This Month On The Homestead: September 2020

September officially marks the end of summer and I am tomato'd out!  As noted in previous posts, it was a toasty one here this year, as it was for so much of the country, so I am very much ready to move on to the next season.  Bring on the pumpkin spice everything (yes, I am THAT person).

Starting last week our walks around the yard consist of a crisp crunching under our feet.  Our trees are not only changing to their fall colors but are also shedding them quite quickly thanks to some much needed rain.  And so, leaf raking season begins.

I am still toggling between hot and iced coffee, depending on the day.  We've two had days of almost frost and more opportunities are on their way.  I celebrated fall by ordering two new sets of our very favorite flannel sheets from LL Bean.  We replace our well used sheets every few years.  They are expensive but honestly the BEST flannel sheets we've tried.  With the bitter cold winter temps we receive for 5 months of the year, it's well worth it.

Jay also finished building both a food storage pantry space in our basement plus and large pantry shelving unit to go behind the door that leads to the basement.  This has really allowed us to stock up nicely.

Putting Food Up
With the summer garden completed the fall garden is focused on winter squash, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, greens, and beets.  Food preservation is mostly complete.  I planted way too much cabbage so I was able to shred quite a few heads, blanch and then freeze them.  It will be perfect for soups, stir fry's, and unstuffed cabbage casserole.  I've left a few heads in the garden to use up before the first freeze is on the horizon.

I was successful in getting enough green beans for plenty of fresh eating and enough leftover for the freezer.  My goal was a minimum of 20 servings in the freezer and I believe I will make it.  Good thing I planted more late summer!  I was also successful in keeping up with the tomatoes.  I think I only lost 4 or 5 to rot, getting the others either tossed in the freezer for future processing or processed on the date of picking.  We have a ton of tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes for sauce, pizza, pasta dishes, etc.  I'm planning to grow greens into the winter so I haven't worried about getting those put in the freezer.  I've already roasted and froze some pie pumpkins and winter squash.    My husband's favorite stuffed jalapenos are in the freezer along with 10 bags of sliced bell peppers and 4 bags of roasted poblano peppers ready to stuff or use in soups or enchiladas.

Also in the freezer I have some bags of corn, mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, corn and onions), corn salsa (corn, poblano peppers, and onions) as well as mirepoix (celery, onion, carrots) for soup making.  We have 6 bags of frozen strawberries, 4 bags of frozen blackberries, and 6 bags of frozen shredded zucchini for future baking.  Speaking of baking, we have many loaves of zucchini quick bread, a couple batches of chocolate zucchini cake baked as cupcakes, and quite a few batches of chocolate chip zucchini muffins and zucchini crumble muffins all in the freezer.   Those recipes are so moist that they freeze perfectly.  I've also been making a ton of homemade chicken stock.  We buy whole chickens from a local farmer friend and I cut them up and make stock with the carcass.  I freeze the stock in mason jars for use during soup and stew season.  

Good thing we now have 3 stand-alone freezers!

In the cupboard we have canned pickled jalapeno slices, cucumber relish, salsa, tomato jam, and enchilada sauce.  We dried garlic, onions, elderberries, herbs, and pumpkin seeds, and harvested over 20 pounds of sweet potatoes that are cured and stored away.

In The Coop
Feathers.  Feathers everywhere.  That's what you'll find in the coop.  We have hit molting season so every morning it looks like the Coop Girls had a pillow fight the previous night.  Unfortunately this also means they are laying very few eggs.  In the years past we would have added new girls in spring so they would be laying while the older girls are molting but not this year.  Because we're working on reducing our flock size we won't have younger girls laying during molt season for a few more years.  So, we've increased their protein to help their aging bodies with the change and wait for their new feathers to emerge.

Oliver is acting a lot more like Emerson now.  We noticed this about 6 months after Emerson, Ollie's brother/litter mate, passed away almost 2 years ago.  He never used to be interested in food much at all whereas Emerson was obsessed with food.  Well, Oliver is now obsessed with food.  This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, because at least he eats without much effort now.  It's just very funny to see the transition.  Despite him taking on Emerson's food obsession, he's still sensitive and quirky Oliver who requires sticking right by my side, has a dislike of trash cans, shakes when the vacuum cleaner is running, and absolutely detests all white trucks and minivans (both of which the only neighbor that he can see has).

