Pottering: As in pottering around | definition – to spend time in a relaxed way doing small jobs and other things that are not very important He spent his holidays pottering around the house/garden. (From Merriam Webster)
Puttering: As in puttering about | definition – to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner: to putter in the garden. (From Dictionary.com)
Halloween month! There is something totally magical about October. In Iowa, it’s the last month before the the winter closes in. People, and by people I mean me, cling to the pleasant time outdoors. You get a lot of pleasant temperatures and beautiful skies. I first visited Iowa in October and I ended up moving here and have now lived here off and on for 18 years. Whoa. Anyway, before I get carried away in nostalgia and October fan girling, it’s time to set out some monthly homestead goals!
I’m a Planner. I love having to do lists with tasks that can be crossed off and goals, both short term and long term. It’s a bit of a sickness. And it’s led me to believe that a recurring post with my main monthly goals for the homestead is a great idea! It might not be, since many of the goals seem very specific and particular to Keeper’s but I’m hoping they spark some ideas for others.
Point is, I love to potter around and putter about though in a slightly more effectual manner than their definitions suggest! Here are my homestead goals for the month of October 2020.
Yes, I started with the most exciting task I have before me. This task consists of digging a 95 foot long trench (roughly 29 meters), at least 14 inches deep and 6 inches wide. It’s gonna be a blast. A sump pump, if you are lucky enough to have never needed one, is a permanently installed machine in the basement which pumps out any groundwater that might be seeping in and discharges it outside away from the house. The way my system is currently set up makes it vulnerable to freezing. Also, the discharge pipe just sits on top of the ground and it discharges on a slope in the middle of my yard turning it into either a mud or ice slick depending on the season.
I got an estimate from a company to do this and it was $1600+. SOOOOOO, I am going to try and do it myself. One thing holding me back is that I’d like to figure out how to collect the water for using around the homestead! If you have any ideas…..
I know election day is November 3rd. Iowa’s early voting in person starts today, October 5th. So I’ll be headed to the courthouse to make sure my vote counts! Others in the U.S., check out Vote Save America to make sure you are registered and know what all of your state’s deadlines are!
I just cleaned out my fridge this weekend and it was sobering. There is still way too much food being thrown away or composted. I live alone and also have eyes bigger than my stomach so I tend to overstock on perishables and I misjudge in my meal planning. Add to that, I am also a somewhat moody eater so even with a meal plan, I don’t always follow through.
I need to work on my meal planning, being more thoughtful about what I will and won’t eat and how I can limit the perishables. I also need to re-organize my fridge, clean it more often and not jam it with too much food. It ends with food getting shoved in the back and lost. During covid, I have been shopping for two weeks of food at a time which makes the crowding worse. I think I need to bite the bullet and shop more often.
Garlic is generally planted in late October in Iowa/zone 5. You want it to be cold enough the garlic doesn’t sprout before winter but the ground shouldn’t be frozen. Late October is usually the sweet spot! I’ve got Music, Chesnok red and German hardy going in!
The ideal time for prairie seed to be broadcast is before the ground has really frozen for winter and right before the first snow. Ideally the snow will come down covering the seed and then will melt, helping the seed, which will be broadcast, not sowed, to come into closer contact with the soil and give it a drink as well as protecting it from bird predation! Hopefully the real snows would then roll in a couple of weeks later.
This perfect day is usually closer to mid-November but I’ll start keeping an eye out in late October. If we don’t get those ideal conditions, I’ll broadcast the seed before it gets too frigid, give it a little water and then cover with straw. Then pray for snow which I haven’t done in 20+ years!
I want to take advantage of the cool weather to hang out more by the firepit. I am also experimenting with burning some weeds and their seeds (like burdock) to see if that’s an effective way of killing the seed.
I don’t rake because it’s silly. Mulching the leaves in place helps them break down and nourish the soil. I’ll also gather some of the chopped leaves (with mower) to use as actual mulch in the garden; to protect the garlic and newly transplanted blueberries.
A riding lawn mower is new to me. I’d like to learn how to do a lot of the maintenance on it myself, starting with how to get it ready for winter. I’m guessing it’s job will be done for the year by the end of October.
That’s it! If I can accomplish these 8 things, I’ll feel like a superhero and if I don’t? A total and utter failure! Just kidding, I’ll regroup and get creative.
There’s also a missing task. I really, really want to put my fences up. However, I’m just not comfortable with the task and not ready to spend the money on materials. It feels like such a permanent decision in my brain that I can’t pull the trigger. It will be a 2021 priority.
So that’s my monthly homestead goals! What are you hoping to get done this month?
I love books and reading, so I can’t resist including a book recommendation with each post. The book will, in some way, correspond to the post.
Essays of E.B. White is a charming collection of essays that cover many subjects but my favorites are about the workings of his Maine farm. E.B. White is best known as a children’s author of the beloved Charlotte’s Web and the Stuart Little series but during his life he worked for the New Yorker and was an accomplished essayist. I love his voice a lot. He’s got a wonderful wry wit and the essays are very readable. Many are about life and nature found on his Maine farm which was used as a way to escape New York. He is a man after my own heart. if you are feeling down or discouraged, these essays will be a balm.
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