Prepare for winter by making the most of the fall season with these fall homesteading chores. I’ve included a helpful checklist for garden, house and homestead task and even and ways the kids can help to make your life easier!
Fall is my favourite time of year on the homestead. The house and farm is buzzing with the commotion of the harvest and the air is cool and crisp. There's lots to do in preparation for winter, and yet there's a calm in the days getting shorter and the the hustle slowing down.
Living a simpler life on a homestead means living according to the seasons. There's lots to be done throughout the year and a time for everything. With each passing year, we've come to realize signs to watch for and chores to complete before the opportunity for the year has passed.
Before we dive into the large list of chores below, go ahead and download the checklist. Some of these things won’t necessarily be something that your family will need to do, but most are helpful ideas for any house and homestead.
A word of caution, don’t go getting yourself overwhelmed by this list! The last thing you need to do as a beginner homesteader is to try and do it all. Remember to prioritize and plan according to your long term goals.
Fall Homesteading Chores
The chores on this list include caring for fields, gardens, farm animals, food supply and home. Not all chores may be necessary for you. Some need to be done every year during the fall and others are optional.
Remember to do what's essential and try not to do it all, becoming overwhelmed and burning out is common especially for those of us that have a day job and families along with all the chores that come with a homestead.
Enjoy completing your fall homestead chores, here's a list and ideas to help you out!
FARM ANIMALS- FALL HOMESTEADING TASKS
WEAN SPRING CALVES AND LAMBS
Calves born in the spring can be weaned from their mothers milk at 6-8 months. Weaning calves after the summer grazing is finished and the herd starts eating hay helps. I suggest side by side weaning where the calf and cow can see each other and can lay and be alongside the fence line together.
CARE FOR MOLTING CHICKENS
Chickens have a fall molt, meaning they lose their feathers and stop laying eggs. To keep chickens laying eggs during the fall and winter you may choose to add a light to your coop to extend the daylight hours for your chickens. You'll also need to adjust the timing set for your automatic door on the chicken coop as the days get relatively shorter.
FINISH RAISING MEAT FOR THE WINTER
Now is the perfect time to sneak in one more round of raising meat birds or meat rabbits. Sending steers and lambs off to the butcher is also a good idea before having to feel hay for the winter as well.
FALL HOMESTEADING CHORES FOR THE HOUSE
CLEAN AND REPAIR ROOFING AND DRAINSPOUTS
As the summer ends and the weather changes it's time to clean up the roof and downspouts for rainy and windy weather. Any roof repairs should also be done before the winter hits.
PREPARE WOODSTOVE AND CHIMNEY
Fall is the start of wood stove season. Clean your chimney in the summer before you need to light your stove. Use the uncontaminated wood ash in your garden. If you need new fire bricks or glass in your wood stove now is the time to make those repairs.
One of my new favourite chores is to fill our wood box with kindling. I use a small 1 pound hatchet and cut fresh dry cedar into kindling, it's super quick and easy to do.
Search out kindling wood in the summer and start a stash for winter early!
FILL WOODSHED WITH FIREWOOD
Make sure your woodshed is filled with dry firewood for the season. We like to have enough for a few years in the woodshed as we find the previous years wood is drier and burns quicker and hotter.
KITCHEN AND PANTRY FALL HOMESTEAD CHORES
PRESERVING THE SUMMER HARVEST
This is always a big chore in September- October. I can all of my apples and make apple sauce, apple pie filling and apple butter- all in one weekend!
Make sure to harvest all of your tomatoes (even the green ones!) and zucchini before the first frost. I use my tomatoes as they ripen, and preserve salsa, pasta sauces and freeze them for soups and stews.
Easily preserve your zucchini for baking using this method. Zucchini is also an ingredient in a lot of canning recipes for relish and salsas.
Get organized with our Free Fall Preserving Workbook Below!
PRESERVE SQUASH PLANTS
This will be my first year preserving my own pumpkin puree for baking! I often feed my pumpkins to my cows and chickens first because of the great health benefits, but this year I have enough for us too!
Fall is a beautiful time of year to get out and be in the forest. Wild mushrooms like chanterelles are now a staple in our harvest meals once we discovered just how easy it is to go foraging for them. I like to eat as many fresh as possible and dehydrate them to throw in soups and stews.
STOCK PILE THE PANTRY
Fall is a great time of year to stock up on other harvest essential foods that you didn't grow, didn't grow enough of or you can't grow in your area. Like sugar, potatoes, canned vegetables and cranberries. Make sure you stock on these foods before November is over!
