Between 1862 and 1986, 4,000,000 acres of land were given away under the Homestead Act. The same hopes and dreams that motivated your ancestors have left many dreaming of modern-day homesteads. However, it can feel daunting to start a homestead. The amount of work is never-ending and much of it is hard. By the time you have the luxury of thinking in terms of beautifying your homestead, you have proven yourself to be capable and multi-talented. You have put way too much effort into your dream life to be careless about maintenance and every season brings its’ new demands. Keep on top of the tasks and you’ll be able to kick back and relax in your home.
Beautifying Your Homestead Through Year Round Maintenance
Maintenance for all seasons
There is always work to do throughout the changing seasons on a homestead. There is the general flow that you know to expect. As the weather warms you will be planting gardens, making repairs, harvesting food and preserving the harvest in countless ways. Summer and fall are the busiest times of the year. Most of your jobs are “on the spot” maintenance – when you are preparing your garden beds and the rototiller breaks. you think it will never end. Then one evening that unmistakable feel of fall is in the night air and you smile with accomplishment, knowing that rest is coming.
Starting in the fall
As the fall harvest comes to an end, glean the fields, plant your winter cover crops and mulch where needed. Put your hoses away and make sure any outdoor equipment is covered or put away. Drain gas tanks and oil, sharpen blades and check chains. Clean up your rain collecting systems, cisterns and pipes and turn your attention to the main house. Take care of drafts, clean flues and turn off and insulate any outside pipes and spigots.
Maintenance requires organization and winter is perfect for reflection and planning. Plan your gardening for the year taking note of important dates. When do you acquire seeds, plant starts, and transplant? With this in mind, you can determine which outbuildings you will be needing and in which order and make any needed indoor repairs and take care of the outdoor ones as weather permits. Make a list of repairs and improvements (new drying racks)including material needs. As it gets colder take care of pruning trees.
As spring approaches
You have your well laid out plans from the winter and it is time to start completing those items according to your priorities. As you uncover spigots and pipes, check them. Replace fluids in tractors and equipment, fix fences and prepare beds.
About six weeks into the growing time you’ll likely need to set aside your maintenance tasks for the season. At this point, it’s all about keeping up and catching up. Smile as you remember, you are living the dream.