How to Homestead Through a Spring Thaw

a spring thaw homesteadingThe one reason Wendie and I considered looking for homesteading properties outside of New Hampshire was to skip out on the spring thaw. This period between late February and the end of March can be some of the most miserable of the year. Not only do we still see enormous snowstorms blow through, sometimes into the first week of April, but each storm is punctuated with a thaw that creates havoc.

Days can rise to the 40s and 50s creating mud, while nights drop down again below freezing. This means a fresh melt can puddle and freeze as sheer as the edge of a razor blade, where no amount of salting and sand can keep up with it. It can be treacherous. But homestead chores still need to be completed, so we put down our heads and continue to learn how to homestead properly.

How to Homestead Through a Spring Thaw

a spring thaw
On the old urban homestead, a spring thaw brings winter snow emergencies where we can't park on the street. The sidewalks over-flow with snow banks as the DPW simply runs out of money in their budget to clear them. Neither of us are fans of the bitter cold and the Carolinas were tempting. Arizona came up in conversation a couple of times, as did Georgia and Louisiana, all for different reasons. But, New Hampshire is our home. Our kids were born and raised here. We know how to survive in a New England spring thaw.

I remember the moment when we put aside our thoughts of a warmer homesteading environment. We were enjoying time with friends, eating seafood on a deck overlooking the harbor. The tide was high and lapping the shore. An early fall breeze was blowing and the leaf colors were electric as the sun set across from us. We had planned this time to let them know of our decision to move away, and their response was immediate and emotional. "Don't," they said. "Where else can you have this life? Where else can you enjoy an Indian Summer on the ocean and enjoy the company of lifelong friends who love you?"

So, we doubled down and focused on learning how to homestead in New Hampshire. We made the decision to stay. Cold and mud and freezing ice be damned. There are more important things in this world than being inconvenienced for a couple of months a year. Learning how to homestead is what makes this lifestyle worth it all. There's never a dull moment.

A Spring Thaw of Mud

a spring thaw homesteading mudSo here we are, coming to the tail end of our first winter on the new homestead. A spring thaw is happening as I write this, though the mud hasn't announced its presence just yet.  We've made our decision, and this is our forever homestead. Wendie and I agreed that rather than be grumpy about a spring thaw, we would do what we could to make it work.

Winter taught us that four cords of wood will take us comfortably through the season. Muck boots are cheap, and we have them lined up by the front door not only ourselves and the kids and their friends as well. The chicken coop and run were great investments against the freezing New Hampshire nights so even the chickens faired well. We have a windbreak ready for the bees, and though the private road we live on can be a hassle with ice slicks, we've learned how to live with it.

Homesteading in a Spring Thaw

how to homestead during a spring thaw
So, yes. Wendie and I believe it has come down to a state of mind as well as being prepared. When it snows, we have confidence that the wood stove provides solid warmth. When the ice comes, we're ready with sand and salt and environmentally friendly ice melt. The homesteading selection of freezers and refrigerators are always packed, and in case the town loses power, we sympathize with our neighbors who are still on the grid. They come over, have a few drinks and everyone leaves feeling better about the situation.

We are making this homesteading change work with each and every lesson. Sure, we have to deal with a little more mud during a spring thaw on the homestead than during our urban life, and though we might not have the city taking care of plowing our road, but we're happy. Happier than we've ever been. If we do need to punch a hole in a few four-foot snow drifts to make our way to the gas station or grocery store for some blackberry ice cream, we always have a snow thrower on the tractor.

We didn't expect a homesteading life to be easy, nor did we ask for it to be. Life is lived on our own terms. How we approach a difficulty is up to us, as well as the solution. It helps that we are self-employed and off the grid. It does. Simply, we learn how to homestead by tackling one opportunity after another.

Now if we can only find a way to limit the amount of mud that will inevitably find it's way into the house, we'll be all set.

We love sharing our homesteading adventures with you all, and look forward to hearing from you. What are your thoughts on a spring thaw? Is your homestead everything you thought it would be?  Is mud your constant nemesis, or have you made peace with it? We'd love to know, so please join the conversation below!


I don't miss lifting heavy snow. The meditation of morning before life kicks into gear. Best work wanders in through blanketed tents.
WT said…
Oh yes, the heavy snow... we're starting to see it, with heavy snow fall, a layer of frozen rain and warmer weather. I'm with you- staying in bed and waiting for it all to melt away is a good way to go:)