Fall Preparations on the Homestead

coals and flames in the woodstove

End of August

The end of August means a few things for us. The county fairs typically happen in the middle and end of the month (Covid has changed this a little, but we did have a county fair the past few days). I was thinking about doing some fall festivals, but most are either on Saturdays when I am already committed to the farmers market or being cancelled among Covid concerns. 

The end of August also means the beginning of school. This is the first year in quite a few that I am staying home and not working in the school system. I’m quite excited by this. I do love teaching (most days) but not the bureaucracy that now fills the position. The kiddos are back in school though. The youngest started today, the high school seniors started last week. 

Lastly, the end of August signals that fall is here and it’s time to really push to have the winter prep finished up, and the fall work is just as busy as summer.

School starting

This year it is school starting and my husband is at a new job. Through the summer we were able to order the new school clothes. All our local stores that carry clothes have closed, leaving us options of TJ Maxx and Walmart if we drive to the next state, or 45 minutes to similar stores in other directions. However, all of these stores are not allowing use of the dressing rooms, so it saves us money to just order online.

half-circle hand pies cooling on the pan

 

It’s time to start baking again, with handheld snacks that can be packed in bags. Muffins, quick breads and cookies. I have made some sporadically through the summer, but now I need to get back into it regularly. I have some apples to use up, so I may do an apple pie muffin or apple hand pies. 

Also, I hope to make batches of both choc chip cookies and Not-peanut butter (I use Wow butter as a PB alternative), freezing half of each batch and baking half. It’s time to get my stock of frozen cookie dough built up again.

 

 

 

Gardening and Canning

The garden isn’t close to being put to bed, but there is a hard push right now to harvest, can or freeze the produce. I had hoped to blanch and freeze beans today, but it’s raining today so not a good harvesting day. After freezing a bunch, I hope to make a batch or two of dilly beans. My family sometimes loves to eat the dilly beans and sometimes not, so we’ll keep some and I can sell some. (Remember to check your state and county’s law’s before selling canned goods. You are probably covered by cottage laws, but you need to know your local specifics.)

photo of canned pickled beets and canned dilly carrots
Jars of yummy pickled beets and dilly carrots

We still haven’t had any red tomatoes, but peppers are doing well. I had picked a batch of jalapenos so today I pickled three jars.

Either today or tomorrow I’ll make a “cowboy candy” type of pickle with the rest that I have picked. This will be delicious with cheese and crackers this winter. Corn is ready too, and I’m so excited for fresh corn on the cob. Also I’ll be canning corn salsa and freezing corn.

My mother just let me know that she has plenty of crab apples available so if it stops raining (we are on the edges of hurricane weather) I could go collect a tote bag of those and make some jelly. Perhaps even pickled crab apples. 

Soon, the harvests will be finishing in the garden. We’ll need to pull the dead plants and pull the irrigation and mulching. 

Prepping and Freezing

So far we have some stored up for us, but there is no point to having huge amounts stored when the family only eats a medium amount. So I have been selling our excess at the farmers market. That money earned has been put towards groceries. Ground beef and chicken breasts were both on sale last week, so I bought and froze some extra.

Also in the freezer are veggies that I have chopped and blanched to have ready for roasted vegetables this winter. Akin to home fries, and actually could be used this way, but typically I toss them with oil and broil in the oven. So yummy! I also have shredded carrots in the freezer for baking this winter, carrot bread for example is well liked. I do have some of the blackberries that I picked frozen, but really these will be turned into jam. This is the first year in a long time that I don’t have other frozen berries in the freezer for baking. 

I’ll keep freezing from the garden, catching up on sale meat, and even have some room for venison should my hunters get a deer or two. As there is time, I’ll build up a store of cookie dough and a couple casseroles or soups ready to just grab and heat this winter.

Firewood

coals and flames in the woodstoveI never really enjoy doing firewood, but it is necessary. We need to finish cutting and splitting the logs. Then, hauling it to the backyard by the bulkhead. Then, throwing it down into the basement. Then, throwing it to the other end of the basement. Finally, there is stacking it. First though, I need to clean out the bottom of the bulkhead. It won’t be hard, it’s a matter of returning our bottles and cans and moving a few things. That corner just hasn’t been a high priority, it’s time now. I should check the chimney too. We seldom have any creosote built up, but it’s easier to clean and take care of now, than in January and chimney fires are a real risk. I do love having wood heat. 

 

Crafting

The rainy days and dark evenings have me crocheting more. I’ve had a few custom orders and those are always fun. It’s easier to devote time to crafting when I don’t have to choose between crafting and gardening. This will keep increasing into winter as well.

A collage of 9 reusable, market totes

Computer Work

Just like crafting, the computer work has taken a back burner this summer. This blog is just one of the suffering platforms. I have found some networking groups and that is helping me with my social media presence which hopefully helps lead to sales. 

I have joined and am putting in some time to some freelance sites like Upwork and Freelancer. While I have been hit with several spam offers so far, I’m hoping for a few good paying gigs to carry through the winter. 

Likewise, we have an ebook about beginning to homestead that we are working on. Once we have that done, we’ll be able to use a lot of the same work for an ecourse as well. The ebook and ecourse require a lot of work up front, but should bring us passive income for years requiring only a little work to keep them updated.

Passive income is great. I just started using this app, Tapestri. This is completely passive income as well as it uses your phone and pays you for your data (which is already being gathered and sold). Sign up with my link here for the app, or become an affiliate and earn extra money for each person that you refer.

Random Other Things

It can’t all be work all the time. This weekend my husband and I are going to a concert in Boston. We’ll be seeing Dead and Company, my husband loves the Grateful Dead. 

In mid-September I have a marathon a couple towns over. My eldest is doing at least the half marathon with me. 

In the spring we fostered a mama dog and her puppies. My youngest fell in love with the dog so she is now ours. We’ll be having one more litter out of her. She and the sire have been well researched, and the pups should be excellent dogs for protection work. We are hoping that this litter will be the start of our breeding program, our retirement plan. Whelping puppies is a lot of work, to do it well. But, it isn’t the backbreaking work that my husband has been doing. 

You have to find fun as well as work hard to be successful as a homesteader whether you are a hobbyist like us, or completely off grid.

 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Winter Planning

Last year’s Autumn Accountability

Turning your Hobby Into Cash

and as we get ready for the colder days, A Crafting Challenge

 

8 Comments

  1. I agree with you on that ebook, it is a lot of work but it is surely steady income for years. I hope you get to finish it. Never heard of Tapestri before, would really love to know how it works

    1. Thank you! I hope to complete the book soon!

      Tapestri is a brand new app. It gathers the same location data that is already being collected by Google, Instagram, etc and sells it (just like they do) but gives you some of the earnings. As an affiliate, you also earn $1 for everyone you recommend who signs up.
      I figure if my data is already being sold, I want some of the earnings!

  2. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be a teacher, let alone a teacher in the US. You have active shooter drills and armed parents throwing tantrums about freedom to infect people with covid19. All teachers need to be paid triple what they get for having to deal with that. Totally understandable about not wanting to work in the school system at the moment

    1. Those are big, glaring issues for sure. Around the world (at least with those I’ve spoken with) there is so much unknown, plus students who feel entitled to good grades for very little effort. With large class sizes and so much “extra enrichment” it can be a struggle to individualize the learning for all to bring each student to their best. That’s what I always wanted, to raise each child at their level, and it’s just not possible.

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