Homesteading and living on a farm is a busy job. Usually, you know which big tasks are coming up and you can anticipate them. (Then there are the dozens of things you don't anticipate or can't schedule the keep you on your toes!) What I am busy doing changes by the season. Weather and seasons mean a lot more when you homestead or farm than knowing what outfit to wear or if you should bring a jacket or umbrella. We also realize that the weather forecasters are often wrong, but for some reason it's hard to get over being disappointed each time they mislead us. I find they are often in the ballpark with regards to rain versus sun ... usually.
Starting the year from mid-January through mid-March, we are still dealing with winter in full swing and the first part of mud season. However, we have the regular "January thaw," which gives us the added joy of mud and snow. Then, it gets cold again, keeps snowing and blowing. At this time of year, I usually:
Spring seems to start mid-March and run up to June. I'd say this is the busiest season, but that's just because it's the season I'm in now. The bees are awake and starting to buzz around. Blossoms emerge and I love little flowers on the orchard trees ... or at least the ones we had before and will have again for next year. There's a lot of hope in the spring even though there's also a lot of mud and work with delayed results. Days are also getting longer.
Summer means the ground is firmer and everything should be green and in full growth. I think most people picture farms in summer or even fall. I enjoy not having mud! Summer runs June through August for us and nights are short ... we usually go to bed before it's dark, even when we "stay up."
Fall colors are wonderful, but we're mostly evergreens on the mountains and around here. I look forward to having a lot of my blueberries which turn red in the fall as all of the wild trees seem to turn yellow around here. (I am selecting many plants with fall colors as one of my major considerations.) We don't practice fall planting here. Our fall is usually September through November, though we usually get a significant snowstorm in November.
Winter is beautiful and peaceful, and the pace certainly changes. That said, I most dislike winter because there isn't pasture for the animals and the weather is less comfortable. In the middle of winter, it seems like it starts getting dark at 3:30 in the afternoon. Still, we keep busy in December to mid-January with the end of our milking season and making pretty much all of our milk into aged cheeses (except for a few direct sales of fresh milk outside of the farmers' market). Making cheese is fun. There is still a lot of work ... not all indoors, either.
A quick word about my children - they are wonderful to have around. They probably think they're my slaves (AKA wanna-be-umpa-lumpahs), and I suppose they are. I can send them to grain or milk if I have to take the other to an appointment or something. Some things require four hands, such as driving fence posts (or at least it's WAY faster), and they are nice to have around. Running a farm I don't think will be as difficult with just me and my husband, but staring a farm or homestead with able-bodied children who know how to work make it so much easier. We just have to remember to give them some free time and make sure they don't hate farm life ... and bribe them with the best ice cream sandwiches and fun adventures around here!
Wife to Brandon, mother to Tess and Liam, farmer, entrepreneur, cook & baker, nurse, and accountant who loves to try new things, travel, and work toward greater self-reliance.