Suburban Homesteading

Although I’ve grown fond of my current home, I don’t quite belong in the suburban area of Olympia. I am naturally drawn to the extremes of a big city or small town.  Lately, it’s definitely been on the smaller side of things. This is best demonstrated when I use my spare time to do a little homesteading. This can be anywhere from using local flora for decor, or making preserves from local bounties.

After a trip to my Gram’s orchard, I found myself with two large crates of our family pears amongst apples and Italian prunes.  In hopes of avoiding waste (and fruit flies), I took to the kitchen with mason jars and some patience. Pears were 1st.

The method is so simple:

Wash & Rinse

Cut pears in half

Remove the core

Peel and chunk

Add a squeeze of local honey and lemon juice in the bottom of each jar

Add the pears with some hot water

And finish in a water bath to seal

No unnatural additives, just pure, sweet home pears.

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At the Coast

There’s this summer song that comes to mind when I get a chance to hear waves while I sit in the sunshine. It’s by The Avett Brothers– appropriately named ” At the Beach.”

I was fortunate enough to enjoy the sand, the wind, and the sunsets of Washington’s Long Beach for a few days last week.  My day-time hours were filled with a lot of day-job work, but the evenings were filled with free time and the chance to explore. I hiked around Cape Disappointment to feast my eyes on Washington’s best lighthouses (that I frankly had no idea existed.)

I splurged on delicious seafood and local brew, thanks to the sunny beach-side view of The Pickled Fish, and walked for miles up and down the sand playing with every dog that passed. I browsed and chatted at the adorable Wooden Horse gift shop and had the best roasted almonds of my life during an evening walk on the beach.  I missed most of the Kite Festivities from getting out after 5:30, but the beach by itself was just the therapy I needed.

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Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

I have been taking weekend walks to supplement my activities during the week, and found myself at The Nisqually Wildlife Refuge outside of Olympia, WA.  It is a haven for waterfowl during the winter months.  There are no dogs allowed, and there is a use fee of $3 which is well worth the experience. The boardwalk twists through the refuge area showing the public beautiful views of the sound and feathered friends who call it home. I came across different wintering waterfowl including,  Eagles, Hawks, Trumpeter Swans, Herons, Ducks, and Canadian Geese.  It was a quiet, calm and beautiful place.  I was one of a few early birds risers on a grey and damp Saturday Morning, and those that shared the boardwalk were equipped with warm clothes and binoculars. They were there for a day of bird watching.  I, not as well prepared, had a light jacket and my camera bag. In hindsight a warm hat and gloves would be a good idea.