13 Winter Activities for the Modern Homesteader


Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.When we think of homesteading, visions of backyard chickens, bountiful veggie gardens and jars of home-canned foods lining pantry shelves are usually the first things that come to mind. 

We think of pulling weeds and planting seeds; Of long, hot days gardening and farming livestock; Of evenings spent steaming up the kitchen windows while the canner runs steadily. 

We think of collecting fresh eggs on a dewy summer morning and snapping green beans on the front porch on a warm summer night. And of course we think of eating fresh food, made from scratch with ingredients grown and plucked from our own land.

Indeed, these are all noble homesteading activities in the fair-weather months, but what about when winter sets in?

What happens once the first hard frost comes to claim any life that remains out in the garden? What do we do when the snow starts falling and the hens stop laying? How do we fill our days and nights after the canner gets put away?

 

Homesteading is a Year-Round Lifestyle

For whatever reason, homesteading is most often thought of as a three-season “activity.” Planting season begins in the spring, gardening and farming season runs from spring through the summer and canning and preserving season takes us from summer into fall. Winter often only gets mention when we talk about how best to use the other three seasons to prepare for it. So much of homesteading centres around preparing for winter. But what happens when winter finally arrives?


Widget not in any sidebars

Sure, we could just hunker down and relax, enjoying the fruits of our labour and resting until spring returns and the really busy seasons begin again. But the very nature of most homesteaders is that they tend to enjoy keeping busy, working hard and creating as much as possible with their own two hands. In other words, they go a bit stir crazy sitting around on the couch.

Now, let me just make this clear before we continue: I am not at all suggesting that you shouldn’t take a well-deserved break in the winter. On the contrary, I think it’s very important to take time to rest whenever possible so that you can feel rejuvenated and be more productive when you really need to be. 


Widget not in any sidebars

But if you’re looking for some (mostly relaxing) homesteading activities that you can do throughout the winter months to help keep you occupied, save you money, ward off cabin fever and keep the pioneering spirit alive all year long, I’ve got a few suggestions for you. 

Let’s begin with my personal favourite…

1. Cooking & Baking

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.Although it could be argued (with sound reason) that cooking and baking are year-round activities, there’s no time like winter to fire up the oven, the slow cooker or the wood stove and create amazing comfort food to fill the belly and warm the soul on cold, snowy days and nights.

Related: Easy, No-Knead, Homemade Bread

Winter is all about cozying up and filling the house with the warm, comforting smells and tastes of home-baked breads, biscuits and desserts. It’s about creating hearty soups and stews, slow-cooked roasts and meals that stick to your ribs. 

It’s also the perfect time to put some of that home-canned food you worked so hard to put up to good use. Use your home-canned green beans in a comforting green bean casserole. Enjoy some home-canned tomato sauce over a hearty pasta bowl. Bake pies and crumbles with ease using the home-canned fruit pie filling you put up in the summer. And of course savour every pickle, preserved fruit and jar of jam, jelly, relish, chutney, salsa and sauce you worked so hard to preserve in the summer and fall. After all, there is no better way to enjoy the fruits of you labour than to literally enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Free E-Course

2. Winter Gardening & Farming

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.While many plants won’t survive the winter, there are a handful of cold-hardy veggies that you can grow throughout the winter.

Greens like kale, collards, bok choy and Swiss chard grow well even in cold, snowy conditions. Although you will still need to protect them from getting crushed by the weight of the snow. You can do so by building your own DIY Hoop House. Or better yet, you can use a heated greenhouse to extend your growing season right through the winter and keep your root vegetables growing while extending the life of summer veggies and getting an early start on spring planting.

Related: 3 Ways to Protect Your Plants from the Cold

And of course if you have livestock they will need to be cared for all throughout the winter. Be sure to keep them safe, dry and warm with extra bedding and always make sure they have enough liquid water to drink as water can easily freeze during winter. Now may also be the time to harvest any animals you don’t want to continue feeding throughout the winter. Christmas dinner???

3. Knitting & Crocheting

If you like to keep your hands busy, there is no better way to accomplish this in the winter months than to start a knitting or crocheting project. 


Widget not in any sidebars

If you’ve never knit or crocheted before, there are some great videos on Youtube to help you get started. That’s where I began, and although I’m still not great at either, it’s a skill I’m working on. It’s also something I find I only have time to do in the winter when I have more time to sit and devote to it. 

November is a great time to get into knitting and crocheting as we start to look toward Christmas. Homespun scarves, hats, sweaters and blankets always make great gifts!

