Change in plans, morning in the garden

This morning was our date with the vet, to get Potato Beetle, Big Rig and Tissue spayed and neutered, as arranged by the Cat Lady.

I had a chance to text with her last night, as she reminded me to have them fasting. She herself was going back to the hospital today. The poor thing has been in and out of hospital all summer, and yet she still manages to help with cats. She just brought home a couple more because they were sick, and no one else was willing/able to take care of them. She is so awesome!

She did warn me that there is a shortage of vets, and there was a possibility of cancellation. So when my phone started ringing while I was driving with the three cats, I had a sinking feeling. Of course, I couldn’t answer while driving. It started ringing again, then I suddenly started getting notification noises, one after another. *sigh*

The calls were from one of the staff from the clinic – but she was calling from home! When she couldn’t get through to me, she called the Cat Lady, and both of them were trying to text me at the same time, letting me know that the vet wasn’t coming in today. All surgeries were being cancelled.

I got all these when I parked in front of the clinic.

After responding to both of them, the lady from the clinic said she would call me when she got into the office to reschedule, then I headed home.

The cats were not happy with all this. I was concerned about Potato Beetle. He’s already been stuck in the sun room for over a week. Yes, he has cool places to lie down, and we make sure there’s a frozen water bottle in his water bowl, the ceiling fan is going, and the small box fan I found the the garage is set up. Still, it gets quite warm in there and, as much as we try to go over and pay attention to him, he’s mostly all on his own.

Thankfully, the clinic was able to reschedule us for this Friday, so tomorrow night, we do the fasting again.

Since we no longer to dash to and from town to deal with the cats, I took advantage of the change in plans and decided to do our Costco trip today, instead of next week.

But first, I had to do my morning rounds, switch out the memory cards in the trail cams, and check the garden beds.

The Carminat pole beans finally have pods forming!

The one giant pumpkin is growing so fast!

I looked around and finally saw another pumpkin forming. Just to be on the safe side, I hand pollinated it. The vines of the two plants are overlapping each other, but as far as I can tell, this one, plus another female flower I found that is still just a bud, is on the same plant as the pumpkin that’s growing so big. The second plant has lots of male flowers, but I can’t see any female flowers on it.

I’ll keep checking and, as I find them, I’ll hand pollinated them, just to be on the same side.

Which I am also doing with the Red Kuri (Little Gem) squash, in the south yard. These are doing really, really well here. I have hand pollinated several female flowers already, and I can see more budding. I’m happy that these are doing so well, because these may be the only winter squash we get this year!

The cherry tree by the house is doing well, too. This is the most we’ve seen on this tree since moving here. The other trees at the edge of the spruce grove have nothing. Being close to the house seems to be providing the microclimate it needs. I don’t know the name of this variety; only that the original tree was from Poland, which has a longer growing season than we do.

The cherries at the very top look ripe, or close to it. We’ll have to bring over the step ladder and start picking them!

Speaking of picking things…

This is this morning’s harvest. Along with the bush beans, there was a single pea pod from the row that was planted first. That row is almost done, but the ones that were planted later have quite a few pods that should be ready to pick in a few more days.

I also picked our very first two cucumbers! I picked this variety as it is supposed to be good for both fresh eating and pickling. Whether or not we’ll have enough to make pickles, I’m not sure yet, but we at least have these ones to taste test now!

There was also a few raspberries to pick. Maybe 3/4’s of a cup in total.

It’s not much, but it’s enough to enjoy with a meal. Certainly better than nothing at all!

That done, I was off to the city to do the last of our monthly stocking up, but that will get it’s own post. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: unexpected things

Yesterday, one of my goals was to start on the lawn. We have yet to mow the lawn this year, but with how little rain we’ve had, it’s not really that overgrown. Other than some straw we still have left, we’re out of organic material to layer and mulch with, so it would be good to have grass clippings again. At the very least, I wanted to get out the weed trimmer and do the edges.

Then I got a phone call.

My mother was letting me know my sister was on her way to visit her, and they were planning to go to the cemetery, which is just a few miles away from us. They were planning to come here, after.


We had talked about this possibility just the day before, so I can’t say it was too unexpected, but I had advised against doing a cemetery trip when we were supposed to get so very hot again. She also knew that I like to have a lot more notice before visits, so we can be prepared. My mother actually sounded apologetic when she was telling me they were coming over, and added that she was good with not going into the house if we didn’t want her to. Which isn’t the problem, but whatever.

