Catch Us at the DeKalb County Farmer’s Market

Saturdays, beginning in May
7 am – noon

Holler Homestead will bring clever ideas (we hope) and yummy simple food (think: eggs, eggs, eggs)

Stop by to chat.

Canning Workshop

July 23

9 am – noon

Free to first-time Holler visitors. Regular price $25

So you’ve always wanted to can some of your own food. Bravo.

It’s fun. You end up knowing exactly what’s in each jar.

Three goals:

Food safety
Fine eating
Waste not

This three-hour workshop begins with a heap of what’s in season and ends with neat jars full of preserved food and a festive luncheon.

You may process pickles, peaches, tomatoes, low-acid vegetables, apples, pears, or apricots. Anything growing in abundance at the time of the workshop.

If you really want to practice on a particular crop, let us know. If you bring the produce, we’ll show you how to can it.

Special, July 23

All names will go in Nicole’s leather hat. Some lucky learner will take home a canning accessory kit.

Coming attractions

Freezing Fresh Food

Workshop on putting surplus away for off-season eating

Dessication: A Good Thing

Workshop on the rudiments of drying food


The Holler Homestead Story

In May? 2006?, Nicole Williams and Mark Engler moved to Nashville to take new jobs. That was great, but it wasn’t enough. (alternative for anonymity: Nicole and Mark)

They found themselves enjoying greater-Nashville-area lakes and parks every weekend, putting miles and miles on their newish car. They even began to dream about a vacation home — some day. “What if,” they’d say to each other, “we had a place of our own in these beautiful hills?”

That soon led to looking for — and at — land for sale. The very first place they visited was a rundown three-acre parcel near, but out of sight of, Center Hill Lake. For buildings, it boasted a house (if you could call it that), a three-room cabin (complete with commode in the middle of the main room), a historic cabin-become-stable-become-toolshed, a garden barn, a pumphouse, and a workshop. Plus decades worth of prior residents’ detritus and head-high weeds.

This unassuming real estate offering settled in their minds and soon became their own. A few weekend commutes later, they found renters for their place in Nashville and committed to The Holler Homestead.

By 2011, both the house and the cabin were habitable, and two other small properties often could be made available for visitors’ use. Water supply and disposal systems were more dependable, and a greenhouse had joined the complement of buildings. The original settlers’ house (and later stable) had become unsafe but lived on as wainscoting in the remodeled small cabin.

Friends and business associates have taken to coming out to The Holler for a meal, a stint picking produce, a dozen eggs, or a weekend. They like the gardens, the custom-roasted coffee, the chickens, the quick stroll over the hill to the lake, and the continual round of projects. Life here bursts with variety.

What makes The Holler unique is its mix of neighbors, location, arability, and charm.

Everyone on the road drops by when they feel like it, as neighbors should. Everyone has a few unique skills to benefit the community. If someone is headed into town, everyone gets a “what do you need?” phone call.

Your talents and memories can join ours to make The Holler even better. Come on around.

Email us.

Plan your visit.



Sunshine Plot 2011

September 2011

The okra still is growing for all it’s worth, but other crops now know fall is coming. Mature hardshell squash are ripening; potatoes are plump underneath but dying out above ground; and corn is finished. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers continue to grow and put out new fruit. Greens and herbs have sent up seedheads. We can gather some of these seeds for next year.



August 2011

Whoa, this is wonderful. No one can keep up with the garden’s and surrounding farmers’ bounty. It’s can, can, can and dry, dry, dry and freeze, freeze, freeze and pickle, pickle, pickle. Meanwhile, we eat. Tomatoes are glorious and some peppers can be picked. Okra and cukes galore. Greens for the picking. We note: next year, we’ll plant all greens well away from Sunshine Plot’s still-weedy exterior fence.

Good news about chickens, too: the fence and gate added last year have kept them outside, looking in, not inside, scarfing down crops.

July 2011

More of the same. The bugs of May and June have our food under siege. We’re dosing the leaves and ground with diatomaceous earth and spraying the leaves with a Neem oil solution. It helps, but we still sacrifice some produce, especially green leaves, to the hordes of insects.

Here’s a hopeful sign: bug damage is worst on the perimeters of Sunshine and Moonshine Plot, which means our years-long weed eradication campaign is effective.  Several seasons of hard work among the weeds, ticks, and chiggers are still in our future, but there’s also cause for celebration.

Now that hot weather has settled in for the duration of the summer — and between bouts of torrential rain — we appreciate the new homemade drip irrigation system.

June 2011

We have gratefully eaten from our garden for more than a month: peas, beans, the  first tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of greens, garlic scapes, herbs, and the thinnings of carrots and onions. The cruciferous vegetables are still not up to par. This is the third difficult year for our broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower friends! We watched the first batch of sets rot in rainy, cold spring weather, and resignedly planted a whole new batch. These, too, found it difficult to grow with little sun, less than expected warmth (except in those scorching hot late spring days), and way too much rain. Inches and inches too much.

The garlic kept at the growing, though. We harvested barrowsful earlier this month.

May 2011

All nightshade family plants are growing in Sunshine Plot this year, since most were in Moonshine in 2010. Nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. We love to grow hot peppers to make the ristras that help spice winter meals. In addition, Sunshine has the squash family: melons, cucumbers, and squash, and more basil. At the end of the plot is a lot of garlic. A lot. Okra rows are seeded between garlic rows to better use the space, since okra begins as garlic winds down.