The Dutiful Homesteader: February

First chore: Plan your spring and summer gardens

Last month you figured out the rotation plan and how your garden will work. This month you’ll be picking out the plants that will go into the spaces you’ve laid out. (Your plan says ‘tomatoes’, but what kind?) For example, I have the seeds of a few favorites from last season like Cherokee Purple, Copia and Amish Paste. But I’d really like to try a new variety called Black Krim and the garden won’t hold everything. Now I know I have to switch one out and get these started on time. Running to Home Depot for last minute, overgrown and under-nourished potted plants is a big fail for me… I never get exactly what I want and who knows if the plants are really organic as promised..?

Once the plan is worked out, buy or start the seeds according to your area and the package directions.

Next chore: Plan a vacation

Do not forsake a good long rest. You work very hard and need this time away. Dr Christiane Northrup explains how women especially need to learn this lesson. While men know how to “shut down” every evening to reset themselves for the next day, a woman will often keep on going all the way ’til bedtime, and then wonder why she’s moody or drained. She needs to learn how to heal herself from day to day in order to be healthy and happy. So let’s take that lesson for a daily reset and apply it to a yearly reset by going on vacation! Us homesteaders work (physically) harder than the average bloke, and deserve it for sure.

Take this month to plan a trip with your family during a time when the weather will be just right. Then get on the phone and call up a family member or friend, and make plans to show them the ropes. And give them plenty of time to get it right. If the month you choose to travel is in July, invite them over in May once or twice to take notes. Then step up the visits in June, and let them take charge so you can see if they have things under control. This will give both of you the confidence you need before you go. Bonus: Have them stay in your home as a guest while you’re gone. The homestead will be safe 24 hours a day and never skip a beat. If this isn’t an option then have a second person do things like pick up the newspaper and mail, feed the fish and take care of the dog, and water the house plants. It’ll just be easier that way.

Tip: Want to really get some rest? Take a cruise! We love to go on them for two reasons, 1) you can pay it off a little at a time (start the previous year!) so it doesn’t seem like it’s taking a big bite out of your wallet, and 2) it is the most relaxing vacation you’ll ever have in your life. Nothing to think about with an all-inclusive package like this, and a staff to wait on your every need. FAB!

Tip: Move this chore to later in the year if you prefer a winter vacation. You know, if skiing in February sounds like more fun to ya. It’s all good!

Next chore: Taxes schmaxes – get a jump-start on ’em

The other chores are easier this month because this one is a doozy! That’s why you should start them now… get a good jump-start on your taxes and have no excuses when it comes time to file. Start the paperwork (or tax software) by filling in your personal information, find all your receipts, figure out which tax forms you’ll need, download bank statements, etc. Go back to it little by little and guess what? You’ll have ’em licked in no time!

Tip: What do I consider the invention of the century? The Neat Receipts Scanner! Brilliant. Saves us so much time it ain’t funny.

Next chore: Stick to a house cleaning schedule

The entire cleaning schedule that I use breaks it down to a daily, weekly, monthly, biannual and annual schedules, so that housework doesn’t completely get away from me. This happens to be the once-a-month portion. Remember, you’re just trying to stay ahead, not be perfect.

Monthly: Clean out the microwave, oven and fridge. Wipe down the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Wipe down towel racks, toilet paper holders, hooks and other fixtures. Dust the laundry area/room. Vacuum upholstered furniture. Dust behind TV. Wipe down doorknobs, light switches, windowsills and baseboards.

Final chore: What to plant this month

Seeding in between storms isn’t easy. A simple covering helps them get established, stay warmer and continue to grow.

This planting schedule assumes you are in zone 8 or 9 and practice succession planting… so you may also see the same items listed on other months.

Seed or plant the following: Fava Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Collards, Kale, Leeks, Head and Leaf Lettuce, Mustard, Peas, White Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach and Turnips.

Start in pots: Eggplant, Peppers and Tomatoes.

Resources

Neat Receipts
Royal Caribbean Cruises (we’ve been on many in the past and this is our favorite cruise line)
The Farmer Fred Rant
The Weekend Homesteader Series (amazon.com books)
Real Simple
Martha Stewart Living