Total Solar Eclipse Day

Hey Everyone!

So far today, I have got in eating food, making tea, picking raspberries, watching the total solar eclipse from the backyard, made raspberry freezer jam and labeled the dill pickles that were canned yesterday, and I got all of that done before noon. It was a very productive morning. I am taking a short break before I go deal with getting the chicken marinating for dinner. I literally remembered the chicken while I was sitting here writing this post. 

This is how dark it got in Portland, which was in the 99.2% totality range. It got more dusky or like looking at the back yard through sunglasses. It didn’t get that dark. 


Once I got the chicken marinating, I put the pickles away, and cleaned the kitchen, and mopped the floor. Now I am trying to relax before I cook the chicken I put to marinate earlier. 

Canning Garlic Dill Pickles

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Today, I picked some more raspberries before coming back in and got started canning pickles with my mom. 

Today we got 19 quarts of pickles made today. 


The recipe we used was one my grandma had gotten from one of the ladies in the church she was Pastors wife of in Minneapolis. My mom got a copy of my grandma’s cook book that she has put together for her Wedding, and I got the original cookbook my grandma made herself when my Grandpa passed away. (My grandma passed away before my grandpa). 

I had started “helping” my mom can pickles when I was little by helping stuff jars, so I grew helping can, and watching. Now that I am an adult working around the kitchen and canning is second nature to me. 

What Canning, Homemaking and urban Homesteading is to me, is what Algebra is to those who get it. 

It Pays to Check every Label

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A friend of mine had brought it to my attention today that Heinz “Apple Cider” Vinegar isn’t actually made from Apple Cider. The only difference between the regular Heinz Distilled Vinegar and the so called “Apple Cider” Vinegar is that the “Apple Cider” Vinegar has flavors and colors added. This is deceitful marketing if I ever did see it. 


There are other brands (including the store brands) that actually make Apple Cider Vinegar. So check the label if you actually want Apple Cider Vinegar.

They say hindsight is 20/20. When I read my friend’s post about the Apple cider vinegar, there was a little voice in the back of my head that was like “you know better than to not read the label, even on something as dumb as Vinegar”. Not because it actually has dairy in in, but to double check to make sure, because nothing is safe until you check, and not everything is what it says it is. 

I learned to read every label, because way to many things that would think don’t have dairy in them actually do, including things that say “non-dairy” yet contain sodium caseinates (the protein in milk). So while the vinegar doesn’t contain dairy, I am still way to trusting of mainstream food from the grocery store. 

If the past 5.5 years haven’t already taught me to question everything and literally read every label, this has definitely taught me that, as well as that you can’t trust name brands to be honest with you. 

I hate to say it, but we live in a day and age when big corporations love to lie to the consumer for the sake of the almighty dollar and their profits. 

Weekend Homemaking 

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After spending time yesterday finishing up a pair of socks before going out with my mom for treats at my favorite bakery here in the city, before running an errand and coming home. 

This morning, I went out and picked raspberries, and got two whole pints since I missed picking yesterday. We have been getting about a pint or so a day. The two pints I got today went in the fridge, in hopes that come Monday or so I will get another couple pints of raspberries from the backyard so I can make jam this week. 

Earlier this afternoon I started a new pair of socks, using KnitPicks Palette Yarn in Victorian and Larch Heather, before going to the grocery store. 

On the news the past few weeks and months the news has been making a bigger deal of the total solar eclipse than has really needed to be made, and has had a lot of people freaking out and at some grocery stores there have been runs on certain items. Today, and last night at our local Fred Meyer and Safeway Stores (in the 99.2% totality range), it has been business as usual. 

This evening, after making dinner is was my job to go through the bag of pickling cucumbers and pull out the moldy ones after having dumped them out on a towel. It was kinda gross. At least the ones that weren’t moldy, will be put in a vinegar brine and heated through tomorrow. 

Tonight I am hoping to get a little more knitting done before I settle in for the night and read for a while. 

Raspberry Gleaning

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With my family being gone last week, it was up to me to go out and pick the raspberries in the backyard as well as to water the plants. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed going outside and picking raspberries and watering the plants, seeing as I want a place of my own where I can have a garden and grow my own vegetables and berries. 

Homemaking, urban homesteading, knitting, 

In the modern era, especially in places that are not food deserts, grocery stores are all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, there are somethings that really are more worthwhile / economical to purchase from a grocery store. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but out here, we have Trader Joe’s Stores, and they have a really good selection of dried fruit, nuts, trail mixes and that kind of thing for a really good price. Not to mention the dried foods like flour (and not gluten free flours as well), sugar, coffee, oats and such that people would often purchase at the general store or mercantile in town. So going totally without a grocery store is not something I totally want to do without. With that being said there is definitely more I want to do for myself or buy from farmers markets or fruit / vegetables stands. If I can’t grow it myself or it would not be practical to grow small scale, I would rather buy it from local farmers via a farmers market or farm stands / stores (like what they have out along the fruit loop in the gorge or out on Sauvie Island). 

I have been out picking raspberries pretty much every day for the past week and I love it. Today I got about a pint of berries. 


Having property and a garden takes hard work. I am definitely someone who doesn’t mind working hard and getting my hands dirty or callused.  

I am also a huge fan of cooking from scratch, and simple dinners that fill people up, that are also not step intensive or difficult. Yesterday I had tried a new recipe (for me anyway), that was a little time consuming, but really easy, and only had a few ingredients and a few steps. The most time consuming part was removing the excess fat from the chicken, letting it marinate and then letting it cook. In and of itself the marinade had like 5 ingredients, and you put it all together, and then put the chicken in (I used a couple gallon size bags) and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours, then I dumped the contents of the bags into a roasting pan and put in the oven for about an hour. It turned out really good. I had also made baked rice to go with it. 


I feel like I am fairly realistic about how much work it takes to grow A garden, can fruit, freeze fruit and vegetables, and raise some chickens and maybe some pigs for meat. It all takes time and effort, and a willingness to get in there and get hot, sweaty and dirty. 

Raspberry Cherry Jam

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This summer is shaping up to be a good year for raspberries. We have gotten quite a few off our raspberry bushes. Enough to go into several batches of jam. I made yet another batch of jam yesterday. I made a batch of raspberry cherry jam, since I didn’t have quite enough raspberries, I chopped up some cherries and stuck them in. 


I definitely love doing urban homesteading / homesteading stuff like making homemade jam, or canning, or even knitting. 

Doing something in the way of homesteading was definitely needed yesterday, as I found out that I didn’t get a job I wanted and had interviewed for earlier this week. 

#Gardengoals

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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