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Permaculture in Winter

| 12/22/2011 2:01:19 PM

I'll be the first to admit that I hate winter.  People can try to convince me all they like about the cycles or death and life.  Yeah I understand the cycles I just don't care for winter.  So I've spent several of them trying to reconcile my desire to make progress on my homestead while essentially most of the "fun" activities are off limits just due to the harshness of the weather or its ability to completely block my efforts on some accounts.

Almost a year ago I wrote an article for BackHome Magazine and did a subsequent podcast on conducting permaculture activities in winter (you can find the podcast here:  It was a good way for me to put in words my efforts to ignore winter and just go about my business making my homestead into what I wanted it to be.

So what can you do in the winter?

*Observing – Observe and Interact is one of the key permaculture principles (there are 12 total).  This principle posits that the best thoughts and designs come from just simply observing nature and even your own systems to see how they are working and what can be improved.  So why do this in the winter?  Well for one, many things become quite obvious. 

For one thing, a good deal of the vegetation will be gone, allowing mostly unobstructed views of your property.  You can clearly see how contours run and judge spacing more accurately.

For another you see the actual patterns that occur in winter.  If you aren't actually out there during the harsh times you might not realize how harsh they can be on your plants or livestock.  Its important to get an idea of the big pictures. 

Jason Akers
1/7/2012 2:49:47 AM

That's some ideas I forgot about. Then again, I've never been good at organization! Thanks!

Amy Stross
1/7/2012 1:15:03 AM

Thanks for the reminder that there are many things that are actually better left for the winter to-do list! My husband was hounding me to de-clutter and reorganize the office, and I kept telling him, 'Just wait until winter!" No I have no excuse, but can report that I'm making progress on that front. I find myself staying inside more often in the winter and working on homesteading projects that increase the efficiency and self-sufficiency of the house. Currently we're taking inventory and improving our emergency preparedness stores.

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