Sunday Homestead Update – Seasons on the Farm

We have very distinct seasons where we live in the Rockies.  Our winters are very cold, our summers nice and warm (but short), and spring and fall are a nice in-between.  The weather in and of itself causes quite a bit of differences in seasonal activities, but we have noticed that the more we get into this homestead/farm life, the more distinct the activities of the seasons get.

Spring is a season of preparation, and of new life.  The first thing that fills our time in spring is preparing for the upcoming summer.  We have a short growing season here, and must use every single second we can.  Planning and preparation for that is very important to ensure a good growing season and successful harvest.  We spend time preparing supplies and seeds, working to get the garden and soil ready, starting plants indoors, etc.  Spring is also, generally, when new livestock is born.  Being available to help the animals through birth if needed, and to be sure the babies get a good start is important and time-consuming.  Preparing the birthing areas, keeping watch, and making sure all is well between mama and baby fill quite a bit of time.

Summer always feels the busiest to me.  The gardening keeps us outside much of each day.  Plus the warm weather brings with it plenty of other outdoor activities.  It is a good time of year to be training livestock to the halter because it is warm and fun to be outside.  It is also the right time of year to be maintaining the buildings and fencing, and adding new buildings and fencing.  It brings with it some extra time in the kitchen as well, with the large amounts of eggs and milk, and the fresh produce from the garden.

Fall is a time for harvesting and storing up.  Days are full of picking, cleaning, preparing, and then either freezing or canning produce.  We also aim to butcher chickens in the fall, and we have the deer and elk hunting season.  We butcher our own deer and elk as well, so that takes a lot of work and time.  There is always something to be doing to put up food in the fall.

Last is the winter time.  Winter used to be kind of boring to me.  I felt like it was the time I was just anxiously waiting to be doing any and all of the spring, summer, and fall activities.  But now I am finding winter a necessary time.  We need this time of year to do all the things we can’t get to at other times because the other seasons are jam-packed with things that must get done during that specific season.  Winter is the time we can make our soap and body products, make our herbal medicines, make candles, get caught up on all the knitting and sewing projects, and for the guys to get caught up on indoor maintenance and woodworking projects.  If we run out of herbal medicine or soap in the summer it is really hard to find time to make some more.  And there is no way my husband can find a spare hour in the summer to build me a wooden bench or the like.  So winter has become very important for stocking up on those things which we don’t have time to make during the outdoor seasons, and the storing up season.

The winter season has fully arrived and we have started with some of these things this last week, and will continue to get through them all in the next 4 cold months of winter.  Our highs are supposed to be in the single digits this week, with lows below zero and wind chill taking us down to -28F.  It will mean more work to keep the animals safe, warm, fed, and watered.  But it will also mean more time indoors working on the winter season activities.

3 thoughts on “Sunday Homestead Update – Seasons on the Farm

    • Our rabbitry is inside our barn which is not heated but is mostly insulated. It is protected from wind, which is very important here.
      On the cold days when their water bottles are freezing we rotate the bottles out 2-3 times a day. The bottles are brought in to thaw and replaced with full bottles of warmish water to encourage drinking and lengthen freezing time. They all do fine.
      The only time we have issues in winter is when newborns or young kits end up on the wire and the mom wont let them cuddle up to her. They die pretty quickly. Sometimes we happen to be there at just the right time and can save them. Sometimes the mom allows cuddling and then when we get there we put them back in the nest.
      Also, when it gets really cold we give the adults (ones without kits) little nest box/house things full of hay to go into and keep warm. But we have been surprised that most don’t even use them and choose to stay out on the wire.

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  1. That’s great that you can find things to appreciate about winter. I need to do that too… and mine aren’t nearly as cold or long as yours. I guess fiber arts is a good place to start… lots of excuses to make cozy things. 🙂

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