Just your average working class neighborhoods

Hey Everyone!

Today I needed to get out of the house and go do stuff, so I went out.

I got a coffee from black rock coffee, and went on my way. I had also stopped at my local Fred Meyer store and picked up a couple things, including more soothing lotion Kleenex. My allergies are still so bad for the fourth day in a row. For now I should be called sneezy, since I have been doing a lot of that lately.

Part of why I went out today was to do a little checking out of neighborhoods. There are a couple I really like, that is if I were to find a decent job and were able to afford to live in the city. The area I like is over in NE Portland, and was traditionally a working class neighborhood. It is the type of neighborhoods that would have been the type of neighborhoods my grandparents and great grandparents would have been raising families in. They are just normal homes in decent areas without being over the top and fancy. The kind of area where your everyday joe, who went to work and raised a family would have lived.

While I was at Fred Meyer, I found this really cute reusable shopping bag, and I fell in love.

I love anything that even resembles the 1950’s. It’s not just about being a stay at home wife and mother. While there are parts of this era where women were repressed, and didn’t have much say, yet they knew how to do a lot. There are things like being able to cook and back from scratch, canning as well as things such as sewing, needle point, knitting, crocheting, and so much more that isn’t common place much anymore. There was also a sense of class and decorum during that era.

Living in Portland, the whole “green” movement, reduce/reuse/recycle mentality is huge. We have yard debris bins that our compostables, and food scraps go in, as trash service every other week. It is also to the point where Multnomah County banned plastic grocery bags and bringing your own reusable bags encouraged.

Today, I was also able to pick two pints of raspberries as well as quite a few tomatoes. There are still quite a few tomatoes on the vines.

I am definitely not crunchy, nor will I likely ever be. Though there are some “crunchy”/”hipster”/”natural” traits that are also more “traditional” that I have adopted. Some of which include: shopping local as much as possible, cooking and baking from scratch, I love farmers markets – which also ties into the shopping local bit as well. I also like that you can get a lot more fresh produce and such at farmers markets for a good price. It hasn’t had to travel that far, so the product is fresher and hasn’t had sit for a while, and not as much fuel was used in the transport from farm to market, which is a money saver. You can also find more interesting things you wouldn’t normally find at a grocery store. The reusable bag I bought, I would eventually like to use when I am able to go to farmers markets.

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Gardening with Unhealthy Air Quality

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I had picked raspberries Monday, and had put them in the refrigerator to hold them over a couple days until I got another couple of pints.

That was before the air quality because unhealthy.

I didn’t Garden yesterday since the air quality was peaked at 170 and I felt awful. I started back on my allergy meds.

I too another dose of allergy meds this morning since I am feeling a little better today, put on my respirator mask and went out and picked raspberries since I had skipped a day.

This was the combined fruit from Monday and today. That is roughly four pints of berries.

This afternoon I made my sixth batch of raspberry jam for the summer. All of the berries that I used came from the backyard. Just for jam, and not counting the pints we have enjoyed eating, I have used two flats worth of raspberries for Jam. We have still had to buy the pectin, sugar, Karo Syrup, and lemon juice, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to what berries cost, even going to the farm stand.

The air quality today is ever so slightly better than yesterday (mid 160’s compared to 170), but it was still at unhealthy levels.

Unhealthy Air Quality

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The smoke from the wildfires that are burning here along the West Coast has finally settled into the Portland Metro area. While we don’t have any big wildfires burning on the west side of the cascades, that are north of Roseburg. There are several that are burning south of Roseburg, and in Central Oregon. So we are getting smoke from those fires as well as California, Washington and British Columbia. The air is also pretty stagnant today, and it’s hot so the smoke is settling here in the valley.

Our Air Quality Index here in Portland is sitting at 164, which is in the unhealthy range. I am definitely feeling it. My nose is stuffy, my nasal passages, throat and eyes are irritated.

I had noticed how smoky it was becoming yesterday while I was out gardening, and it was nowhere near as bad as today.

I didn’t go out and do any gardening today since it has been so hot and smoky.

I have been wanting to move someplace with a cooler climate and better air quality for a while. Having it this hot and this smoky for several summers in a row, has added to my desire to work hard and move.

Born in the Wrong Era

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Earlier I was thinking about what I was going to fix for dinner since I hadn’t marinated the chicken I got at the store yet.

