Once we consider homesteading, visions of yard chickens, bountiful veggie gardens and jars of home-canned meals lining pantry cabinets are normally the primary issues that come to thoughts.
We consider pulling weeds and planting seeds; Of lengthy, scorching days gardening and farming livestock; Of evenings spent steaming up the kitchen home windows whereas the canner runs steadily.
We consider amassing recent eggs on a dewy summer time morning and snapping inexperienced beans on the entrance porch on a heat summer time evening. And naturally we consider consuming recent meals, comprised of scratch with elements grown and plucked from our personal land.
Certainly, these are all noble homesteading actions within the fair-weather months, however what about when winter units in?
What occurs as soon as the primary onerous frost comes to say any life that is still out within the backyard? What can we do when the snow begins falling and the hens cease laying? How can we fill our days and nights after the canner will get put away?
Homesteading is a Yr-Spherical Life-style
For no matter cause, homesteading is most frequently regarded as a three-season “exercise.” Planting season begins within the spring, gardening and farming season runs from spring by means of the summer time and canning and preserving season takes us from summer time into fall. Winter usually solely will get point out after we discuss how greatest to make use of the opposite three seasons to arrange for it. A lot of homesteading centres round making ready for winter. However what occurs when winter lastly arrives?
Positive, we might simply hunker down and loosen up, benefit from the fruits of our labour and relaxation till spring returns and the actually busy seasons start once more. However the very nature of most homesteaders is that we are likely to take pleasure in preserving busy, working onerous and creating as a lot as doable with our personal two arms. In different phrases, we are likely to go a bit stir loopy sitting round on the sofa for too lengthy.
Now, let me simply make this clear earlier than we proceed: I’m not in any respect suggesting that you simply shouldn’t take a well-deserved break within the winter. Quite the opposite, I feel it’s VERY vital to take time to relaxation each time doable in an effort to really feel rejuvenated and be extra productive if you actually should be.
However should you’re in search of some (largely enjoyable) homesteading actions that you are able to do all through the winter months to assist hold you occupied, prevent cash, chase away cabin fever and hold the pioneering spirit alive all 12 months lengthy, I’ve bought just a few options for you.
Let’s start with my private favorite…
1. Cooking & Baking
Though it may very well be argued (with sound cause) that cooking and baking are year-round actions, there’s no time like winter to fireplace up the oven, the sluggish cooker or the wooden range and create superb consolation meals to fill the stomach and heat the soul on chilly, snowy days and nights.
Winter is all about cozying up and filling the home with the nice and cozy, comforting smells and tastes of home-baked breads, biscuits and desserts. It’s about creating hearty soups and stews, slow-cooked roasts and meals that keep on with your ribs.
Associated: Do-it-yourself Honey Brioche Bread Recipe
It’s additionally the right time to place a few of that home-canned meals you labored so onerous on to good use. Use your home-canned inexperienced beans in a comforting inexperienced bean casserole. Get pleasure from some home-canned tomato sauce over a hearty pasta bowl. Make soups out of home-canned shares and broths. Make your individual home made flaky pie crust and use the home-canned fruit pie filling you place up in the summertime. And naturally savour each pickle, preserved fruit and jar of jam, jelly, relish, chutney, salsa and sauce you labored so onerous to protect in the summertime and fall. In spite of everything, there isn’t a higher option to benefit from the fruits of you labour than to actually benefit from the fruits of your labour!
2. Winter Gardening & Farming
Whereas many vegetation gained’t survive the winter, there are a handful of cold-hardy veggies you could develop all through the winter.
Greens like kale, collards, bok choy and Swiss chard develop effectively even in chilly, snowy situations. Though you’ll nonetheless want to guard them from getting crushed by the load of the snow. You are able to do so by constructing your individual DIY Hoop Home. Or higher but, you should utilize a heated greenhouse to increase your rising season proper by means of the winter and hold your root greens rising whereas extending the lifetime of summer time veggies and getting an early begin on spring planting.
Associated: 3 Methods to Defend Your Vegetation from the Chilly
For a good easier winter “gardening” challenge, attempt rising your individual sprouts or microgreens indoors!
And naturally in case you have livestock they are going to should be cared for all all through the winter. Make sure to hold them protected, dry and heat with additional bedding and all the time be sure that they’ve sufficient liquid water to drink as water can simply freeze throughout winter. We use heated water dishes like these within the winter for our chickens and rabbits.
3. Knitting & Crocheting
Should you prefer to hold your arms busy, there isn’t a higher option to accomplish this within the winter months than to begin a knitting or crocheting challenge.
Should you’ve by no means knit or crocheted earlier than, there are some nice movies on Youtube that will help you get began. That’s the place I started, and though I’m nonetheless not nice at both, it’s a ability I’m engaged on. It’s additionally one thing I discover I solely have time to do within the winter when I’ve extra time to sit down and dedicate to it.
