I get so excited in January. This is the time we make our big plans for the rest year here on Mama’s Homestead. My husband and I get the kids involved in the planning, so they will be able to do these things on their own when they get older.
We look at the things we need to get done throughout the year, and it seems daunting. Gardening, beekeeping, orchard, harvesting/canning/freezing, plans for livestock, home improvement projects, financing/budgeting, and the list goes on…
The garden alone can be an overwhelming project to take on, if no plans are in place. So, with each subject, we start with the end result in mind…i.e. for gardening, we figure out how much food we want to be able to eat and put up for the year, and work backward. That leads to what we need to plant in the garden, how big the garden needs to be, the seeds we need to start, how many canning jars we need, and much more.
For beekeeping, we look at how many hives made it through the winter (so far), how much honey we used the previous year, some of the problems we had and the ways we were able to solve them (or not), what care the bees need in what season, and much more.
When these things are all figured out, they are divided in to a seasonal check list. We then put them on the calendar on the approximate week/day they need to be done. For example, we make a garden plan in January/February, start seeds in the house in March, plant the plants and other seeds outside in May, then there is tilling, weeding, pruning, harvesting…and so on. The timing is different for each kind of plant to get the right harvest time, so making a yearly plan is important.
What homesteading or home improvement projects do you have? What is the best time of year to get that project done?
We do this tentative planning for the year so these projects don’t ‘sneak up’ on us. It’s a lot of work, but it saves a lot of time in the long run.
Every year, we keep a journal for each homesteading categories. We keep track of things such as; Gardening (gardening plans, pest control, harvests, etc.), Beekeeping (honey harvest, hive diseases, queens, feeding, etc.) Orchard (pest control, harvests, pruning, etc.) Food Preservation (canning, freezing, dehydrating, pickling, fermenting, etc.) by writing the date of the action in the journal and writing down the details of what we did. This is then used the following year to help us make our homesteading plans for the following year.
For example, you may be able to plan your garden better for next year if you kept track of what you planted in and what you harvested from your garden. How many seeds or plants did you need? How many canning jars did you need? Did you have enough/too much food for the year?
This past year, my daughter took beekeeping as a 4-H project and helped with keeping the journal for beekeeping. She learned more details about the bees than ever before, and was really excited about her project.
So, keep a journal for each thing you need to keep records for, get them out when you are planning for next year.
Do you make a yearly plan for your homesteading endeavors? Leave me a comment!