Category Archives: Portland Interlude 2014-2016

Our (hopefully short) time of living in the Pacific Northwest before heading back to the Homestead.

End of an Era

If you can call just over two years an era, August 4th marked the end of it.

Mom/Bachan went home to be with our Lord that day.

For those of you who haven’t followed along since the beginning, Bachan is our kids’ name for Hubby’s mom who’s declining health was the reason we dropped everything and moved to Portland, OR on July 12, 2014.

We spent nearly two years in the Portland area helping care for Mom. You can read all about our time there, which I called our Portland Interlude.

On May 20th, 2016, we brought Mom and Dad back with us to Nevada. Mom got to spend just over two months enjoying the blue skies and bright sun here in the high desert.

But the disease eventually won out and her body just couldn’t fight any more and she passed peacefully in her sleep on August 4th.

We were so very blessed to get to spend two years with her. She was such an amazing, godly woman. I hope that should I ever face the challenges she did, I handle them with the grace and strength she showed.

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Mom and Dad getting to enjoy the sunrise together for the first time in forever.

So now we move forward, with a hole in our hearts that her presence used to fill, but also with a profound gratitude that she’s no longer in pain and a firm knowledge that she’s home in heaven. The future looks a little different than it did a couple weeks ago. And sadness still lingers. But, for the most part, the joy outweighs the sorrow and we are doing well.

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

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Packing up

Tomorrow (May 18th) begins our three-day moving adventure.

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Tomorrow, a friend and I take the filled Uhaul down to Nevada. Then, the following day, we drive back here to Oregon with my mom’s RV. The day after that, we pack our suitcases, camp chairs, and mattresses (the only thing left in the house!) into the van, and ourselves into the vehicles, and off we go.

It still hasn’t sunk in that Friday’s trip to Nevada will the the last one for the foreseeable future. We’re so used to making that trip back and forth that it doesn’t seem real that it will be the last one.

So, today, we’re loading.

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And cleaning. And clearing out.

Well, most of us are, anyway.

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There are times I will shamelessly use the electronic babysitter. This is one of those times. 🙂

Just think, in three days, we’ll be living on the homestead!

Oh, the anticipation!

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Spring weather on the Homestead

We traveled to Nevada at the end of March and while we spent most of the time at my mom’s house, we did get to spend some time up on the homestead.

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This is the main reason that we decided not to stay in the trailer while we were there. It snowed on us!

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But the girls and I went up to check on the homestead anyway. And had a bit of fun while we were at it.

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And three days later, nearly all the snow is gone. We decided to try “witching” for water in other places around the house pad to accommodate the change in location of the septic system.

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This is “Ahma” (my mom) using the copper rods. It’s amazing how they really do react when near water.

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Flower Girl loves trying new things and having “pickmicks”

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Yeah, three days ago and now it’s warm enough to play in the water. That’s spring in Nevada for you!

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Our little “lion” in her cage.

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And look what we found while rummaging around in our log piles (placed there back when my parents owned this property and tore down an old barn).

Logs!

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Y’all remember my post about the logs right?

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And here I have some sitting right there on the property just waiting for me!

Oh, the possibilities!

Re-purposed garden boots/clogs

So, when we were in Nevada a couple weeks ago, we spent some nights in the trailer, and it became very evident that I needed to find myself some slip-on shoes of some sort. Putting on real shoes in the middle of the night to visit the outhouse is not fun.

They needed to be waterproof for the rain and mud we occasionally get there. But also because waterproof also means dirt proof, which is more my concern seeing as how our homestead is in Nevada, afterall. I hate tromping out to the outhouse and having to empty the sand and pebbles out of my shoes before coming back in the trailer.

So I started searching in various stores as I was in them. Not a concerted effort, mind you, just seeing what they had since I was there.

And then my wonderful hubby reminded me I had some old rain boots which could work. You see, the rain boots had developed a hole in the sole of one which, when worn in heavy water, leaked. General mud and dirt and dampness, however, stayed out. So they still worked just fine as muck boots, so long as I wasn’t standing in actual water.

