The first day of spring in 2015 is March 20–that’s only a few days away Friends. Is everything on your spring check list nearly checked off? I’ve got a bit to do yet.
If you are a homesteader, then you understand what seasonal living is. You live around the weather and the cycle of nature.
If you aren’t a homesteader, let me review for you. A winter check-list is the easiest to understand. We understand that when the snow is on the ground, you better have your garden harvested and all your firewood home. If you don’t get these things done, your produce is spoiled and you can’t heat your house in the winter.
A seasonal check-list is comprised of all the things that must be done before the season begins. A spring check-list is a bit different than a winter check-list, however.
A winter check-list is comprised of things we can no longer do once the ground freezes and all the snow piles in. But a spring check-list for our family is comprised of all the things we are challenged to find time for once spring hits since spring is crazy-busy on the farm.
Here are the things I’ll be struggling to get done before time simply doesn’t permit me the opportunity to:
This is the biggest list I have by far. I have all winter to make the things we need for the winter and spring. But there are things we will need in summer and fall that I won’t have time to work on, so it’s important that I look ahead and have them done now.
Since I have a semi-large family, I just don’t have the time to make everything for everyone. I spend the first part of the winter seeing what gets handed to us or traded for. The things I know won’t be handed to us (like underclothes), I just go ahead and make. By spring, most of the basics are covered for everyone.
The things I do have to get done by spring are the things I anticipate we may need through next fall. These include: church attire, something suitable for everyone to wear to a funeral and to a wedding, feminine pads (at least 10 new ones setting aside for each female), 10 new cloth diapers if I’m expecting that year, 10+ pairs of training pants if I expect to potty train that year, birthday gifts, baby clothes for baby showers, and any costumes the kids will want to wear to parties.
This is also a time to sew patches on pants that need put away for the next kid, sew on buttons, fix zippers, and mend blankets before putting them away. I like for everything to already be fixed when I get it out in the fall.
Some of the blessings God gave our humble family farm were sand-pits, gravel-pits, and cinder pits around the volcanoes. These are what we barter with most, this time of year. We are trading these for the thousands of pounds of seed we will need to plant all our fields this year.
We also have a neighbor who is a huge potato seed seller. My husband works the equipment for him just before spring hits (shipping out all the potato seeds to all the potato farmers), and they supply us all year with all the potatoes we can eat and a small stipend.
Because my husband is also a diesel mechanic, he is busy during the winter fixing the local farmers’ tractors and equipment and doing welding projects. These are more open-ended barters. Later in the year when we need something, he will call those farmers in return and negotiate a fair trade at that time. Some will decide to negotiate a payment, while others might lend us equipment if ours breaks, or labor, or a different payment.
Once the Farmer starts spring planting, he isn’t available to do any extra projects, so this must be done now. The same thing can be said of any sewing I do for other people. If it doesn’t get done now, it won’t get done until next winter.
This list is harder to gauge. If I run out of something in the winter, I can whip up a batch. In the summer, it’s really stressful for me to have to stop summer activities to make some of these things. Near the end of winter, I need to go through my supply and ask myself, “Do I have enough of this to get my family comfortably through the fall?” If it looks like I’ll be short, or even on the “close” end, I’ll make more.
Here’s what I’m inspecting: dishwasher tablets , toilet tablets, soap bars, body soap, laundry soap, fabric softener, and candles.
We don’t spend much time inside once the weather is nice, except for our homeschool lessons. This makes it easier not to be bothered with looking at unfinished projects inside. All the same, it is nice to have the paint touched up on a wall, or have our water filter changed.
As far as outside projects, we are looking at making sure fences are tight and fixed of any holes, the dinner bell is cleaned out of any of last year’s wasps’ nests, and any maintenance that looks like it might need done at anytime before fall gets done now. When we’re unsure, we just do it.
One of the bigger projects we’d like to get done in early spring is digging a new root cellar. I’d really like one that is attached to the house. I’m not overly excited at the thought of walking a couple hundred feet in the cold, deep snow each time I want something out of it (although it does make the harvest itself easier. ) For now, the ground is still frozen a foot down, so we’ll have to wait til the last minute to do this one.
Our greenhouse burned down four years ago, and we’re hoping to see if we can save it and rebuild the greenhouse this year so I can use it. Finances are tight, so we’ll have to be creative.
We only shop 3-4 times a year. Since going to the grocery store means packing up the entire family in the Suburban and driving 60 miles there and 60 miles back, it takes an entire day to do this.
I’m not going to lie…None of us like shopping, and trips often make us grumpy.
The best way to keep us in high spirits is to make sure it’s done before the busy work of the growing season.
We’ll make sure to have coffee, oils, and any clothing and shoes we may need for the year here so we don’t have to negotiate a shopping day in the summer or fall.
Yes, that’s quite the list. But when it’s done, it’s done. I realize we can still have a couple more months of snow, but I’m looking forward to spring and the new life it brings.
What’s on your spring check-list?