I knew I had a lot spinach in the fridge, so I decided to make sautéed spinach with yellow cherry tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice sautéed in olive oil. I also decided to cook some of the tricolored quinoa I had in the pantry to add to add to my concoction, for some protein. I had also added a bit of salt as well.

On the side I had broiled some left over rosemary potatoes I had made the other night.

Before starting in on making dinner I had mixed up a batch of gluten free, vegan cherry brownies. I used apple sauce instead of butter, and I really like how they turned out.

After I had dinner and cleaned up the kitchen I went out to the garden and picked raspberries. I also checked the tomatoes and the lettuce. The tomatoes are still very green, and I had picked lettuce a couple evenings ago so there was not anymore ready at this point.

I am working with have I have available to me at this point. I would love to live outside of the city on more property, and have a larger garden. I would love to do more canning, and freezing of what I can grow and obtain fairly locally, as well as freezing meat obtained from hunting and fishing.

Part of this comes from the fact that I was raised in the city, where I have always been reliant on the grocery stores for all my food, unless we went to a produce stand, farm store or farm stand locally. Be even then, most of the meat I have eaten in my life came out of a package.

While there are certain items I would still need to pick up at the grocery store, I am the kind of person who wants to know where my raw food, especially and produce is coming from, how it was raised, and that it was butchered properly. I also want to be doing more to support my local farmers and helping them succeed. I prefer local food, when you buy it from the farm itself, it is a better quality, and has better flavor.

As I have gotten older, the quality of my food has become more and more important, as well as supporting the local smaller farms and such, over the big chain stores. The chain stores have been having so many issues with recalls on food for e.coli and salmonella and other contaminates.

I also love cooking and baking and using the best quality ingredients in what I create. There are times when I feel like I was born in the wrong era, because I do enjoy Homemaking, gardening, knitting, hard work, and all that goes along with it.

Heading into Late Summer

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I hadn’t been out picking raspberries this past weekend. Saturday was a busy day, and Sunday was just to hot to be out.

Today I went out and picked berries, and I found about a pint’s worth of raspberries. The raspberries that were ripe were quite ripe.

We will be seeing more come on in the next couple of weeks. I hope to get a few more batches of jam.

I have been keeping an eye on the tomato plants we have in the backyard. I always thought they were yellow cherry or grape tomatoes. The size of the tomatoes is making me think they are yellow Roma tomatoes.

This year we will actually have tomatoes to eat, and possibly have enough to make some homemade tomato sauce.

Since I started keeping track of sunrise and sunset ten days ago, we have already lost twenty two minutes of daylight.

While it has been so hot, the fact that we have lost so much daylight already, Autumn is coming.

My mom and I had gone to Joann’s on Saturday. They actually have autumn decorations already. It is making me excited for autumn to be here.

Banana Bread and Monster Cherry Tomatoes!!

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We had a couple bananas that had gotten a bit to ripe for eating, so I made a loaf of banana bread.

It looks and smells good, I just can’t try it since it has butter in it.

I have also been keeping an eye on the tomato plants we have in the backyard. They are a variety of yellow cherry or grape tomatoes. So far some of them have gotten huge.

As we are in the height of summer, I am looking toward autumn and the weather cooling off. There are a lot of summer crops that I would love to grow, and have in my garden. There is so much I would love to can and preserve. Then comes autumn and everything apples and pumpkins.

Summer Baking: Making Zucchini Bread from Free Zucchini

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My mom had gotten a large zucchini for free from someone she works with. She was not sure what to do with it, so I made three loaves of zucchini bread.

I hate wasting good food just because you don’t want to eat it. I always try to remember that there are children in this country who go hungry. So when you have food that is still good, you use it and eat it. While zucchini on its own is not one of my favorite foods, if you grate it up and make zucchini bread, then it is amazing.

As I have gotten older, reducing the amount of waste I create, and using food to create something that tastes good. Part of this is Lifestyle choices, and wanting to live a simpler life, as well as the fact that I have known how much food costs from a young age and am not oblivious to the struggle to keep enough food around. I am more grateful for what I have.

Today I picked about a pint of raspberries, which is a bit more than I have picked each day for the past few days. I am hoping that this is a sign that the second crop of the season is coming on and that I will be able to get more jam made this summer.