Thursday, September 16, 2010

Seasonal Homemaking

As I write this the air is crisp and cool, the sky clear blue, and there is a smell of dry leaves; the calendar says autumn is a few days away, but here in the northern reaches autumn has arrived.

I like the changing seasons.  Every season calls for a different homemaking skill.  Spring sees the garden planted, house thoroughly cleaned, and a return to line-dried laundry.  Summer gardening means lots of weeding and meals with fresh vegetables, canning and other methods of food preservation intensify as pantries are stocked for the winter.  I have several boxes of tomatoes yet to can and I hope to have several bushels of apples to make juice and applesauce to preserve.


In autumn the garden slows down or is complete and canning is finishing up, baking returns, and the focus changes to preparing the house for winter.  Winter gives us time to improve on our sewing, knitting and crocheting skills, baking warms the house and the pace of life slows a little. 

As a new season approaches I am usually ready for the change.  Each season is exciting and busy with its particular work that needs to be done.  Spring is intense with planting that needs to be done and the hope that the weather cooperates.  Late summer and early autumn are especially intense with preserving food.

Each fall we buy chickens from a friend who raises them, this year we had a few left yet from last year so I made chicken soup and chicken stock and canned several jars worth.  We now have homemade chicken soup for when one of us is feeling under the weather or just a quick meal on a busy day.  My recipe for chicken soup is located here.  I left out the noodles so that they wouldn't get mushy, I will add them when I heat the soup.

I enjoy cooking and baking and as fall turns to winter I look forward to having more time to spend experimenting with bread, new recipes, and improving my cooking skills. 

I am also trying to improve my sewing skills, I have always wanted to make a quilt and I now have one started.  It will take me a while, I have very little time after working all day to spend on craft skills, but I am slowly learning and that is ok, it is not about finishing a project quickly, I enjoy the process.  I am also slowly improving my knitting and crocheting, I have yarn and instructions ready to crochet socks and and an afghan started so now I look forward to spending some cold days with warm yarn.

Every season has it's pleasures and I want to take the time to enjoy all the seasons and continue to learn new skills that will benefit our household.  I have been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books again, currently the book "The Long Winter".  These books are fiction, but based on fact, and I marvel at the homesteading and homemaking skills they had or needed to learn.  These homemaking and homesteading skills still come in handy, they save us money, provide a healthier lifestyle and make a house feel like a home.