4. Sewing & Quilting

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.Winter is also the perfect time to engage in the other fiber arts. If you’ve been wanting to try a new sewing project, finish a quilt that’s been sitting in your closet for ages or even just mend some clothing, winter is a great time to break out the sewing machine (or simply a needle and thread) and get to work!

Again, November is a great time to start some sewing projects that are either seasonal or that you could give as gifts for Christmas. You could start by sewing a simple stocking, a Christmas pillow or a homemade advent calendar. The options are truly endless though depending on your skill level. If you’ve never tried sewing you can learn for free with Youtube videos or on craftsy.com. Sometimes you can even sign up for an in-person class at your local fabric store.

5. Candle-Making

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.For the homesteader, candles are often not just beautiful luxuries, but actually essential items to have on hand during the winter months in case the power goes out or if you’re living off-grid. They also make beautiful homemade Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Related: DIY Scented Soy Wax Candles

But store-bought candles can cost a pretty penny and are often made with ingredients that you might not want to be burning and breathing in. By making candles at home, you control exactly what goes into them and do so at a fraction of the cost of buying store-bought.

The best options for homemade candles are beeswax or soy. You can make them scented or unscented. Using essential oils is usually your best option as the fragrances are natural, but you can use fragrance oils as well. I have used both and enjoy each for different reasons, but the choice is yours.

Click here for a full tutorial on How to Make Soy Wax Candles at Home.

6. Making Soap & DIY Body Products

Just like candles, you can whip up your own homemade soap and body products at home in your kitchen (mostly). Of course if you are making soap with lye you will want to go outside due to its caustic nature. But otherwise everything can safely and easily be made in your kitchen.

Choose from cold-process or melt & pour soaps, DIY body butters, salves, lotion bars, salt and sugar scrubs, bath salts, perfumes, shaving cream, milk and herbal baths, bath bombs, lip scrubs, chapstick… the list goes on and on. In fact, anything you can buy at the store you can pretty well make at home, including most makeup. 


Widget not in any sidebars

The basic ingredients for some of these projects can cost a little bit of money up front, but will almost always save you money in the long run while using safer, healthier, more natural ingredients. You can even make some things with a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your home pantry, like white sugar and olive oil. Just mix these two ingredients together and add a few drops of essential oil to make a beautiful homemade sugar scrub!

7. Making Homemade Cleaning Products

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.Winter is a great time to restock your cleaning supplies by making your own safe and natural homemade products. Just like bath and body products, the list of cleaning products you can make at home is seemingly endless!

Make your own laundry soap at home using a few simple ingredients. Infuse white vinegar with the rinds from citrus fruits that are in-season in the winter and make your own multi-purpose surface cleaner. Or blend together some baking soda with some dried, grated lemon peel and lemon essential oil to make a homemade sink, tub and toilet cleaner

You can even make your own potpourris with dried herbs and flowers and chemical-free homemade room sprays with essential oils and alcohol. These double as Christmas gifts as well!

8. Building & Crafting

Whether you’re a skilled carpenter or just enjoy breaking out the hot glue gun and getting creative, winter is a the best season to devote some time to all of those DIY projects you’ve been wanting to tackle but never seem to get around to.

Having a basement workspace or a heated garage is handy when it comes to woodworking and other building projects in the winter, but a simple craft room or even a dining room table is enough to do most DIY-ing. Whether you’re making your own homemade Christmas ornaments or building a bookshelf, winter is the time to break out the craft supplies and get making!

9. Reading & Writing

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.I have always loved to write, which is why I chose to start this blog. The winter is always my favourite time to write. The peace and stillness of winter combined with the spirit of the holiday season lends itself to being a great time for reflection and contemplation, which is best expressed in writing. The quiet of a winter’s evening is the perfect environment to let your thoughts flow onto paper (or a keyboard).

Likewise, the same qualities about winter make it a great time to get some reading done as well. I’ve never understood those people who lay by the pool all summer reading their books. Even before I began homesteading, I still never had time to read in the summer! There was always so much else to do. But in January, after the rush of holiday madness has passed and the long-haul of winter really begins, I love to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good book.


Widget not in any sidebars

Whether you use the time to write your autobiography, start your own blog, get lost in a story or learn something new from a non-fiction book, winter (January specifically) is the best time of year for busy homesteaders to slow down enough to really sink into some reading and writing. To feel extra “productive,” pick up a book on homesteading, gardening, cooking or crafting and learn a new skill while you’re at it!

10. Playing an Instrument

This is one thing I don’t do but really wish I did. There’s something about playing an acoustic instrument for entertainment in the winter that harkens back to times of old.

