Wild Grape Jelly

After doing some research, I determined that the grapes growing on my shrubs were fox grapes (wild grapes), common in the US.  They are pretty sour to eat off the vine, but I decided to try and make some jelly with them.  I am really glad I did, as the jelly is delicious!

So I have decided that these vines are not useless after all.  Late this fall I will trim them back and then give the shrubs a real hard trimming.  Then next year when the vines grow across the top of the shrubs I will be able to reach them.  As they are now, quite a lot of it is actually hanging down into the neighbors yard like a curtain.  Maybe when I see them I will ask if they have grapes over there and if they want them or not.  My bet is they don’t really care about them at all and are just to lazy to cut them.  I will also give them a jar of jelly!

Posted in Uncategorized

Tiny Grapes?

This vine grows like crazy between my garage and the fence where there is only about 1 foot of space to move around in.  The vines grow out and over the large shrubs, and over the garage.  There are these tiny grape-like things which look like concord grapes except that they are so small.  I tasted one and it seems grapey tasting, kind of bitter, and has one seed inside.  Sure would like to know what this is and if it is edible and could be made into jelly?

Posted in Uncategorized

My New Pressure Canner

Last week I decided I really needed to get a pressure canner this year.  I tried several stores in the area, no luck.  Lots of jars, water bath canners, and supplies, but no pressure canners.  I had to go all the way out to the Trenton Walmart and they had ONE which I promptly bought.

The other day Caitlin and I went to Blocks and bought beans, corn and beets.  I pickled the beets and canned 12 pints of beans and 6 pints of corn.

Today I dug up about 8 pounds of potatoes from my garden.  Then I canned them with my new pressure canner.  I only canned 9 pints because that is all that fits into the canner at one time.  There is still a large bowlful leftover, but we will eat those fresh.

9 pints canned potatoes

Posted in Uncategorized, urban homesteading

The front jungle:

front jungle

The back jungle:

Posted in Gardening

First Attempt At Soap

1 cup olive oil

1 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup lye

1 cup rainwater

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2011 Garden

This is my backyard vegetable garden so far this year.

From the front

From the front

View from the back.

View from the back. This spot is shaded by the garage most of the day.

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Urban Homestead in a Michigan suburb

Part of my second year vegetable garden

Part of my second year vegetable garden

I have been growing vegetable gardens in my backyard for several years, each year the gardens get a little bigger.  I have installed 3 rain barrels and a few compost piles.  I don’t have any alternate energy sources, or farm type animals (chickens or goats).  But I like to think I am homesteading to the best of my ability.  I canned some of my produce and some from farmers markets, and  stored winter squashes and potatoes and carrots in a cold pantry.  I make laundry detergent and live simply.

I would like to see more people practicing urban homesteading!

Urban homestead and urban homesteading, terms that should belong to all!

Posted in Uncategorized

How sad…

…that someone would think that they could own the terms “urban homestead” and “urban homesteading” ® .

And these someones are not big corporations, but just a family who homesteads in their little Pasadena, CA backyard and have gotten a lot of acknowledgement via their blog, press, and tv.  This family was a very big inspiration to me over the last 4 years, but now, I don’t know what to think.  Apparently I have to put the ® mark next to urban homestead ® and urban homesteading ® and a remark that those terms belong to the Dervaes Institute who now claim to own the application of urban homesteading ® practices. I could understand them wanting to trademark the name of their blog “Little Homestead In The City”, but to insist that others cannot use the terms urban homestead/homesteading without acknowledging that those terms belong to the Dervaes is pushing it a bit far I think.

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Yummy Breakfast

While cooking some old fashioned oats on the stove, add some peach sauce I canned last summer, some chopped Georgia pecans (thanks to sister Louise!), some brown sugar, dab of butter.

mmm good!

Posted in Breakfast, Food Recipes

Seed Viability

Handy item to keep around:

http://awaytogarden.com/estimating-viability-how-long-do-seeds-last?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AWayToGarden+%28A+Way+to+Garden%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Posted in Gardening, Uncategorized