4. Stitching & Quilting
Winter can be the right time to for stitching and quilting initiatives. Should you’ve been desirous to attempt a brand new stitching challenge, end a quilt that’s been sitting in your closet for ages and even simply mend some clothes, winter is a superb time to interrupt out the stitching machine (or a easy needle and thread) and get to work!
Likewise, should you’ve by no means sewn something earlier than however you’d prefer to be taught, winter is the right time to deal with studying and buying these abilities!
I don’t learn about you, however the lengthy, darkish winter days and nights can be much more miserable round our home with out the sunshine and sweetness that emanates from the plethora of candles that we burn all through the winter months. There’s simply one thing about pure candlelight through the winter that makes this this time of 12 months simply that a lot cozier and extra pleasant.
However candles aren’t simply stunning luxuries; They’re additionally important objects to have available through the winter months in case the ability goes out or should you’re residing off-grid. However the price of shopping for candles from the shop can add up fairly rapidly. To not point out, store-bought candles are sometimes made with elements that you simply won’t wish to be burning and inhaling. By making your individual candles at house, you may management precisely what goes into them and accomplish that at a fraction of the price of shopping for store-bought.
The very best choices for home made candles are beeswax or soy. You may make them scented or unscented. Utilizing important oils is normally the best choice because the fragrances are pure, however you should utilize perfume oils as effectively. I’ve used each and luxuriate in every for various causes, however the selection is yours.
–> Click on right here to learn to make your individual scented soy wax candles with important oils.
6. Making Cleaning soap & DIY Physique Merchandise
Identical to candles, you may whip up your individual home made cleaning soap and physique merchandise at house in your kitchen (largely). After all in case you are making cleaning soap with lye you’ll want to go outdoors resulting from its caustic nature. However in any other case all the things can safely and simply be made in your kitchen.
Select from cold-process or soften & pour soaps, DIY physique butters, therapeutic salves, lotion bars, salt and sugar scrubs, tub salts, perfumes, hair merchandise, milk and natural baths, tub bombs, lip scrubs, chapstick… the checklist goes on and on. In truth, something you should purchase on the retailer you may fairly effectively make at house, together with most make-up.
The essential elements for a few of these initiatives can price a little bit bit of cash up entrance, however will virtually all the time prevent cash in the long term whereas utilizing safer, more healthy, extra pure elements. You possibly can even make some issues with just a few easy elements you most likely have already got in your house pantry, like white sugar and olive oil. Simply combine these two elements collectively and add just a few drops of important oil to make a ravishing home made sugar scrub!
7. Making Do-it-yourself Cleansing Merchandise
Winter is a superb time to restock your cleansing provides by making your individual protected and pure home made merchandise. Identical to tub and physique merchandise, the checklist of DIY cleansing merchandise you can also make at house is seemingly limitless!
Make your individual laundry detergent at house utilizing just a few easy elements. Infuse white vinegar with the rinds from citrus fruits which might be in-season within the winter and make your individual multi-purpose floor cleaner. Or mix collectively some baking soda with some dried, grated lemon peel and lemon important oil to make a home made sink, tub and bathroom cleaner.
You possibly can even make your individual potpourris with dried herbs and flowers and chemical-free home made room sprays with important oils and alcohol. These double as Christmas presents as effectively!
Associated: DIY Christmas Scented Room Sprays with Important Oils
8. Constructing & Crafting
Whether or not you’re a talented carpenter or simply take pleasure in breaking out the new glue gun and getting artistic, winter is a the most effective season to dedicate a while to all of these DIY initiatives you’ve been desirous to sort out however by no means appear to have time for.
Having a basement workspace or a heated storage is helpful with regards to woodworking and different constructing initiatives within the winter, however a easy craft room or perhaps a eating room desk is sufficient to do most DIY-ing. Whether or not you’re making your individual home made Christmas ornaments or constructing a bookshelf, winter is the time to interrupt out the craft provides and get making!
For extra easy winter woodworking initiatives, make sure to try the Winter 2021/22 challenge of Modern Homesteading Magazine, which features a step-by-step newbie woodworking tutorial for making your individual versatile wood crate at house, in addition to ideas from skilled woodworker and homesteader Anne of All Trades who walks you thru easy methods to supply inexperienced wooden for carving.
9. Studying & Writing
I’ve all the time liked to write down, which is why I selected to begin this weblog within the first place! Should you love writing too, winter is a superb time to deal with journalling, running a blog or possibly even beginning the manuscript for that e book you’ve all the time wished to write down!
The peace and stillness of this time of 12 months lends itself to being a good time for reflection and contemplation, which is greatest expressed in writing. The quiet of a winter’s night is the right atmosphere to let your ideas circulate onto paper (or a keyboard).