Whether you play Christmas carols on the piano, strum folk tunes on your guitar or organize a sing-along with the whole family, making music with your own voice and hands, without the need for electricity, follows in the tradition of the pioneers. I always think of “Little House in the Big Woods” when Laura Ingalls Wilder describes her favourite time of day: When Pa comes home and strikes up his fiddle. 

Playing an instrument is truly old school entertainment, and definitely something you should consider learning if you ever plan on living off-grid! 

11. Seed Shopping & Garden Planning

Winter is also a great time to do a little dreaming. Usually by January or February, we begin longing for the warmer, brighter days of spring to return. One way we can help get out of the dark, winter mindset and brighten things up a bit is to browse through seed catalogues and start planning our spring and summer garden. 

February is usually the time when we begin starting some of our seeds indoors as well. Let the summer dreaming begin!


Widget not in any sidebars

12. Self-Improvement

Winter and the New Year in particular is THE time to reflect on what’s working and what needs improvement in our lives, and to set new goals for ourselves to improve some areas of our lives that need some attention.

Whether you want to quit a bad habit, start a good habit, improve your physical body, get your finances in order, organize your home or learn a new skill, the New Year is the best time of year to set new goals, make plans for the future and take the time to focus on yourself and your dreams.

I love to start each new year by creating a vision board full of things that I want to do, be or achieve. I hang it somewhere where I will look at it every day (like in the bathroom) to help keep my goals and dreams fresh in my mind each day. It’s amazing watching the things on my vision board materialize! 


Widget not in any sidebars

I truly believe in the power of visualization and the law of attraction, and this past year alone I achieved many of my New Year’s goals that I made and put on my vision board, including quitting smoking, publishing my writing and getting a new car. Visualization and goal setting combined with intentional action is a winning combination for achieving anything you set your mind to!

13. Family Time

Homesteading is typically associated with fair-weather activities like farming, gardening and preserving the harvest. But after the last jars have been pulled from the canner and the first frost sets in, what's a homesteader to do? Read on for a list of 13 winter homesteading activities to keep you busy all year long.I almost didn’t add this one as family time should be a priority all year long. But winter allows us the time to reconnect with family and friends and the seasonal celebrations and traditions to do so. 

It’s the time of year when we open our homes to extended family, friends and neighbours or when we travel to see relatives we don’t visit with every day. It’s a time to make merry and celebrate the love we share with others. It’s the time to let others know we love them and to make plans to get together and enjoy their company. And of course it’s a great season to spend quality time with our immediate family playing board games, building snowmen, going skiing, reading books and enjoying hot chocolate in front of the fire.

As homesteaders, spending time with our families is often at the top of our list of priorities. But throughout much of the year, that time is often spent working together. While that is excellent bonding time, it’s also nice to take a load off and simply enjoy each other’s company and revel in some good fun together. Winter and all of its seasonal celebrations offer the perfect time of year to do just that.


Widget not in any sidebars

There are so many activities that are perfect for winter, and I could probably make a list a mile long full of everything you could keep yourself busy with in the “off-season.” But these are my personal favourites and are the perfect activities for homesteaders to focus on.

I know that homesteading appealed to me in large part because I love keeping busy, creating, learning new skills and improving all the time. And while I love to relax in the winter, I love to feel like I’m still being productive while enjoying life at a slower pace than the rest of the year.

Winter offers us the gifts of peace, quiet and time that we don’t always get to enjoy during the other three seasons. So let us not wish it away, but embrace it and use it to our full advantage. After all, spring is just around the corner;)

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

5 Comments

  1. Maria

    This is a good read with great Winter ideas!!! Thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
  2. Teresa

    What a lovely post! I’m really enjoying your homesteading content. (As I sit inside and my husband goes outside to let the chickens out and walk the dog 😉

    Homesteading grounds is in nature, draws us to quiet. Love it.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Teresa,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I find this lifestyle very grounding, very humbling and very awe-inspiring all at the same time. And I totally hear you about sitting inside on a cold winter’s day while Hubby heads outside to feed animals/do chores. This is often the case around our house as well;)

      Reply
  3. Lynda Lu Gibb

    Love doing most of these, and it is really nice to have a neighbour to share some of the activities ..time to get together to crochet and inspire each other..

