Fully Utilize Each Season: A Review of The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner

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Sometimes I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing here. Seriously. Each day presents to me a new challenge or situation I've never encountered, which ignites within me a need to learn more. One of these days I hope to be be rattling off solutions and springing to action with the perfect remedy as issues arise, which is why the Homestead Skills Book Club has become so important to me.

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner was the first book we read and discussed as a group. Quite frankly I'm afraid I will never find another book for us that is more useful or applicable to the many types of homesteads we all live on than this one. It introduced me to a whole series of tasks I should be doing, but had never heard of, and taught me how to use each season fully. I'm totally new to the idea of seasons in the first place, so I honestly had no idea when the best time was to do many of the tasks I had on my list. I got it totally wrong this first year. Live and learn.

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Is there a right time to do things? Common sense will tell you, absolutely. You wouldn't plant seedlings after the first frost, or keep your animals' water heaters on while temps are soaring. But what about those smaller (but still essential) tasks like sprinkling wood ash around the orchard, or the daunting (but also essential) to do's like harvesting timber from your woodlot or clearing invasive species? I had no idea there were ideal conditions for working in the woods and times of the year to stay out to avoid damaging the ecosystem. I could go on for days about the stuff I didn't know but was introduced to in this book. I'll spare you that pain though! 

Who Should Read It

Anyone that grows food or raises animals. Whether you plow and plant large fields and have pastures full of livestock, or are limited to what fits in your raised beds next to your urban chicken coop, there is value in every season's to do list for you. Starting and maintaining a backyard homestead requires hours of extra planning and labor to accomplish your goals. Working with the seasons so you can check things off at the flow and pace nature intended is exactly what this book shows you how to do.

What's In It

The seasons are organized by soil temperature rather than the calendar, so you will know what to do when based on where you live and what's happening that year. Which I found to be tremendously helpful. We won't all start seedlings in February, or be harvesting apples in September, because our climates are different. Weather patterns are also not the same year to year, so you may need to adjust when you do things based on whats happening here and now rather than historically. Last winter in Southern Ohio, there was zero snow until March, and the temperatures were rather mild. This year we had a multiple day stretch of below freezing temperatures, and have had snow fall at least every other week since late December. Go figure.

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The seasons are broken out into early, mid, and late, so there are 12 sections that highlight the ideal time for each seasonal priority. The seasonal priorities include the garden, field, pasture, orchard, beeyard, barn, coop, equipment shed, woodlot, and wildlife habitat. The priorities are in a checklist at the beginning of the section, then the chores are explained in further detail and broken down. Each season has a topic it highlights. Right now it is currently late winter in Southern Ohio, the topic of the season is "meeting plants needs". Excellent timing for thinking about soil health and fertility, and planning my garden's rotation. The topic of the season doesn't go into everything you may need to know about it, but being introduced to the idea allows you to find more books or blog posts related to it for further reading.

Why I Love It

I didn't buy this book. My husband Jared gave it to me as gift after I spent all of summer and fall last year running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do all of the things. This book is a clear blueprint of what should be done when so I have been able to organize and schedule everything. Which makes it all feel so much more....manageable. You can read all about how I put together my Homestead Management Binder here, which is the perfect accompaniment to this book. I also used it to fill out the first 4 months of the binder for the year, which you can read about here.

Four seasons at the roost. Spring Daffodils, Summer Morning Glories, Fall Leaves, and Snow. All of it is perfect.

Four seasons at the roost. Spring Daffodils, Summer Morning Glories, Fall Leaves, and Snow. All of it is perfect.

Having a clear plan has allowed me to take a deep breath, and stop rushing along to the next season. Sure, winter is cold, and days filled with ice storms, and school cancellations are inconvenient. But winter is the perfect time to order seeds, plan your spring garden, and think about your spring animal timeline. Without the cold stormy days keeping me inside, I'd never get around to dedicating the proper amount of time them.  

I even love ice storms. For, like, a day.

I even love ice storms. For, like, a day.

It's no secret I love snow, but now I love winter as a full season to properly rest and prepare for the deluge of work spring and summer are. This book has seriously been one of the best gifts I've ever received. If you're currently cursing that rodent that saw it's shadow, I encourage you to take the time to curl up with this gem, and join me on the dark side of loving (almost) every second of winter. 

Cheers!

Bev

Bummed you missed out on reading this book along with us? Don't be! Snag a copy here, then join us and jump right into the discussions. I monitor the group daily and will read everything you post and chime in. Pinkie promise.

Follow me on IG to see the daily happenings 'round here. As we shift into spring it's getting a lot more....interesting (goaty) to say the least.

Facebook isn't just for terrible comment threads and fear mongering news stories. Ignore all that hubbub and follow me there! That's where the book club is hosted, so it can't be all bad, right?

This post contains ads & affiliate links (this links to our full disclosure about browser cookies, and way more than you probably wanted to know about ads and affiliate marketing). We make a small commission when you purchase from some of the links shared in this post. Making a purchase from a link will not cause you to pay more or affect your purchase in any way. It will however, support our wildest farmin' dreams, which is mighty awesome of you.