Homesteading in winter

Homesteading in the winter months to people not accustomed to the homesteading lifestyle think of it as our vacation time. I was asked if we just hole up like a hibernating animal and ride out the winter on our stores we preserved in the summer months. I had to chuckle a little bit at their assumption but after some thought I could see how they came to that conclusion. There are no vegetables to weed, harvest, or plant. The food has already been canned, frozen, or dried. Most of our animals have been butchered and put into the freezer. So what could there possibly be to do besides sit back, relax, and enjoy our bounty?

Planning for the spring.

If we want to have a good harvest next summer that doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes a lot of planning first. Since the winter is less hectic and we don’t have much outside to do. We spend a lot of time planning out our spring, summer, and fall. Our harvest records, planting records, and garden journals helps to make a game plan for the garden for next spring. We can calculate how many plants we will need to grow to have enough to last us all year. Plus what additional veggies we need to grow to sell at the farmers markets and csa customers. Then we can put together our seed order and planting calendar. This allows us to know what we need to order. How much to order. When to start the seeds in the greenhouse. When we can start to direct seed our first crops.

Getting things ready for spring.

This down time also allows us to get everything ready for the spring. We get out all our garden equipment to sharpened and make any repairs we need to make. The stalls in the barn need cleaned out and ready for our little pigs to come in the spring time. The chicken tractors cleaned up and ready for housing little chicks when the weather breaks. We also have to plan out our egg production. This involves seeing how many dozen eggs we sold last year. Then figuring out how many chicks we need to raise up this winter to be ready to start laying as the older hens start to slow down.

Make time for the family

Since we are a little slower in the winter months. This is the time of the year we make plans to take a vacation. We play more board games inside, go sledding in the snow. In general try to spend as much time as possible together as a family. Once spring arrives it is all hands on deck and the extra free time finds a way to quickly disappear.