Setting December’s Goals on the Croft

POTTERING AND PUTTERING ON THE CROFT

December 2020

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)


Well it’s almost mid-December and I am just now sitting down to write this. This is a symptom of an overall feeling of ennui. A pretentious word but also very accurate for where I am at as we transition from fall to winter. I’m equal parts dissatisfied, bored, listless, confused and unmotivated. Given that we are in month 4,567 of a global pandemic, I’m going to give myself a pass but I have to admit that this is a pretty typical response from me to winter. I don’t like it. It’s the pits. I’ve done my best to embrace a Hyggeligt mindset but the heart does what the heart does. The solstice is only 8 days away and light will start to creep back in.

December in the upper Midwest is generally cold and often snowy. The day to day tasks change. I don’t yet have animals so that work is not yet familiar to me. But other outdoor tasks that remain mostly revolve around wood. Winter is a good time to prune and take down trees. Pruning because many of the diseases which might attack a tree through a pruning scar as dormant. Taking down because many species of wildlife will not be using the trees for sheltering while they raise young (such as bird or bats). The frozen ground is also more stable for and less likely to be damaged by any heavier equipment. Splitting firewood is also a major task during this time of year.

Despite my lack of motivation, I do have a to do list in mind for this month and have been casually poking at the items on the list already. And this is how December will get done.

A Dog and His Stick

Sooooooo, What’s this post about?

I’m a Planner. I love having to do lists with tasks that can be crossed off and both short and long term goals. 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 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 December 2020.

My To Do List

  1. Organize the garage…and the shed…and the basement.
  2. Seed and Tree orders!
  3. Take a breather before diving into work.
  4. Start learning to crochet.
  5. Play with recipes and meal plans.
  6. Set up seed starting area and start growing some greens.
1. Organize The Garage, etc…

I strung the garage, shed and basement together because these are my three major storage areas. For the last year, they’ve mostly existed in chaos. I hadn’t yet given much thought to what should be stored where. All year I’ve had to go through the motions of needing a thing and then just having to guess where it might be. Some tools were in the shed, some were in the garage, with no logic as to which went where.

Each space represents differing levels of protection from rodents, dust etc… and different temperatures. One change I’ve already made is moving my canning supplies and “cold storage” items (like canned veggies etc…) into the garage. It’s attached so doesn’t generally get below freezing and the connecting door is into the kitchen so this move makes good sense.

2. Seed and Tree Orders

I want to get my orders in extra early for 2021! The influx of people taking an interest in gardening in 2020 was all to the good but it caused a seed shortage which was not. It may not be the same this year but just in case…

For my trees/fruit, I am planning on getting 4 apple, 3 cherry trees, 1 Lingonberry bush and 25 everbearing strawberry plants. I’m also going to order a songbird packet of trees from our state’s forest nursery which includes a number of native shrubs (ex. serviceberry), small trees (ex. wild plum) and a couple of larger trees (bur oak and white pine).

I haven’t settled on my veggie seeds yet so I have that fun ahead of me:)!

3. Taking a breather before diving back into work

January through about mid-April is the busiest time of my work year. Even though December can also be busy, I try to take at least 1 week off to metaphorically gird the loins for what is to come. This way I can hopefully tackle the onslaught with some semblance of good humor and with my home life in order. Ish.

4. Crochet!

My birthday present to myself (I have a birthday in December) was a starter kit of crochet needles and some yarn. I’d like to take time each winter to try a new craft or skill and crocheting is this year. Hoping it is easier/more my thing than knitting which didn’t stick, sadly. My first project is to make some pot holders because my current ones are grody.

5. Play with Recipes and Meal Plans

This will likely be a whole winter endeavor. I’m diabetic and have high cholesterol and I’m not very good at eating like I am either of those things. I love food and I didn’t grow up being instilled with the healthiest of eating habits. In 2021, I really want to at least be able to say goodbye to the cholesterol medication I am on, so I am going to have to find some recipes that I really love and crave but which are easier on the cholesterol and triglycerides. I also need to start expending the extra energy again to be a more intuitive eater.

6. Set up seed starting operating and start growing some greens.
One of my current fosters, Inkblot

I’d like to grow the greens for my foster rabbits this winter, so want to get moving on my seed starting set up!


I’ve already started on a few of these but it still seems like a lot to get accomplished this month. Hopefully, I will use my time off fruitfully and not still be in my current, non-productive funk.

So that’s my monthly homestead goals! What are you hoping to get done this month?


Book Recommendation

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.

I’m not sure if this should be a December or January recommendation, but regardless every year for the last several I have picked up a book by Barbara Pym at the end of December, which I usually read into the first part of January. Barbara Pym was a British writer in the 1950s and had success at that time. I found her through a list of authors that weren’t read as much now but should be. I always characterize her books as melancholy yet hopeful, which in my mind makes them perfect for this time of year. They are light but not shallow and often focus on the mundane, which may sound boring but Pym’s wit makes them anything but. I recommend the first of book of hers that I read, which is still my favorite; Excellent Women. And if you have a goodreads account here’s a link to my review of the book and the link on the cover will take you to Bookshop.org so you can purchase!


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