But seeing as how I won’t be needing muck boots in the near future, and I DO need some slip on shoes, I made the change.

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It was very simple. I just took a sturdy pair of kitchen sheers and cut the tops off.

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Now I have a pair of clogs that I can slip on and off easily for use while living in our trailer. I didn’t have to spend any money, and I am re-purposing something which was “broken”.

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Recycling/re-purposing/re-using for the win!

Blackberry Syrup with Honey

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So…we’re moving in just a couple of weeks. And we had a freezer full of food to eat up since we will be living in camping trailers and won’t have freezer space available to us (have you seen how small those freezers are?).

We had several bags of wild blackberries in the freezer from two summers ago. First of all, they just needed to be used. Because, you know, two summers ago!

Second of all, as I said, we don’t want to transport frozen food to Nevada. So we either needed to eat them or transform them into something that is doesn’t need to be refrigerated/frozen.

We had so many that we could eat cobbler several times a week from now till we leave. And as much as we all love cobbler, we’re just not that into desserts around here. We see them as a treat rather than a staple.

So a canned good of some sort was the order of the day.

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I coulda made jam. But as much as we had would have probably made about 5 pints of jam. Way too much for us to go through. That would have lasted us years! We just don’t eat that much jam.

So I chose to make syrup. By straining out the pulp and seeds I knew I’d get a smaller volume of juice. Not only that, but one jar of syrup will be gone in just a couple of days. We don’t make pancakes all that often, but when we do, we open a jar of our delicious homemade fruit syurp, use it for the pancakes, and the remainder gets used in oatmeal till it’s gone a day or two later.

I started out with 10 cups of frozen blackberries. I put them in a pot with about 1 cup of water and heated them till boiling, then cooked them for about 5 minutes. I then took a potato masher and mushed them up to get out as much juice as possible.

After that, I scooped them into some jelly bags to drain. You could use a piece of muslin or linen fabric, or several layers of cheescloth if you don’t have jelly bags.

I hung the jelly bags from a cabinet doorknob and let them drip into a bowl.

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They drained like that for about an hour or so. I probably could have let them drain for several more hours and gotten more juice out of them, but I was in a hurry.

I ended up with 4 cups of juice. I added this and one 1 cup of honey to a pot on the stove and started heating it. I chose this amount of honey because that’s what tasted good to us. Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking. You can also use any other kind of sweetener you’d prefer.

Once it was boiling, I sprinkled in about two tablespoons of no-sugar-needed pectin. I figured this would thicken it up into more of a syrup consistency without waiting for it to boil down on the stove. If you’d prefer not to use pectin, you can just let it simmer for a while on the stove, but be prepared to lose a bunch of volume. If you do use pectin, be careful not too add to much or you’ll end up with jelly!

Once it boiled good for a minute or so, I ladled it into prepared jars and processed it for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. For detailed instructions on water bath canning, check out this site.

You can see from the following picture that the syrup is thick enough to coat the inside of the jar. Yummy!

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I ended up with 5 cups of syrup in 4 jars (two 12oz jars and two 8oz jars).

Can’t wait to have some pancakes!

And yes, we left enough blackberries out to make a couple cobblers. 🙂

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Moving along

So this happened yesterday:

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That’s my dad’s truck. Hooked to my in-law’s trailer. Gettin’ ready to haul it back to Nevada for us.

It’s one less thing we’ll have to worry about on the day of the Big Move.

In THREE WEEKS!!!

Ohmygosh! Three weeks from today we’re moving back to Nevada!

I’m not excited or anything. 😉

In the meantime, I’m finishing little projects here and there. The house is pretty much empty, so there’s really not much left to pack. But, we still had a large freezer full of food that we don’t want to cart back to NV with us.

Like blackberries from two summers ago!

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So I made Blackberry Syrup. I think I’ll write a post on that. I only took the one picture above during the process, but it’s a simple enough process that it doesn’t require a lot of explaination.

