Beating Boredom on the Homestead

Reader Contribution by Fala Burnette and Wolf Branch Homestead
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Upon writing this article, our world is facing the COVID-19 virus that has so many people in quarantine, or their government has encouraged people to stay at home and children to no longer be in school. Because of this, people may find themselves looking for ways to stay entertained during this time of distancing and avoiding the crowd.

For the homesteader or self-sufficient individual, you may be saying- “I have enough things to do already!” in this time. Right now, spring has arrived and crops are on the mind. But for yourself and others, I hope this will serve as a list of ideas for things you can do with your family and ways to keep your mind busy so that you can beat boredom in the future!

Pick up a book. Perhaps you have a few dusty books on the shelf that deserve a good read. Now is the time to pick one up, and find yourself a title that you’d like to read for the first time, or perhaps read once more. Brew yourself a cup of coffee, whether its the electric pot or a percolator on the wood stove, and sit down with a good book! 

Training pets/livestock. No matter the circumstances, animals still require our care and attention. But if you have down time, this is a great opportunity to work on training and teaching your animal friends some useful things. Give clicker training a try, and help an impatient dog learn to sit and wait for food. Exercise your horse that hasn’t been ridden in awhile, and go back over basic ground work.

Try a new hobby. Now is the time to give a new hobby a shot. If you’ve been wanting to learn to play an instrument, finish a large puzzle, identify the constellations, or even pick up woodworking- this is your moment! Remember, we live in a time where internet capability allows us to order the necessary tools and items online, and even watch tutorials with video streaming if you have the ability to.

Work on crafts. If the kids are at home with you, this is a great opportunity to get together and work on some crafts! Make a birdhouse or feeder from material around the house, and teach them about the type of birds that visit and show them how hard our feathered friends work to build their own nest. Get a head start on some potential Christmas gifts, and spend some time in the workshop on these projects.

Prepare the garden. Spring is the time to organize your seeds and pick what you’d like to plant. The garden and fields need to be plowed, and it will soon be time to sow. If you do not currently have a garden, consider building yourself at least a raised bed/elevated box with some scrap wood laying around and learn about heirloom seeds. Get hands-on and tend to your seedlings until one day before you know it the harvest has come, and fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, or an ear of roasting corn is on the table!

Watch favorite movies. Whether you have a few old VHS tapes, a DVD collection, or a streaming service, consider watching a few movies! Re-watch a childhood favorite, or stream and rent a new release you wanted to see. Gather together and even watch old home movies that may include loved ones no longer with you, and reminisce on those moments.

Go for a nature walk. Enjoy some fresh air if you can by taking a walk outdoors. Scout for animal tracks and identify deer trails that may help you next hunting season, or keep an eye out around the poultry pens for potential predator tracks. If you’ve got a pond, take yourself a cane pole and go fishing. This is another great opportunity to teach your children about wildlife, and help them lean to identify different animals and how they live.

Make a checklist. What are some things that you would like to accomplish this week? Make yourself a checklist of those things, and find satisfaction in putting a check mark beside each thing you complete. This is a great way to organize your thoughts and necessary chores.

Spring cleaning. Spring brings to mind for some the action of cleaning up the home or the shop. Now is the time to set aside a few boxes to donate or have a Summer yard sale. De-cluttering the home has often been synced with de-cluttering of the mind, and some folks find peace in getting rid of things no longer needed or rearranging the furniture.

Try a new recipe. Check out the pantry and see what ingredients you have on hand, or flip through a recipe box handed down through the generations. Pick yourself a healthy meal or even a new dessert to try out. Even try a new spin on a favorite drink, and make something such as strawberry lemonade.

Call a friend/family member and catch up. Take a moment to call someone today and just catch up, check on them, and encourage them. If you have a friend needing a kind word, or a family member in another state you haven’t seen in awhile, give them a ring and just say hello.

Keep your mind healthy and active by trying new things, or preparing for the Spring and Summer seasons, and enjoy each day! While these are just a few ideas to combat boredom, whether on the country homestead or a city apartment, I hope that they will serve as a foundation for other ideas and activities that will help you make the most of down time.

Photo by Fala Burnette, Wolf Branch Homestead

Fala Burnette is a homesteader with her husband at Wolf Branch Homestead in Alabama. They are currently building their own log cabin and milling their own lumber, along with raising heirloom crops in the Spring and tanning furs during the Winter. Read all of Fala’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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