June 5, 2023

Hatch Announcement: Poults!

Last month I showed you our Spanish Black turkey hen hiding in the hedgerow and setting eggs. (That post here.) The incubation for turkeys is 28 days, so I had the end of May circled on my calendar. Sure enough, right about that time she got off the nest and Dan spotted three poults. The problem was that being out there meant that those babies could be easy pickings for a cat, skunk, or raccoon. We decided to put her and the poults in our big dog carrier and move her someplace safer - the turkey yard.

She also had about 8 unhatched eggs, which we put in the carrier along with the poults. These three were the only ones that hatched.

From what Dan and I have read, turkey poults are the most difficult of all poultry to raise. They have a lower survival rate that the other species. Jenny B is a good mother, but even so, one of them had problems. We're not sure what, but it seemed to pass out for awhile, recover and run around, and then pass out again. We separated it, keeping it where she could see and smell it, but sadly, it didn't make it. 

So, we have two and are hoping for the best. It's always hard to lose animals.

In the hen house, we have our other turkey hen, one of our Muscovies, and a chicken all hunkered down tight on nests. I told you about the egg fiasco, and it seems that that Jenny J won the battle over the eggs. When Dan checked, Mom Muscovy was sitting on an empty nest. So he gave her five duck eggs, which she twittered over and tucked into her nest. The question is whether she's got another 32 days of broody left in her. Of Jenny J's, we're thinking something should have hatched by now, but she's about a week behind Jenny B, so she may yet get some poults. Or ducklings. Or chicks. We'll have to wait and see.

June 1, 2023

Seasonal Shift: Summer

June, from my cross-stitch calendar Christmas present. :)

Summer is here. I have to say that I enjoy early summer the best; we've finished with the cold, but the oppressive heat hasn't arrived yet (we save that for July and August). Summer's arrival is notable because it signals a general shift in almost everything we do. Garden work is now in the morning while it's cool. Afternoons are for indoor and shade projects. We've switched from flannel to cotton bed sheets, and I've moved cooking and canning from the kitchen to the back porch. With the solstice coming up, we'll need to change the angle of our solar array too.

In terms of projects, nothing new is planned because "food first." Garden mulching, weeding, picking, and processing are the priority of the season. Summer is usually dry, so I concentrate on monitoring soil moisture and making sure everything has enough water to grow. We'll continue working on the greenhouse and sewing room. And there are always things that come up. So, were definitely going to be busy.

How's everyone else's summer shaping up? Gardens? Vacations? Building projects? Anything else?

May 27, 2023

Garden Notes: May 2023


  • 7th-8th: 0.55"
  • 14th: 0.07" 
  • 16th-17th: 1.05"
  • 18th: 0.37"
  • 20th: 0.2"
  • 27th: 0.75"
  • 28th: 0.35"
  • Total: 3.35 inches

  • range of nighttime lows: 39 to 64°F (4 to 18°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 65 to 86°F (18 to 30°C)

Weather Notes

The second week of May saw our seasonal weather shift. We got our coldest temperatures the first week of the month, and the wind blew from northerly directions. Then, the wind started coming from the south and the temperature pattern changed. We've had some hot days, but mostly, it's been glorious.

  • watermelon (Orange Glo)
  • sweet potato slips (mostly purples)
  • okra (Clemson Spineless)
  • grain sorghum (mixed seed)
  • cherry tomatoes (Matt's Wild and Tiny Tim)
  • summer squash (Tatume)
  • winter squash (Sweet Potato)
  • pole beans (Cornfield)
  • peanuts
  • bell pepper transplants (Giant Marconi and Red Bell)


Potatoes in the African keyhole garden
Also pictured - yarrow and butterfly weed.

Potato flowers

On the front porch trellis, I have yam berry vines growing.

Buckwheat and corn

Where's the corn, you ask?

Finally outgrowing the buckwheat! Can you see it?

Tomatoes are flowering, but no tomatoes yet.

Harvesting & Eating

Peas, cherries, and the last of the asparagus and strawberries

Pea, asparagus, lettuce, and peanut salad

Cherry pie

The pie used up the bulk of my cherry harvest, but it's such a treat that it was worth it. The remaining pickings will be frozen to add to jelly or wine.

Lambs quarter

Years ago, when I first started harvesting lambs quarter for eating and canning, I followed the advice to harvest it when it was under one foot tall. I cut down the stalks and picked off all the leaves. I've since figured out a quicker and easier way, one that gives me a longer harvest too.

Instead of cutting down the entire plant, I just harvest the clusters of leaves that grow at the end of the stalk and branches.

I cut them at the base of the leaves.

When harvested like that, all that's required is to wash and cook them. No tough stems to discard, and the plants will grow new clusters of leaves that can be picked no matter how big the plant gets. I find I can harvest this way until they flower and go to seed. 

Canning lambs quarter, a favorite cooked green.

Oregano drying

Daikon radish over a foot long! Even though it's large, it's
still sweet and makes an excellent addition in our salads.

Chopped peas & asparagus, grated daikon, feta cheese, & hard boiled egg.


Not Harvesting

At least not harvesting much of.

Multiplier onions and garlic.

I've gotten a very poor harvest of these. I'm guessing it's because our winter was so cold that most of them didn't make it. Some years are like that.

There you have it. May has been a busy month in the garden. How about you?

Garden Notes: May 2023 © May 2023