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.

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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.

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.

They Got Too Heavy!!!

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This morning I only got about 3/4 of a pint of raspberries. This caused me to do some research. I know that our bushes are of the ever bearing type of heirloom red raspberries. My research indicates that there are two seasons of crops each year, one in July (that we are coming off of), and one later on in the summer, like August / September. Beings that the bushes still have buds on them and flowers I am hoping that if I just wait it out that I will be able to get more batches of jam.

I knew it was only a matter of time, even with having staked the tomato plants, that they would start to topple over.

I had been watering the garden a bit and over they went. I don’t want to chop the vines off yet since they have flowers on them.

The vines that toppled over are part of the biggest grouping of tomatoes that are staked, so I am not surprised. I am just hoping to get tomatoes off the plants this year.

Finally starting to see Tomatoes.

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I had skipped checking the garden yesterday since it was so hot. It had gotten to at least 100 degrees yesterday. It was too hot for me to go out.

I got up early enough this morning to go out, since it was still in the low to mid 70’s and not in full sun yet.

Today I got two pints of raspberries.

I was also checking the tomato plants, as we haven’t gotten any yet this season. I have been seeing a lot of flowers over the past few weeks. Today I finally started seeing actual tomatoes. They are still tiny and green, but they signs of what is to come. They seem to be a little late coming on this year.

I am hoping that the heat helps them grow and ripen. I am glad that I got the plants staked when I did as they more than doubled in height in a couple of weeks, and would have toppled over by now.

I also trimmed back the raspberries so that they are easier to tend, and get more sun. When they grow up rather than producing berries than that height needs to go.

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

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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,