So many of us are working our way toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. With that in mind we here at NDiN wanted to share some general guidelines of what to plan for on a monthly basis. Whether you’re a gardener, a beekeeper, a forager, or you keep animals, hopefully our monthly guides will help you plan ahead for the month. Depending on your exact climate you may find you need to adjust your schedule depending on your region.
For those of us that get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it seems downright mad to have to work on upkeep around the house and gardens. Fortunately there are minimal maintenance projects in the garden leaving much more time to celebrate or relax.
- With so many holiday lights ablaze, be sure to discuss fire exit routes with your family. Know where your fire extinguishers are (or purchase a couple) and check those fire and smoke alarms if you haven’t done so yet.
- Change the air filter on your central air unit.
- Keep your entry way and other public areas of your home tidy for surprise visitors. If you have guest rooms, get a jump on cleaning them a week before any guests arrive.
- If you’re busy crafting/wrapping this month keep your work area organized to keep things accessible and minimize frustration.
- Cover drafty windows with curtains or attractive quilts to keep your home toasty and warm and to keep those utility bills low.
- Spoil indoor plants with some fresh potting soil. If that’s too time consuming this month, at least give them a good misting, some fertilizer, and trim off dying leaves.
- Store firewood away from your home (minimum of 25 feet) to reduce fire hazards and keep termites at bay.
- If you live in a particularly cold area cover water faucets with insulated caps to help prevent pipes from cracking.
- Keep walkways clear of ice and snow and make sure that they are well-lit.
- Trim any trees now that most of the energy has gone to the root systems of most plants. It’s also not too late to plant some trees so long as your ground is not frozen.
- You can still take cuttings of some evergreen perennial shrubs like the holly.
- In some locations it is still possible to till beds on warmer days.
- Cover remaining harvests with bird netting to keep birds at bay.
- Pull any root crops that will not over winter. Those that can remain in the garden (like garlic and some onions) may need a winter coat of straw or hay so they don’t freeze.
- Keep barns and other animal shelters clean to help prevent illness and discourage wild critters from nesting. Change hay often, keep tools cleaned up, and be sure to keep water free of ice.
- If you keep an area warm for animals occasionally check for fire hazards. Examine wiring on extension cords, heat lamps, and portable heaters. Keep bedding away from heat units and keep a fire extinguisher inside larger buildings.
- It may not be too late to have sheep and goats mated in your area.
- Colder days are best for slaughter and processing. Keep an eye on weather and plan accordingly.
- Put a light out for an extra two hours in the evening for your chickens. It will help keep their coop warm on colder evenings and promote more egg laying.
- Continue to feed birds; make your own suet cakes for freezing weather to help fuel up birds; offer some peanuts and corn to squirrels; leave a few piles of leaves or stones or a piece of corrugated metal for frogs and lizards to burrow in; set out water for all animals and keep it free of ice.