Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | May 21, 2020

Our First Turkey Hatchlings

Mama Turkey and her Poults

This year we are so excited about the three female turkeys that hatched eggs. Each of the females are no longer “Jennys”, young females that aren’t laying eggs, they’re full fledge “hens”.

More friendly fowl.

In addition to the turkey hens that hatched eggs we hatched a few turkey eggs in our indoor incubators, along with baby chickens and ducklings. We have been busy managing the incubators and the hatch dates of our expected new farm babies.

Fertile chicken eggs normally take twenty-one days to hatch while for turkey and duck eggs twenty-eight days are the norm. It’s common to have a few hens who don’t want to become broody and set on eggs for that time period. Some may attempt but stop before the entire incubation period is reached and abandon the clutch of eggs to go out foraging with the other members of the flock.

For those hens, and turkeys, we collect the eggs and place them in the inside incubators and wait. Some of the eggs have embryos that are developed and may not require the entire twenty-one days to hatch and surprise us with an earlier date.

Turkeys dust bathing.
Our new incubator.

Sadly, two of our turkey hens each lost one of their two poults. We are thankful that they each still have one poult and that one hen still has both of her poults. Of the turkeys we incubated inside all four are still alive. It’s tempting to put at least one of the poults close to the age of the poults that died outside with the turkey moms to see their reaction but we fear they may reject it or fight over it so our fear will be our guide.

Turkey egg with poult hatching.

We look forward to keeping you informed of the turkeys progress both the ones we hatched inside and the ones with their mom.

Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | February 15, 2020

Hatching: The incubator in action!

We have an old incubator here on the farm that is sturdy and reliable. It doesn’t look like it could make it through a hatch cycle but it’s successful every time. We just took it out again to try hatching some of our chicken and duck eggs. Once again the incubator pulled through and we have yet another successful hatch.

Incubator with turning rack filled with eggs.

The eggs were placed in the incubator January 18 with a hatch date of February 8 for the chickens and February 15 for the ducks. That was perfect because we were set to teach a class on the farm about raising chickens in the backyard and having baby chicks to showcase when presenting about starting with chicks in a brooder was exciting. The chicks began hatching Wednesday night much earlier than the 21 days in which baby chicks are expected to hatch. By Friday evening ten chicks hatched, unfortunately we lost two but we’re very happy to have eight survivors.

The first two chicks to hatch.

The chicks were taken from the incubator Friday afternoon and placed in a brooder. They were introduced to water and chick starter which them seemed to enjoy. This wasn’t our first time incubating chicks but we still had the same excitement none the less. There is a thrill that accompanies each incubation and hatch. From candling the eggs to see shadows of the growing chicks to the first sounds of peeping leading to the small cracks in the shell that grow and grow revealing the wet feathers of the chick struggling to make its way out of its shell and into the outside world. The beauty of creation and our Creator become even more wonderful.

The next day, Saturday, it’s show time. The class was began at 1:00 and right away we directed our guests to the brooder and encouraged them to take a peek at our new chicks. The amazement of the tiny two and day day old chicks was expected and brought joy to all of us. Now the chicks are a week old and they’ve grown so much. Their plumage has increased in its striking colors on new true feathers.

Looking at baby chicks in the brooder.

This week the rack to turn the eggs was returned to the incubator to turn the remaining eggs expected to hatch today, Saturday, February 15. Thursday afternoon the sound of duck peeps were heard and when the incubator lid was lifted it was clear a duck was on the verge of hatch as the cracks in the shell were visible and movement from a body with dark feathers. So that was the beginning of the ducks hatching day.

Now we have eight one week old chicks and three two day old ducklings. We are excited to welcome them to the farm and begin to replace the ducks that are leaving soon. There is an order for two Khaki Campbell ducks and we wanted to make sure we had new ones before we said goodbye to two females from our current flock. We have gathered many of their eggs to incubate in the next few days and hopefully have many more new ducklings here at Morning Glory Homestead Farm.

Our three new ducklings.

Chicks at one week old.

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 | May 22, 2020

The Front Porch

Harvested Lettuce

The small hot house bit the dust as high winds came through in April and early May. That caused me to continue sowing seeds and transplanting clippings on the front porch. All along the railing, on hooks for hanging baskets, and as many places as possible planting trays, pots, and other containers dominate the porch. There are folding tables on the porch for planting and the table meant for us to sit and enjoy a meal or play games etc. is overwhelmed with seed packets and gardening and farming products.

It’s so convenient to use the porch as a nursery of sorts, I just walk out the front door and there everything is waiting on me to water or start planting. There are enough spaces at the table to set a mug of coffee or tea and sit for a few minutes to watch the birds at the feeder. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or a book while organizing the seeds and containers, gather markers and pens, make space on the table and begin the tasks for the day.

Sugar Peas in Hanging Basket

On the opposite end of the porch I hear the chirps and peeps of the chicks in the brooder. They are a few weeks old and need more space so they are placed in a very large cage that can keep them safe from predators brave enough to come on our porch at night. There have been raccoons and opossums that have wondered into the porch and eaten the food for our cats and have attacked our brooder. When not faced with danger the baby chicks, ducklings and sometimes turkeys enjoy their grains, the occasional insects and as much water as they can drink.

The brooder buddies on the porch.
Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | January 24, 2020


I finished Wishtree! It’s a good book about a special tree that was used by people in a neighborhood over many years to hang pieces of paper or other material that a wish could be written on. As time passes and a family is made to feel unwelcome by a message carved into the tree. The tradition of hanging wishes and even tree itself is not considered important anymore by the owner of the property. Arrangements are made to get ride of the tree at the same time the family strongly considers leaving. The daughter of the family being threatened, Samar, and the boy, Stephen,who is her neighbor become friends and try to stop the tree from being destroyed and the boy also tries to stop his friend and her family from moving. It’s a story about nature, you learn a lot about trees, especially the main character Red, and animals that live in or near trees like Bongo the crow. It’s funny, sensitive and charming. There’s suspense and plots, courage and humility.

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

Older Posts »