Friday, October 23, 2015

A Good Case for Setting Your Homestead Goals in October

October is definitely my favorite month.  The weather is beautiful, cool and crisp.  The leaves put on their best shades of crimson and fiery orange.  We are settling into our school routine.  And, most importantly, the rush of summer garden chores are over.

In the ancient world, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, the fall marked a time of rest and celebration to mark the hard-won harvest.  It was a time when the vegetable and grain processing were done and stored away, and the cooler weather and lack of insects made it possible to begin the harvesting of animals for the winter.  It was a time for slowing down, moving inward, and pondering the long winter ahead.  As such, I think it makes more sense for me to think about what was successful for the year, what needs improvement for next year, and what our goals are going to be going into the next year of homesteading.

Part of the reason I set our goals in October, instead of with the calendar year turnover in January, is that the busy part of the year is fresh on my mind.  I remember that the squash bugs were awful, the the basil did well, and I need to figure out a better way to monitor the chickens' water in the heat.  If I wait, I will forget.  I know that there are amazing folks out there who keep meticulous logs of these kinds of things, and my hat is off to them, but I will never be one of them.  So, setting goals for the next year while this year is still fresh on my mind is a must.

Another reason October is the reset button for our little homestead has to do with the way the year unfolds.  I am frequently really busy from November through January with holiday activities, school stuff, and all sorts of obligations.  October is a slower time for us as a family.  It also gives me a chance to mull over the goals I've set, make plans, alter them, and break them down into smaller projects.  If I've set a goal to grow three new types of veggies in the garden this year, I will already have that in mind when the seed catalogs start to arrive.  If I know that I want to learn to knit, the quiet parts of the year afford me the time to do it.  And I have time to think about the goals I've set for myself, to amend them if the mood strikes me, or even to decide that what I thought was important for us isn't a priority anymore.  I have all winter long to think and dream and evaluate before the spring rush hits.

I know that what works best for me may not be what works best for everyone else.  But I know that having a written set of goals keeps us moving forward and making progress on our journey to the simple life that we yearn for.  Do you set written goals for your homestead?  If so, when is the best time for you to do so?  Please share in the comments!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tucking In

It has been getting cold here.  Cold enough to frost, although the silly weather is getting to 80 during the day.  My sinuses feel betrayed and confused, but it's hard to be too angry when the trees are putting on their autumn best and the sunrise is so gorgeous.  Of course, a change in seasons always means work to do in the garden.

So, the girls and I brought out trowels and spades and pots to put our garden to bed for the year.  We pulled old plants and brought a few in to overwinter with us.
Pandi proudly displaying the last of our rainbow carrots.

Herbs we are potting up to overwinter in the house.


Some nice sage for our warm winter soups and stews.

Lavender to sprout for new plants next year.

My capable helper helping with the basil.

We froze this basil for use this winter and also started new plants.

Here is some basil for freezing in an ice cube tray, covered with olive oil.

Our lavender starts in their glass.

Two intertwined carrots that really fascinated Pandi.
So, the garden is ready for winter's arrival.  It is a long way until our spring garden chores, and in the meantime, we will take care of our small indoor charges and enjoy the season of rest.