By Renata Finch
Having a homestead comes with enormous blessings, but there are certainly some unique challenges involved as well. Owning numerous animals that all have different needs ensures that you are never bored. Owning a garden means there is always something to be done. Canning produce means that there are seasons when you are scrambling to fit everything in. Homeschooling, homemaking, and homesteading ensure that your days are busy and your nights are often interrupted. So how do we keep it all in order and how do we fit it all in?
Planning Ahead Saves LOTS of Time
In my attempt to juggle the numerous roles I hold, I have found one of my favourite tools is my homestead yearly plan. While this doesn’t help with the smaller interruptions such as escapee animals or my garden’s needing extra care, it is useful to have an overview of when I can expect to be busier and when I know interruptions are more likely to occur in my year. This allows me to plan the more flexible activities around these times.
Staying Organized is Key
I begin my planning by sitting down with a blank yearly planner and adding in the times of year I know will be busier seasons for me. While this will look different for you, mine includes canning, lambing season, gardening (both summer and winter), butchering, sowing and harvesting our grain crop, haying, and when we will need to compliment the animals’ diets due to poorer quality of their pastures. Sometimes these seasons carry over a month or two; other times they are just a couple of days.
Next, I add the smaller less-flexible items: when I plan to raise chicks to ensure eggs throughout the winter, birthdays, church, and family obligations, etc. I can then use this plan to organize the best timing for the more flexible activities: when I would like my cow to calve, when we can focus on fencing and other labor-intensive activities around our homestead, when I can complete sewing plans for the coming season’s clothing needs, when I can focus on deep cleaning the house, etc. I also look at this plan and make a note of when the children will be less busy. This is when I add additional subjects and/or unit studies in our homeschool.
With this plan in place I find I can enjoy the cycle of busier and slower times on the homestead and around the home. It means I can plan family holidays without having to find someone to tend to lambing ewes. It means I can enjoy the work of the season content in the knowledge that while I may be running throughout my days this month, next month I can expect to have some time to focus on those other projects I have lurking in my mind!
Making a plan is essential to enable you to have the ability to achieve your homesteading goals. Whether you are a homesteader, homeschooling parent or homemaker, planning is integral to ensuring you have a calmer, more peaceful year.
Renata is a happy wife and homeschooling mama to four precious children (including identical twins). She spends her days surrounded by beauty on their small farm. She journals her homesteading, homeschooling and homemaking adventures at Sunnyside Farm Fun.