So the girls did a quick rush to try and prepare things, like making sure everything was clear from the sun room doors, though the old kitchen, to the bathroom (so my mother wouldn’t have to use the main doors, with all the little sets of stairs), while I quickly used the weed trimmer around the yard, between the main garden beds, and a few other places that I thought my mother might want to get at with her walker. I had thought to move the picnic table to a shady spot in the south yard, but my daughter reminded me that, when we moved it to where it is now, after it was painted, it was pretty rickety, so it probably couldn’t handle being moved so far, again. So she set up some camp chairs in the shade, and we used an overturned bin for a table. 😀 My mother and sister had even brought some fried chicken, so we had ourselves a picnic lunch in the shade, before touring the yard and garden beds.

When they arrived, my sister passed me something my mother had for me. At her apartment building, they have garden plots available. My mother doesn’t do much gardening herself anymore, but she does tend the perennials that had been planted by some of her friends and neighbours who have passed on. The caretakers, unfortunately, have a habit of digging everything up at the end of the year, including a bush my mother described as having beautiful yellow flowers, followed by black fruit. She had no idea what it was; it was planted by someone who passed away some years ago. No one ate the berries, but it was lovely, and the caretakers dug it up and got rid of it. This spring, while tending some plants, she noticed that part of the bush had survived. Not wanting the caretakers to kill it off, she dug it up and put it in a pitcher with some soil. She wanted to give it to me to plant somewhere near the house. We have a grocery shopping trip arranged next week, and I was going to get it then, but with my sister coming over, they were able to bring it over early.

I’m pretty sure it’s a currant, though my mother says it’s different than what we have here. My sister, who is the one that gave my mother the currants that are here, thought it might be a gooseberry. Whatever it is, I made sure to transplant it as soon as things started cooling down a bit. I picked a spot right near where we’d had our picnic lunch. There is a flower bed with white lilacs taking up about half of it. After it was cleaned up, a couple of years ago, we were left with an empty spot that I decided to take advantage of.

I scraped away the wood chip mulch we’d put in, first – it was about 3 inches deep – and started digging. I had to shift the hole a few times, after hitting tree roots, but after clearing out a few bigger rocks, I finally had a space I could transplant into. It was bone dry. We don’t water this bed regularly, but I have been trying to water the lilacs and a low growing plant with variegated leaves I like. From how dry the soil was, you’d never know it had been watered recently! So I filled the hole with water, then got a wheelbarrow load of new garden soil.

After transplanting it into the hole with fresh garden soil, I put back some of the mulch and gave it another thorough watering.

So we now have a new, unplanned, fruit bearing bush in the yard. 🙂 Hopefully, it will survive.

Backtracking a bit; my mother and I had talked about her coming out to see the gardens later in the season, when things were more grown in, but she got a bit of a tour yesterday. I did appreciate her very visible efforts to not say anything negative, which is usually the only thing she’ll say. I think it’s a generational thing, or maybe a cultural thing, but my mother seems to believe in NOT saying positive things. Like it’s somehow bad to compliment people or something. I suspect it has to do with believing it would lead to pride or something along those lines, though I doubt that’s in any way on a conscious level. She did, however, manage a backhanded compliment on how healthy the garlic looked! So that’s progress. 😀

She was not up to taking the walker to the furthest beds, of course, but my sister did, with her ever-present camera, and she got lots of pictures. It was a long day for my mother, so they left almost immediately after touring the yard. Going to the cemetery, then coming here, was probably too much for her. 😦

After I’d taken care of the transplant my mother gave us, I started hearing thunder. We’ve been having thunderstorm warnings for a while, but they kept getting pushed back. We were hoping to at least get some rain! I could see the storm clouds, and the wind was picking up, so I brought our hardening off transplants back into the sun room early, and we even shut down our computers, just in case.

We got nothing. Not even a spit of rain.

By 9:30pm, I finally went back outside to water the garden beds. The rain did finally come, but not until about 5am this morning.

