Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 2)

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N.C. Cooperative Extension of Chowan County is sharing a new series called Home-Insteading. We’re focusing on educational topics that encourage at-home learning and hands-on activity. For more information about our local program and how to connect, visit the Chowan County website.

4-H AT HOME – Build A Bird Feeder

Camaryn Byrum, Chowan County 4-H Agent

Chowan County 4-H STEM Challenge

Have some free time at home? Try out this engaging and educational 4-H STEM activity. To participate: Complete the STEM experiment/activity below. Email Camaryn Byrum a picture of you completing the given task. A $5 credit will be applied toward any 2020 Chowan County Summer Fun Program that you plan to attend. A new challenge will be published each week in the newspaper. Camaryn Byrum can be reached at cibyrum@ncsu.edu.

Supplies Needed: craft supplies

  • Large pine cone
  • Peanut Butter
  • Birdseed
  • Yarn or wire


  1. Spread peanut butter all over the pine cone.
  2. Roll the peanut butter covered pine cone in a dish of birdseed.
  3. Attach a piece of yarn or wire to the pine cone. This will act as a hanger for the bird feeder.
  4. Hang the bird feeder outside.


Monitor your bird feeder for a few days and record the types of birds you see.


Mary Morris, Chowan County Family & Consumer Science Agent

Mary MorrisWe now find ourselves at home and feeling stressed, unsure about how the next few months are going to play out. One way that you can make the best of a crazy situation is to cook some food. Yes, you have the time and it is relaxing. Cooking can get your mind off things and spread happiness through the senses of smell, sight, and taste. Good food will bring everybody together trust me when I started cooking onions and garlic in olive oil everybody came to see what I was making. As a precaution, we were on self-quarantine last weekend and we couldn’t leave the house. My family was going crazy not being able to leave and go do what they wanted to do. So I decided to make the best of a bad situation and spread some happiness with food. Start with a recipe that you love to make. Look in your pantry and use what you have, here’s one of my family’s favorites.

Hash Brown Egg Casserole (Gluten Free)

Serves 6


  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese ( cheddar, or whatever you have)
  • 4 cups frozen hash browns (tater tots) read label to make sure gluten free.
  • ½ cup cubed ham
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • chopped mushrooms (optional)


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray. Line casserole dish with hash browns. Layer with cheese, ham, onion, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 ½ cups of cheese. In separate bowl beat 12 eggs together, then stir in 1 cup milk. Pour over layered ingredients in casserole dish. Sprinkle rest of cheese on top. Bake 1 hour on 350 degrees.
  2. Serve with dollop of sour cream and Italian parsley and sliced fruit.

Email or text me a story and picture of your favorite cooking creations that you would like to share to

252-741-0026 or mary_morris@ncsu.edu

For more information log on to the Chowan County website.

HORTICULTURE AT HOME – Garden With Containers

Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent

peppersDon’t let a lack of space discourage you from gardening. From patios to porches, there are lots of container options to get you growing. The main things to keep in mind when selecting containers are:

  • Size – Use an appropriately sized container. Most summer vegetables need at least 3 gallons of soil to grow well. Clean and sterilized home trash cans make a perfect fit; don’t forget the drainage. Looking to work in less space? Choose herbs or cool weather plants like lettuce and spinach that can be grown in smaller containers. Some pots are even made to hang directly on the porch railing.
  • Material – This is more of a personal preference, but some selections are better suited for management. Plastic containers are lightweight and usually more inexpensive. Terra cotta pots are best for plant health but can be difficult to size. Ceramic pots often lack drainage, tend to get very heavy, and can be difficult to lift or move. Fabric containers are a new option appealing to folks who want more of a temporary or seasonal garden; you can find these at most garden centers or make your own with a reusable fabric grocery bag.
  • Drainage – One of the most important factors for successful container gardening is drainage. No matter the size, or material, the container must drain well. This may require drilling or punching a hole through the base of a container. Unfortunately many containers have no drainage and the plants end up rotting. Don’t forget to encourage drainage on hard surfaces too. Rocks, bricks, and special made “feet” will help lift the container off the ground and encourage drainage.

Whether you go with a traditional container or get creative (I’ve seen plants growing in old pocketbooks), the idea is to use whatever will get you growing!