Other than those little projects like cleaning out the freezer, we’re just soaking in the green beauty around us and biding our time.

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A cool thing happend last week when my man and I went out for date night. We went to a movie theater we’d never been to before and had about a 30 minute wait. So we walked around to this beautiful lake that was right next to the shopping center where the theater was.

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And got to watch a couple Bald Eagles flying around!

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Right there in the middle of town. It was such a cool experience!

So, to re-cap: the trailer is on it’s way to Nevada, the house is nearly empty, and we are eagerly awaiting our move out date in just three weeks.

Yeah.

Not excited at all. 😉

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

The Next Generation

What do you believe?

What do you think is best?

Chances are, if you truly believe it and think it’s best, whatever it is, you want your children to follow in your footsteps.

But what are you doing about it?

Learning kitchen skills

I was reading in the Bible this morning how in just a couple generations, the Jews had completely turned away from God.

Judges 2:10 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD, nor what he had done for Israel.” (NIV)

Now, no matter what your religious leanings are, there’s a lesson there for us all. In just a couple generations, the nation of Israel had fallen away from their beliefs.

Helping build the chicken coop.

I got to thinking about what our own country was like just a few generations ago. When my grandparents were young. Their values and morals. And just how different things are now. A LOT can change in just a few generations.

Whether you believe it’s a good change or not, the fact is, there’s been a drastic change in the last 80 years. And there will probably be more as we go forward.

More cooking skills

So, how can we pass on our knowledge, our beliefs, our values, to the next generation? How can we ensure that our children have the best chance of believing as we do?

 

Bible study

The answer to that also can be found in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)

Packing lunches for the homeless.

Of course, this verse is talking about God’s laws, but the principle is the same for every value we hold dear.
We have to talk to our children. We have to teach our children.

It’s not enough to just show them. Yes, our example is very important. We need to live out what we believe. But to expect our children to follow in our footsteps just by observing us is walking a dangerous road.

Helping preserve the harvest.

They’re never too young to teach the why

Why do you believe what you believe?

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you live the way you live?

Homegrown cherries and the fun and hard work of harvesting them.

Sure, when they are young, they won’t understand. They will follow you because they love you and because they know no other way.

That’s why we have to talk to them. To teach them about our way of life. About your values and beliefs.

Planting the garden

Because one day they are going to grow up. One day they are going to look around and see that the rest of the world doesn’t live like your family.  And if you haven’t prepared them for that, they will have a much harder time holding onto the values that you hold so dear.

 

Planting the garden

Now, this is a homesteading blog, so I don’t want to get too preachy, but in the long run, do I really care if my children follow in our homesteading footsteps? Well, I hope they do. I believe this type of life is a very good one. But I know that there’s something in life so much more important than organic veggies and sustainable living. I believe that following God is the most important thing.

Observing and helping (and getting to stand on the roof of the trailer 😉 )

And I want my children to believe the same thing.
I am reminded of the first episode of season 2 of the TV show Alone. It is a survival show where the contestants are up against nature and their own psyches completely alone in the wilderness. They can tap out at any time. The last man standing wins half a million dollars.

In episode 1, they showed a man who bragged about how good he was going to do. He had the skills, he said. He wasn’t afraid, he said. He bragged about how if he met a bear, someone would have to come to the bear’s rescue.

What happened when he got to the wilderness and encountered actual bears (or rather the evidence that they were close by)? You guessed it, he bailed. As much as he bragged about it, he wasn’t actually prepared for there to be bears out there.

Learning to use tools (and learning to be a teacher)

I see passing on our values much the same way. It’s easy for people to say they believe something, but as soon as they come up to a difficulty or hardship, they bail because it was harder than they really expected.

If we truly want our children (or anyone we are mentoring) to follow in our footsteps, we need to teach them not only that there are bears in the world, but how to handle them.

Talk to your children, folks. Teach them. It’s a big job, a hard job, yes.

But one with some awesome rewards!

 

Maridy