When I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was still raining! A lovely, steady rain. I got completely soaked. 😀 So no pictures this morning. 😉

While checking the garden beds, I had some more unexpected surprises. The sweet corn is coming up already!! New shoots, in all three corn blocks. I also found more Hopi Black Dye sunflower sprouts, but also some Mongolian Giant sunflowers have already sprouted! Clearly, they are loving our heat wave. The bush beans, meanwhile, are coming up like crazy. The purple ones are still a bit slower in coming up than the yellow and green beans, but once they do come up, the sprouts seem to be leafing out faster than the others.

I’m finding it awesome that so many things we direct sowed is sprouting already. We haven’t even finished putting out our transplants, yet! 😀

Of course, while checking the garden beds this morning, I was looking for deer damage. When I’d watered last night, I tied some plastic grocery bags onto a couple of the stakes supporting the Mongolian Giant transplants, as a noisy deterrent. Happily, there was no new damage.

Then I checked the trail cam.

There was one file triggered during the night. Off in the shadows, a single deer could be seen, walking through! It looked like it was going down the path between the corn/sunflower blocks, and the pea/bean beds. It didn’t stop or pause, but kept walking towards the spruce grove.

Today, I’m moving the camera again. I think I know where the deer came in, but there are a couple of places they like to jump the fence, and I want to cover both possibilities, if I can, and see if there are any other areas they might be coming through.

We shall see what the weather does today. Today’s expected high is “only” 25C/77F, with scattered showers. Which means we will probably not be able to use a power drill, with its 300 ft or so of extension cords, to finish assembling the squash tunnel. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the summer squash in, though we might have to prioritize the Montana Morado corn. At least the place they will be planted is right next to what’s left of the pile of garden soil. We might end up having to use soil from the pile in the outer yard to finish transplanting. The good thing is, we actually have that second pile!

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: to the chokecherry trees

Normally, I would not have done clean up on a Sunday, but the chokecherries needed to be picked, and we couldn’t get at the two trees with the ripest berries.

Which turned out to be 4 trees… 😀

Here are the ones behind the garden beds where the old wood pile used to be.

The arrows are pointing to the two chokecherry trees. They are close enough together that I had thought they were just one tree at first. All around them are dead cherry trees with live cherry saplings coming up the bottoms, along with other odds and sots that have come up since I cleared things away last year.

I started on this side because I figured taking out the dead cherry trees would be the more difficult job. Especially since we were getting spotty rain, so I wasn’t going to string out extension cords to use the electric reciprocating saw!

This is how it looked when I stopped.

The fallen spruce tree and poplars behind them kinda make it look like they’re not cleared, but there is plenty of space to walk around them now.

While the girls started picking berries, I moved on to the other side. This is how it looked before I started.

In the spring, I had cleared a path to the junk pile to access the wood stacked in it, and I’ve been trying to keep things clear around the Saskatoons. You can see those on either side of what’s left of the path, and the arrow is pointing to the chokecherry tree. Which is actually two trees next to each other.

Most of what’s here is spirea and thistles, with a bit of burdock, plus a few other things hidden by the spirea. I figured this side would be much easier to clear, since I could basically just yank them out of the ground.

I really should know better by now.

The spirea and thistles were, indeed, easy to pull up.

First, I’d forgotten about the fallen spruce tree in there, and how close it was to where I needed to go.

It’s been there for a long time, so I was pulling out bits and pieces that had broken off as it fell, as well as breaking off or pulling out rotten branches that were jutting out all over.

I’d uncovered the one stump that I already knew about, then found another, smaller one, beyond it.

As I worked my way closer, I found something else.

There’s a reason we call what started out as a pile of neatly stacked boards that used to be covered with a tarp, a “junk pile”.

So… that’s… wire? It looks like the wire from those little decorative fences you can get to put around garden beds.

Also, there’s an old pallet there.

Because, of course there is.

Don’t mind me. After clearing out the old wood pile and dragging away a couple dozen rotten pallets, I’m not much of a fan of those anymore! 😀 I remember having to work my way around it, while searching for boards in the pile that weren’t too badly rotted.

As I worked my way closer, I found the chokecherry trees grew through the partially rolled up wire. Which gives an idea of how long it’s been hidden there!

That wire really does look like it’s from one of those little fences, undone. It even has cross pieces still wound into the twists.

At this point, I stopped!

It was clear enough to reach the trees, and most of the berries. So I started picking those, while the girls harvested carrots and little squashes. 🙂

The piles of debris will wait until tomorrow to be hauled away!

