Last Batch of Jam for the Summer!

Hey Everyone!

We have (hopefully) had our last 90 degree day of the year.

The next 10 days at least are looking much cooler, with a slight potential for some more hot weather, but I am hoping we have seen the end of the hot weather.

Today I picked two pints of raspberries to add to the two pints I picked Tuesday. I also picked a pint of tomatoes.

This afternoon I also made a batch of raspberry jam. This is my eighth batch for this summer.

Today was a good 20 degrees cooler than it was yesterday, and most of the day was nearly 30 degrees cooler.

I also went to a job interview a couple days. I am still waiting to hear back. If I don’t hear back tomorrow than I know I didn’t get it.

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Productive Day Homemaking

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday was busy, even though I didn’t go anywhere.

I had gone out earlier in the morning to garden and make sure I came in before it got too hot.

Once I came in, I made food for myself then got to work, making gluten free vegan banana nut muffins for myself, regular banana bread for those I live with, as well as a batch of raspberry jam. I also finished up a dishcloth I was working on as well as helped install a new light fixture in the dining area.

All of that was done by about a quarter to three.

I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out, enjoying the air conditioning, since it had gotten up over 90 again today.

First Freezer Jam of the Season!

Hey Everyone!

Summer is in full swing! The raspberries we have growing in the backyard are taking off.

Yesterday I had grabbed a second pint berry container just in case, and I wound up using it and filled it up. Today when I went out to pick berries I had also taken a second pint container with me and I filled both up as well today.

I finally had enough berries to make a batch of freezer jam! So I finally got my first batch of jam of the season.

I used the directions out of the MCP box for making freezer jam, with one alteration, I put Karo Light Corn Syrup in my jam. The old MCP recipe called for a cup of Karo Syrup after you let the jam sit with the lemon juice and pectin, and before adding the sugar. You also want to put the lemon juice in with the crushed berries and the pectin. The directions don’t specify that.

I had made some jam after they had changed the recipe and without realizing they had changed the recipe and the jam came out all gritty and gross.

My mom and I came to the conclusion that the Karo Syrup helps the sugar to dissolve and the jam to not be gritty.

I don’t know if it was just one of those things or if there was any correlation between the two but i had watered the garden earlier in the week and the next day there were so many berries ready.

I will definitely try to remember to pay attention to how many berries I get tomorrow and see if there is more berries ready than usual.

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

Hey Everyone!

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.

Autumn Decorations Haul

Hey Everyone!

Today I stopped at Joann’s, and picked some more fall decorations.

Over the past several years I have been working on my stash of fall decorations.

My goal is to keep my fall and Christmas decorations to two plastic tubs a piece, including seasonal Scentsy warmers. Once I am able to get a place of my own again, I really want to organize my fall and Christmas decorations and Scentsy warmers, and try to condense as much as possible. Once I am able to move again, I also want to go through my stuff, especially from college and see about donating some of the stuff that I haven’t used in 7.5 years that I don’t want or need again for a place of my own (like cookware, dishes and furniture). I know there are boxes full of clothes that no longer fit or are my style.

I am really trying to find the balance of living simply, without too much in the way of material things while balancing making wherever I live feel like a home. I have totally been inspired by those who live in off grid cabins or build their own off grid home on a homestead.

I went back and watched one of the first Pure Living for Life videos where Alyssa was talking about why she was selling her relatively new Subaru and that she and Jesse were in the process of moving to their 5 acre property, and were working on doing it debt free. The point she made was pretty much that for many people we go to jobs that we may not necessarily like, to pay in the debts so we can have the things that on the social level we are expected to have and congratulated on. She had also stated that when she and Jesse told people about them going and living off grid and building their own house, and doing what they are doing now, everyone they knew told them that they were in essence crazy.

While I don’t know that I want to totally go off grid, the idea of building my own house (with help of course), and living on some property, and live debt free is the kind of life I want to live. Being able to live in a house I helped build from the ground up, and be able to entertain, and enjoy the house and property, and share that with others is something I am working toward.

What is Simple Homemaking?

Hey Everyone!

The past couple years I have been feeling like the direction my blog is going to go will be changing.

I have known that living in the city is not who I am, or where I am the most authentic as well as where this blog kind of stalls out. There is only so much I feel like I can do in the city with a smaller backyard.

To me, simple homemaking, is living debt free, growing and raising my own food, doing a lot more DIY stuff, and not having a lot of frivolous material knick-knacks. There is a fine line between making a house feel homey, and going overboard.

I am wanting to go even “Simpler” in terms of how I live, and not buy more material things unless I need them, as well as make as much of my own stuff as I can, as well as grow and raise a lot of my own. That is my 5 – 10 year goal, to be a homesteader.

Who Wants to be a Homesteader? 

Hey Everyone!

This morning as I was putting the dishes away, I had noticed that there were some ripe raspberries out on the raspberry plants in the backyard. 

So I went outside and picked them. 

And then ate them with the salad I had….


I sure do love Oregon berries and locally grown produce. It’s even better when they come from your own backyard. I am all about modern day homesteading, and growing a lot of your own food. I wouldn’t mind living on a farm or ranch, and raising a lot of my own produce, as well as chickens (layers and meat chickens), pigs (for food), as well as stocking the freezer with fish (salmon, cod, etc), caught here on the west coast, venison, elk, maybe a moose. I also want to have a good supply of freezer jam made from local berries, as well as canned jams and jellies. I definitely want to try at some point in my life, black currant jelly, elderberry jelly and fireweed jelly. 

I know canning, preserving, gardening, and farm life is hard work. I love working with my hands and seeing the product of my efforts, and being in the kitchen as well as outside. I also know that berry bushes scratch up your hands, arms and legs. I know that it takes a while to pit pie cherries before you can them. 

I was raised in the city, and raised eating grocery store food 99% of the time. Now that I am older, I am way more conscious of where my food comes from, how it was raised, what it was fed, what it was given (hormones, antibiotics etc), and honestly all of that grosses me out. I have tasted fresh caught salmon, and locally grown vegetables, and chicken that I saw where & how it was raised and honestly all of that tasted so much better than the grocery store food. 

Since I developed food intolerances and sensitivities, I am all about clean eating, as well as knowing where my food comes from, and how it was raised. 

At the end of the day, I would just as soon spend a day working hard outside or in the kitchen doing something to provide food for myself and my future family, whether it be to eat right away or preserve for eating in the colder months when fresh food is scarce. 

The more I can do for myself (of help my future husband with), and the less I have to rely on the mainstream grocery stores for, the happier I would be. I am also sure the more fresh, local, natural foods (as opposed to processed) I can eat, I know my body would do better with. 

That is my ultimate goal, to raise more of my food myself, live on some acreage, and be more self sufficient (including learning how to sew).