MEAL PLAN USING FALL HARVEST
Meal planning is essential for making the most of the summer harvest season and saving money as produce prices rise in the winter. Plan your meals for up to 6 months with the food you already have.
A great way to do this is to take an inventory of your pantry and freezer and determine frugal meals to make with what you have. Use this 2 minute meal plan spreadsheet and have 5 weeks worth of meal planning done! Learn more about saving money on groceries by meal planning here.
FALL GARDEN CHORES
PLANT FALL BULBS
Fall is the time to plant those bulbs for early spring and summer flowers like tulips and daffodils. Why not plant crocus for the first burst of spring color?
Garlic is best planted in a no till garden bed and put to rest with a good mulch for the winter. I highly suggest this method for planting directly in the ground or better yet planting garlic in raised beds.
Garlic is a super fun crop to plant, as you simply ( gently) plant each clove from a bulb of garlic for a harvest of bulbs not larger cloves. It's also a great crop for beginner gardeners as it's quite easy to do.
BUILD AND REPAIR FENCING
Fall and spring is the perfect time to build and repair fencing. The ground is soft enough, and not yet frozen to be pounding in posts. It's also a great time to have a bonfire and burn old fencing if necessary.
RAKE LEAVES FOR COMPOST
Leaves are the main component of good healthy compost. Rack your leaves and store in chicken wire rounds so they can breath and decompose. Use leaves as mulch in garden beds, around your fall garlic.
PUT SUMMER GARDEN TO REST
Once you've harvested the rest of your produce, pull out the plants and cover the garden beds for the winter. Use leaves for mulch or feed the soil by planting a cover crop.
PLANT A COVER CROP
Fall rye can be grown just like grass as a cover crop in garden beds. Now is also a great time to plant grass seed for lawns or in hay fields.
PLANT FRUIT TREES
Fall is a good time of year to plant orchard fruit trees. The ground is soft and roots have a chance to get established before the summer heat drys the plants out. Make sure to feed in the fall if you already have an established array of fruit trees.
Make sure all fruit is harvested to keep animals like bears away.
REFLECT ON LAST SEASON
Now is a great time to access what you were able to accomplish on your homestead this year. What went well and what would you change. It's easy to over do it and its even easier to still feel like you didn't get enough done. The ideas and projects are endless. Try working top to bottom or bottom up, or from front to back.
Our big project this year was drainage around the house and barn, which meant we had to work bottom up. Before we could do roofing or landscaping we had to dig trenches for new pipes and complete the roofs for new downspouts before we could think about painting.
We also had to relandscape after all the digging which meant new gravel, grass and fencing. Hopefully this winter we'll have less muddy puddles!
FALL GOAL SETTING CHORES
What projects would you like to complete?
What form of income from your homestead would you like to add to your farm business? The ideas to make money from your homestead are endless, I've put together a getting started making money from your homestead checklist to help you work out this goal.
If you're hoping to buy homesteading property in the new year that's exciting too! There's lots to think about lots of pros and cons for buying land you may not have considered yet.
As things begin to slow down as winter approaches, reflection is a great place to start when it comes to goal setting for next year. Have you written a farm journal? Why not take the time now to write down what you have accomplished, what you think you might like to do next and what projects are coming up.
THEN, after the holidays, check out these lists again and start planning in the New Year!
PREPARE FOR TAX SEASON
Now is a good time to get all your reciepts and documents in order before tax season. Most farm income should be coming to an end and spending should decrease as the projects lessen.
Our farm tax paperwork is due in October to be eligible for farm status. This might be something you consider looking into in your area.
PREPARE FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON EARLY
Need I say more? The early bird catches the worm. Ease the stress by being prepared for the holidays. If you’re planning on having a handmade Christmas you might start baking, of making gifts.
TAKE A CLASS
Today is the day to start homesteading, check out these homesteading courses you can take online right now! Learn everything there is to know about gardening, baking from scratch, raising animals, you name it! The world is your homesteading oyster, get started today!
FALL HOMESTEADING CHORES – FUN ONES!
I really don’t like the idea of writing chores, homesteading brings us joy in the day to do. It’s my hope that through this comprehensive list for homesteading chores that might be of relation to your situation will inspire you for a productive fall homesteading season.
Don’t forget to make time for fun, there really is so much to look forward to this time of year that doesn’t just involve farm chores!
Go ahead and check out these helpful yet playful fun fall posts to inspire you to take a break more often and enjoy the season.