I am taking full advantage of the last of the nice days to keep my sensitive little man preoccupied.  Because he is truly glued to my side all day, I can keep him (somewhat) happy if the temps are relatively warm and there is sunshine on the deck.  So, I lure him outside whenever I can and race to get as much accomplished indoors as possible before the barking to be let in begins.

What I've Been Reading
I've actually had time to read!  I'm so happy since I absolutely adore getting lost in a book.  So my evenings and early mornings were spent with a cup of (herbal) coffee and a book.  The first few books I've read are memoirs about country living or homesteading and I've thoroughly enjoyed each of them.  

So far I've read (affiliate links):  Follow Me To Alaska, by Ann Parker, Woodswoman: Living Alone In The Adirondack Wilderness by Anne LaBastille, Homestead, by Jane Kirkpatrick, Good Husbandry, by Kristin Kimball, Mud Season, by Ellen Stimson, Winds Of Skilak, by Bonnie Rose Ward, The Feast Nearby: How I Lost My Job, Buried A Marriage, And Found My Way By Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, And Eating Locally On $40.00/Week, by Robin Mather, and Flat Broke With Two Goats, by Jennifer McGaha.  

I also read a few fiction books in September.  My favorites have been (affiliate links): The Tourist Attraction, by Sarah Morgenthaler, The Year Of Pleasures, by Elizabeth Berg, and The City Bakers Guide To Country Living: A Novel, by Louise Miller.  I thoroughly enjoyed each of these - the writing styles, the fluidity, the characters and how they were developed, and the stories themselves.

Jackson, my meal planning assistant....

Stews, Soups, And Casseroles, Oh My!
I adore the change of season not only because of the weather but also because of food.  I've started to put soups, stews, and casseroles on the menu and am back to making bread.  These are all comfort foods for me and I happily anticipate making them every year.  Fresh corn soup, roasted tomato soup, veggie stew with biscuits (chicken added to Jay's), chili and cornbread, and oatmeal honey bread for breakfast have all made their way to our table.  

Speaking of meals, I've settled into monthly menu planning which is easiest for me since we are so well stocked up.  You can see October's meal plan (dinner only) in the photo above.  If there are 2 listed then I'm making something different for Jay and I.  You'll also see that I don't mind eating the same thing more then one day a week which also saves me time at dinner prep.  Jay is not a fan so he eats his leftovers at lunch.

What We've Been Making
Our farmer's market has remained somewhat busy as we're still getting quite an influx of locals and tourists.  So many things have changed this year that we have no idea what to expect from one week to the next.  One thing that does stay the same though are our seasonal products, and our fall line is finally out!  It's my absolute favorite group of soaps: Pumpkin Crunch Cake, Apple & Sage, Cinnamon & Raw Honey, Chai Tea Latte, and Pumpkin Cheesecake smell soooo delicious.  We've just made the winter soaps as well which will be available the beginning of November.

That's September around the homestead!


  1. Wow you certainly are well prepared with your preserving and freezing for the coming months. The fall reflection photo is stunning. Where we live we don't really get fall trees except for one tree on the main road that I try and get photos of my daughter with the leaves every year however this year we didn't manage it. Have a great week.

  2. That picture of the trees on the lake is breathtaking! Seriously!

    I admire the ability to preserve all that food! You probably don't need to go to the grocery store much.

    Thank you for the book list. I will be checking those out soon. I'm always looking for good books, especially novels, to enjoy.

    Isn't the change in temps glorious? We are feeling an early autumn here and I can barely stay inside to get chores done! ;0D

    Have a fabulous weekend, my friend!

  3. You are definitely ready for's a good feeling to have food storage, and what can come from our own gardens is all the sweeter. Thanks for sharing your updates and recipes...there's always something for me to learn!

  4. Kathy - yes, we are prepared with lots of veg. :) Thank you so much for your kind comments. I'm grateful for the beautiful trees we have all around us, leaves changing with the seasons. That photo was taken a bit north of us and is one of my favs.

    Daisy - Yes, it is in fact glorious. I'm loving every single bit of the seasonal change. Thanks so much and wishing you a wonderful weekend as well!!

    Mary - so true that it's a good feeling and even sweeter when we've grown and put it up ourselves. Thank you for stopping by and always for your wonderful comments!!

  5. Love the photo of the soaps... so pretty and colorful! Love the leaves! Oliver is looking adorable... been missing newer posts. Hope all is well!

  6. Thank you so much Jennifer! I have been working on October's post and will try to get it up this week!! :)


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