Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | September 20, 2019

Talking Turkey

It’s Farm Friends Friday on the Homestead when I share information about one or more of our farm animals. Today our featured animal is the Royal Palm Turkey. Because of the name of the breed, Royal Palm, our Turkey was named Sir Duke, after Duke Ellington and the song about him by that title by Stevie Wonder. Sir Duke is about 7 years old. We bought him from a friend who owns BandB Miniature Horse Farm in Santee, SC when he was a young gobbler or Tom. Duke was meant to be a handsome addition to the farm, not as a meat bird. He is very happy to have two Royal Palm hens now on the farm to be his mates. He is very protective of them and walks near them throughout the day.

Sir Duke

Turkeys forage and eat a large number of acorns, grains and insects. In addition we give them poultry feed similar to the scratch given to the chickens.

What Turkeys Eat… Wild turkeys are opportunistically omnivorous, which means they will readily sample a wide range of foods, both animal and vegetable. They forage frequently and will eat many different things, including:

  • Acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts or walnuts, either cracked open or swallowed whole Seeds and grain, including spilled birdseed or corn and wheat in agricultural fields
  • Berries, wild grapes, crabapples, and other small fruits
  • Small reptiles including lizards and snakes
  • Fleshy plant parts such as buds, roots, bulbs, succulents, and cacti.
  • Plant foliage, grass, and tender young leaves or shoots
  • Large insects including grasshoppers, spiders, and caterpillars
  • Snails, slugs, and worms
  • Sand and small gravel for grit to aid proper digestion In captivity or in agricultural settings, domestic turkeys—which are the same genetic species as wild turkeys—are often fed a special commercial feed formulated for game birds, turkeys or poultry. These commercial feeds typically contain a mix of material to simulate these birds’ highly varied diets.

Many turkey farmers also supplement their flock’s feeding with additional corn, grain or other foods. The diet of domestic turkeys is often formulated to encourage heavier birds and faster growth to increase commercial profits.

Duke foraging in the woods.

Turkey Talk-“When turkey’s spurs are ½-inch or shorter with rounded tips, the bird is a jake–a one-year-old. If the spurs are between 1/2 and 7/8 inches long and straight, with a blunt tip, it’s a 2-year-oldbird. Slightly curved, pointed spurs between 1 and 1 1/2 inches long indicate a 2- or 3-year-old gobbler. Coloration Royal Palm turkeys are mainly white with a black band in the tail and lines of black feathers on the breast. The back is black underneath the wings and the body feathers are white. They have a black beard and red or bluish heads and wattles. The presence of any brown wing feathers is a disqualification. Standard Weights * Old Tom-22 pounds * Young Tom-16 pounds * Old Hen-12 pounds * Young Hen-10 pounds Uses They are too small for use in commercial food production, but they are commonly used for food on small family farms and pest control. They are generally good foragers are make excellent birds for free ranging.

Duke and his two Turkey Hens.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit of information about the Royal Palm Turkey and turkeys in general. Maybe you can visit and meet Sir Duke along with our other turkeys in person. Bye for now!

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | November 11, 2019

Penn Center Heritage Days Celebration: Youth Day

Being a part of the Penn Center Heritage Days Celebration on Youth Day is always a pleasure. As a farm we have the opportunity to share with school groups about our work, showcase some of our animals, teach about farming practices, and encourage healthier food selections. We talked about embryology, chick development in the egg, hatching day, showed three varieties of chickens and ducks, brought our new guineas.

Our presentation also included information about Dr. George Washington Carver, his life, inventions and work as an Farm Extension agent at Tuskegee University. We shared some of his recipes found in the African American Cookbook, and had peanut plants on display. The late Isabella Glen a form PennSchool student wrote in her memoir about Dr. Carvers visit to Penn while she was a student.

