What I have Learned about Modern Homesteading

Hey Everyone!

Over the years I had done things like going and doing U-Pick fruit and berries as well as picking berries from the backyard garden, as well as making jam and canning fruit.

The most consistent “homesteading” experience I had was two summers ago, when I was able to get eight batches of jam made from the raspberries I picked from the backyard.

The other day, I had gone for a walk a couple hours after breakfast, so I was able to sit a bit between breakfast and going for a walk. From about noon until a little after 7 o’clock pm, I had only sat down brief spurts to eat dinner while making jam. I had gone for a walk, picked raspberries once I got home, watered the raspberries once I picked the ripe ones, showered, put a load of laundry in the washer, started dinner, switched the laundry, started jam, continued eating dinner, finished up jam, got the laundry from the dryer, folded it, and by then it was 7 pm.

Then I got thinking about how much more work goes into having a farm / homestead this time of year. My walk would have likely been replaced by more gardening, cooking / making three meals a day, feeding animals, collecting eggs, casing after kids, trips into town, loads of laundry, and so much more. It is a busy life, and I do want that kind of life, to be busy providing healthy food for myself and my family. I want to spend more time outside, breathing, fresh country air, being tired at the end of the day from a good day’s work.

More to consider

Hey Everyone!

I have been considering ways to cut expenses, and what I can live without. I have also been greatly contemplating ways to work on saving money, and whether what I am spending money on will help me get to my end game, or hold me back a bit from it.

The life I am working toward and feel called to live is more one of simplicity, away from the city life, where I can raise a family of my own, as well as do more to live off the land, and be much less reliant on having to go to town and to the grocery store for food. I am also interested in cottage businesses, and being able to be sustainable from where I live, and that is more unconventional to how I was raised.

I realize that there are those who thrive in the city, and for whom the city is home, and can’t imagine having to grow and raise their own food. That’s fine, and I am not here to shame anyone for how they live their lives. I have just been disillusioned by living in the city and being dependent on grocery stores, when I can taste the difference between home grown / fresh from a local farm and home canned versus store bought. I also love doing it myself. I get a satisfaction at the end of a day from making homemade jam, or the end of a long day canning, or made a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients.

Now that I have far fewer hours at work, and also haven’t felt well for a while, I want to get to a place of better health, and working hard for the life that I know is right for me. I would much rather go to bed tired at the end of a long day knowing that the hard work I put in that day had a greater good than just earning a little money.

As far as cottage businesses go, the things that have been on my mind have been to sell some of the socks I make (that I don’t keep for myself), as well as handmade soap and candles. I definitely want to learn how to make handmade soap and handmade candles.

I also want to purchase American made when possible (like lodge cast iron skillets), when I need to purchase items.

I can live without having Smith Teamaker tea on a regular basis when Stash tea is plenty good enough, and a fraction of the price. I also don’t need to be shopping at work. I have spent more than enough money at work over the roughly 20 months I have been with the company.

Since the season ended, I am back off coffee. I have also made the decision to not drink alcohol any longer, as well as staying away from soda.

Giving up alcohol is not based on any moral sway, it is based on the fact of cost, and the fact that I am not really a fan of the flavor.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

What a year 2019 was. This holiday was particularly rough as well. It’s time to try to recover from the burnout. This season of work, has definitely taught me a lot about myself.

This year, I am definitely going to be working on getting my finances in order, as well as making some life changes. It is definitely time for me to be moving on from where I am, as well as finding a new job. I am also giving up coffee again, and I am also giving up going to coffee shops and Jamba Juice. The real cost of these trips has definitely hit me. There are and will be better uses for the money I have been spending. Even buying tea bags from my favorite local tea company, and making it at home is less expensive then buying it already made.

I haven’t been doing the Homemaking stuff like I used to, I have lost much of the desire I have had to do so, as well as not having much energy to do so.

I am also working on getting projects done, and working on knitting.

Yesterday, I had gone out with a friend of mine for a birthday adventure. We had gone to the Chinese Garden. Even though she lives in Kentucky now, she still picks up some shifts at her old job when she comes to town, so she was able to get a REAP card at work to use to get us into the Chinese Garden for free, which was nice. I also still had some money on my HOP card, so my bus and light rail fare was covered, so, I spent just under $20 yesterday. Though it hit me hard to pay over $6 for two donuts at Blue Star Donut company. It has also been a chilly, damp, dark, Rainy, Portland day. That being said it made me want to get more of the shawls I am working on done, as well as get a pair of rain boots. Being able to be out a bit more this time of year, and living a more rustic lifestyle is what I am drawn to.

