September 26, 2023

Garden Notes: September 2023

September harvest bucket


  • 8th: 0.01"
  • 10th: 0.59"
  • 11th: 0.04"
  • 12th: 0.06"
  • 13th: 1.43"
  • 17th: 0.56"
  • Total: 2.69 inches
  • range of nighttime lows: 53 to 70°F (11.7 to 21°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 77 to 92°F (25 to 33°C)

Weather Notes

Nothing noteworthy, just the welcome September slide of the temps from hot to comfortable. We could use a little more rain.


  • lettuce
  • kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chinese cabbage
  • carrots
  • arugula
  • turnips
  • beets
  • radishes
  • Chinese broccoli
  • sugar beets
  • bloody dock
  • garlic
  • multiplier onions
  • green beans
  • okra
  • slicing tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • bell peppers
  • daikon leaves
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • last of the pears
  • red raspberries
  • muscadines
  • yam berries
  • watermelon
  • pecans
  • Ozark Razorback cowpeas
  • turnips
  • turnip greens

Besides planting, my gardening activity is picking every other morning. Most things have slowed down, but a few are still producing well.

The green beans have responded to the cooler weather by stepping up production. This is welcome since I wasn't able to do a second planting this year, which I had planned to replenish the canned green beans in my pantry. We particularly like Green Bean Caesar as a side dish in winter, so I like to keep them around. While I didn't get a large harvest, I was able to do some small batch canning. Every jar helps! We are certainly enjoying them fresh.

Steamed green beans and yam berries. Tasty!

Any leftovers are good in salads with cherry tomatoes and
green pepper. The dressing is my homemade Ricotta Ranch.

Here's something I've never made before, pear fruit leather.

I don't make fruit leather because we don't eat it, but I had a last gallon of pear sauce that I wanted to dehydrate for powdered pear sauce that I had a problem with. The problem was that it wouldn't dry out to a crispy enough state so I could pop it in the blender and powder it! After about four days of running my Excalibur, it was still soft. I hate to say it, but this may signal the end of that old food dryer. I firmed it up a bit more in a very low oven, cut it into strips, and rolled up in waxed paper. The jars were then vacuum sealed for good measure. So that was the last of the pears.

I decided to use my sole pint of frozen summer strawberries to make an ice cream pie. Ice cream is a summer treat, so I wanted to get an ice cream pie in before the temps dropped too much!

Strawberry ice cream pie with graham cracker crust.

It's such a lovely pink when the color is natural. 

That's about it for me. How's everyone else's garden doing? Done for the summer? Fall garden growing? Ready for a gardening break?

Parting Shot

Orb Weaver and egg sac

The next generation of garden helpers is tucked away under the eve of the front porch.

September 19, 2023

Work on the Greenhouse Resumes

Not that we haven't been talking about it, but it took the alignment of several factors to get back to working on the greenhouse. The main reason was problem solving, second was the heat, and lastly, Dan's knee. Of the heat, it seems logical to work early in the morning while it's still cool out. Except that because of our humidity, our mornings are incredibly dew drenched until about lunchtime. Dan wanted the roof completely dry before attempting anything. 

The problem solving involved the upper section of the roof.

This section of the greenhouse roof is made from repurposed doors and windows.

He carefully researched adhesives and sealers, all of which claimed to be super effective and excellent. Which they weren't, so that there were micro-leaks when it rained. The trouble was, it was impossible to tell where they were coming from. No dripping when it rained, just tell-tale wet spots on the dirt floor inside the greenhouse. I said, 'it's just a greenhouse,' but that didn't satisfy Dan. So after a lot of thought and research, he decided to cover them.

He's never been real keen on those clear corrugated roofing panels, although we used them to good effect for the milking room skylight. And now, they're flimsier than ever, so that was another hesitation. In the end, it seemed the most cost effective idea.

The day after he got them installed, it rained.

View of the rain from inside the greenhouse, looking up.

The floor remained completely dry! So that was a relief. And, I don't think it looks all that bad.

Early morning shot of the greenhouse roof covered with dew.

Next is covering the gable ends. Then it's on to wall trim and paint. And then we can get on to the interior. 

September 12, 2023

Rethinking Turkeys

Earlier this month, Dan's knee injury brought all of his projects to a halt. Of course, that initially led to frustration and eventually a discussion. We've periodically taken time to evaluate our original goals and analyze our progress. From the beginning, we wanted to work toward a simplified maintenance lifestyle. By that I mean we wanted to get our infrastructure built before our "retirement" years. We knew that as we got older, we wouldn't want to be tackling large building projects or taking on energy intensive ventures. So we've worked to get to a comfortable status quo.  

