As the snow falls here in the middle of February, I dream about the spring and excitement of new life here on our homestead. December to February can be a difficult time for many. Here are some tasks that we do on our homestead to help the time pass but also prepare us for a busy spring and successful year ahead.
There really is so much to look forward to, these five tasks will help you feel organized and prepared for what’s to come. Don’t feel like you missed out when all of a sudden things get busy when days get longer and the sun is shining. Have a plan in place for a productive season on the homestead this year. Wether you run a busy farm business, a hobby farm or are just getting started with homesteading these five tasks are sure to be on your to do list.
5 Winter Homesteading Tasks
This task always seems daunting, but it’s time to go through last years receipts and get sorted for claiming your farm taxes. It’s also a good time to get prepared for the start of a new tax season. Get started by organizing farm receipts.
In fact, keep all your receipts until you get a handle on what you can and can’t claim. For example, we didn’t realize til last summer we could claim our dog food as she’s part of the farm’s security system. Stay organized with a system like Anna has from Celebrating A Simple Life There are lots of helpful guides on tax saving opportunities for farmers available to inspire you. Read more about them here.
If you’re just get started with making an income on your homestead I highly suggest finding an accountant. Someone who is familiar with tax law and farming in your area. We found a small scale sheep farmer in our area that is also an accountant. We learned endless tips from her in our first meeting, tips I hope to share with you soon!
Plan the Garden
Now is the time to plan your vegetable garden. Seed catalogues are out and arriving in mailboxes. It’s time to order those seeds from your favourite suppliers. Get inspired by attending farmers markets and seed exchange events like Seedy Saturdays.
I just attended our local event this past Saturday, bought my seeds, got great tips about gardening in our area from local experts and signed up for a fruit tree grafting course on an Apple Farm!
This time of year other homestead mama bloggers are sharing their seed starting tips and tricks on Pinterest. Check out the great freebies and printables offered by other bloggers like this seed starting schedule from Victoria at A Modern Homestead.
Order Starter Animals
What animals do you plan to raise? Now is the time to order and prepare for chicks, ducklings, lambs and calves. We’ve already placed our meat bird chick order with the wholesalers and are getting set up for when they arrive. We have big plans for a more efficient meat bird set up this year!
Prepare for Spring births
Maybe you have calving season approaching. Now is the time to wean last years calves. We wean our calves when the mothers have reached a score of three. We wean when the mothers health is affected, not when the calves are a certain age. We bring the herd into the smaller neighbouring penned area, then move the cows, steers and bulls out leaving just the calves to be weaned behind. This fence method allows the cows and calves to still see and hear each other. it tends to be easier for them both.
It’s also time to pull out the incubator and get ready for hatching season. Last years chicks are now full grown point a lay hens starting to lay their first eggs. It’s also time to arrange the broody hen space.
Prune the Orchard
Winter in the best time of year to prune the orchard. Fruit trees are dormant, and leaves are gone so it’s easy to determine what needs to go and what needs to stay. This task used to be daunting for us. Our little orchard was completely overgrown. Then we learned the power of the 3 D’s when it comes to effective pruning methods!
Once we got outside, and I got to use my new loppers to prune, we started planning for our actual orchard! The hope is to start that big task this spring!
My biggest tip is to grab a monthly calendar and fill it with all things homesteading. I add my seed starting schedule. I add my tax due dates. I add the arrival dates for my Chicks and incubating cycles. I write down guest speaker events and gardening workshops held at local nurseries and farms.
Then I hang it up in a common space such as a family command centre and add to it. At the end of the year I file it away and refer to it when building the next years calendar.
There’s always so much to do around the homestead, it can be exciting but daunting. I find writing things down as you go super helpful to being productive.
What are some of the things that you do on your homestead this time of year that you find helps make the busy season more productive?