Tuesday, September 29, 2015

12 Must-Do Homesteading Tasks For The Fall


Fall has come and now it is time to get those projects done! Time to button up the homestead, secure the buildings, and make sure all the peoples and animals are going to be warm and safe for the winter.

This could be the time for panic or you can just simply do what you can do in the time that you have. I choose the second one. I know I have at least one good month left to do what I can. I might even get November if the weather holds out. 

This is the list of projects I like to get done in the fall around my homestead. I feel better about winter and can hunker down with a good book without feeling guilty. Doing these tasks also makes my spring even easier when I am ready to tackle the world again!

12 Must-Do Homesteading Tasks For The Fall

1. Clean out the dog kennel. I do regular maintenance daily, but every fall I like to clean out all the bedding in the indoor part of the kennel and put new bedding down for her. I usually use medium flake pine shavings and put a blanket or a dog bed over top of them. I also make sure the heat lamp is working in the dog kennel for the really cold nights. 

2. Clean up the garden. I like to do a final weeding, mulching, fertilizing, and tilling if I can before the ground freezes. I did not do this a couple of years and paid for it big time. I had lots of weeds and poor soil quality. Never again. 

3. Completely clean the chicken coop. I like to remove all the bedding, sweep the floor, clean out and scrub the nesting boxes, scrub the roost, clean the feed box, clean the waterer, make sure the heat lamp works, and have the heated waterer ready to go. Then I clean their enclosed outdoor area up and level it if it needs done. I dust the floor of their coop with barn lime to reduce the smell. Then I fill their coop and nesting boxes with the medium flake pine shavings again for the winter. 

4. Clean and organize the garage. My garden and outdoor tools, extra animal bedding, extra mulch, and whatnot are all stored in my garage. Usually by the beginning of fall, I have them all scattered around the yard and garage. It is time to put them away! My garage usually gets a good sweeping, trash gets taken out to the dumpster, and everything is put away so I can actually fit a vehicle into one of the stalls again. I hate scraping windshields!

5. Make sure all fuel needs are taken care of. I usually have a bit of firewood on hand for the outdoor fire pit (just in case), some charcoal on hand (just in case I need to use that grill), and all my propane cylinders are filled up again for the grill and my indoor/outdoor heater. I also make sure my gas cans are filled for any emergency car fill-ups or to run any equipment. If you can find unleaded gas (no ethanol), that is better because the gas lasts longer. Otherwise, use some Sta-bil with the gas to help it last longer. 

6. Service the summer equipment. Make sure the lawn mower is serviced for next year and the gas is emptied out of the mower. The same with the trimmer, the chain saw when done using it, the wood chipper, and whatever else you have. If you do plan on using some of this equipment during the winter, use Sta-bil to keep the gas fresh.

7. Clean up the yard. Get the sticks picked up and put into a pile for kindling. Rake the leaves and put on the garden for mulch. Tidy up around the yard, trimming anything that could become a problem. Now is a good time to trim up bushes for better growth next year. 

8. Weatherize the house and buildings. I put plastic on my north and west facing windows to keep the drafts to a minimum. I know people who put hay bales around the house to keep the basement warmer and keep pipes from freezing. Now is a good time to put new weather stripping around doors to keep the drafts out. Some people put tarps up on the north ends and ceilings of their chicken coop's outdoor areas to keep the wind down and to help keep the snow from piling up too badly.

9. Finish up any outdoor projects. Make sure the building are sound and safe for the animals, fixing any leaks or holes in the buildings. Make the house is good condition for the humans too! Take care of the unfinished projects started earlier this summer (I know about good intentions too!).

10. Put away all garden containers and outdoor equipment. I have buckets and planters outside. I try to have them put away in an outdoor building or out of the way before the snow flies. The cold and snow are hard on them. My big planters are in the way of the tractor when he scoops my driveway out (or I do). So I try to have everything put away for the winter. I also make sure all chairs and other summer items are put away too.

11. Protect new planting of bushes and trees. Sometimes it is good to cover your new bush planting to protect them from harsh winter conditions. I also find it good to wrap burlap around new trees so the deer do not think they are just a tasty mid-winter snack. Look up the grower's recommendations for your area and do the best you can. You already spent a lot of time and money on them!

12. Make sure outdoor water sources are protected or shut off. I have to shut off my outdoor water hydrants in the winter or the lines will freeze. I have a shut off valve in the house. After I shut them off, I drain the lines. If you are able to run yours all winter (lucky!), make sure them are protected from the harsh winter elements so you do not have any problems. 

What else do you like to get done around the homestead in the fall? 

Thanks for reading,
Erica



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