Simple and Homemade

Hey Everyone!

I have been trying to enjoy the few days off in a row that I have had. I was asked to go in on my day off yesterday (which is a normal occurrence this time of year), but turned it down, as I am already scheduled to work 4 days in a row this week.

Yesterday, I was able to get quite a bit done around the house. I got a couple loads of laundry done, as well as making dinner. I made chicken penne, with a mix of whole wheat noodles and black bean penne noodles.

I also baked the reindeer sugar cookies we picked up at the grocery store.

I definitely miss being on my own, having to budget, living frugally, and living a simpler life. I have finally come to the point where I know what I want to be doing, and how I want to be living. I have realized that it’s time to be looking to move away from where I currently am, to an area with a better cost of living. I don’t really mind not having a lot of money, and making due with less. I am also the kind of person who wants and needs to do more for myself and my future family, such as gardening and canning. Homemade, homegrown and home canned food is better than store bought.

Preparing for my Future Home

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One of the things I have been doing since I was a teenager, has been collecting things for my future home. Well, at least for my future kitchen anyway. I didn’t start on collecting things for other rooms until I was in college.

I always knew I wanted a home of my own, and a kitchen of my own, where I could cook, bake, can, and so much more.

How I have wanted it to turn out has changed a bit over the years, I have known that Black, White, red and grey were the colors I wanted in my kitchen. So, over the years I have been collecting things to go with that color scheme to go in my future kitchen.

I am not one who wants super fancy and ornate, I prefer simple and down to earth, diy, kind of person.

At work, I had seen this set of dish towels that I knew would go perfectly in my future kitchen. Today, I picked up the last one we had in stock at the moment.

We had had this one set left for a little while, so I didn’t feel bad about snapping it up. It definitely helped that I had a couple loyalty rewards coupons to use, as well as my discount. In trying to be frugal, I like taking advantage of coupons and sales. I definitely like getting quality items at a good price.

The older I am getting, the more refined what I want my home to look like, and have take place in said home looks like. I want my home, to be homey, inviting, and welcoming, yet be practical and functional. I would love to homestead, have animals that I raise for food, as well as being able to can, and preserve food for winter.

When the time comes that I have my own home, I definitely want to work on my YouTube channel, especially if the whole Homesteading works out. I have a lot of ideas for videos that I really cannot make happen right now, that I could in my own home. I definitely will keep blogging, this blog really isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. I still have ideas for this blog as well.

Homemaking on my own Terms

Hey Everyone!

Is it just me, or do any of you also not enjoy having to sift through what seems like a novel of a blog post just to get to the recipe? yeah, that is definitely me. If I am wanting a recipe, I want the straight-up recipe right at the top, and all the pictures and annotations can come after that or in a different post.

I have been wanting to make easy artisan bread for a couple days, and I finally did it today. I googled recipes, and all of them were these novels of blog posts before they even had the normal version of the recipe (if they even shared the regular version of the recipe). So I had to stand there sifting through the fluff in order to start baking.

Now that I have made my own easy artisan bread, I typed up the recipe, and how I did things since I didn’t follow the recipe I used, exactly. It turned out really good though.

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For all of you who now want to make artisan bread, the recipe is my previous post (Easy Artisan Bread), your welcome.

Anyone else out there who cooks and / or bakes found an oil that they love using when they cook / bake? While I still use vegetable oil for cakes and such, I have found that I love using Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and it is my go to when I am sauteing things up in a pan or to coat the top of my loaves of bread, and so much more.

Today I had also mixed up some more hummingbird food since one had been spotted around and our feeder was out. It’s super easy to make. It’s 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.

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I had also gone out and picked two pints of raspberries and a heaping pint of cherry tomatoes. I am at the point in the season where I am kind of done with gardening, especially as things are winding down. I am sticking it out since I can’t stand wasting good food.

Lately I have really been in the mood to do more cooking and baking, as well as getting back into clean eating. That is one of the things I am currently working on.

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.

Urban Gardens

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The past few months I have been becoming more and more obsessed with gardening, and urban gardening. I would love to have a home and yard of my own that I could turn into a garden. I want to be able to grow more of my own produce. That being said I have no real desire to turn full on crunchy.

One of the great things about living in Portland is all the nurseries around as well as stores that carry canning and preserving supplies, and all the farmers markets we have.

While I was out and about scoping out neighborhoods I kind of like, I ended up in the area where I worked a few years back. Just down the street from the gluten free vegan bakery that is near where I used to work, there is this little garden center place that is so cute.

As much as this city can be annoying, and I am not a fan of all the traffic or how expensive it is getting, there are many good points about it, like all the Homemaking resources we have nearby.

