5 Notes for a Post Winter Clean Up List

Our midwest winter brought a few frozen duck waters, minor mounds of snow, a little slippery ice and some cold temperatures. The fire kept up and I did not have freezing fingers once this winter.

Frankly it was a pathetic attempt for a midwest winter. Which makes me worry that the worst is yet to come. Or that the climate is changing faster than expected.

This winter in Illinois seems to have been the opposite of everyone else’s winter. We have been wet and though not warm exactly, it was above freezing most of the time. In many parts of the US today they have ice and snow and horrible weather.

Many areas have struggled with an horrific polar vortex. Not us though.

It felt like we had a lot less sun. And a lot less cold.

Less sun worries me.

Midwest late winter wheat fields greening up under a grey sky


Note One: Ask yourself: Is winter even over yet? Is spring around the corner? Is it late winter or early spring.

To be honest I think we are still in late winter. I think of March as the beginning of the end of winter. I think this, then March turns into the longest month in the world.

But spring is not here quite yet.

Note Two: Prioritise the work into sitting and standing jobs. Starting with the chicken coop.

John likes the sitting on a tractor jobs. We have put the new removable panel into the chook house wall so John can get in with the tractor. The tractor with its sitting operator clears a great swathe down the middle.

Removeable wall in chicken house for ease of cleaning. John Deere tractor. Cloudy skies.

The chickens and I will get in and scoop the outside detritus into the center of the coop. And then send in the tractor again.

The chicken coop has to be cleaned up before the summer heat comes around. Having a deep litter is great for keeping the chook house warm but not so great in the smelly summer.

4. NoteThree: Prepare the vegetable garden: Spread manure. Another sitting job! Scoop up last years compost heap – load it into the manure spreader that is lurking around here somewhere and get that spread all over the new vegetable garden field. It can assimilate for a month or so before we begin to prepare the beds.

4. Note Four: Any new animals coming this spring? For the farmy there will be Piglets and calves. Prepare fields for spring calves. Take down the snow fence. (Which will inevitably result in snow!). Build fences around next years vegetable garden for the Big Pigs to do the prep.

The piglets can go in the old milking parlour for the moment – nice and light and warm. Though I have yet to find any. With feed prices skyrocketing and the continued problem of getting a slot at the slaughter house little growers like us are careful what we take on.

6. Note Five: Make preparations for a wet summer. Hot and wet. I will be away for a couple of months of the summer – (back to NZ and Aus and yes you will be coming with me) so all the systems need to be tight for the sitting farm hand.

We have tulips coming up. Shrubs budding up and that undefinable yellowish greenish haze just beginning on the willows. Just out of the corner of my eye.

Tulips emerging in late winter garden.

All way too early.

I am trying not to look at the apple trees because I know if they start to blossom early there will be a hellish frost late and no fruit this summer. The lilacs are budding up already.

One of my lavender seeds has popped through. Lavender is so hard to grow from seed! I don’t know why I keep putting myself through it!! One tiny success! I have lots of sage popping too.

Anyway, now I will create a black board list.

Did I miss anything?


Winters on the farm vary. Cleaning up after a winter of fast

19 Comments on “5 Notes for a Post Winter Clean Up List

  1. Here in coastal California this morning, it’s 32*! The coldest of the year. Normally you can start pruning your tender plants like Fuchsias on President’s Day- not this year!! But on a farm, there’s much more to be ‘scheduled’! If you have Prime TV, you would enjoy ‘Clarkson’s Farm’, about the trials of a wealthy car driver deciding to go into farming in England. You would appreciate it.

  2. Yes, I think we set ourselves up for danger if we rush winter away too fast. It is bitterly cold here with a wind chill as well. All of the bulbs are coming up green and you can see changes in the trees. It used to be March before any of that happened and it all started early this month. I want to do something in my two very small apartment size flower beds this spring/summer. Have had varied luck in both and I really need to go back to basics I think and work on the soil more than anything so this may be a season for rebuilding and renewing.

  3. It is in the 60’s today in Ohio, and spring bird song fills the air. It’s so tempting to believe in spring, but then tomorrow’s high is 30! Right back to reality.

  4. From someone who’s never experienced the snows you do, what is a snow fence? I mean, the name is descriptive, but how does it work and what’s it made of? I have missed the loving photographic portraits of pigs. Since the much lamented demise of the beauteous Sheila, the pig quotient on your blog has been a bit low. More of those Jude eyelashes too, please!

  5. Our greenhouse is full to capacity with the spring crops! Kohlrabi, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, you name it! My John will be planting potatoes and the spring crops next week as we have weather in the 60s. I’m thinking it’s way too early. We planted tomatoes and peppers last year mid March and of course there was a freeze later that froze them all and we had to start all over again. 🙁 But we do have row covers for protection if we need to cover the early brassicas. Just can’t wait until our tulip magnolia tree bursts into bloom. It is the harbinger of Spring.

  6. I’m wondering about how our summer will progress to autumn just as you are wondering about winter to spring, and also plotting to-do lists… the way we live sometimes makes it not easy to be in the moment! But the moment here is very hot so I’m happy for it to pass.

  7. Too eerily similar to here Miss C. ‘The Winter That Wasn’t’ finally arrived with the onset of March. (But the 1st was neither Lamb nor Lion:/)

  8. Wow, hate it when that happens! (Skipped from the March post about your concerns into this one from February 23rd… :/)
    Will re-deposit this where it belongs…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: