photo by roniweb
corn on the cob

DEAR SARA: Could you tell me whether you can freeze corn on the cob? I hit a deal today for 12 ears of corn for $1.98! If you can, how? -- alarosalpn, forums

DEAR ALAROSALPN: Yes, you can freeze corn on the cob. I use the 5-5-5 method. I husk and remove the silks. Then I place the corn into boiling water and blanch them for five minutes. Remove from the water and plunge the blanched corn into a large bowl of ice water for about five minutes. Remove from ice water. Place into freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. When you're ready to eat them, remove from the freezer bag and place them into boiling water for five minutes.

DEAR SARA: I have always wanted a beautiful strawberry jar filled with plants on my deck. I try again and again, but I kill anything and everything I plant in it. Any suggestions before I spend more time and money? My husband cringes when he sees me dragging my strawberry jar out every spring. -- Hannah, New York

DEAR HANNAH: I planted hens and chicks in my strawberry pot. They're hardy and resilient. A common problem for plants in strawberry pots is that water doesn't reach all the plants in the pot. Sometimes people try to water the small pockets on the sides, and the soil gets washed away from the plant. Some of the plants end up overwatered, and some underwatered.

The trick is to use a 1-1/2 inch diameter piece of PVC piping with an end cap. Cut it to the height of your pot. Then drill 1/8-inch holes into the pipe. It's most helpful if you can drill the holes close to the height of your pot's pockets. If your strawberry pot is terra cotta, hose down the pot before planting in it so when you water, the clay doesn't suck up most of your water. Pour some gravel into the bottom of your pot for drainage. Insert the pipe end cap down into the center of your strawberry pot, and fill your pot with soil. Be careful not to let soil fall into the pipe from the top. Water your plants from the opening in the pipe. The pipe helps distribute the water evenly.

Some people fill an empty cardboard paper-towel tube with gravel and build their soil around it. To dazzle your husband, instead of planting plants on the top of your pot, top it with gravel and place a round piece of glass on top. It will make a pretty side table for your deck.

DEAR SARA: My husband finally gave me the green light to get rid of some of his high-school trophies. I'm excited to get these things out of the house. I know he worked hard for them 30 years ago, but they clutter up the closet. It's not one or two trophies in a box. Picture tons of trophies, ribbons, plaques and medals in boxes that we have moved from house to house. Some are plastic! I want him to keep some of them, but not all of them. He agrees that if the smaller trophies meant anything to him, they wouldn't have been in boxes all of these years. OK, so now what? I feel guilty throwing them away. -- Kathleen H., Montana

DEAR KATHLEEN: You're not alone. I have received a lot of letters asking what to do with trophies. I'd gather them together and take a picture of them so your husband has a memento. You can keep a few to give to your kids or grandkids for a job well done. You can contact local schools and see whether they need any. Consider organizations that might normally buy them, or seek trophy sponsors such as scouts, dance schools, sports teams, 4-H, garden clubs and boys and girls clubs. You might ask local trophy shops whether they can find them new homes, donate them to your local thrift store or place a classified ad. With so many bought new each year, someone will appreciate the donation.