Likewise, the identical qualities about winter make it a good time to get some studying completed as effectively. I’ve by no means understood these individuals who lay by the pool all summer time studying their books. Even earlier than I started homesteading, I nonetheless by no means had time to learn in the summertime! There was all the time a lot else to do. However in January, after the push of vacation insanity has handed and the long-haul of winter actually begins, I like to curve up with a scorching cup of tea and a great e book or journal.
Should you’re in search of some nice studying materials that may hold you impressed this winter, subscribe to Modern Homesteading Magazine and gain instant access to our entire library of issues!
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Whether or not you employ the time to write down your autobiography, begin your individual weblog, get misplaced in a narrative or be taught one thing new from a non-fiction e book, winter is the most effective time of 12 months for busy homesteaders to decelerate sufficient to actually sink into some studying and writing.
10. Taking part in an Instrument
That is one factor I don’t do however actually want I did. There’s one thing about taking part in an acoustic instrument for leisure within the winter that harkens again to occasions of outdated.
Whether or not you play Christmas carols on the piano, strum folks tunes in your guitar or set up a sing-along with the entire household, making music with your individual voice and arms, with out the necessity for electrical energy, follows within the custom of the pioneers.
I all the time consider “Little Home within the Huge Woods” when Laura Ingalls Wilder describes her favorite time of day: When Pa comes house and strikes up his fiddle.
Taking part in an instrument is really old-fashioned leisure, and undoubtedly one thing you must contemplate studying should you ever plan on residing off-grid!
11. Seed Purchasing & Backyard Planning
Winter can be a good time to perform a little dreaming. Often by January or February, we start eager for the hotter, brighter days of spring to return. A method we may also help get out of the darkish, winter mindset and brighten issues up a bit is to flick through seed catalogues and begin planning our spring and summer time backyard.
February is normally the time after we start beginning a few of our seeds indoors as effectively. Let the summer time dreaming start!
Associated: Tips on how to Learn and Perceive Seed Packets
12. Self-Enchancment/Private Improvement
Winter and the New Yr specifically is THE time to replicate on what’s working and what wants enchancment in our lives, and to set new objectives for ourselves to enhance some areas of our lives that want some consideration.
Whether or not you wish to give up a foul behavior, begin a great behavior, enhance your bodily physique, get your funds so as, set up your house or be taught a brand new ability, the New Yr is the most effective time of 12 months to set new objectives, make plans for the long run and take the time to deal with your self and your desires.
Should you’re in search of some inspiration or concepts that will help you get began with your individual goal-setting, try this checklist of 25 self-sufficiency objectives to set (and smash!) this 12 months!
I like to begin every new 12 months by making a imaginative and prescient board filled with issues that I wish to do, be or obtain. I dangle it someplace the place I’ll have a look at it each day (like within the toilet) to assist hold my objectives and desires recent in my thoughts every day. It’s superb watching the issues on my imaginative and prescient board materialize!
I really consider within the energy of visualization and the regulation of attraction, and have achieved lots of the issues I’ve placed on my imaginative and prescient boards up to now. I encourage you to make your individual imaginative and prescient board too! Visualization and purpose setting mixed with intentional motion is a profitable mixture for attaining something you set your thoughts to!!
13. Household Time
I virtually didn’t add this one as household time ought to be a precedence all 12 months lengthy. However winter permits us the time to reconnect with household and associates and the seasonal celebrations and traditions to take action.
It’s the time of 12 months after we open our houses to prolonged household, associates and neighbours or after we journey to see kin we don’t go to with each day. It’s a time to make merry and have fun the love we share with others. It’s the time to let others know we love them and to make plans to get collectively and luxuriate in their firm. And naturally it’s an amazing season to spend high quality time with our rapid household taking part in board video games, constructing snowmen, going snowboarding, studying books and having fun with scorching chocolate in entrance of the fireplace.
As homesteaders, spending time with our households is usually on the prime of our checklist of priorities. However all through a lot of the 12 months, that point is usually spent working collectively. Whereas that’s glorious bonding time, it’s additionally good to take a load off and easily take pleasure in one another’s firm and enjoy some good enjoyable collectively. Play a board sport, go for a winter stroll within the woods, or simply take pleasure in one another’s firm as you linger a little bit longer over meals collectively. No matter you do, put your telephones down and provides one another your undivided consideration. Be absolutely current and luxuriate in each second collectively.
There are such a lot of actions which might be excellent for winter, and I might most likely make a listing a mile lengthy filled with all the things you would hold your self busy with within the “low season.” However these are my private favourites and are the right actions for homesteaders to deal with.
I do know that homesteading appealed to me largely as a result of I like preserving busy, creating, studying new abilities and enhancing on a regular basis. And whereas I like to loosen up within the winter, I like to really feel like I’m nonetheless being productive whereas having fun with life at a slower tempo than the remainder of the 12 months.
Winter gives us the presents of peace, quiet and time that we don’t all the time get to take pleasure in through the different three seasons. So allow us to not want it away, however embrace it and use it to our full benefit. In spite of everything, spring is simply across the nook;)