Finally, we gave visitors an opportunity to grind corn using our corn mill. It was a fantastic day to share #Gullah culture and traditions, sustainable farming and the great work of the Penn School. The display adjacent to us were our friends from South Carolina State University 1890 Research and Extension Service where we both attended and received ur BS in Political Science and History.

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | September 23, 2019

Welcome Fall

Today is the first day of Autumn or Fall.  This is “the season of the year between summer and winter, during which the weather becomes cooler and many plants become dormant, extending in the Northern Hemisphere from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice and popularly considered to include the months of September, October, and November; fall”.  Fall is a favorite time on the farm because the temperatures are often cooler even here in the Lowcountry. It is still a planting and growing season with much work to be done.

The plants we sowed in the soil for the summer season have reached the end of their growth and production period.  The plants begin to die, leaves turn brown and there are no more new blossoms that turn to fruit or vegetables. Those dying plants are pulled out of the ground or plowed under, which means the blades of the tractor chop the plant into small pieces and the pieces are then left in the soil to decompose and feed the soil.  

“Decomposition is an important process in our world. As living matter dies, organisms known as decomposers consume it, breaking it into smaller components that are then incorporated into the soil.  The end product of the decomposition process is called humus, composed of a complex mix of nutrient rich, biologically stable kinds of organic matter. Humus helps create a beneficial soil structure for plants roots and also provides the nutrients needed for new plant life. Common decomposers include earthworms, insects and smaller microorganisms like bacteria and fungi.

After the plants decompose and actually help make the soil healthier, we prepare the soil for planting more seeds or plants we started in planting or growing trays.  During the past few weeks we planted seeds for okra, lima beans, blue lake string beans, speckled beans, tomatoes, and field peas. From started plants we planted collard greens, cabbage and broccoli.  

Broccoli in the field.

A favorite fall crop in the south is the collard. “Collards are a Collards are a member of the Brassicaceae family. They are grown for their leaves, which are cooked, much like kale. This cooking green is most often associated with Southern U.S. cooking, and the plants do indeed favor warmer climates. They are native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor, but the plants are easily grown in most climates.

As with kale, collards are non-head forming cabbages. In fact, collards and kale have often been considered the same vegetable. Genetically they are not much different, but breeding and cultivating over the years has produced plants with different textures and flavor. Collard leaves have a broad, oval shape, very distinct veins and a smooth, almost waxy texture that needs more cooking than kale.”

Cooking greens are some of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat and collard greens, in particular, are packed with vitamins A, C, and K; soluble fiber; calcium; folate; manganese; and tryptophan—and less than 50 calories per serving. Eating your collards even helps to lower your bad cholesterol.

Cropping collards for a local restaurant.

The Plant

Leaves: Collard leaves are smooth and almost waxy, with pronounced veining. They can be quite large and bright to dark green. The stems are very fibrous and tough.

Flowers: True to the cruciferous family, collard flowers have four yellow petals in the form of a cross. They are edible and have a sweet, cabbage-like flavor.

Did you know the collard green South Carolina’s state vegetable?  Collard greens became the official vegetable of South Carolina when Governor Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill No. 823 (S823) into Law on June 2, 2011.

The proposal to name collard greens the official state vegetable was prompted by a letter from Mary Grace Wingard, a 9-year-old Rocky Creek Elementary School student. Mary Grace said that she was inspired by a talk given by Governor Haley during a field trip her class made to the Statehouse.

“The governor told us to get excited and get involved in government, so I decided I would.”

She wrote to Senator Jake Knotts (District 23 – Lexington County), who took on the task of writing and ushering S823 through the South Carolina General Assembly.

According to The State, “Mary Grace’s family knows a thing or two about collards. Her great-grandfather is the namesake of Walter P. Rawl and Sons Inc., a family-owned farm in Lexington County and the state’s largest producer of collards.” [1]

The effort to make collard greens the official state vegetable was not the first time Mary Grace involved herself in politics. Even before entering the first grade, she persuaded her father, Charles, to lobby the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for salad bars in schools when he offered testimony at a USDA “Child Nutrition Listening Session” in Atlanta

Mary Grace loved the salad bar in her elementary school cafeteria and thought every school should have a salad bar.

