This is the Life I Choose

Hey Everyone!

Earlier this week, one of the evenings I had been out picking raspberries, and I was been eaten alive by mosquitoes and cut up by the raspberry bushes.

The next afternoon I went digging in my closet looking for an old button down shirt that I didn’t really care about and hadn’t worn for ages. I found one that would work and put it on before going out to pick berries.

While the scratches from the raspberry bushes hurts, it’s the mosquito bites that concern me a bit more. While we don’t really worry about things like Yellow Fever or Malaria, or anything that is typically in the humid subtropical areas of the world, our biggest worries are West Nile Virus and to some extent Zika. Other than travel related cases where someone had travelled to a place where Zika is prevalent and gets bit, it is a pretty low risk still at this point in this part of the country that you could get Zika from a mosquito bite here. That being said it’s something I don’t want to take the chance of.

This evening I had gone out picking, and I got about 7/8 of a pint. The berries are slowly coming on. It is a wait and see kind of thing to see what the crop is like this year.

The berries I have gotten thus far have been gotten eaten. If and when I start getting a pint and a half to two pints a day, then making jam is a definite possibility.

There are a couple DIY hacks I would like to try in the future, such as homemade Citronella candles and using citronella essential oil mixed with fractionated coconut oil applied topically. I would also like to give some proper work clothes a try like some Duluth Trading Company clothes a try for the summer months (as well as some Carhartt for the colder months).

It seems that the older I get, the desire to grow as much of my own produce as possible, and do so much more Homesteading and DIY stuff. Knowing where my food comes from and what is in my food is a big deal to me. I realize that growing a garden, as well as going and locally procuring what isn’t feasible to grow on the small scale, hunting for and fishing my own food is the life I am working my rear end off to make happen for myself.

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Lesson Learned; Should Have Used the Cast Iron Pan

Hey Everyone!

Earlier this afternoon I had mixed up a batch of gluten free, dairy free chocolate chip cookies, beings that today’s high was 32 degrees cooler than yesterday’s high. I don’t handle anything above 70 very well, and 65 to 70 is perfect summer weather for me. Yes, I know I should live in SE Alaska, and I would if I had a job. So, today, I had the energy to bake.

Most of you probably wouldn’t know that I really don’t like beef. I don’t like the smell or the flavor of it. My brother on the other hand loves it. He bought a steak to cook for dinner.

Beings that I haven’t cooked more than a package or two of ground beef, in making meals for others, in over a decade I didn’t think to grab the cast iron skillet instead of the red copper skillet since he was going to sear it on high heat.

This is what happened to that poor skillet:

It didn’t look like that this morning.

We also had the smoke detector going off and me running around the house opening windows and turning on fans. Between the smell and the smoke it was nuts.

Baking the rest of my gluten free, dairy free cookies was also put on hold during this steak cooking, because his highness is always more important than whatever the lowly peasant (me) is doing.

My cookies turned out really good by the way.

In trying to get the house aired out, I have a pot of cinnamon water on a low heat on the stove. I am not a fan of chemical aerosol sprays or other chemical laden sprays to mask smells if I can help it (I am slowly getting away from Scentsy). I definitely prefer more natural methods. My mom was the one who taught me about the cinnamon water trick to help with smells, so I am giving it a try.

Even though I am not a huge fan of the smell of most meat while it is cooking, there are some that I do like to eat once it is cooked, like chicken and fish. I also enjoy venison on occasion. I have yet to try bear or moose, but if they were cooked in someone else’s kitchen or outside (on a camp stove), I would definitely be willing to try them.

DIY Gluten Free Dairy Free Pizza

Hey Everyone!

I had been wanting some gluten free and dairy free pizza for a few days now. I finally got around to making some today.

I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and the grocery store to get what I needed to make my pizza and gluten free and dairy free Cherry Brownies.

I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust for my pizza. I had sprinkled corn meal on the pan I was going to use to bake my pizza on, I then used olive oil instead of pizza sauce. I topped my pizza with Jimmy Dean Maple ground sausage that I got most of the way cooked before I drained it and put it in my pizza. I then also topped it with a red pepper I had diced up, as well as diced tomatoes, sliced olives and spinach, and then baked it. It turned out great for my first attempt at making my own gluten free and dairy free pizza.

I also had been kind of craving cherry brownies, so while I was out I had picked up a package of the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free brownie mix, as well as dairy free butter alternative (in the stick form), and maraschino cherries. I added some diced up cherries and some of the cherry juice to my brownie batter. It took forever (like an hour and a half) to actually get done….. but they taste good and that’s what matters.

While I was at Bob’s Red Mill, I had also picked up a shortbread pan, so if I want to make gluten free dairy free shortbread cookies, and I don’t want to take the time to make round cookies and use my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp, I can put the dough in the shortbread pan and bake it that way.

