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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grape Expectations, or the Gestation of the Jam on Outdoor Wednesday!

We are Johnny-come-latelys here at That Old House, having lived here only one year; the grapes at the end of our driveway have lived here for many decades, as long as anyone in the area can remember.

Although there are fewer vines than there used to be, and they are of an impressive age, they pump out a generous crop of grapes.

Apparently there's no such thing as Plant Menopause.

So today, for Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer, I stood in the baking sun (after getting home from Dollar Tree) and bravely (if by bravely we mean blindly in the bright sunshine -- seriously, I could not see!) took a few pictures of what we like to call the grape arbor:

If it looks like a big ol' jumble of about 6 different opportunistic vines and pushy shrubs, that's because it is.
Look at this big fountain of forsythia popping up out of the top like something in a Dr. Seuss book:

Howard pulls out and cuts back renegade vines every weekend,
but they just love it snuggled in with the grapevine and pop right back up again.

Knowing nothing about viticulture, we are following the neighbors' advice to cut back non-grape stuff, and thin out the grape vines to give the little grape-babies as much sun as possible. We do try and expose the grape-babies... because they like to hide under the leaves.

Where are the grape-babies?

Peek-a-boo! There they are!

Aren't they cute?

Later this summer, they'll get dark and then darker still, and my father will start eating them right off the vine -- seeds and all -- because they remind him of the grapevines they had when he was a kid, and then they will fulfill their destiny . . . and become the world's most delicious jam.

No, really, I am serious. It is that good. My dad eats this jam like it's Jello.

I give the grapes to our neighbor (who used to live in That Old House) and she makes the jam and we get a couple of jars, and ... hey. Maybe this year I'll have her teach me to make the jam, and then she gets a couple of jars!

While we're still on the driveway, remember last week's daisies, just beginning to bloom?
They are busting their little guts now, blooming away:

And there's an enormous tall hedge along the driveway, and it is blooming! And smells heavenly. It brings me back to childhood summers, so we must have had similar hedges at one of our houses when I was a kid, 'way back when dinosaurs roamed Long Island.

Can you see the white blooms, up high?
I told you I was blinded by the sun -- these are not great pictures, sorry.

If you look closely, below, you can see the small blooms at the ends of branches.

And tomorrow, cuttings from the hedge and the daisies, and some of what I got at Dollar Tree (oh, good stuff... good stuff!), and some very vintage linens, and a few other doo-dads and what-nots are destined to become a Tablescape.

But for more fun in the sun, or shade, or whatever weather, check in for more Outdoor Wednesday posts, by clicking here. Thanks, Susan, for hosting! -- Cass


  1. Oh Cass, these grape vines are just beautiful. So full of fruit. To heck with the neighbor and only getting a couple of jars. Google making this jam and keep it all. Wouldn't your Daddy be so happy? He'd have jam all winter. Why share when it costs you, when you can do it yourself and it be free. You pics are so lovely. You have a beautiful home. Just beautiful. Happy Outdoor Wednesday. Please stop by and say hi. Country Hugs, Sherry

  2. You supply the grapes and you only get 2 jars?!?! Maybe you do need to reverse the "jam making" process going on there. :-)

  3. I love vines, grape or any kind, really. I realize you have to keep things cut back, but I'm crazy about them.

    I also love your daises... so pretty and fresh in their white dresses!

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday...


    Sheila :-)

  4. What beautiful images! I love the title of your post -- VERY clever!

    Hope the rest of your day goes well.

    Bill @ Affordable Accoutrements

  5. Jam what's up with that, I'm looking for a vineyard, though I don't think 6 vines are enough.

  6. Cass, are they red or white grapes? How wonderful to find them on your property! One of my favorite summertime memories is hiking FOREVER along a beach with friends and coming across ancient arbors of deep purple grapes, perfectly ripened. We slaked our salty thirst on warm grapes. Oh, summertime!

  7. Cass, I love your pictures of the grape vines. So lovely!! Thank you visiting my blog and for leaving a sweet comment Hugs ~cindy s~

  8. I've been trying to get out to Dollar Tree down the street for a week, and something foils my efforts. Steel boot or no, I'm going in there to see what bargains you gals are raving about. Getting in on that action.

  9. Hi Cass,
    The grapes are great...I loved this post and the menopause crack...Great photography in spite of the sun...

  10. Mmmm, are those concord grapes? When I was a kid we lived in an area known for it's concords and we would get bushels full, which my mom would make into juice, jam, etc.

  11. I enjoyed seeing what's growing in your garden. The grape vine reminds me of one we had at our house in NY when I was growing up.

  12. Cass, make your own jam, it's not hard!! Those hedges do smell wonderful BUT they wreak havoc on anyone with sinus problems, if you get a headache, that's the culprit!

  13. What wonderful pictures. When I was a little girl my great grandparents lived on a farm in Ohio. They had a grape arbor leading all the way up to their house. In the summer time it was like entering into a cool green leafy tunnel. Grandma used to make jam and jelly with the grapes.Thanks for sharing your pictures. They made me think of those summer days on my great grandparents farm.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I always love new visitors.

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday


  14. Love the grapes and the daisies..gorgeous greenery pics.

  15. You have adorable grape-babies! I must say they are the prettiest grape-babies I have ever seen. You described everything so well! Can't wait to see your tablescape tomorrow.

  16. How lucky you are to have gotten such a great yard filled with grapevines and daisies! I bet they will be delish!

  17. I rented an old house in Studio City, California, which the landlord's grandfather had built. It stood on the side of a mountain in a cul-de-sac with just two other homes. The backyard was sculpted into three levels. The bottom level had grapevines such as yours and the second level had blackberries. At the end of the cul-de-sac there were raspberries. I planted strawberries, as well as veggies. The top level was filled with various fruit trees. The bounty was plentiful and shared with visitors. I was so grateful for this man and his wife who had planted and cared for these young vines and trees, I would gladly have given them anything had they still been living. You are a good soul and I always enjoy dropping in.

  18. OOOH not only do I love the grape vines..but I loooove That Old House!!!!! If you don't mind...I am going to add you to my blog roll...I want to come back and visit more! Nancy

  19. Beautiful photos! I have one grapevine but it's not big like yours! Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment for me. I hope you come back again, alrighty?

  20. Yes, you can make jam! But if the neighbor is willing, that's good too!
    Love the daisies..funny how the hedge flowers remind you of LI!

  21. Your vines are gorgeous to look at. I don't quite get the math that gives you 2 jars of jam for your grapes. You are definitely a good neighbor. Have a wonderful day.

  22. How fun to inherit those wonderful grape vines! Those grapes look so pretty. Your daisies are unbelievably gorgeous! laurie

  23. So pretty!!! I used to live somewhere that had grape vines right out the front door. This posting made me miss its simple beauty :)


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