Raspberries

So today I pruned my thicket of raspberries.  It was my first time doing so.  I got three little nubbins in a pot from my friend’s parents two years ago, who warned me that the goal of these tender shoots was world domination.  Surely not THESE cute little things!  How wrong I was! Year one saw them grow tall and they bore raspberries.  Impressive! Year two was like a horror movie, only with yummy raspberries instead of gore.

They grew to an astonishing height and multiplied at a fearful rate.  There were more berries than we could keep up with.  And then … then I made a terrible mistake.  I left them.  I didn’t do anything.  And winter came on, and the new and old canes withered together, entangled, solid. Neighborhood birds rejoiced.  And there stood the mass.

Until today.  I am bleeding from my face and arms, my pantlegs are solid mud, I am seriously doubting my trellis building skillz, and one by one, I removed old canes and identified newer ones and tamed them into … ah, who am I kidding.  They are still planning world domination.

I DID mention that I have more enthusiasm than skill, right?  Well in honor of urban homesteading action day, I worked on my urban homestead with enthusiasm and it felt good.  Except for the bleeding.  I can check “prune scary mob of raspberries” off the list.

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I am an urban homesteader

I don’t do it all, but I do what I can.  Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail and try again.  It’s the most satisfying hard work there is, in my opinion.  My favorite things in life I’ve discovered in this process … line-dried pillowcases, sun warmed tomatoes, the first tiny snap peas that appear and turn you into a dancing goofball in the yard. Sending friends and family home with bountiful nourishing food that you grew.

When I meet people who grow food, at whatever volume or ability, we bond.  We know.  Online or in person, there is this community.

Recent events regarding the trademark issue has harmed some and merely irritated others, but the community is proven strong and united. I don’t know everone in person who is participating today, but I’m WITH you.  And in the end it will be made right.  Like tiny early peas that are really too small but you have to pick and eat them right there anyway because your heart is happy.

Cheers to all urban homesteaders!

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What I got

Here are a few pictures of our garden, from 2009.  We didn’t have much of a garden last year.

The three main beds 3′ x 16′:

 

 

 

 

 

Potatoes   Potatoes    Garlic
Onions      Carrots      Soup beans
Lettuce     Lettuce      Soup beans

The clothesline and squash launch:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The side yard beds, with zukes, beets, more onions, and peas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvest o’ peas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvest o’ garlic:

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In the beginning

Greetings, fellow urban homesteaders!  You have inspired me to make my own blog.  I am sorry that you will not find much here at this point, but I want to participate in the Take Back! event on Monday and I also want to share what I’m doing, such as it is.

I live on quite possibly the most fertile and prolific standard city lot on the planet. 5,000 square feet of weeds, spiders, ants, spores, brambles, pine cones, vines, and God knows what growing beneath layers of whatever that is over there. I have no doubt that under my house, there is a giant pulsing root system of morning glories and creeping buttercups, and it laughs at me as I scratch around. Weeds love my yard. I am way, WAY outnumbered, out gunned and, frankly, nature is smarter than I am.

I have harnessed this power to my advantage in the back yard, with raised vegetable beds and patches of raspberries, blueberries and rhubarb. I’m practically farming back there, with moderate success. I have way more enthusiasm than skill, but I grow lots of easy things that I like to eat. Peas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beets, kale, garlic, and onions. I took last year off because I had a newborn at planting time, but I look forward to this year, I’m ready to go!

My front yard is … not so good. It looks a little like the Munsters might live here. There’s a giant ivy choking a pine tree to welcome you. Not sure who to root for in that battle, as the pine tree spews forth bajillions of small pinecones that are the bane of my life, after dandelions. I hack down the ivy once a year or so, with no clear progress. There are 15 or so rosebushes that were probably once pretty, but now they are scraggy warriors …  scarred, angular, and mean.  One fearsome specimen has made the leap out of the yard boundary and takes swipes at passersby and vehicles. I am not even kidding. I did make rose liqueur from the petals of one rosebush and it turned out great!

My front yard has no lawn. It’s a ruinous hodgepodge of awesome Chuckanut sandstone edging, tired gravel teeming with gritty weeds, plants that are too big to deal with and plants that are too small to deal with.  Sometime long ago, a master gardener lived here.  There is even a sticker on my front window attesting to that.  Sadly, renters lived here for ten years or so before I bought it and let things go wild.  I’ve been here for 7 years and despite my efforts, wild is still winning out.  My goal for the front is to make an edible hedge, replace all midsize bushes with edible bushes, and replace existing groundcover with huckleberries and alpine strawberries.  I also want to get a couple of dwarf fruit trees in there somewhere.  Grand plans, we’ll see how far I get.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my house. I love my yard. I love my creepy, wild, injury-inducing eyesore of a yard.

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