|© Maggie Oster
Here's a peek at some of the ways Lisa Kivirist, a Hobby Farms
and Hobby Farm Home
contributor, and her family enjoy the transition from summer to fall and winter on their farm in southeastern Wisconsin. Extra: Farm Video Recommendations!
Fall ushers in abundance with a pile of pumpkins and a rush of outdoor farm chores as we spread a blanket of compost on the garden beds, store the picnic table in the shed and clean the chicken coop one last time before spring.
Fall and winter provide ample opportunity to personally bloom while the land grows dormant. Explore these To Do’s for Fall and Winter:
- Give thanks for the bounty of your garden.
- Begin to catch up on house projects and other loose ends.
- Consider ways to diversify farm income outside of crops or livestock.
- If animal responsibilities permit or can be bartered with a neighbor, consider attending a farming conference or doing some traveling.
- Adopt a fruit tree. Chances are, there’s a fruit tree near you that sits ripe for picking--all you need to do is ask.
- Layer up. "Nothing keeps my whole body warmer than a thin pair of cotton socks layered with the bulk wool kinds," says Kivirist.
- Warm up with luminaries. Add a dash of warmth outside as the snow piles up with homemade luminaries. We save white paper bags from our local bakery all year and then fill them with snow, sticking a pillar candle inside that we light at dusk. Don’t forget to blow them out before crawling under the covers for the night.
- Plant garlic. In the flurry of harvest, remember spring with fall garlic plantings. Break apart the best heads from the garlic harvest and plant them around Columbus Day (a little later in the Deep South) so the bulbs can grow a little root before winter and can survive the frost. Garlic planted in spring doesn’t do nearly as well as fall plantings.
Winter Farm Video Recommendations
Use a home movie night to foster inspiration for farm living:
- The Real Dirt on Farmer John
A fascinating portrayal of John Peterson, a farmer who refused to yield to economic pressures and revitalized his conventional Midwest family farm into one of the largest organic CSA (community supported agriculture) in the country.
- Cold Mountain
A Civil War-era drama telling the tale of a soldier’s treacherous journey home while his lady love back home discovers redeeming joy and fulfillment rejuvenating her father’s farm, cultivating crops and community along the way.
- Future of Food
An eye-opening documentary that sheds light on the, at times, shadowy relationship between agriculture, big business and government.
- Little House on the Prairie TV Series
Could my Laura Ingalls fascination as a kid have fueled my jump from suburbia upbringing to tending hens on a farmstead? Fortunately, the series is now available on DVD for further research.