Today I was totally in a cooking, baking and errands kind of mood. It was a gorgeous day, more like early spring (like late March / Early April) than still the dead of winter that is typical for early February. It got up to 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) / 15 – 16 degrees (Celsius) today. The Daffodils are starting to come up and bloom.

Who Wants to be a Homesteader? 

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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). 

#Gardengoals

Hey Everyone!

With spring being here, as rainy and chilly as it is, I have gardening on the brain, as well as the desire to have my own place and enough room to have a decent sized fruit and vegetable garden, as well as a rose garden (it doesn’t have to be huge), and a flower garden (again, doesn’t have to be super big). 

I love working outside, and working in the dirt. I definitely want to do a lot of canning and jam making. Homemade and homecanned food, tastes better than store bought. When it comes to things like garlic dill pickles, canned peaches, canned pears, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, etc I can totally taste the difference between homemade and store bought, since I was raised on homemade.

Over the past few years I have been collecting cookbooks, including the ball complete book of home preserving, as well as the illustrated cook’s book of ingredients. They are both really cool, and I want to put them both to really good use. 

Three of the things I love about this part of the country, are how well fruits and vegetables grow here, as well as the availability of nurseries and such to purchase what you want in the way of starts (like rose bushes, lilac bushes, fruit bushes, fruit trees, strawberry plants, etc). We also have places like the Portland Honestead Supply Co, as well as Home improvement stores that have awesome garden centers that have everything you want and more, to be a modern homesteader. 

Black Currants:

Elderberries:

Black and Golden Raspberries 

Homesteading Goals

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Being able to be a homemaker, has something I have definitely felt strongly about for a while now. Not just a homemaker, but also being able to do some modern-day homesteading / urban homesteading.

Homemaking is more than just keeping a house clean and tidy, and more than just having dinner on the table for a man at a certain time.

To me, it is also about being able to take care of my food intolerances in the best way possible, and make more of my food from scratch, as well as being able to obtain the best product possible to take care of my body. I also want to do more in the way of growing my own produce, and what I can’t grow, or would not be as efficient to grow on the small scale, purchase from local farmers who have grown what I am looking for. Like it would be more cost effective for me to purchase the cucumbers (and dill for pickles), cherries, peaches and pears (and apples until the apple trees I want to have are mature enough to produce enough apples to be able to make pies, and applesauce), to be able to can and eat.

Being able to cook, bake and can from scratch is important to me, and it is a part of history that has been greatly lost over the past 70 or so years.

Having developed food intolerances as an adult has definitely helped me appreciate knowing have to cook, bake and can from scratch. I am better able to take care of my body, and not be dependent on others to take care of my needs.

Besides just homemaking & homesteading, I want to live a more outdoorsy life. I would love to do more hiking, traveling, and knitting.

My generation, of young women, have been taught that once you graduate from high school you go to college and have a career out in the business world, while that isn’t a bad thing if that is what you want. At the same time, among my peers anyway, the art of homemaking, cooking & baking from scratch and canning has been lost, and few of my peers know much about it. Why should they when there is all the processed garbage labeled as food is so readily available to them, that is quick, easy and cheap. Why work for your meal when someone has combined all the right chemicals and called it food for you so all you have to do is a few very simple steps.

I am no expert when it comes to homemaking like my grandmothers, great grandmothers, and women before them did. I definitely want to continue learning more, trying new recipes, can a lot more food, make more jams and jellies, and help preserve this for future generations. I don’t want girls to just read about it in a history book, I want them to be able to meet people who still know how to do all of this, as well as find blogs, and vlogs / youtube videos about it, so they can learn about it if they are interested.

Urban Homesteading?

Hey Everyone!

For the past year or so, Urban Homesteading has been something I have definitely been wanting for myself. 

The whole idea of being able to grow most of my own fruits and vegetables, and what is not feasible to grow on the small scale or can’t grow enough of to do all the jam making, canning and preserving, that I would like to do, I would locally source my food by going to the farms themselves, and purchase from farmers at farmers markets. 

In the past couple of years, I don’t know exactly when, some time after developing food intolerances, I have definitely taken a turn somewhere from being very mainstream to being more non traditional. 

In today’s society, we have become all so consumed with having what we want when we want, that for many, the idea of working with our hands outside, growing our own food and self sufficiency are a thing of the past. 

Part of it is the city I live in, the self sufficiency, DIY, Urban Homesteading, shopping local, buying local food, shopping at farmers markets, organic food, is definitely very prevalent here. 

I am very much one who would rather be outside, working in the dirt, growing as much of my own food as possible than sitting in an office. When I was little, I was the one who would be outside playing in the the dirt, digging up worms. I was also the one who loved camping and fishing so go figure. 

The part of the country is a great area for growing food, like Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peaches, pears, cucumbers, corn, pumpkins, squash, cherries, apples, pears, and so much more.