I think the greenhouse is probably the last of those big things. Not that we don't have tons of ideas. The ideas never stop! But eventually, we knew we'd have to reach a point where we could say, we can be content with what we've got. Things like injury or illness have a way of really bringing that point home. As badly as Dan felt that I had to do all the chores, it was manageable. I was exceedingly glad when he was out and around again, but everything got done and no one was worse for the wear.

Which brings me to the turkeys. Of themselves, they are an excellent addition to the homestead. They are easy to care for and have fantastic entertainment value. And of course there are the eggs and meat, of which we don't get a lot, but it's the reason we got them. 

However. It's impossible to evaluate any one element on the homestead as an entity unto itself. That's part of the equation, but in fact, each element fits into the homestead system. So the question is, how does it impact everything else? In the case of the turkeys, not as we hoped. 

Part of the problem is that every species of bird we've brought here wants to be in the chicken yard and the chicken coop. First the Muscovys, then the turkeys, each was given their very own area and accommodations, but they all managed to eventually make their way into the chicken yard and invade the coop (much to the indignation of the chickens). Now, if everybody could just be one big happy family, that would be great! But (for us, at least) it hasn't worked that way and we have constant squabbling going on over the coop, over the roosts, over the nest boxes, over the feeders, over the waterers, etc., etc.

The addition of Tom really changed our poultry dynamic. Poults came along, of course, but also a new challenge to chicken territory. Three times, Tom has gotten into fights with our two roosters (which fortunately Dan was able to break up). So, Tom is not allowed into the chicken yard. 

Then Jenny B (mother of our two poults) decided to take a stand. She made her way into the chicken yard and coop once her poults were big enough to fly. Since then, she's been dominating the chickens and frequently challenging Schooster, the chicken yard rooster. She's taken over the top roosting bar in the coop, so that none of the other chickens will use the roost. 

Most recently, we found our friendliest hen dead. Her head and eyes were pecked in, so we suspect Tom killed her. The sad part is that she lived in the chicken tractor with our second rooster because all the other hens were so mean to her. Dan let her out to enjoy a little freedom that day and then we find her dead. And with that we had to ask, are the turkeys worth it?

I think the tendency is to evaluate that from an economic point of view, i.e. comparing feed costs to egg and meat production. That's definitely part of it, but there are other considerations as well. That can include time and maintenance, but especially, how well anything fits into our homestead system. Some critters (or other things) fit in better than others. 

We haven't reached a decision about all of this yet, but I suspect that the conclusion we'll come to is that the turkeys would be better off some place else.

Rethinking Turkeys © Sept. 2023 by Leigh at 

September 1, 2023


September from my Christmas calendar by my daughter-in-law

Is autumn a word or a feeling? It's heralded by a date on the calendar, but how often does the weather pay attention to that?

I tend to think of September as our first month of autumn. It means the garden slows down and my busy job of preserving slows down too. Usually, it means cooler temperatures and an end to the intense summer heat. But this year has felt different because we had such lovely nighttime lows most of the summer. The closest we came to a "normal" Southern summer was the last couple of days of August. Then came rain and a cool front, and it seems that autumn is officially commencing. No color in the trees yet, but cool nights, shorter days, and the changing angle of the sunlight certainly hint of the seasonal change.

Besides needing a light jacket in the morning, there are other tell-tale signs.

The squirrels are feasting on green pecans (and bombing us with their leftovers).

The first muscadines are ripening.

This is the month when we look to start preparing for winter and writing our seasonal project list. At the moment, there isn't much on that project list. Dan hurt his knee last month, so the greenhouse has been on hold, although I'm going to try some plants in it anyway. It's the last big project we have for the homestead, so he's having a hard time being patient.

I've got the fall garden to finish planting, which, maybe now that I can ease back on picking and preserving, I can get the last of the seeds in the ground before it's too late! My indoor fall project will be to continue sorting and organizing our remaining spare room. Even after moving out most of my fiber and textile supplies, I'm still finding a stray box here and there. Then I need to get a handle on the office, which shares the other end of the room with my studio/sewing room. I have boxes of office related supplies and books that need to be unpacked.

Speaking of my studio, since my On Finding a Balance Between Work and Play post, I've settled into a new routine. Mornings have been in the garden, and afternoons have been for preservation. After dinner, I have time for weaving. So, basically, less time on the computer, except for documenting and discussing my fiber and weaving projects on my fiber blog.

Twill gamp dishtowel (1st of 3).

And occasional updates here. all told, it definitely feels like I have more balance in my life now.

I know everyone out there is ready for autumn! Anybody else winding down their garden and getting fall weather yet?

Autumn? © September 2023 by Leigh at