This pile is almost all spirea and thistles, with a few smaller branches from the fallen spruce tree tossed in. I had to pull up some of the wildflowers, too. They’ve shown up all over the place this year, so there are plenty more around the yard.

This pile is mostly the cherry I cleared away from around the first chokecherry trees, plus the larger pieces of the dead spruce tree I was working around.

These are pieces I set aside to keep for future crafting or carving purposes.

As for the chokecherries, we picked about a gallon pail of them. The girls had picked from the tree by the squash beds, and the ones among the lilac hedge, too. Lots were left behind for the birds. We are finding more chokecherry trees deeper in the spruce grove, that are not ripe yet, so we will have more to pick, later on.

Now to decide on what to do with them. 🙂

The Re-Farmer


As we work on clearing, cleaning and reclaiming the yard and planting our first garden beds, I’ve been keeping a close eye on details to keep in mind for the future. Things that will help us decide what needs to be done next, what to change or what to keep the same.

This morning, I found myself making a lot of comparisons.

The cutest one is the cucamelons.

This is the largest one that is developing, with my fingers giving an idea of just show small these are!

Isn’t that just the cutest thing? 😀 This is the first one big enough to start seeing the patterns developing.

The trellis I made for these is just cotton yarn. It is working very well, except for on thing.

The cats.

When I am out there and the boys come over for some attention, they will plow their way through the trellis, pulling tendrils off in the process, then look at me all confused over why I’m flipping out at them. 😀 They also try to lean and rub against the strands of yarn, only to flop over onto the plants. !!!

We already know that this location doesn’t have enough sun for cucamelons. If we grow them in the future, they will be planted somewhere with full sun. Our original intention was to plant them against the chain link fence for them to climb, and the cats are showing us exactly why that’s a very good idea! If not there, then we will have to make sure to have trellises that are sturdier, with strands much closer together. Not because the cucamelons themselves need it, but because of the cats!

Here is another comparison. These two squash plants, with the mottled leaves.

They look pretty much like the same kind of plant, don’t they?

Now look at the developing squash.

They’re completely different!

I’m looking forward to being able to start harvesting these. My favourite way to eat them is raw, with dip. No need for anything else, when they’re at just the right stage. 🙂

It was looking at the chokecherry trees that I am really seeing what a difference even minor changes in conditions makes.

This first one is at the south side of the garden where the squash beds are.

This one gets sun in the mornings, but for most of the day, it is shaded by spruce and maple trees to the South and West of it. It is not crowded by other trees. It has quite a lot of berries that are looking big and juicy (well… as much as chokecherries can be! 😉 ). Even last year, during the drought, it had larger berries. While I do not specifically water this tree, I do sometimes water the little patch of flowers and raspberries on one side of it, and the black current bush (my sister confirmed what it was for me) on the other side, so it does get extra water from that. While is has larger berries, it also ripens later. As you can see, the berries are still very much on the red side of things.

This next one is the chokecherry tree that is engulfed by lilacs.

This one gets full sun for most of the day, though it does get slightly shaded at the end of the day, by the trees my mother left to grow after she moved the raspberries they’d self-sown in between, years ago. This whole area gets quite dry, and we do not make any effort to try and water anything here.

The berries themselves are noticeably smaller than in the previous tree, and there are less of them, but they are also ripening faster.

Then there is this tree, right nearby.

This is the top of a young, small tree that was self-sown and allowed to grow (rather than get mowed over, like all the other saplings) in a grassy band between the old garden area (with the row of trees mentioned previously) and the lilac hedge. It might get some shade towards the end of the day, but otherwise gets full sun. Our first summer here, it did not produce fruit yet, and I wasn’t even completely sure what kind of tree it was. Our second summer, it had a few berries. This year, it has matured enough to produce quite a lot of berries. With full sun most of the day, not at all crowded, and little moisture, the berries are still not as big as the ones closer to the house, but the clusters are dense and ripening quickly.

You can see how this tree is situated in the background of the next photo, below. This next chokecherry is also among the lilacs, but on the edge of the hedge, not in the middle of them.

Here, it gets no shade at all. It has lots of berries that are already ripe. As you can see, though, some of the leaves are turning yellow. Only a few branches are like this, not all of them. It’s not stopping them from heavily fruiting! Like the other two along this side of the old garden, the berries are not as large as the trees nearer the house.

