It’s definitely been a busy week here on the urban homestead, in between launching the new website (which we are still hard at work on – not finished yet), getting ready for this Sunday’s FILM & FOOD NIGHT there’s a lot happening!

The cooler weather has brought on a flurry of fall planting preparations.

And there’s a lot more goings on in the garden – more details to come later.

The second summer sowing of vegetables are just starting to ripen – eggplant, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and the summer squash it not far behind.

We have a third summer sowing which is always a gamble because it’s so late in the summer season it all depends on the weather.

Believe it or not it’s time to start those brassicas, salad greens and even peas (check out FreedomSeeds.org for your seed needs)

The boxes of produce that took over the counter tops in the kitchen and part of the floor are no more.   Been canning on a daily basis this week.  Put up the last of the apples, peaches and another go around of tomatoes and hopefully beans by weeks end.

Next week we’ll tackle the basil bed, elderberries and jalapenos (I feel in love in jalapeno jelly when a friend brought a jar over last year and plan on making our own) freeze up some pesto and whip up some delicious elderberry syrup.

Also with all the herbs at their peak need to get out the vodka and start another batch of tinctures – especially echinacea with all that talk of swine flu.  Swine flu or not it’s good to be prepared come sniffle season.

And there’s soap to made with the herbs too.  Hopefully we’ll get around the that and more next week.  There’s still so much we want to do before summer is out and like I said before there are new projects in the works.

Our family received two, yes TWO, hand written letters last week.  What is it with handwritten letters these days that makes you swoon – nostalgia?  I think email has had a lot to do with that.  Anyhow, we’ll get to one of those letters later on in an upcoming post because with the three page letter there was a box a BIG box.   The other letter, more like book of 10 pages, from some very special ladies (hiya!) wrote that they were pleased to know that we don’t get around to doing everything.  Funny how we marvel how other people do so much and while others wonder the same of us.

We are not canning as much figs this year simply because the figs have been selling like hot cakes.   A few of our clients are featuring them in special dishes and their customers have had nothing but rave reviews.

And though we have no “surplus” figs for preserving I guess that’s fine with me simply because we had enough put up from last year!

Jordanne’s been hard at work organizing the craft room (looks amazing!).  We’ve been gifted with so much yarn, fabric, sewing notions and craft books the room just started to get cluttered.  So she’s been sorting and finding a place for everything and putting everything in its place.    I’ll probably have to go through all the yarns and fabrics again and purge.  I’ve consigned to myself that I not be able to use up all of it in a lifetime – just keep the favorites.  At this Sunday’s FILM & FOOD NIGHT we’ll be putting out some yarn at the swap table

The cooler weather has gotten my fingers to itching.   Last night I already asked Justin “hey, do you need another hat for winter?”  Yep, it’s a serious case of knit fingers.

Where’s my needle and yarn at?

Oh and we also have a new worm bin that’s home to a couple thousand new residents.  This one (yeah, we have more worm bins that one) we put in the garage next to the packing area so that the leftovers after culling and cutting.

Well, this entry’s certainly been all over the place.  But you get the idea!

Here’s another round of photos from the urban homestead – enjoy.

Justin looking over the tomatoes

In the greenhouse another round of tomatoes are ready to transplant

Summer garden – tomatoes, squash, beans, eggplant

Can’t have enough pretty tomato photos!

Canned tomato sauce

Pot of peaches getting ready to make some jam

Peach jam

Apple butter

Fairlight enjoys a slice of apple


Goats on the porch.  Another favorite spot for them other than the kitchen

Tropical hibiscus blooms

Going over some new plans – hint greywater, bees and more!

The kombucha has fermented for five days and is ready for a bit of flavoring with lemon verbena syrup (homemade of course!).  After the syrup and kombucha sit for another 48 hours to get a fizz action going then the brew will be ready to enjoy.

I had a little kombucha leftover so I made another jar that was flavored with elderberry syrup. Going to be interesting to see how that one taste.


  1. Michelle says:

    Wow! So much going on around there! I think it must be so nice to live with others who agree to live the same way…to have built-in partners in gardening and canning and organizing. It’s inspiring…

  2. Julie H. says:


    You will find this interesting. Latest Time magazine.

    Your place looks great! I’ve been reading the journal and it’s fun to see how things have changed and improved over the years. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Taylor says:

    You have SUCH impressive trellises and support systems. Have you ever though about doing a post about that? I’d love to get a better look at what you use and how you train things like your tomatoes.

  4. Julie says:

    Inspiring! My family just moved to White Hawk Ecovillage (www.whitehawk.org) near Ithaca, NY. Right now our yard is a blank canvas of clover, rye, and a few perennials. Can’t wait to harvest edibles a few feet from our door!

  5. Andrea says:

    Speaking of pretty tomatoes, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the Trophy tomatoes that I bought from Freedom Seeds earlier in the year. They’re such a beautiful color and don’t seem to crack like some of the other varieties. In fact, I just harvested 60 pounds of them!! Now, off to do some juicin’!

  6. V Schoenwald says:

    I just love to come daily to this refreshing site. If I am having a particular exaspirating day, I buzz over and like smelling an herb garden or wonderful flowers, all of you, and your homestead refresh my spirit.
    I am curious, ho do you do your tomatoes for sauce? Do you run them through a foley mill or hand crank mill? Do you boil your sauce down alittle then hot back or cold pack? I am looking for fresh ideas for tomatoes. Right now i am just quartering and hot packing and then water bath for 1/2 hr with a little tomato juice.

  7. Dave says:

    I love to visit your site. What you are doing is very inspiring to me, and I think to some of my family. My wife and I have started looking critically at our yard, trying to use every square foot. Well, we aren’t even in the same order of magnitude as you guys are, but it is a start. The garden has gotten bigger, I’ve built raised bed grow boxes that are very productive, we have planted quite a few fruit and berry plants.

    It has been a lot of fun. I just hope that when you might have your discouraging moments that you realize that you are leven in the lump of dough. It only takes a little bit, but it makes the bread good.

  8. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    I made jalapeno jelly for the first time yesterday and tried it out a few minutes ago on some saltine crackers with cream cheese. It is very delicious! Sweet with a little bit of heat but not so much that you need a fire extinguisher. lol

    Here’s the recipe: http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2009/08/jalapeno-jelly.html

  9. Marc says:

    Great website and story, which I just read about in Mother Earth News.

    I noticed that it appears you are growing your second crop of tomato’s from seed. I had good luck starting a second crop from cuttings a couple of years ago. Cut a branch of appropriate size (7-10″) with a 45 degree angle, place it in a pot with potting soil tamped around it, water, and place in a warm but semi dark spot (shed) for 10 days, while keeping moist. Then plant carefully due to small roots and fertilize with worm castings or ??? and they shoot up. I started 10 and 2 didn’t make it, but the plants that grew were healthier and more productive then the plants I took the cuttings from.

    Keep up the good work.

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