Besides harvesting many wild pin cherries and chokecherries, the wild plums are coming on like mad. Not to mention our own tame fruit. We’ve been especially thrilled with our Hansen’s Bush Cherries. The fruit is large, almost the size of wild plums, meaty and tasty. And it makes the BEST jam and jelly ever! Yum. We’re planting several cherry pits in a tire full of dirt so they’ll chill and overwinter outside, to come up next spring. We’ve done that in the past and nearly every pit sprouted. We’d like a whole lot more of these bushes around our homestead. (We’ve been planting them in clearings here and there around the place, making “wild” bushes out of them.)


Burgess sells them very inexpensively but they call them Western Sand Cherries. Other catalogs call them different things. But look for Prunus besseyi, the scientific name, if unsure.

Our grapes really took off this summer. We have ten different varieties and some are bearing this year. Our Valiant is leading the pack with ripe, tasty bunches of beautiful grapes. I wanted to make a grape arbor for them out of stock panels this spring but that never got done. Oh well, maybe next spring?


The orchard really took a hit with last winter’s record-breaking cold spell; 90 days of subzero weather for a high, in a row! We had a lot of branches that winter-killed and even a tree or two. But amazingly, our Frostbite survived untouched (hey, it’s the name!) and has a good crop of tasty apples. Also, our Prairie Magic and Trailman crab (which tastes wonderful) are heavily loaded. Other trees vary from one or two apples to none. But if they live it’s a miracle. We’ve heavily pruned the dead wood and the extra young branches off the trees in order to put more strength into the roots and help re-shape the trees. Hopefully, they’ll recover and go on to grow nicely next spring. — Jackie


  1. Zelda,

    Will do. But our grapes are just out in the open and sure aren’t babied. I don’t even mulch them. BUT they are all very hardy varieties. I’d die for a sweet seedless grape! Ours are great for juice and jelly but eating….not so hot as they are pretty tart. But around here, LIVING is a good thing!

  2. Julia,

    No, we don’t do anything special. If anything, they are kind of neglected. The cherries are sweet when very ripe but when not quite ripe they are astringent like chokecherries. But they sure make great jelly and jam!!! We’ve got Nankings too, and have never gotten a single cherry. They flower very early and we usually get those nasty spring frosts!! We’re still waiting.

  3. Amazing that your grapes survived the 90 days of such intense cold and are producing – I lost a Canadice last winter and most grape vines I know of would have frozen canes down to the ground (original Concords can survive cold like that). Can you blog about your grapes, with photos of the conditions where your grapes are – are they protected by large trees, other bushes, a nearby hill? or are they totally covered by deep snow? and have more information about the varieties you have. Thanks

  4. Do you do anything special to the Hansen’s cherry? I have 2 bushes & rarely see more than a dozen small, very sour berries. It also seems to flower later than the Nanking. I managed to “rehome” quite of few of my Nanking babies.

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