This next one was a surprise find, along with the Saskatoon berries. This area had been full of spirea that I had pulled up. It’s starting to grow back, so I’ll have to do it again, as pulling them up has been a good thing for other trees. The Saskatoons thrived this summer, and we discovered another chokecherry tree among them.

This area is under spruce trees, both living and dead, getting very little sun. In the above photo are the berries on the North side of the tree, where it gets even less sun. As you can see, they are just turning from green to red here.

This next photo is of the same tree, but on the South side.

That little bit more sunlight sure makes a noticeable difference in how fast they ripen!

Again, while I have not really been watering these trees, they are near the horseradish, and with the spirea taken out, wildflowers have come up and I’ve been watering those. So they will have benefited a bit from that, too. Mostly, though, being under the spruces as they are, they don’t get the full heat of the day, so the soil doesn’t dry out after a rainfall as quickly, either.

Then there is this one…

That’s a chokecherry in the middle of the photo. I had cleared a path to the junk pile you can see part of, to try and find useful pieces of wood in it, but that’s as far as I got so far. The tree itself is not crowded by other, large trees, and is shaded only in the morning hours. It’s surrounded by spirea and thistles, so we can’t get at it right now, but it appears to be just loaded with ripe chokecherries.

Finally, there is this one.

This is the top of a chokecherry tree among the cherries. I can get close to it, but not enough to be able to harvest it until I clear away the cherries around it; mostly cherries that had been killed off by last year’s horrible spring, and the bits that are now growing up from the bases. They create a formidable barrier!

This tree also gets shade in the morning hours only. Our last two summers, I don’t recall seeing any flowers or berries at all. Last summer, I’d cleared away the old wood pile, which turned out to be a much, much larger job than I expected. You can read about it in this series of posts (all links should open in new tabs, so you won’t lose your place!); parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Did I mention it turned out to be a really huge job?


So while there is still lots to clean up to work our way into the spruce grove, what has been done so far made a big difference. I’m thinking that, had the cherries not been so damaged by the previous spring conditions, they would have improved, too. Mind you, the one cherry tree I kept because it managed to actually produce a few berries, and is not at all crowded, did not produce even a blossom this year.

It’s amazing how the same type of tree, while not really all that far apart from each other, are so different based on even minor changes in sun, shade, moisture, etc. When it comes time for us to plant more food trees, the differences among these chokecherry trees is providing us with a lot of information.

Comparisons can be very useful!

The Re-Farmer

Our first haskap berries

I was out doing my rounds a lot earlier than usual, though I skipped tending to the kittens for later. My husband needed to go into town to get his blood work done – something that has been postponed several time already – and we were planning to get there for when the lab opened.

Of course, since I had something scheduled in the morning, my brain decided that sleep was not going to happen.

Yeah. I was up all night.

It turned out to be a gorgeous morning. We were at 9C! (48F) It was absolutely wonderful!

Not wonderful enough to make me a morning person, but I did appreciate it. 😀

One of the things I made sure to check was our haskap bushes. The flowers in the bed around them have grown high enough to almost completely hide the bushes, even though I made a point of pulling up anything growing near the haskap. In time, the haskap will be taller than the flowers, but that might take a couple more years.

I was sure the female haskap had died last fall, but it has recovered remarkably well. I had noticed a couple of flowers, and then some berries forming, so I wanted to see how they are doing.

There are actually 2 berries here; one is still green, and is hidden by the ripe one. In another spot, I found a couple more berries, one ripe, one green.

It looks like that’s all we’ll get this year. Which I am happy with, since the alternative would have been trying to find a replacement female plant, and I just haven’t seen them at all in the garden centres this year. I had hoped to get 1 or 2 more female plants anyway (the ratio for pollination on these is 1 male for every 3 females), but there were none to be had.

That’s okay. Next time, I want to order them from Vesey’s instead. I think I’ll get better quality plants from them.

Until then, I am happy with our bitty baby berries!

The Re-Farmer

Growing things, wins and losses

Oy, what a day it’s been!

Our high of the day was reached at about 4:30 pm! 32C/89F, with the humidex putting us at 36C/97F. We’re not going to be cooling down much, even overnight, either.

At least there’s a wind, and on the weather radar, it looks like we’ll at least get some rain this evening, if not the thunderstorms. Those look like they’ll go right past us.

