March 1, 2021

Happy Agrarian New Year!

 A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about why the old agrarian calendar makes more sense to me than our modern commercial calendar. The roots of that old calendar go back to the ancient Hebrews and Babylonians, and trace their way up until the mid-1700s, when the new calendar was finally adopted by the last of the hold-outs—farmers. Follow the link above for details. Because most of what Dan and I do is so seasonal, this old calendar makes sense. Plus, I confess that the commercial new year in January holds no emotional significance for me. So, the agrarian calendar just feels right.

In my part of the country, March 1st makes a good beginning of the food growing year. We're roughly six weeks out from last frost, so it's time to get in gear. We're just coming out of winter—the season of rest (Ha!)—which is a good time to reflect and evaluate. It's also a good time to plan. When March dawns, spring is in the air and it's time to get busy!

Everything revolves around seasonal chores, of course. In spring, it's soil preparation and planting, which includes both garden and pasture. Summer is busy with harvest and preservation, and is also when Dan works on wood for the following winter. Toward the end of summer, there's a fall garden and winter pasture to plant. Harvest and preservation finally taper off in autumn, which is the season to prepare for winter.

After the week's seasonal chores have been tended to, it's project time! Here's what we hope to accomplish this year:

  • Fencing. This includes maintenance, repair, and new. The new is around the buck barn and chicken yard. Maintenance and repair are everywhere else.
  • Outdoor Kitchen. We've talked about this for years, and the ideas and plans are finally coming together. Details soon.
  • Heat stove. We're looking at replacing our soapstone stove with a masonry stove. More on this one of these days.

Of course, everything is weather permitting. However, we have a nice mix of both outdoor and undercover projects to always be working on something. That's a good feeling. :)


tpals said...

Looks like you have some interesting projects coming up. I look forward to reading more.

Leigh said...

Thanks Tpals!

wyomingheart said...

I do love the agrarian calendar since you introduced it to us, and yes, it does make more sense to me. We have so much infrastructure to work on, that our resting winter is just as busy as the summer, it seems! Very interested in your outdoor kitchen! Excited for you, and very curious for me ! That is something that seems far off on the planning schedule, for us. Have a perfect week!

daisy g said...

It is so motivating, isn't it, to live by the seasons, instead of the calendar year. And most times quite rewarding. It helps me feel better about aging, if I can take one season at a time.

Look forward to reading more about your projects!
Be Blissed!

Cockeyed Jo said...

It sounds like a good plan to me.

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, I agree, the agrarian calendar concept works exceptionally well for homestead planning! I admit we don't get a lot of rest in winter either because we get enough mild days that we can be out and about. Winter is a great time for building projects.

The outdoor kitchen has been in the idea stage since we bought the place. It's just never made it to the top of the to-do list before. Now, Dan's grill is pretty much falling apart, so between that and rethinking our heat stove, it seemed like time to get started on turning a section of the carport into a cooking area. We have lots of ideas! Hopefully, at least a couple of them will become reality this year. I'll keep you posted!

Daisy, good point about aging! :) For us, it was gardening (and trying to eat out of the garden) that pulled us into a more seasonal lifestyle. Then once we got most of our infrastructure in place, it began to make sense to plan everything around the seasons. This may sound odd, but this lifestyle has opened my eyes to a sense of purpose, something I didn't find in the highly industrialized, commercialized, and technology-ized way of living. I'm definitely happier living this way.

Jo, thanks!

Boud said...

I love the idea of an outdoor kitchen. Is this to be like a summer kitchen, to keep the cooking heat out of the house? More elaborate than just a grill, I'm guessing. Will it include a bread oven? Pizza oven?

I know you'll give us a step by step as you work on it.

Cederq said...

Ahh, the joys of farming, scheduling and living your life around your land and livestock. Down in Alabama we didn't get much of a winter so it was a year round work and planning on the fly. Many the time of kidding on Christmas day and commercial New Years. I hadn't thought about the Agrarian calendar in years. My Grand father used it and would not change. Like you, the (C) New Year doesn't hold relevance or gaiety for me, just another cold day to keep warm... I can see where using the Agrarian Calendar would be useful even in my current setting.

Goatldi said...

Wow Happy New Year to you also! I totally agree.

Your to do list is nice. Interesting we have common goals. I will be watching my new wood stove put in on this Wednesday as the old VC parlor stove in her 46th year is being retired. There are plans for her in her new life.

Also still struggling with how to best use the side attached area by the kitchen. Could be a summer kitchen with a few modifications or a wood shed conveniently located just outside the kitchen dining area accessible from back porch.

Looking forward to your progress reports 👍

Ed said...

As I expected when we quadrupled the size of our garden from last year, we are woefully behind the curve already. I expect we will have a lot of kinks to work out this year but I'm still looking forward to the process.

Leigh said...

Boud, keeping cooking heat out of the house is a huge part of it. Plus having an alternative place to cook should the power go out. Right now, we're planning a grill, a cookstove, and a pizza oven. Eventually, it would be nice to add a cold smoker.

Cederq, it's true, the commercial new year just seems to be an excuse to stay up late, get drunk, and make resolutions everyone knows won't be kept, lol. I think party lovers have more fun with it than us introverts. :)

Goatldi, sounds like you have great plans! How exciting to get a new wood stove. And a possible outdoor kitchen is great! I'm looking forward to learning more.

Ed, I think feeling behind the curve is just part of it! But, I say it never hurts to set one's sights high. I think we ultimately get more accomplished that way.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Happy New Year Indeed Leigh! For that matter, I think I prefer the Lunar New Year more as well - it seems like it extends for some days rather than just a sort of one-night affair - which, anymore, I can barely make it to midnight.

I agree - the concept of living by seasons makes a whole lot more sense.

Leigh said...

Thanks, TB! Interesting thought about the lunar new year - I don't even know when that is!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, it (according to the all knowing Wiki-god) typically occurs between 21 January and 20 February. Happy Year of The Ox!

Leigh said...

Interesting, but I'm not sure how it's useful! I know the ancient calendars used a lunar month, but I guess we switched because eventually the seasons would no longer match the months. Actually, the four seasons works find for me!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

It is like most other things Leigh - if I cannot calculate it using simple tools, I do not know how useful it is. Maybe that is why Stonehedge was created - at least one day a year you would know the time.