Living Off Grid – Our Homestead Spring To Do List

Reader Contribution by Ed Essex
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We might have called this blog “after the snow leaves”
instead of spring. At elevation 4200′ spring is a pretty short season. We don’t
see the end of snow until the end of April and then it seems spring is only
visible during the day for another month because it still freezes at night.
It’s not just the snow. We have to wait for the ground to thaw as well. In
short we really don’t get to go to work outside until sometime in May and by
that time the “to do” list is pretty long.

As you can see by previous blogs we are already growing
vegetables before spring even gets here.

We need to get the boat and gear ready for trout fishing
because they only seem to bite in late May and early June and then again in the
fall. We rely on those fish for part of our pressure canned food supplies we
stock our pantry with the year round. Besides fishing is fun and after a long
winter being cooped up it is time for something different.

The garden has to get re-leveled and roto tilled. That takes
two different days before it is ready to plant. We got ours done May 15 and 16
this year. After that it is time to plant. Our garden is pretty good sized so
planting is an ongoing process throughout May and June.

There always seems to be fence to repair. The deep snows
tend to do the most damage to our fences every year.

We clean our chimneys of creosote and the masonry heater as
well. Then we shut it down until October. We have to clean the stone face with
vinegar and water.

When the ground freezes deep enough some of our gutter tight
line drains freeze as well. We have to take the downspouts off and hook up
temporary drains for when the snow melts off the roof all winter long. So once
the ground is thawed we have to remove the temporary drains and put the
downspouts back on so we can catch rainwater for our cisterns.

It’s a good time to run vinegar through the tank less hot
water lines to get any mineral deposit buildup out of those lines.


We can’t forget one of our bigger tasks is wood cutting. I
cut the trees down in the fall to get them to start curing and in May we start
cut, split, and stack the wood. All six cords. We may not burn that much but I
like to have extra just in case. You really want to get this work done before
it gets too hot.

The horses, cats, and dog all need extra grooming because
they are all shedding their winter coats.

Much of the equipment has been sitting all winter and the
tires need to be refilled with air. I maintain all of my equipment in the fall
before winter so it is ready to go on the spring but the tires still need air
from sitting so long.

The winter hay area needs to be cleaned and organized. Mouse
traps set in the barn when it warms up. For that matter we also usually clean
the barn.


I spend about two days repairing our three mile long road
from the winter thaw damage. That work is a timing issue. It has to be done
after the thaw but while it is still damp and before it dries out and turns to
moon dust.

It’s a good time to clean and rearrange the pantry. Take
inventory of what is left over and what we will need to replenish our supplies.

This year we have to make arrangements to leave for a few
days to attend the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA on June 2, and 3rd.
That only adds to our hectic spring schedule but we will find a way because we
really want to go to the Fair.

All in all it is a pretty busy time for us. We have these
things to do as well as our “day jobs” and running our two websites. It’s a lot
of work but it’s what we chose. Why is a whole ‘nother blog.

Ed and Laurie Essex live off grid in
the Okanogan Highlands of Washington State where they operate their website goodideasforlife.com  and offgridworks.com.