Saturday, May 8, 2010

Violet Jelly and Other Messy Projects

I am so sorry that I've neglected my blog lately. With spring in full swing, my interests have turned towards gardening, herbs, cooking and just being outside with the boys. Cleaning, as well as writing, have both moved far down on my to-do list. But, I've got to focus on both for a bit. The house is looking a little shabby and I've got some writing deadlines looming!

As much as I want to declutter the garage and finish my next writing assignment, I've been getting sidetracked by lots of fun springtime projects. We've started sunflower seeds indoors, planted the seedlings outdoors, picked violets for violet jelly, made the jelly, mowed, raked, weeded and are trying to clear out an area of the yard we haven't used since we bought the house eight years ago. In fact, I've been working outside so much, I've wondered if I should turn this blog into a blog about sprucing up the yard instead of decluttering the house.

Last weekend, the boys and I thought it would be fun to make violet jelly. I've never successfully made jelly before, so I was apprehensive, but the violets growing all over the yard were practically begging for some pectin. I was inspired to make the jelly by a recipe I found through Herbmentor. It seemed easy.

And, if you don't count that I had to steal some violets from my neighbor's yard because I didn't have quite enough, started two small fires on the stove top and didn't have the foggiest idea how to properly seal the jars, it was easy. The jelly set nicely and is pretty, delicious and needs to be refrigerated because the canning jars aren't sealed. It was a huge recipe that filled nine jelly jars. I sure hope we still like it in a couple of months. If you know me in real life and would like some violet jelly, please give me a call!

I've also been inspired lately by this blog. I've actually read it now and again over the past few years. I would love to turn our yard into an "urban homestead". While I do have several different herbs and lots of flowers growing, I've always had a bit of a black thumb when it comes to vegetables. I've been reading like crazy to try to figure out the problem. I think it's because my vegetable garden is too close to several pine trees. Instead of veggies, that spot is now going to grow blueberry bushes (I hope) and the veggies are going to move to the other side of the yard.

So, that's what I've been up to instead of decluttering and blogging. (Un)fortunately, I know the clutter isn't going anywhere!


  1. Violet Jelly - I am learning so many things can be made into jelly and syrup and I can't wait to give it a go next year. This year I am worried about the chemicals in the lawn from vehicles being parked on it.
    I found a new way to do my beds (which I can afford) using hay/straw bales. Straw I guess is preferrable because it doesn't seed, but Organic Hay is all I can find in my area. So Hay it will be. Just stack them to make the raised beds, fill and plant.....
    Woo hoo and the best part I am building them to hold old window storms to convert them to cold frames come winter :)

  2. I really like the idea of using hay bales for raised beds! Do you have a link to instructions you could share? The cold frames sound neat, too! I'm trying hard to produce some veggies this year.