After just a week, Sister One (the corn) was sprouted in 10 of the 11 mounds in the Three Sisters Garden. If I don’t see something in that last mound in a few days, I’ll plant more corn seeds. The corn needs to be knee high before it’s time to plant Sisters Two and Three.

This weekend I planted bachelor button and sunflower seeds (Sister Four) in the Three Sisters Garden. These are meant to act as attractants to pollinators and distractors to birds. I think they will add a nice touch of color too.

In other garden news, the flower seeds I planted in the brick bed last weekend have also sprouted and we removed the plastic from the hoop house greenhouse.

Originally, I intended the hoop house to be dual purpose. In the Spring and late Fall it would be used as a greenhouse. In the summer it would be used as a chicken tractor to raise meat birds. The meat birds did not come to fruition this year though. Perhaps next year? In the meantime, one of Oscar’s projects this summer is to put doors on each end and cover the cattle panel with hardware cloth.

It was a delight to open my last container of strawberry freezer jam the end of February and enjoy that fresh strawberry flavor. So, the fact that it’s strawberry season here now, you can bet I went to my favorite strawberry farm this weekend. I’ve been getting strawberries from Kildee Farm in Ramseur, North Carolina, for the better part of a decade. They have always provided gorgeous, ripe, tasty strawberries.

I purchased three flats (three gallons) of strawberries. Yes, my zeal, as usual, overcame my good sense. Nevertheless, they are home and I’ve been working to get them processed as soon as possible.

My first strawberry activity was to load up the dehydrator.

Five trays of strawberry lusciousness!

Oh, my goodness, the smell in the house was divine!

My daughter asked, “You can smell them?” knowing that there is not much I can smell after Covid. But yes! I could smell them while they were processing in the dehydrator and enjoyed every minute.

The next morning, I emptied the trays and am now the proud owner of two snack-size bags of dehydrated strawberries.

Post-dehydration yield

Getting two small baggies out of 2/3 of a flat of strawberries may not seem like much but each little nugget packs a powerful flavor punch. Not only are these great to snack on, but they are also useful additions to cake, cookies, muffins, pancakes, salads, and other dishes. No, these two baggies won’t last until next season, but I’m not done with the dehydrator!

The second strawberry project was to make jam. I don’t usually make cooked jam as, somehow, I always manage to make a mistake. I wanted to try again so I’ll have jam on my shelf rather than taking up freezer space (though the freezer jam tastes so much fresher!). This time was no exception in the mistake department. Let’s just say, we’ll see if I have jam or syrup.

I have about a gallon and 1/4 left to process but they’ll have to be done after work this week.

Luncheon menu – this week, the worms got a smorgasbord of cauliflower stems and florets, pea plant thinnings, and strawberry trimmings. Last week’s lunch was all gone so I think I’ll check mid-week to see if I’ve given them enough food. I spritzed their bin with a little water as it seemed a little dry to me. Last time I over-wetted it, so I used my spray bottle judiciously.

The chickens are doing well and laying 6 – 8 blue, green, sage, and brown eggs a day. This week I sold five dozen eggs. That money goes straight back into buying chicken food.

There were requests for another three dozen, but the buyers didn’t show up. That’s okay, my eggs never last more than two weeks from lay. On the other hand, grocery store eggs can legally be two months old by the time you buy them from the supermarket).

Gosh, I wish I could eat eggs!

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