Monday, February 28, 2011

Out of control

Hi, my name is Heather and I have a seed problem. 

Does anyone else have a box like this?  It started out innocently enough.  I had a few seed packets.  They got organized a bit into groups.  It looked neat for a while.

Then I kept ordering seeds.  They're an addiction I think.  There is always something new and wonderful to try.  I really should go through my seeds each year and see what I truly need, but I don't.  Some of the seeds in there are quite a few years old.  Who knows if they will even sprout.  There are multiples of certain seeds, where I forgot that I had more left and went ahead and ordered more.  I can't bring myself to throw any away.  I also can't seem to bring myself to stop buying seeds.  Help!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

White Wine Vinegar

I'm not a big drinker. If there is an event happening, I may have a glass of something, but otherwise, I'm just not a big drinker.  As a result, there was a rather large bottle of white wine sitting on my counter for almost a year.  It had been opened at some point to use a small amount for a recipe, but it still just sat there.

Then I had an idea.  Why not make vinegar?  Vinegar can be expensive.  Good vinegar can be really expensive.  It seems a bit silly to spend that much money for something spoiled.  That is what I do though.  Until now.  I had an old bottle of real apple cider vinegar with the mother.  You can actually see that repurposed bottle in the background.  The mother, with a small amount of acv was poured into the bottle of wine.  Then I ignored it.  It sat on the counter for a few weeks.  Every so often I would taste it.  It still tasted like wine, so it sat some more.

Then the other day, it tasted like vinegar.  It tasted like really good vinegar!  I now had close to 2 quarts of live white wine vinegar.  Time invested in this, was under 5 minutes total.  Most of that was taking the pictures and writing the blog post.  It will probably go into a wonderful white wine vinaigrette for dinner tonight.  The rest can sit and wait to be used.  Simply wonderful!

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.  Head on over and see what everyone is up to.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Can you Trademark a lifestyle?

If you are in any way connected to the gardening or green community, you've assuredly heard of the mess that the Dervaeses have caused.  They decided to trademark Urban Homesteading and multiple other common, everyday phrases.  Their reasoning was that it was to protect the wording from the big, bad agribusiness people.  If that had been their sole action, it wouldn't have been an issue.  What they instead did, was to send letters to bloggers, authors, libraries, coops and Facebook. 

These letters informed people that they now had no legal rights to continue calling themselves Urban Homesteaders.  If they did, they would need to give the Dervaeses full credit for the wording.  This is of course ridiculous.  The end result has been a massive backlash from the community that they count on to support them. 

There is an ever growing community on Facebook, that is bringing people together.  It seems to be the one good thing that has come out of this whole mess.  Everybody is coming together like they never had before. 

Those of us who are Urban Homesteaders tend to be non conformists anyway.  We tend to be the neighbors that get talked about.  We also tend to be the ones who are so passionate about what we do, we can't help telling everyone. 

Since I am that neighbor, I can tell you that it's exciting for people to see what we do in our little yard.  It also seems to spread rather quickly.  More and more neighbors and friends are gardening in their own yards.  They're asking questions about what it is that I do.  It's exciting to see Urban Homesteading grow.   

So, I'm am declaring that I am an Urban Homesteader.  Are you?

Friday, February 18, 2011

First plantings

It's been a wretched winter throughout much of the US this year.  New England has been no exception.  It seems that every winter I get a bit of seasonal affective disorder.  This year was a bit worse.  With my driveway a lost cause and everything becoming an effort as a result of the snow, I got a bit down.  Hence, the lack of writing on the blog. 

The past few days we've had a warm up.  A sneak peak to Spring.  Yesterday reached 55 and today is supposed to get to 60.  It's wonderful.  The snow isn't melting fast enough, but it is melting.  There are peaks of mud under trees and bushes, while the vast majority of the ground remains covered.  Even so, the weather has improved my mood. 

In a fit of optimism and downright defiance, I planted my first seeds. 

There are Quadrato d'Asti Rosso peppers, Anaheims, Red Hot Cherry peppers, French Thyme and Large Leaf Basil along with some Black Beauty Eggplants.  They all take such a long time to sprout, I tend to plant these every year around Valentine's day.  If we have a typical summer, most won't fruit until the last part of August.  If we have a summer like last year, I'll have peppers in late June.  What a difference that heat makes. 

Now I need to go spend some time catching up on everybody's blogs.    The gardening season has begun!