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.

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Love Small Town Life

Hey Everyone!

One of the great things about Portland is that within about 2 hours any direction, you are out in the country and there is so much to do. You have Mt. Hood and the Cascades to the east, the Beach to the west, Farm/wine/Hops country to the west/south/Southwest (Central Willamette Valley and the Tualatin Valley), Mt Saint Helens to the Northeast and lots of small country towns in between. 

I have had to readjust to city life over the past 6 years, but I still feel like a fish out of water here. I still knew how to get around, but the pace of life and the constant going of city life was and still is lost on me. 

I spent 4 years living in the central Willamette Valley, in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Pretty much every day I miss the way of life I had there. I know of young adults who wanted and did escape the small town and exchanged that for the city life where as I would do anything I could to move back to the small town. 

How I came up with my Blog Name

Hey Everyone!

I can just hear it now, “why is your blog called “A small town girl at heart” when you talk about subject relating to home, be it cleaning products, food, recipes, personal care products, weight loss, and everything like that?” 

I am going to attempt to explain it as best as possible so hopefully most of you will understand where I am coming from and how I came to the name I chose. 

I grew up in the city, but from the time I was about 11 or 12, I felt like there was more to life, or a part of me missing. I also never really felt at home where I lived. Growing up there weren’t really many kids on my street, let alone my age, and it really wasn’t the kind of place where kids played outside, or walked down the street to their friends house. 

At the age of 17, I was looking at colleges two of my top three were in neighboring cities about 2.5 hours away from where I grew up. The third was in this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. At some point before looking at colleges, I had said to myself “I could never live in a small town”. Then I started going on college visits. The first one I had visited was the largest and most urban, but it terrified me and felt all wrong, the second one was still urban, but was not as terrifying, and wouldn’t have been bad. I went on my third college visit to the college in the small town in the middle of nowhere. It was set with the coast range mountains as a backdrop, the campus was beautiful, but definitely smaller than either of the other two, and most of the buildings lined the Main Street. It was still a little intimidating but something it felt normal and right. I still went on a second campus tour of the second college I had looked at, because it was down to that one and the third college. It was a good school, but every thing inside of me was screaming to go to Western. Before I committed to it I wanted to go on a second tour of school #3, and I knew it was the school for me, it just felt right. So fast forward a few months, and I got my acceptance letter to the school of my choice. Fast forward to the next fall, my first term of college, that was a tough term, dealing with the insanity (for me anyway) of living in the dorm, getting used to being on my own, and college. I had wanted to pack up and move back to the city. My mom made me stay, which now I am glad she did. I moved out of the dorms into a crappy apartment, and life improved a little bit. I still hated that apartment, but I loved that town, and the school and the life I was building there. It was while I was living in that apartment that I began understanding who I was and who I was supposed to become. As crappy as it was that apartment was still my first real home, as much as I hated it, I couldn’t wait to get back to it from the city. It was while living in that apartment that I realized I wasn’t supposed to become a teacher in the traditional, get up every day and teach in a school setting, so I changed my major. I am so glad I did, that following summer I moved into my second apartment, which was in the top floor, and was so much better than the first apartment I had. It was cleaner, newer and larger as well. It was at that point I really knew what home was, and could be like. I lived in that apartment for two years, and it was amazing. I loved living in those two small towns, i knew I was home. 

Home is different for everyone, for me home includes living in a small town, and having my own place to decorate, clean, maintain. Where I can cook and bake in my own kitchen, and so much more. When I think about home I think about that Apartment in the small town in the middle of nowhere. I left my heart there when I had to move back to the city after college. 

Having developed food sensitivities and intolerances has forced me to change how I cook, bake and view food in general. It has also forced me to see how I am tearing my body, and how I view myself. That also goes into how others view me. I have known it for a while that I really need to focus on doing what I need to do for me, even when it isn’t easy. I have also come to the realization I need to get my weight under control again, for many reasons. These reasons include my self confidence and self esteem, as well as being able to do more of what I love as have the endurance to challenge myself. With food intolerances I do a lot more cooking for myself. Along with that comes choices about what I put in my body, and how once I get my own place again, I want to do more homesteading and “old fashioned” kind of stuff. I want to have a garden, then make jam and do some canning during the summer months. So as you might have guessed the whole food and what I eat also ties into the concept of home. 

It took going away for college, and a good year and a half there for me to realize that small town and country life (as well as learning from the women in history, and carrying on that history to preserve it and teach it by living it), is so ingrained in my blood and my heart and has been from the time I was young. 

One day I hope to back to a small town or out in the country and live the life I have spent the past decade fighting for, and embrace the woman who God would have me to be.