It was, at least, much more bearable when I did my rounds this morning. That, and the basement is nice and cool for the kittens.

Since they have gotten so good and escaping as soon as the door is opened and my hands are full, I’ve sacrificed one of my slightly taller laundry baskets for kitten jail.

I succeeded only in catching David! 😀 He loves that thing!

I ended up just leaving the door open and let them be, until after I was done outside. By then, a daughter was available to help herd them back downstairs.

I am happy to say that some of the replacement sunflower seeds we planted are starting to sprout! They are just starting to break ground. The ones from the first planting have, for the most part, been growing quite well.

Something has been digging into the softer soil where we planted the seeds. Whatever it doing it, isn’t after the seeds themselves. This time, at least, the seedling didn’t get dug up in the process. My guess is, skunks are after grubs or worms.

We did, however, have a couple more losses of the original seedlings.

Something just up and ate a couple of them! Most likely deer. *sigh* The deer aren’t coming around much anymore; there is one that I’ve been seeing at the gate on the trail cams, but that’s it.

So far, at least, nothing has been eating the squash plants, and it doesn’t look like we’ve lost more beet greens.

The small mock orange by the side door of the house is going to be blooming very well this year! It got a major pruning, the summer before we moved out here, so that the walls could be painted, but it has recovered very well. The other one by the clothes line platform had a rough time last year, but it does have some flowers – all along the bottom! Most of it, however, has no buds at all.

These guys are finally starting to open. I expect to see many more, within the next few days!

This little shrub along the south side of the driveway has lots of berries on it. I have no idea what they are. There are quite a few of them around, but only this one has berries. I’m thinking location has much to do with it. It’s the only one that gets a lot of sun all day. The others are shaded by trees or sheds.

If anyone knows what this is, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

For now, I’ll just assume that whatever it is, is poisonous, and just appreciate it for its beauty. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Morning company

I had some company while doing my rounds this morning.

Beep Beep also joined me, emerging from somewhere beyond our driveway.

We have been having plenty of rain during the night, which is making things really beautiful.

Like the berries on this self-sown asparagus along the eastern fence line.

So beautiful!

The Re-Farmer

Chokecherries, ready to freeze

The chokecherries I picked this morning are all done for now.

Nice to see my colander so full of berries! All clean and ready to pick over.

I got all the stems (of course, I found one I missed after I took this photo!) and the ones that were damages or whatever. I filled two 9×13 jelly roll pans with berries when I was done.

They are now in the deep freeze, to be transferred to freezer bags when they are frozen solid. After that, they can wait until we decide how we want to use them this year. 🙂 The freezing will help them release their juices later, too.

So… what shall we make? More chokecherry vinegar? Or try a jam or jelly this year?

The Re-Farmer


This morning, I grabbed a bucket and checked out the chokecherry trees.

After my last visit with them, I thought I might be too late for the one tree; either they would be over ripe, or the birds would have got them by now.

Happily, there were plenty of perfectly ripe (very dusty!) berries!

I was even able to pull branches down and get lots from the top.

This is how much I got, from just the one tree – minus the many that went flying or rolling out of my hands onto the ground! 😀

Which is quite noticeably better than last year.


That was all what I was able to pick from both trees near the road, last year.

This year, that second tree is not doing as well.

There were very few berries, they were really small, and not consistently ripening.

I left this tree alone.

Then I went for the tree closer to the house. The berries there were much plumper, but the berries were also mostly out of reach. The lower branches don’t get anywhere near as much light, so there were fewer berries and they were redder. My daughter was able to come out and help by pulling the upper branches down so I could reach to pick them.

Check them out!

While there were a fewer berries, they had almost as much volume as the berries from the other tree.

Yes, they are also a lot more red and not as ripe. This is okay, as the less ripe berries have more natural pectin.

As I write this, the chokecherries are sitting in cold water to get rid of any critters that might have come along for the ride, and get the bulk of the dust from the gravel road off. Later, I will give them a thorough wash in cold water, then pick them over to get rid of stems and any messed up berries.

Last year, we made chokecherry vinegar, to use mostly as a drink mix, with our berries. I have not yet decided if we will do the same thing this year. I’ll go through some ideas with my daughters later. I rather like the idea of making a jelly, but that vinegar was really good!

At the very least, we’ll set some aside to freeze and use to make chokecherry mead at some point. 🙂

The Re-Farmer