Winter Break on the Homestead

1/2/2014 10:31:00 AM

Tags: Winter, Homesteading, Gardening, Homemaking, Erin Sheehan

Erin SheehanIn December our weekends are free for the first time since March. Spring, summer and fall find us working to grow and preserve our own food and further our self-reliance. Since Jim and I both still work full-time, gardening occupies our free time nine months of the year: from starting plants indoors in March through ‘til the final harvest of collard greens in November. It is a labor of love,  but it is still labor!

Our garden buried by snow

Winter months allow us to reap the benefits of the garden, without any work at all beyond climbing the cellar stairs. We have the pleasure of pulling down home-canned produce from the shelves of our canning cellar or grabbing home-frozen vegetables to fix delicious meals all winter long.

Our canning cellar, full at last

Winter provides a welcome breather and a chance to focus on indoor projects for a time.

Winter gives us space to dream. Seed catalogs are arriving, and we’re looking ahead to next year’s garden and making wish lists. I already have a couple of ideas for next year. Just one idea I have on the back burner is starting a real herb garden. I have a feeling that deciding what to plant will be a lot easier than figuring out where on our small lot we’ll put the new plot. But for now I’m just looking ahead to harvesting all those beautiful herbs!

Although our lifestyle might seem like hard work, especially to our neighbors I imagine, it’s joyful work. We both love the garden and we love working together to grow food.

Cats enjoying our fireplace

Meanwhile, until March rolls around, we will take time out from gardening to sew, read, make music, bake, and maybe just sit by the fire petting the cats.

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1/9/2014 11:08:29 AM
Hi Dave - we also have pretty good supplies laid in. If we had to eat from the canning cellar it would be an awful lot of relish and pickles, though! Good luck with the onions, I've never tried that. Our soil is clay, so root vegetables are tough. I hope to hear about how yours do!

1/5/2014 12:28:56 PM
Erin, I've stored away a few things for Winter consumption as well. Some came from the garden and some came from bargains at the store. I am not a total survivalist but like to keep a storage food room for emergencies or just plain low financial times. I probably could survive for about a month if I really had to. I hope it never comes to that but I'm just saying. ***** I am in the pre planning stage for the garden next spring. My seed starting will kick in about February 1st. I am going to try to grow some onions from seed for the first time. If it doesn't work out then I'll have to buy the plants as usual from the local nursery. ***** Have a great Winter resting day.

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