You may think that when the frigid temperatures of winter have set in and the snow is piling up outside your windows that there isn’t much you can do to be productive on your homestead. On the contrary, the cold months of winter are the perfect time to buckle down and be productive. The blustery days of winter can prove to be very long, so what better time to get busy planning and preparing for the upcoming season.
Here are a few ideas on how to stay busy…
#1 Plan Your Garden
What better way to bring some brightness and cheer to your winter day than to sit down and let your mind drift away to the warm days of spring, when you will be tilling up the fresh soil of your garden and planting the seeds that you will nurture throughout the summer. Spend some time thinking on what you picture your summer garden looking like for the coming season. Put some thought into what kind of preparations you need to make. Do you need to add compost or fertilizer to your soil? Are you thinking of expanding your garden or increasing the variety of plants this year? Write down any tasks that you need to complete in advance to prepare your garden for planting. After all, you need to have a solid base in order to have a thriving garden. Then comes the fun part, compile a list of each vegetable that you would like to plant and decide whether you want to purchase plants or seeds for each type. Any time you are making plans or setting goals, it is important to put your ideas to paper. Make a rough sketch of what you picture your garden looking like and map out where you plan to plant each vegetable. Make sure that you are allowing enough room for each type and don’t forget to leave enough space for paths in between the vegetables-you want to be able to get in to weed and to harvest!
The next step is to pull out your stack of seed catalogs that I know you have been collecting. January is typically the time that I begin to have seed catalogs showing up in my mailbox. I love to flip through the pages, read the descriptions of each delicious variety, and choose the exact variety that’s right for my garden. My first time through the catalog, I mark each variety that I think I might like to plant. Then on my second time back through, I read and re-read the descriptions to narrow down my selection to what I am actually going to order. It’s important to pay attention to what type of soil each plant thrives in. Also, ensure that the flavor, size of fruit, color, and time to harvest are all within your desired outcome. Then I place my order and look forward to the day that the seeds will show up in my mailbox, and ultimately the day that I will be planting them in my garden!
#2 Set Homesteading Goals for the Year
If you haven’t done this already, now is a great time to reflect on all that you accomplished in the previous year! I like to write these thoughts down in my gardening & homesteading journal. I have a simple notebook where I keep track of what we planted, what the harvest yields were and also how much this resulted in our canning & preserving. What accomplishments are you really proud of? Where did you fall short?
Now, look to the coming year. What do you want to accomplish this year in your garden and on your homestead? Are there any home improvements you want to make? List them! Do you want to expand your garden or do you have specific goals for gardening yields? List them! Whatever your goals and aspirations are-write them down! Now, take a look at that list, make a plan and put it on paper! Break it down by month and choose specific tasks to be completed each month. If you want, you can be even more specific and break it down by week. Keep this list somewhere where you will see it often-place it on a bulletin board or in your homesteading binder. Just be sure that you don’t leave it in your notebook or stash it in a stack of papers, never to be seen or thought of again. A plan is no good if it isn’t put into action!
#3 Read & Learn New Things
I don’t know about you, but when I think of winter, I picture myself curled up on the couch with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee while the snow falls outside the window. So of course, this is the perfect time to pull out that stack of new books and get caught up on my reading! I like to choose books that remind me of the warm days of summer and also that are going to be beneficial to me. Some topics that I like to choose from are homesteading, gardening, handmade crafts, canning and a variety other useful skills.
Reading & learning doesn’t need to stop with getting caught up on your stack of books though. Head to the internet to have an even broader selection of topics and reading material. I typically have a list of topics and tasks that I would like to learn more about. Of course, my favorite online resource is Pinterest! If you can think of a topic that you want to learn more about-you will find it on Pinterest! From there, choose several blogs on your chosen topic to visit regularly to continue expanding your knowledge on the topic.
#4 Learn a New Task
This is also the perfect time to spend learning and practicing a new skill. Choose a new activity or hobby and dive in! Maybe you have been dying to dust off your sewing machine and really learn how to use it. Or, maybe you have a new cookbook and you want to learn how to bake your own bread from scratch. The possibilities are endless!
What activities do you like to fill your winter days with? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below! I always love to hear from my readers!