“On a mission for both his daughter and the produce industry, Charles urged USDA officials to establish a national policy that encourages salad bars in all schools and to make funding available so schools can buy needed refrigeration and salad bar equipment so they can serve students more fresh fruits and vegetables.” [2]

1] Smith, Gina. “Haley, Knotts bless collards.” The State 27 May 2011: Web. 18 Jun 2011. <>

[2] “Daughter Tells Her Dad to Fight for Salad Bars in Schools.” United Fresh Produce Association 27 Aug 2008: Web. 18 Jun 2011. <>.

State of South Carolina. Senate Bill No. 823. Columbia: State of South Carolina, 2011. Web. 16 Jun 2011. <>.

We hope you will enjoy eating fresh local fall crops this season!

Morning Glory Homestead Farm

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | August 10, 2018


Tony and Peter found this shed snake skin under the house yesterday. Not from a venomous snake but it’s very long. Rattlesnakes have been spotted in the area especially after all the rain. They’re sunning so look down while you’re walking. Not looking at your phone either keep your eyes on where you’re going, side to side and forward glances. Baby snakes have hatched, the venomous ones are born with venom and are very dangerous.

#snake #snakeskin #reptile #nonvenomous #farmlife #photo


Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | July 27, 2018

Summer Reading

I’m behind in my posts about our Tell-it-All Thursday times. Two weeks ago we featured the book, In the Garden with Dr. Carver. This historical fiction book for children/juvenile reader, Susan Grisby (author), Nicole Tadgell (illustrator), tells the story of Dr. Carver’s visit to a rural Alabama community to teach the residents about soil health, care of plants, sustainable gardening & farming practices, eatable plants, beneficial insects and more.

For our featured food, I made curry with golden tile fish and Mako shark, squash, bell peppers, dried cranberries, and other seasonings, served over brown basmati rice. The yellow squash came from our farm, Morning Glory Homestead. The fish and shark came from @SeaEagleMarket In the library garden space, we transplanted a small rose bush as the kids did in the book. The rose bush was from a cutting I did a few months ago. The garden spot is looking great and the kid really enjoy our time outside listening to the chimes, refilling the bird waterer and checking on the feeder. Of course, we also sang a few songs to go along with the”Libraries Rock” theme and had a great time together.

#tuskegeeinstitute #teachersofinstagram
#tuskegeeuniversity #HBCUExtensions #gardeninglife #horticulture #libraries #Storytime #SummerReading #librariesrock #readbooks #garden #sing #foodtasting #farmtotable #farmtolibrary #4H #educators

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | July 9, 2018

A Quick Filling Salad

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | March 10, 2018

Weekly Photo Challenge

It is amazing and comical how easily a cat can make itself comfortable and at ease in so many places.


Sunshine enjoying the rug in the midst if the stack of books and work going on all around him.


#weeklyphotochallenge, #cats, #pets, #feline, #cozy, #sleepycat, #picture, #animalphoto, #catphoto, #homesteadca


Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | August 17, 2017

Oh, What a Night!


Last school year, a generous donor gave Action Bibles to all children attending Good News Clubs in the Beaufort area.  All the students in the St. Helena Island GNC received an Action Bible except for two who were not able to continue coming to the end.  I found one student at the school before he got on the bus which left one more.  I was not able to catch up with him throughout the summer.  Tonight at the back to school meet and greet, I took several things with me to represent the Good News Club and pass out  permission forms, among the items I had on the table was the bible for that student.  I didn’t know if I’d see him but I was hopeful.

