I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming fall and winter months, and how I can improve my homesteading skills during them. Winter can get pretty boring around the homestead, as the garden doesn’t need quite as much attention, kids are in school, etc. This might leave us feeling kind of unproductive, which is a feeling I personally hate! So today I want to focus on some skills that can either be started up or improved on in the coming months.
Unfortunately for a lot of us, winter doesn’t support a plentiful garden. But this is the best time to plan! Most of you probably already have some sort of garden operation going, so I suggest trying to improve it. Reflect on the last year, and decide what worked well for you and what didn’t work so well. Were the pests bad? You can plan ahead on ways to keep them away. Did some of your plants overcrowd the others? You can re-arrange a little if needed, or add some barriers to section off certain plants. I would definitely think ahead about when some of your favorites can live outdoors, and decide when to plant the seedlings indoors so your garden can get started as soon as possible! I also suggest reading up on some gardening expert tips to improve your garden for new ideas.
By now you guys probably know that I am big on the natural remedies. And what a better time to work on those than during the fall and winter?! Take the time to learn about different herbs and their healing properties. Or, think about issues that arise in your house and research them that way. Does your son get a cough every winter? Ginger and elderberry can help with that. There are hundreds of different ways to use herbs as natural remedies, so its really whatever you prefer. You can make them into salves or herbal tea, and some people even use herbal remedies for their pets instead of taking them to the vet!
I also highly recommend, if you haven’t already, starting a journey with essential oils. You can learn the basics here. It can be be a little time consuming at the very beginning because you will need to research the oils and make sure you are using them properly—each one is different—but it can be incredibly rewarding.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the yard to support livestock so instead ,I try to support my local farmers. However if you already have livestock, obviously the upkeep doesn’t come to a halt during the winter months! You may think about setting up a warmer milking station, or insulating the chicken coop. Additionally, this can be a great time to start thinking about beekeeping! During the fall and winter, you can prepare by building hives and reading up on how to begin the journey once it warms up outside. Bees Bros has some really great tips to help you get started with your very own apiary.
Prepping For the Year
There are plenty of fruits and veggies still in season during fall, from cranberries to jalapenos so there will likely be plenty of canning to do. You might even have a stash in the freezer that you can work on canning and preserving. Of course, when you finish up your chosen preservation method for the winter, you’re going to have a lull. This is when I recommend using your awesome DIY skills for, well, everything else!
You can make candles, soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, sun screen, cleaning supplies, and everything in between to stock up for the rest of the year! Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing lots of DIY ideas for many of these things. This is something that I think will help make spring and summer months more simple, as you can focus on gardening and preserving and not have to put regular household items on your to make or to buy list! To St
These are just a few suggestions on how to spend your fall and winter months more productively. I tend to get a little bit depressed in the winter, as do a lot of people, and it really helps when I have things on my list to accomplish! I’d love to hear how the rest of you keep busy in the winter and prepare your homestead for the year ahead! Share with me in the comments. 🙂