Seasons: Winter

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate each season. I honestly don’t think I could live some place that doesn’t experience all four seasons to their fullest. Here in the Mid-Atlantic we can experience all four in every extreme. From stifling heat in the summer, to extreme cold in the winter with two blizzards within five days and daily highs in the single digits.

As Tommy and I have begun to move towards more of a “homesteading” lifestyle (my dear, darling husband now frequently talks of how he just wants to buy a ton of land and give up his office job so he can drink his morning coffee while looking out over his land), I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for each season and it’s purpose. Much of what we do revolves around the seasons.

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Right now it’s winter. Most people probably assume it’s the time when you can kick back and relax. There isn’t a garden to tend, nothing to can, and we currently have no animals now that our broilers reside in the freezer. 

But while the ground rests, we curl up beside the wood stove and we plan. 

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My seeds are spread about as I take stock of what I still have and update my inventory, review notes from last year, and pour over my 2015 catalogs. I’m trying to figure out what to devote space to, what to grow more of, less of, where to put things. 

And while my canning jars begin to find their way back to the shelf empty, I mentally keep tabs on what I’ll need more of next year. I’m already concerned about our dwindling supply of jams, and know we need to be conservative with the applesauce and green bean supply. I’ve taken stock of what herbs I have on hand, what I need more of, and what I need to grow.

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We’ve been debating back and forth on whether to try and get an orchard going this year, or to wait till next. 

We plan to continue raising our own meat birds, but we’re trying to decide on whether we will buy pullets or just order our new laying birds as chicks when we order our new batch or broiler chicks. And pigs, well, hopefully we’ll figure out what we’re doing as far as pigs. 

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I need to take soil samples to our local feed store, and have made mental notes of what was planted where and what will need to be rotated and to where.

Other questions loom, like do we try to get bee hives going, Tom wants hops for his home brews, where can those go,  how much work will take to get a wildflower field going, and do I want to try potatoes again? 

Then of course there is always the money factor of what can we afford and what will need to wait until we can save the money for equipment, etc.

And we’ll be raising something new this year. 

A baby. 

Due in April. 

Right in the middle of when we’ll need to be doing most of these things. 

Along with making sure an investment property we have is on the market by the beginning of March, and Tommy needs to study for his professional engineering licensing exam, also in April, less than two weeks before my due date.

I think our unofficial motto could be something like, “life’s too short to wait till the perfect time to do things, so just do it all at once.” 

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By the time March rolls around, I look forward to the ground thawing so I can begin putting my plans to work. 

Well that and no longer having to haul wood and keep wood stove going, skating across our backyard to the car to defrost it before I leave, and in general, not having wear five layers to try and keep warm (and picking my husband’s coveralls off the floor, again).

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But each season has it’s purpose. Winter is for rest, for rejuvenation, and for planning. I’m never more motivated to make stuff happen than in the winter. 

By fall, I’m tired and regretting my ambitious plans. 

So I look forward again to winter, for the time to rest, and start all over again. 


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