When You Think of Homestead Life
you may have visions of chickens running around in the early morning while the early morning dew is still on the grass in the pasture. Egg baskets full of fresh eggs for a homestead style breakfast at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee.
Or maybe you have visions of a bountiful garden. Pulling weeds and planting seeds during the long days of summer. A pantry lined with jars with the bounty of all your hard work. Snapping beans and saving seeds on the front porch on a warm summer night
Of course my favorite visions of homestead life are of the nights spent around the kitchen table eating fresh food, made from scratch with all the ingredients grown on our very own land.
The two homestead seasons
It seems that just as we are fully enjoying our bounty we get the first hard frost that claims what little was left in the garden. The rush begins to finish preparing for winter. The garden tools get put away, the extra jars and canner gets packed away and the wood piles are complete.
It often feels to me as though there is only two season on our homestead. The busy season and winter. The busy season begins with planting and baby animals in the spring, followed by gardening, canning and preserving in the fall. In between we squeeze in baby chicks, chopping wood, hay and a million other things.
Before we know it winter has arrived and the slower season is here once again. The time when things slow down. When we spend a little more time inside preparing for the upcoming busy season.
Homesteading Year Round
Homesteading is a full time job. The winter months are typically slower where we can take breaks and rejuvenate. Moments to enjoy the fruits of all our hard work and rest before spring is back.
I believe the nature of most homesteaders is to stay busy. To keep working hard creating things with our own two hands. I for one, am not one to just sit about on the couch doing nothing. It makes me a little stir crazy.
Before I continue I must say that these are not things you must do. Just a list of things that we do to prepare for the next season. It’s just a few things we can do now that we won’t be able to do later. When things go a little crazy and the work days are long. I personally find a lot of these activities relaxing and help to keep me busy and occupies. They also help to save money, keep you occupied, ward off cabin fever and keep the homesteading spirit alive and well all year long!
Knitting or Crocheting
There is no better way to keep your hands busy during the winter months than by starting a knitting project. If you have never knitted or crotched before, you can find some AMAZING videos on YouTube to get your started.
Knitting is a favorite of mine. I am always learning new stitches and starting new projects in winter. I enjoy the mindless, relaxing sounds as the needles click together. October and November are a great time to get started on new projects. Homemade scarves, hats, dish cloths and blankets always make great personalized gifts for family members
Sewing or Quilting
Winter is such a great way to start with the art of working with fibers. If you have been wanting to try a new project, I recommend giving sewing a chance. Maybe you have some clothes that need mending. A button to sew or a tear to fix. Maybe you want to try quilting.. I have never tried it but I know those that love it!
No matter what you wish to do, the winter months are a great time to start a new hobby.. November is the month to get a start on seasonal projects. Maybe some simple stockings, a throw blanket, an advent calendar, or maybe a face mask. It is the year of covid. No matter your skill level there is always something to learn watching videos on YouTube or sign up fo a class using one of your local fabric stores,
Baking & Cooking
While some could argue that cooking and baking are a year round activity, there is NOTHING like a firing up the oven or the wood stove to create amazing comfort foods to fill up everyones bellies. Foods that warm the soul and body on a cold, long snowy nights.
For us winter is all about getting all cozy and filling the home with the comforting smells and tastes. There is nothing like a big pot of stew and some homemade biscuits or bread on a chilly night.
Winter is all about creating hearty soups, slow cooked meals and breads. Foods that warm the soul and body on a cold, snowy night.
Winter is the time when you take advantage of all the hard work from summer and fall. It’s when we use all our dehydrated, frozen and canned supplies. The time to use the canned tomato sauce to make an Italian sauce. Bake some pies or crisps from the pie filling. Let’s not forget the, preserved jams, jellies, salsa, beans, pickles, soups and all the other amazing things that you worked so hard to preserve.
Body Care Supplies
One of my favorite ways to not only make some extra cash is with making some goat milk soap. Just note that homemade soap using lye and you need to take proper precautions when using it. Whether you choose to make hot processed or cold processed soap it is up to you.
While you are making some soap, why not venture out and try to make some hand balms, lip balms, body butters, bath balms and more. If you. have never made soap before, you can read more about it here.
All the products that you would normally buy in a store you can make at home. They all use the same basic ingredients and a lot of those ingredients you have in your pantry. Why not give it a try?
Building & Crafting
One of the projects that I enjoy is carpentry. Book shelves, beds, desks.. if it involves tools and saws I am all for it! For most woodworking projects all you need is a few basic tools and you are ready to go!
This year we are going to try a new way of working with wood. Whittiling! I am so excited to give something new a try. I am thinking of keeping it simple with just attempting spoons.. You always need another spoon. Right?
Another favorite wintertime activity is crafting. Break out the paint, hot glue and stop by your favorite craft store! A few winter time crafts that you could do is decorating ornaments, paint by numbers, or watercoloring.
A thing to note, make sure you have a dedicated space for all your crafting treasures. It’s not really enjoyable when your dining room table has been overtaken with supplies. It also makes the husband a little frustrated when he want sit at the table to eat his meals. 😉
Reading & Writing
new books on homesteading, garden, learn research new skills
I am a huge fan of reading in the winter. I absolutely love curling up with a cup of tea and a good book on the couch. I am one of those that could read a book year round but the winter season.. that is the time for reading. I enjoy reading even more so after the rush of the holidays and the long wait of until spring arrives.
I haven’t always loved writing, but since starting our blog I have found writing quite therapeutic. Sitting at my desk looking out at the winter stillness always bring out contemplation and reflection. Those quiet moments are always the best to just write. To get things out of my mind and let flow on to the paper or in my case the keyboard. Many of those thoughts may or may not make it on to the blog but if they do one day I have some rambles all written down.
Whether you use your time to read or write… the slow season really is the best time of year to log some hours into writing and reading. Maybe pick up a book on homesteading, canning for next year, gardening or a book to learn a new skill or start your own blog! If you start a blog, let us know! We would love to stop by and visit.
learn to play an instrument
Music.. I love music. I am unfortunately not gifted with the musically touch, but Todd is. There is just something about listening to him play his guitar or one of the songs that he has written using his keyboard that takes me back to the times as a child listening to my grandparents.
Garden Planning & Seed Shopping
My favorite past time in the winter.. Dreaming, planning and looking through all of the seed catalogs as they arrive in my mailbox. After so many long, dark days of winter it is a breath of fresh air to see the catalogues arrive. I spend hours looking though the catalogs as they arrive. While I look through them I start making lists. Lists of what seeds are left from the previous season. Lists of things I absolutely have to buy. Lists of things I want but don’t really need. Things I need to do in the garden as soon as the ground thaws… I like lists, can you tell?
Once my lists are done I put in my order and start planning my garden layout of where I want everything and another list of what didn’t survive the winter. February marks the time of seed starting and the dreams of summer continue as the seedlings grow..
I saved the most important winter activity for last. Family. Spending time with family is the best thing during winter. We love playing games together, snowshoeing, and spending time together outdoors. Winter gives us the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and neighbors. As a homestead family, we spend time together and often. Although, during the busy season it’s mostly spent time working together on projects and getting chores done. Winter allows us to simply enjoy one another company and have good laughs around the fire. Celebrating what is truly important. Our Family and loved ones.
This is not a final list of things to do during the winter months. Just some of the things that we enjoy here at Yodel Dog Homestead. Do you have something that you enjoy during the off season?