Thursday, May 10, 2012

For the Love of Strawberry


Things just keep on ticking away here on the Shawhan farm. Foghorn and Chaz are still gracing us with their presence, though they are starting to sport some awesome chin hairs. We never did make it to the library for those English to Dutch translation books. I think Foghorn is mad about that because he ran after Dan several times the other day. (I think he's just demonstrating some frustrations...he was told he was going to get 200 new ladies and so far no steps have been taken in the Amish direction.)

After we think we have solved one problem, another presences itself. As you all know I went to great lengths to keep my strawberry plants from freezing to death. I labored and toiled to bring bricks across the lawn in order to keep my feed sacks from blowing away. Then I braved hurricane-like winds to secure those feed sacks that wanted to fly away, half the time taking me with them...I could have showed Mary Poppins a thing or two... all the while my Yoder and English neighbors were probably busting a gut with laughter at my feats. I know the chickens were. At first I thought they were laughing at how stupid I looked and enjoying the effort I was putting into it. I now have come to the conclusion they cashed in twice for their merriment....I looked like a fool out there in the wind and they were plotting and scheming all the while how THEY were going to enjoy those strawberries too.

Ever since the first berry turned red I have been religiously going through the patch each night and getting the ripe ones...and OK, sometimes the half-ripe ones. I am saving Every. Single. Berry. My goal is to make at least one batch of strawberry jelly.

On the first day of picking I allotted Dan and myself one berry for personal consumption and that was it! every berry from there on out went to the sink, cutting board, baggie, freezer. I thought my daily visit to the strawberry patch was a clever idea..."I'll get them before the bugs do," I told myself, greedily rubbing my hands together and cackling with evil laughter.

Do you want to know who was snickering even more behind my back? My two regular escapees, not Samantha and Kailyn but another pair who daily fly the coop. The evidence is there, in black and white, plus I had to run them out of the patch twice just this evening.

This is a pecked at/half-eaten strawberry. I love how they only eat the red parts...maybe I'm still getting the last laugh in that I just cut around the eaten part and desperately salvage any berry bit that is left. Besides, sugar adds the sweetness to jelly, right?

So I searched my trusty Google on how to keep chickens out of your garden. I was a bit peeved when all I found was YouTube videos of chickens eating strawberries and articles that say how much chickens luuuvvv them. Well DUH! but the problem is I LOVE them too! Maybe a little bit more than I love my chickens. My strawberry plants never destroyed a flower bed or ran me out of the coop.

Short of putting up an unsightly fence and finally giving in to clipping wings, I'm up a creek without a paddle on this one.

I expect to be at full-out war when my future tomato plants begin to ripen...

                                                                               ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

1 comment:

  1. Jeff says to try a little cayenne pepper around the boarder of your garden. Maybe even a little on a few red strawberries to condition them. He doesn't know if this will work (and you might want to research if cayenne pepper is harmful to chickens) but it's worth a shot. (And if it doesn't work, you won't have to pepper your eggs!)