September on the Hilltop

It’s already September, which I’m struggling to wrap my mind around.

We’ve been living here at our Hilltop Homestead for over a year officially now, and have experienced all four seasons and all 12 months in our new home-sweet-home.

One week ago, the rain was falling fast and furious outside. It was our second significant rainfall in as many weeks. I’m hopeful it caught the water levels up enough prior to winter that our spring and summer next year will not be as dire as this year.

September rains have a definite fall-finality-feeling to them. There is no denying fall is knocking at the door. The air is cooler and a little heavier. Even the smell of the air is different once fall approaches.

September marks the dawn of harvest season. Harvest season is bustling with near-incessant work, but is still my absolute favorite part of this homestead life.

We’ve got meat bird processing day on the horizon. One half day’s work will feed us for months to come. Of course it’s really been almost nine weeks of work… Feeding, watering, building chicken tractors, moving them to fresh ground… But after a half day of the hardest part about raising our own food, we’ll be satiated and satisfied with the blessing of it all.

I’m trying my hand at canning some of our chicken meat this year. Not only will it save on freezer space, but having cooked chicken ready to go for any meal (without having to wait for it to thaw, or emergency-cook in the instant pot) is a convenience I’m looking forward to creating for us this year.

Our small first-year garden is producing tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and potatoes. I’ve harvested some of each and it’s as thrilling as when I was harvesting in our full-scale, full-grown garden in Minnesota.

Growing your own food is exciting. Harvesting and preserving it is a lot of work. Eating fresh produce in the dead of winter you grew in the height of summer is inexplicably rewarding.

But the height of summer feels more distant than close these days. The colors outside are dulling in brilliance, transitioning to their next shade. The air is outright cold in the mornings. The clouds feel closer. There’s a sense of urgency to do everything we can outdoors before being outdoors is the absolute last thing we’ll want to do.

Thus marks the arrival of September on the Hilltop Homestead.

After the chicken is canned and the green beans are harvested and the tomatoes and peppers are turned to salsa, it will be time to haul out the harvest season decor. Our Hilltop Homestead will be all the more cozy with the pumpkins and scarecrows nesting on the shelves and tabletops.

Maybe I can even tuck a few guinea feathers in with the decor, may it rest in peace. I’m not sure what happened, but the evidence it ended up as a meal is scattered through the tree line behind the coop. Another downside of homesteading: sometimes the predators get a meal before you do. (Not that we ever planned to eat our guineas, but they do lay eggs we consume!)

We’re down from eight guineas to six and I pray this isn’t a trend that continues.

A new month brings a new season with it. A new season brings a new set of responsibilities and activities. As the summer winds down and fall stands ready at the door, I’m ready to usher it in along with its bustle and structured chaos.

It’s September on the Hilltop Homestead. And I am grateful.

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