I love that whatever I couldn’t/ didn’t grow, are available within a couple hours drive.

What Living in a Small Town taught me about Who I am

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I am loving gardening and being able to go outside and work around after a rough day. There is something about working around the garden alone in the evenings.

Gardening definitely makes me miss living in a small town in the middle of nowhere this time of year. The towns I lived in while in college are college towns, at the same time there are families who live there, and the college is a welcome part of the community. With the exception of some of the freshman (thinking back to my own freshman year and lower division classes), the majority of the student body were there to learn. There were also a fair amount of older / non traditional students who had kids, in addition to the school not being a party school (can anyone say “dry campus”), made for a more family friendly community small town feel. Outside of town limits it was all farm land, whether they were growing grass for hay, hops for beer, or grapes to make wine, it is definitely a farming area. A lot of people who lived outside city limits also had gardens, some had chickens and or goats. There were at least a couple alpaca farms. It took leaving the city and moving there to realize that I am not a city girl.

It took living there to plant the seeds of wanting to live in the country, on some acreage where I can have a flower garden and a fruit & vegetable garden as well as chickens, maybe some goats, and so much more. I personally fell in love with living in the country, not super far from a small town.

Living there taught me how to appreciate the quiet and simpleness of a summer’s evening, and gardening once the sun is past it’s peak (between 5:30 and 7:30 pm), and enjoy watching the sun go down while sitting outside especially if there is a breeze.

Living in a small town where the regular TV stations didn’t always come through clearly, and many businesses closed by 7:00 pm, there wasn’t a lot to do like there is in the city. That didn’t bother me at all. It really helped me to appreciate the simpler things in life like the beauty of a summers evening, and going for a walk for something to do. It fits well with who I am. That slower pace of life, and enjoying the simpler way of life in terms of not having to be going from one store to another, spending lots of money, or constantly needing to go somewhere and do something is what works for me. If I ever have a family of my own, I would love to raise my kids near a small town.

Working around in the garden this week gave me time to think about how much more I want to do and what I want to grow and make for myself. While there is more of a resurgence of the Homesteading / Urban Homesteading Lifestyle out here in this part of the country, it seems like how much of what women did a couple generations ago (and they weren’t all urban housewives), is a chapter in the history books. Homesteading, even Modern Homesteading and urban Homesteading are a lot of work, but I love the way I feel at the end of a long day of work and being tired from actually accomplishing something.

This week I have picked about a pint of raspberries each day, and yesterday I picked some of my lettuce that I had planted earlier this week. I watered the garden, and kept a watchful eye on the tomato plants. It was a good thing that we staked the tomatoes last weekend. They have grown so much in the past week, it’s crazy. As of yesterday there were 11 flowers that I counted between all the plants. If we hadn’t staked them when we did, they would likely be falling over already.

Starting a Garden Journal

Hey Everyone!

Now that I have been getting more into Gardening, and hope to continue gardening well into the future, I decided to start a gardening journal.

I know that moving is in near enough future, and depending on where I move, the longitude and latitude I am at may change a bit or a lot. Unless I am able to move to Alaska, which could happen, in all likelihood I will stay in Oregon, Washington or Idaho, as I love this part of the country and the growing regions we have out here. We have everything I want out here, in terms of agriculture and produce. Not to mention hunting and fishing.

Each year is different, and different vegetables grow differently at different elevations, in different climate zones and at different latitudes.

I decided to start keeping this journal to track all of that on a regular basis (daily or almost daily).

I am only needed to record longitude, latitude, elevation and town / closest town each time I move, just to know where I am at and to be able to go back and look as a reminder.

At the beginning of the season I want to track if I planted anything new, what I planted, and how many plants, as well as what plants returned. From there, when I do maintenance stuff like staking the tomatoes or transferring starts from the greenhouse to the outdoor garden. I also want to track when things first start coming on.

On the daily basis track things like high temperature, humidity, whether it was an overcast or sunny day, if there was rain, or that I watered. I also want to track how much of each item I harvest each day. From there, I also want to document if I was able to make a batch of jam or something like that from what I harvested.

Part of why I am writing it down is so I have it easily at hand to track and look back on, as well as the fact it will be easier to search than my blog. I also feel that I would bore you all and lose followers if I posted all that here on a daily basis.

Not to mention that this blog is more than just about gardening, even though that is taking up a bit of my time in the summer.

I want to keep things as well rounded as possible, with Homemaking, Cooking, Baking, Canning, Gardening, cleaning, budgeting couponing, Decorating, entertaining, and all of that,