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes! I need your help with a scarf I’m making 🙂

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
Top 10 Best Crops for Your Victory Garden

Top 10 Best Crops for Your Victory Garden

Victory gardens gained popularity in both WW1 and WW2 when American and Canadian citizens were encouraged to grow as much of their own food as possible so that commercially grown food could be sent to troops and allies fighting overseas. Today, victory gardens are...

read more

Turmeric Scrambled Eggs And Garlic

Turmeric Scrambled Eggs And Garlic

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   I’ve always loved eggs, but ever since I started doing Keto a couple months ago, my egg consumption has gone through the roof. These days, it’s not unusual to...

read more

I sent my husband to the grocery store last week for a few staples that we were running low on, including pasta. But to his dismay, the pasta aisle had been wiped clean.⁣

Shortages of basic goods and staple items like pasta are becoming the norm very quickly and could last for months, which is why learning to make your own homemade pantry staples is quickly becoming more important than ever.⁣

We decided to make our own pasta (even though we don’t have a pasta maker and had to roll it and cut it by hand), and it was waaay easier than I had ever imagined!⁣

So if you too find yourself staring down an empty pasta aisle any time in the near future, here’s a super simple recipe to make your own at home, without a pasta maker or any special equipment! ⁣

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pasta-without-pasta-maker/ to get my full recipe and instructions.
.
.
.
#homemadepasta #homemade #pasta #fromscratch #homecooking #heritagecooking #pantrystaples #diy #nomnom #homesteadkitchen
...

Came into the living room to find this...⁣

I mean, who doesn’t like cozying up by the fire on a cool, grey day in quarantine?
.
.
.
#fireside #homelife #stayhome #cozy #grateful
...

🥬 Victory gardens first became popular during WW1 and WW2 when citizens were asked to grow gardens at home to feed themselves so that commercially grown food could be sent to troops and allies fighting overseas.⁣

Today the victory garden is seeing a resurgence as more and more people are realizing the importance of securing their own food source as we’ve already begun to face supply chain interruptions and empty grocery store shelves thanks to the current pandemic that shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.⁣

So, what’s the difference between a regular home garden and a victory garden? It’s all in the crops you plant and planning your garden for maximum food production.⁣

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/10-best-crops-victory-garden/ to learn about planning your victory garden and the top 10 crops everyone should be planting at home right now.
.
.
.
#victorygarden #victorygardens #victorygardening #survivalgarden #survivalgardening #organicgardening #growfoodnotlawns #homegrownfood #foodsecurity #selfreliance #homesteading
...

I’ve never been happier to have learned how to can and preserve food than I am right now.⁣

Knowing how to can my own food not only means that I and my family are more self-sufficient and can preserve the fruits and vegetables we grow right in our own home garden, but it means that we can free up resources at the grocery store for other people at this time.⁣

When I went to the store to do our final stock up last week, I debated buying pasta sauce. But I knew I still had 9 bags of frozen tomatoes from our garden last year that I could turn into sauce, so I left what was on the shelves for other people who need it more than we do.⁣

If you’ve never canned food at home before, there’s truly never been a better time to learn. You’re at home isolating anyway, why not pick up a useful new skill while you’re at it? ⁣

Even if you don’t grow your own food, knowing how to preserve it means you can buy the fresh stuff that no one else is buying, or preserve seasonal produce from farmers in your area if there are supply chain issues down the road.⁣

If you’re ready to learn this invaluable life skill, click the link in my bio and check out my beginner’s guide to water bath canning, or go to https://www.thehouseandhomestead.com/water-bath-canning-beginners/ to learn more.⁣
.
.
.
#lifeskills #canning #preserving #homecanning #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #homesteading #foodsecurity #homesteading #coronavirus #covid19
...

Irony: Community has never been so important as it is now, in a time when we are all being asked to isolate ourselves from each other.⁣

Yesterday our neighbours invited us over to help them butcher a pig. We kept a safe social distance of course, but my husband helped butcher and I helped pack, and we filled their freezer. As a thank you, they sent us home with a gift box full of meat.⁣

We also get duck eggs from them, and we trade them veggies and seedlings and, um, medicinal herbs;)⁣

During a time like this when our borders are all being closed and our grocery stores are empty and even rationing basic supplies, it’s becoming more important than ever to work together in our individual communities and neighbourhoods. ⁣

We need to support each other, even if we have to stay at least a metre away from each other. And perhaps most importantly right now, we need to work together to ensure our local food supply and to become more self-reliant, not only as individuals but as communities too.⁣

Irony: I wrote a post about this topic a few months ago when we all still lived in the land of milk and honey. But it’s more relevant now than ever. I highly encourage everyone to read it and think about how you can support self-reliance in your own communities at this time.⁣

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://www.thehouseandhomestead.com/ways-to-promote-self-reliance-in-your-community/ to read more.⁣

We are SO lucky to live in an area where food security and self-reliance are so important to so many members of our community. And we’re even luckier to have neighbours who live by these same values❤️⁣
.
.
.
#selfreliance #selfsufficiency #foodsecurity #sustainability #sustainable #eatlocal #buylocal #homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #community #wereallinthistogether
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs