over the years I have been working in building up my fall decorations and winter decorations stashes. 

I am all for women being able to do what they want with their lives, and follow their dreams and pursue their career goals. I am by no means advocating doing away with the all the work that women (and men) before me and have done to give me the opportunity to pursue my own dreams and find out what I am passionate about. There are so many things I love doing that 2 or 3 generations ago, I would not have been able to do. 

I definitely want to help preserve and share the history of my grandmother’s and great grandmother’s generations as well as the history of their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers.