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The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner
What to Do & When to Do It in the Garden, Orchard, Barn, Pasture & Equipment Shed
by Ann Larkin Hansen

Storey Publishing, 2017

Author and Wisconsin homesteader Ann Larkin Hansen compiled this homesteading planner that outlines the seasonal chores needed to maintain a healthy and productive, garden, orchard, woodlot, beeyard, and farmstead.

"Doing a thing in its proper season - when it would naturally occur, or when conditions make the job most efficient and comfortable - is how you spread the work more evenly through the year," she explains. "This is what makes it possible to get it all done and still have some leisure time."
 

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner

Her planner is divided by seasons, beginning with Midwinter and Late Winter and continuing through to Early Fall and Early Winter of the same calendar year. Suggested chores and priorities are presented in each time period along with tips and primers on weaning animals, constructing wetland crossings, butchering chickens, drying herbs, mulching, planting a garden, and more.

Hansen's planner is biased toward the northern tier of North America, of course, and every rural acreage and rural landowner will have different needs, but its advice is general enough to be practical and informative for most homesteaders.





A well-kept woodlot,c1940
 
Defining Healthy Trees

To leave the best trees and take the worst, you need to know how to tell the difference. A healthy tree is straight, with a full crown, and produces plenty of seed to feed wildlife and germinate more trees like itself. Trees can be unhealthy due to disease or infestation, some signs of which are fungus growth, discolored orr weeping bark, and holes made by bugs. Trees can also be stunted from overcrowding and losing the race for sunlight. These trees are small for their age with old bark, and they do not grow noticeably for years and even decades.

Left to their own devices, forests have mechanisms for relieving overcrowding, such as wind, fire, pests, and diseases, but too often they also get rid of all of the trees. These are natural rejuevnation processes, but despite their long-term benefits, none of us really want to have any of them occur in the woods around our homes. A better alternative for the people who live near these woods is called sustainable forestry, a set of principles and methods directed toward mimicking, in a much tidier manner, the natural processes that keep a forest healthy and growing. Though individual trees get old and die, the forest survives.




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The Backyard Homestead






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