Within a few minutes of standing at the table, greeting families, the very student I hoped to see walked up with his family member.  I greeted them and asked if he were returning to GNC and his adult family member told me he was signed up for another after school program and would not be returning but they stopped by to say hello.  Then I remembered the Action Bible and handed it to the student.  I informed him that I had it with me in my car all summer hoping I would run into him and be able to give it to him. He is a very bashful boy and looked away with a grin on his face as he held the bible still in its plastic wrapper.  His adult family member thanked me for the bible and told him to say thank you.  He looked down and away again and smiled as he said thank you in just above a whisper, then they walked away and I watched with great joy as they went to the next table.

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As the evening came to an end the lady two tables down came over and asked me about the Action Bible.  I had a copy on the table on display, it was my own copy I bought a few years earlier along with the devotion book that can be purchased separately.  She wanted to know where she could find the bible and I told her where I bought mine, Lifeway Christian Book Store. She went on to tell me that a boy came to her table earlier with an Action Bible.  She said he told her that his teacher from last year saved it for him and gave it to him that night.  She said he told her that with such a big smile on his face and she said to me, “I told him, he must be special”.  I told her, “he is special”.   That was the best moment of the evening,  to know that my former student was filled with happiness about receiving the bible and that I saved it for him all summer.  I can’t say all that he has gone through, but I am so blessed to have had him in GNC last year and to have done something that made him feel happy and special.  Let’s pray that the bible is a special blessing to him this year as he reads it at home.

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | August 11, 2017

STEM on the Farm

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and now Art to make it the acronym STEAM, are subjects in demand in classrooms around our state and nation. We are preparing to extend that information to the farm.  Many schools are exploring how to include a garden on the campus and include it in the curriculum.  For the past several months we have attended workshops and conferences d received training to help schools in our area with their quest to have a garden or maintenance of the one they already have, and provide instruction on our farm for schools, daycares and homeschools who would like to include these lessons for their students.

Our youngest child graduated from our homeschool last year.  We know what it is like to search for places to do lessons that are either out of your zone of expertise or that you don’t have the equipment for.  As volunteers in our local public school system, we know there are experiences schools would like to offer but don’t have the funding or equipment necessary.  

We have the equipment, location and training to present a variety of lessons on our farm that meet the standards required by the state of South Carolina for science. We will also incorporate our political science and history background to include lessons and activities that meet standards for history and civics. You can also expect music, and arts and crafts to be in the programs as well.  

Our farm has chickens, ducks, turkey, honey bees, an orchard, a field for planting, raised beds, a worm bin, compost areas, innoculated and mushroom logs. By mid September, our USDA approved seasonal high tunnel will be up and our drip irrigation system will be completed. We will add more animals soon too so you can learn their life cycle and  how they are cared for; animal husbandry. 

Students can receive instruction about planting seeds, soil health, embryology, seasonal crops, where food comes from, farm machines, and much more.  If you can’t visit us, contact us about our classroom visits and we’ll make plans to visit your school. 

Learn more about our farm and what we’re doing by visiting our website, From there you can see how to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.  

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | April 6, 2017

A Different Greens Salad

The greens in the field are still looking great.  Looking for a different way to eat your greens. This recipe from our friend and mentor Ms Dori Sanders’ “Mess ‘o Greens Salad with Warm Pecan Dressing”, is from her cookbook “Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking”. Ms. Sanders  is a farmer, novelist, cookbook author, and a founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. She was raised on her family’s farm in Filbert, South Carolina. Visit to find her book and see where to visit the Sanders’ family farm.

Recipe Ingredients

6 cups fresh mustard, turnip, and/or collard greens (about 1 pound)

6 cups fresh mustard, turnip, and/or collard greens (about 1 pound)

2 T balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. honey

1 T Dijon mustard

2 tsp. vegetable oil

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped or broken


1. Wash greens well, dry thoroughly, then remove and discard the long stems. Tear the greens into salad-size pieces and place in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and mustard. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a small skillet until hot but not smoking. Add the vinegar mixture and pecans and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over the greens and serve at once. 


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